The Shoppes at Lafayette is a bustling village market at the heart of Sussex county.
Once a flourishing complex covering an expansive area of 70 acres with about 50 shops. The outlet-stylevillage opened in 1985 with boutique shops but later switched to retail stores. The village fell into foreclosure in 2012 with owners suffering huge losses wherein the bank had to intervene.
Convenient highway access to routes 94 and 15, originally referred to as Olde Lafayette Village, this shopping hub was recently purchased by the Lafayette Village Associates LLC. Shoppes recently underwent a makeover to accommodate contemporary amenities. The restoration has been done while keeping the semi-rural character of this place intact- ‘rustic and beautiful’.
You can find a wide variety of antiques, boutique shops, vintage furniture, outdoor equipment, a healthy mix of local specialties and national brands. Farmer’s Market and the monthly (every third weekend) POP-UP Shoppe weekends are some sought-after events. Rediscover shopping in its authentic form, the friendly atmosphere with visitors, families, and shopping fans flocking the area, fervently rummaging through stocks to get the best deals.
With the renovation of the village, old buildings have been restored, giving a fresh lease of life to the Lafayette village. The new lamp posts along with the fresh landscaping line the patio leading up to an open space where youngsters and family members can have a gala time while their families are shopping. A new attractive clock, adorns the top of the chapel, that chimes more than 5000 pre-loaded songs which add fervor to every event for every holiday ocassion.
This retail space is filling up fast and has become the hottest shopping destination for the locals and neighboring towns. Lafayette is a pet-friendly village, offering wheelchair and handicap assistance. Come visit the magical shopping experience at Lafayette Village.
The village thrived around the mill seat on the Paulinskill. The community slowly shaped into a settlement for farmers arriving to northwestern New Jersey who were seeking employment at the log mill ground grain and sawing timber. The city retains the footprints of its indegenious influence in its historic buildings and culture reflected in the lifestyle of the local community.
The majority of the vernacular buildings are 2-storeyed in wood, were constructed between c. 1830 and c. 1930. The Historic District of Lafayette bears footprints of Late Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Colonial Revival, Second Empire, Queen Anne, and Craftsman styles.
Nearly 27 years after its commencement, the 95,000 square-foot Old Lafayette Village, a once brimming shopping destination began facing a financial crisis.
Coming into 2012 The Olde Lafayette Village had entered poor financial condition and, the bank ordered the Village’s receivership to Levin Management, a North Plainfield real estate services firm in May of the same year. The company gained the authority to manage the village property, including rent collection. Levin management took up the day-to-day operations, upkeep and maintenance of the facility.
At this time, Lafayette village was in need of a major refurbishment in order to instill fresh life into the shopping premise located in Lafayette. Basic maintenance such as proper garbage disposal and lawn care were required, as services were not being attended to.
Levin management company’s Executive Vice President Bob Carson stated that they would prioritize the improvements in a meticulous manner.
Levin management was encouraging new tenants and real-estate clients to invest in the Lafayette village properties. The revenues and investment finances were to provide capital resources for further improvement and development of the Village.
The financial stature of the Lafayette village continued to decline despite the recievership by the Levin Management Company. Flushing Savings Bank, the lender, was owed $7.43 million as mortgage debt from Olde Lafayette Village Ltd. Flushing wavered the interest and fees, seeking $6.9 million. At a foreclosure sale of the Village, the starting bid was $100, Flushing, Flushing Savings Bank showed a willingness to bid up to $4.4 million, but in the end there was no buyer.
The Sheriff received no response from the audience when he opened up the bid to the public at the foreclosure sale of the Old Lafayette Village property in August 2014.
During this time it was made clear that the Lafayette House was a separately owned restaurant and banquet hall that would not be part of the sale. The Lafayette House Resturant and Tavern along with other business storefronts, would remain open through out the foreclosure.
Many of the small businesses that remained open during this time were still very positive about the prospects and future of Village Shopping. Many were hoping that an outside buyer would take over the property and turn it around to its former successful positioning. After the failed auction, the property reverted to the ownership ofo the bank.
