The former Party Box at 240 Route 17 South in Lodi — Courtesy: The Stro Cos.
By Joshua Burd
The Stro Cos. has acquired a well-known but vacant retail property in Lodi, with plans to renovate and reposition the local landmark to attract new tenants.
The 26,500-square-foot property, 240 Route 17 South, is the former longtime home of Party Box, a family-owned party good store that operated for decades. Stro purchased the site from the former owner-operator for $4 million, describing it as one of Bergen County’s most iconic freestanding retail buildings, with a location and visibility that was too good to pass up.
“Location, location, location has always been the hallmark of great retail assets,” Todd Minerley, director of acquisitions and leasing, said in a prepared statement. “Few properties if any in northern New Jersey have visibility from a greater number of passing vehicles.”
Specifically, Minerley pointed to the site’s unobstructed views from Route 17 and Interstate 80, which offer combined traffic counts of nearly 300,000 vehicles daily.
“Millions of people see this property every week,” he added. “The building is as much a billboard, as it is a great retail location. The property will offer instant exposure and ‘landmark’ status to next tenant.”
The Party Box, an institution in Bergen County, closed earlier this year after 50 years in business. A NorthJersey.com story at the time chronicled the store’s history in the region, which included an appearance in “The Sopranos.”
Minerley credited Gregg Hoffman and Michael Brown of McBride Corporate Real Estate for brokering the transaction, adding: “When we learned there was an opportunity to acquire this asset, we moved quickly to buy it.”
In a news release, Stro said the property would appeal to tenants ranging from traditional stores to “clicks and bricks” retailers looking for properties that also have ecommerce capabilities. The Ridgewood-based investment firm is launching a complete renovation that will include bringing the interior and exterior of the property back to a “vanilla box” status, providing a clean palette for the next tenant’s vision for the property.
Bank of New Jersey financed the acquisition.
“We needed to close quickly,” said Mike Lachs, Stro’s director of finance and investments. “Based in Bergen County, BONJ instantly knew the property, its strengths and the rare investment opportunity it represented. Their knowledge of the asset and our existing relationship, made our decision to finance the acquisition with BONJ an easy one.”