Vacant Toys “R” Us to become Ocean State Job Lot

Jan 8, 2019

The former Toys “R” Us on Route 6 will be vacant no more, as Ocean State Job Lot has announced it will open a new location at the shuttered toy store.

Ocean State Job Lot officials announced it has secured a lease for the 492 State Road building on January 8. It is part of a deal which also includes the acquisition of seven former Toys “R” Us locations across four states.

“The Toys “R” Us locations make sense for us,” said Marc Perlman, principal CEO and owner of Ocean State Job Lot. “They are expansive, with an average footprint of 40,000 square feet, and will allow us to offer our customers a fantastic overall shopping experience.”

According to public relations spokesperson Matthew Blanchette, construction activity will begin soon. All seven stores will open in 2019 – some before Memorial Day, but it is unclear if the Dartmouth location will open by then.

The store will create between 40 and 50 new jobs.

According to town assessment records, the former Toys “R” Us portion of the building is about 30,000 square feet. The AC Moore craft store is housed in the same building.

Toys “R” Us locations across the country shuttered last year after the company went bankrupt. On March 15, 2018, the New Jersey-based toy retailer filed for bankruptcy and announced its intention to liquidate and close all 735 of its United States stores.

Liquidation sales at the Dartmouth location began about a month later. The Dartmouth location closed for good over the summer. By early fall, no traces of the once-thriving retail toy empire remained.

The vacant storefront was one of several to occupy valuable real estate in Dartmouth, as town officials have been searching for a solution to the problem. Just several months after Toys “R” Us closed, Dartmouth lost another iconic brick-and-mortar store: Benny’s on Dartmouth Street.

But in recent months, major redevelopment plans were announced for several vacant properties.

Developer Carpionato Group has filed plans to transform Benny’s into a shopping plaza. The company plans to renovate the existing 24,572 square-foot building, add an 18,460 square-foot addition, and build an additional 7,250 square-foot building on the property. Out of the five storefronts that could be created, the company's plans name only one: O'Reilly Auto Parts.

Those plans are still pending before the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Planning Board.

Last year, the blighted Gifford Marine boat showroom was demolished to make way for an expansion of the Solemar apartment complex. Development company Claremont Companies has approval to build a three-story apartment building with 55 units available to seniors over the age of 55. The building had been vacant for several years.