Kislak Realty, a commercial real-estate brokerage operational since 1906, was assigned with the task of looking for a buyer for the Olde Lafayette Village property. At the then current time, the property ownership was still Flushings Savings Bank.
Flushing was seeking $6.9 million for the Village, after wavering the interest and other fees. The then price of the Lafayette village was fixed at $5.4 million. As per Kislak, while they were looking into selling the property, Levin Management was still responsible for leasing the various spaces, and finding potential tenants for the village. According to Kislak, the Village bears 35% occupancy currently.
The prolonged indecisiveness regarding the sale/upkeep of the Village property has shaken the confidence of businesses operating in that area. Marie Ryan, co-owner of The Village Mane Salon & Day Spa, had been operating in the Village for 19 years. Once the lease expires in March of 2015, she will shift her salon one mile from its current location to a shopping area on Route 15.
Marie Ryan was one of the dedicated businesses functioning at the Village. Her decision to move would impact the mindset of other businesses in the village and might influence other vendors to move to more profitable locations during the uncertain Village scenario.
The once a bustling shpooing area, the Olde Lafayette Village was finally sold. The sale of The Village was confirmed by Matt Weilhemer, the senior vice president of Kislak Realty.
Flushing Savings Bank was seeking $7.43 million for the Village and settled at $5.4 million in 2015, when the Village failed to pay its mortgages.
As per the deed of sale recorded on Nov. 26, 2016, the new owners are Lafayette Village Associates who bought the property for an estimated $1.9 million.
Don Oriolo, of Hamburg, had expressed his interest in the property last year and had been working with the bank to purchase the property. He was very disappointed about the property being traded to an outside party. When the media reached out to the Levin Management team, their spokesperson was unable to provide details on the transaction.
Improvements to the Village came quick after the purchase by the entity Lafayette Village Associates LLC. Signs of development were visible right away.
The Lafayette Village Associates believed that the property had the potential not only to offer profitable business to the current tenants, but also to attract new avenues, local retailers, and eateries.
Stacey Frey, owner of the Lafayette House with her family, was extremely elated about the deal of the Village as substantial development seems underway. Although Frey’s restaurant was not involved with the sale of the village, the family has had a long association with the Village property. They own the building and have a long-term land lease, and assured of the restaurant still being operational.
The Lafayette Village Associates worked to install new roofs and siding, new paint, repair parking spaces, pathways, and landscaping, upgrade exterior lighting, new and comprehensive signage, and graphics. PLUS all of the individual spaces would be renovated and then made available for rent.
The locals were happy to see signs of transformation as development work started. The duck pond, once the home to numerous ducks, was an iconic structure of the Village. Residents recall placing a dime in the vending machine and filling their hands with duck food to toss into the water for the ducks to feast. Following the foreclosure, the ducks started moving out of the pond, which was a very daunting sign for the locals of the Village area. Soon the ducks were gone and the pond was filled in.
Residents have fond memories of the duck pond and time spent at the Village, but although the Pond was now gone at the Village. Lafayette Village Associates hoped that the changes and ongoing development would restore the past glory of the village as one of the premier retail hubs in Sussex County.
The Shoppes at the Lafayette Village has re-opened, keeping all COVID-19 protocols and regulations in mind. On June 15, 2020, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the state will enter “Stage Two” of its road to recovery. Protocols include face masks must be worn indoors and social distancing guidelines be followed.
The Shoppe posted details on Facebook of the avenues that will open for the public. Outdoor dining at restaurants and indoor, non-essential retail outlets are opening, followed by the opening of barbershops and salons a week later. New operating hours will be 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
The Shoppes at Lafayette resumed hosting Sunday events. The farmers market drew about 1,500 customers and many vendors sold out early, according to the shopping center’s website.
The Village office and the Public restrooms will remain closed. The 17 shops are commencing business slowly. Although at a gradual pace, business and commerce at the Lafayette Village are on the revival path.