December 11, 2013 10:09PM
By Mary Ellen Godin
MERIDEN — T.J. Maxx recently signed a lease to occupy 23,000 square feet in the former Borders bookstore at Westfield Meriden, said representatives from TJX Cos. Inc., owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.
Company representatives said Tuesday the discount retailer of name-brand clothing, jewelry and housewares is planning a spring opening.
Plans filed in the city’s building department call for a $1.2 million renovation of the former bookstore and cafe to house T.J. Maxx. Steven Iovanna, an architect for BL Cos., said the facade will be replaced to add space to the store.
“It’s all totally renovated inside and out,” said Iovanna, who is also a member of the City Council. “It’s a nice upgrade for our mall. That whole wing has been slow since Borders left.”
Borders closed its doors in October 2011 shortly after the company filed for bankruptcy. Westfield was negotiating with the owners of Christmas Tree Shops for the same space, but the gift and housewares store never arrived and didn’t open an Express store as it has for the past two holiday seasons.
Westfield Meriden representatives could not be reached for comment on the new lease, but have confirmed the T.J. Maxx plans arrival on Facebook and Twitter.
T.J. Maxx typically locates in freestanding buildings or in strip malls. But TJX spokeswoman Laura McDonnell said the retailer looks for space with good traffic.
“We look for thriving retail locations and close proximity to other towns,” McDonnell said.
T.J. Maxx appeals primarily to female shoppers age 25 to 54 who shop for the family and their homes, McDonnell said. The newest store will be the 21st in the greater Hartford market with the closest one on Queen Street in Southington.
T.J. Maxx was founded in 1976. It bought competitor Marshalls in 1995 to form the Marmaxx Group. The difference between the two stores is in the various departments, O’Donnell said. T.J. Maxx has a fine jewelry and accessory selection, beauty products, and in some stores a high-end designer department called The Runway. Marshalls, located at Townline Square five miles from the mall, has a family shoe department and expanded men’s department, as well as The Cube, a juniors department.
TJX also owns HomeGoods, dedicated to household items. The company bought Bob’s Stores in 2003, then sold it to a private equity firm in 2008.
The Westfield Meriden mall has filled several vacancies in recent months, with Borders being the largest. Ulta, a beauty products retailer, moved into a 10,000-square-foot space in November.