NEW JERSEY—According to R.J. Brunelli & Co. LLC research recently released, retail space vacancy along northern New Jersey’s six major shopping corridors is up to 8.2 percent in April from 8.1 percent in April 2011.

The retail brokerage firm’s annual study of the six-county northern New Jersey market uncovered 2.33 million sq. ft. of vacancies in the 28.34 million sq. ft. of space examined along the six corridors, with availabilities seen in 159 of the 818 properties evaluated. This compared with 2.33 million sq. ft. of vacancies in 28.78 million sq. ft. of space in the 2011 study, in which openings were seen in 173 of the 817 properties reviewed.

The Route 10 and 46/3 corridors were the only highways to show improvement during the past 12 months.

According to its findings, R.J. Brunelli credits big box retail closures as a contributor to the downturn.

“The Chapter 11 filing of The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Co. and the demise of Borders continued to have the biggest impact on the northern New Jersey market,” said Richard J. Brunelli, president of the firm. “Of A&P’s six Pathmark stores that went dark along the corridors in 2011 or 2010, only two—a 60,000-sq.-ft. location on Route 46 that’s been leased to Fairway and a 42,000-sq.-ft. location on Route 10 that is reportedly leased to LA Fitness—have been absorbed so far. Consequently, over 226,000 sq. ft. of empty Pathmark space lingers on the corridors.”

In the past year, Borders has closed three 25,000 sq.-ft. locations on Routes 17, 22 and 23.

“On a positive note, we continued to see some of the older big box vacancies take on new life,” Brunelli said.

These included Conway Stores’ lease for the former Linens ‘n Things on Route 46 in Totowa; Dick’s Sporting Goods lease for the former Circuit City on Route 22 in Union; Harbor Freight’s lease for the former Office Max on Route 22 in Union; Sears Outlet & Appliance’s lease of the former Office Depot on Route 22 in Watchung; and Lord & Taylor Home’s lease of the former Loehmann’s on Route 17 in Paramus.

The report included R.J. Brunelli’s review of shopping centers and freestanding buildings exceeding 2,000 sq. ft. along State Highways 4, 10, 17, 22, 23 and 46/3, and certain intersecting arteries in Bergen, Essex, Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Union counties. Freestanding restaurants, auto service facilities and auto dealerships were also included, while enclosed regional malls and centers under construction or redevelopment were excluded.