The Feather River Center is located just southeast of downtown Marysville, in the unincorporated community of Linda. Originally constructed in 1972 to serve the rural Yuba-Sutter metropolitan area an hour north of Sacramento, the 400,000 square foot center was dubbed simply “The Mall” at the time and is to this day the only major retail center in Yuba County. For 14 years, the center was the largest retail draw in the area, serving the mostly agricultural/military population in this part of the Central Valley. Due to the absence of information about the mall on the internet, I have little sense of what the mall’s anchors were. The southernmost anchor strongly remembles many of the Kmart stores built in the mid-70s, especially the mall-based ones, and I wouldn’t be shocked if either of the other two anchors was a Sears or a Montgomery Ward. Given how long it’s been since this mall was a viable retail center–and given my lack of awareness of the area’s smaller regional retailers–there’s not really much guesswork (or labelscar investigation) to do.
In 1986, the Yuba-Sutter area endured a devastating flood that left many areas around Marysville and Yuba City under water, and it was especially devastating in the Linda and Olivehurst area. The mall was flooded to the ceiling and was effectively destroyed in the floods. As a result, planning began almost immediately to replace the mall on higher ground, with the larger Yuba Sutter Mall in Yuba City. Yuba City–across the river from Marysville and Linda–was where much of the area’s new population growth and development was beginning to occur. Yuba County, which includes the Linda and Olivehurst area, is one of California’s poorest and the impact of the floods worsened this trend considerably. (This UC Davis paper on migration trends in California’s northern Central Valley details many of the larger trends impacting the area in the 80s and 90s).
Despite the devastation of the flood and the flight of retail dollars to the new Yuba Sutter Mall in Sutter County, the mall soldiered on post-flood as the “Peach Tree Mall,” but it appears this wasn’t successful in the long-term, if the dated and worn appearance of the outside of the mall is any indication. The mall more or less failed completely as a retail center at some point and was renamed the “Feather River Center” and used as a home for county and medical offices. It appears that the last of these functions exited the mall in 2006 or 2007, however, leaving it almost completely abandoned today. The only tenant in the center is a FoodMaxx store occupying the anchor at the mall’s southern end.
As of 2007, there was news that the mall may be slated for redevelopment. Several proposals were being circulated–and there were stories in the news–that the site was due to be sold for redevelopment as a cluster of big box stores, likely featuring usual suspects like Home Depot and Target.
Truth be told, it’s not often nowadays that you find a mall that’s as abandoned and as forgotten as the Peach Tree Mall. Dead mall “tourism” means that most of these places were long ago heavily documented on Flickr, but this one strangely hasn’t and there’s almost nothing about it on the internet. It’s a creepy, sad place and I didn’t honestly want to stay anywhere near it for long, hence my sort of crappy photos. Maybe people in the northern Central Valley don’t care, but if you want to buy it, it’s for sale: $10 million even.
On the west side of the building, south of the J.C. Penney store, there is a public exit corridor that exactly aligns east-west with a change in the front line of the east side (front) of The Mall, which was the southern end of The Mall, as originally constructed in 1972.
The “K-mart” looking facade fronts a public corridor, part of an expansion completed circa 1984. The actual K-mart occupied the space presently occupied by the Food Maxx Store, with the glass front entry of the K-mart facing north along the main interior corridor of The Mall. The large space at the rear west side of The Mall, was a four-screen movie theater, one of the few tenants to return for a while after the 1986 flood.
Contrary to other posters: Sears was never a tenant. Some time in the late 1950′s Sears was in Marysville, but relocated to Yuba City in its present location approximately 1962. There has never been a Macy’s store in The Mall. Montgomery Ward was located in Marysville, near Hwy 20 at I Street until it closed in the late 1990′s. Also, we neglected to mention one other active tenant at the mall today: a Les Schwab Tires in the former J.C. Penney Auto Center at the front of the mall.