Centennial, Colorado is a suburb of Denver located south of downtown roughly along Interstate 25. With just over 100,000 residents, Centennial is one of the largest cities in Colorado and has a relatively recent history as a city, being incorporated in 2001. It is surrounded by other large suburbs in an area of urban sprawl stretching to the south of Denver, such as Littleton and Englewood, and more recently spilling into Douglas County and former Ranch country.
Southglenn Mall, opened in 1974, was a large, two-story enclosed mall in Centennial located along University Blvd near Arapahoe. It was developed by Jordan Perlmutter, the same company which built Northglenn Mall and also nearby competitor Southwest Plaza in Littleton. The anchors when the mall opened were Sears, May D&F, and Denver Dry Goods. In 1987, Denver Dry Goods was sold to JCPenney and the following year in 1988 the mall was renovated. Then, in 1993, May D&F became Texas-based Foley’s, and in 1994 Joslin’s built a large flagship anchor on the east side of the mall.
Unfortunately, the middle of the 1990s were the apex of success for Southglenn, as intense competition mounted nearby. In 1996, Park Meadows Mall opened about 5 miles away in nearby Lone Tree. Park Meadows immediately established itself as a destination mall for the entire Denver area, not only drawing from a larger base than Southglenn but also positioning itself at the busy freeway junction of I-25 and CO 470. Park Meadows started draining stores away from Southglenn, at first slowly, but soon the exodus picked up an alarming pace. Then, in 1998, another blow hit Southglenn as the Joslins flagship became less important as the Joslins chain was absorbed into Dillards. In 1999, the mall was sold, and the JCPenney became a Home Store, only to close entirely in 2002. In 2001 some minor last-ditch efforts were made to renovate the center, but they were too little and too late. All this time Park Meadows had been dominant in south Denver and meanwhile Southwest Plaza in nearby Littleton had held its ground over there, increasing the number of top-tier mall stores. Finally, by 2005, Southglenn’s owners and the City of Centennial announced the ever-popular lifestyle center conversion, ending the mall’s over three-decade run. And finally, in 2006, Foley’s became Macy’s.
The new mall will be called Streets at Southglenn, and demolition began on the old mall in 2006. Nearly complete in 2007, the master development plan indicates a faux-old-tyme “Main Street” type decor with outdoor greenspace and almost 1 million square feet of retail, combined with residences and 100,000 square feet of office space. If the pictures indicate what will actually take place as a result of construction, the new center should actually be somewhat impressive and more useful to the nearby citizens than the rather crusty old mall structure which was there. At any rate, this one’s another one which has gone into the retail history books (read: our website) for archival preservation.
We visited Southglenn in January 2005 and took the pictures featured here. For some neat demolition photos and a liveblog of what’s going on with the site, go to the redevelopment website. From memory, I can recall the most interesting feature of the mall was the second level which sort of randomly appeared in the middle of the mall, which was pretty much a straight shot between anchors. If you have anything to add, feel free to pipe up in the comments section.