The Maine Mall; South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall vintage winter photo (with Lechmere)

I was going to write something about football in here, and about how I kind of want the Bears to beat the Colts, but I really just figured I should diffuse the uber-dorkiness inherent in writing blogs about malls while I’m not only watching the superbowl, but also hosting a superbowl party. Ouch. I am so cool it hurts.

A few weeks back, I was up in the Portland, Maine area and managed to swing by one of my favorite New England malls, the massive Maine Mall in South Portland. It’s the only true super-regional shopping mall in the entire state of Maine, and the only real enclosed mall serving the state’s largest metropolitan area, a somewhat cosmopolitan and affluent region with a population of about 500,000. (The next closest major mall is Newington, New Hampshire’s Fox Run Mall, an hour to the south)
Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Located on Maine Mall Road near I-95/I-295, the mall was built atop some former pig farms in the mid-1960s, in an area on the western side of town that was at the time considered very remote, but is now the state of Maine’s largest retail district. This site covers most of the detailed history of the center, but I’m pretty sure it began as a smaller dumbell-style center spanning between large Sears and Jordan Marsh anchor stores. This concourse is broad, with wildly vacillating ceiling heights and the grandiosity that’s common in most classic malls. The mall was expanded in 1983 with the long, meandering concourse heading to the back of the mall, which also brought new anchors in Filene’s and JCPenney, as well as a space that housed an outpost of Portland’s own Porteous Department Store.

Maine Mall in South Portland, MaineToday, Macy’s occupies the space once filled by Jordan Marsh (whose nameplate disappeared in the mid-1990s), and Sears remains at the opposite end of the concourse. A third anchor in this portion of the mall–which was built in 1994 for Lechmere, who remained until 1997–is now occupied by Best Buy. The wing leading to the rear of the mall has also seen major changes; while JCPenney remains, a large food court was added in 1994, and the former Filene’s store now sits dark. Similarly, the Porteous store was demolished and replaced with a new store carved into two pieces: a Sports Authority on the second level, and a Filene’s Home Store on the first. Obviously the latter is now vacant.

I can’t help but love this mall; despite its success and many attempts at modernization, its retained enough of its classic gravitas that its personality is largely unchanged.

I was able to dig up one really neat vintage photo (of admittedly unknown origin) of the mall. The wintry shot of the mall at the top of this post–taken from the one of the twin cylindrical towers of the Sheraton hotel across the street (which I’ve enclosed pictures of below) was taken sometime pre-1997, as Lechmere was still operating in the front anchor space. The store is now a Best Buy.

EDIT 10/22/2007: Prangeway found this great 1986 Maine Mall commercial on YouTube! Remember when local malls had local commercials?!

Macy's court at Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Macy's (former Jordan Marsh) at the Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Macy's (former Jordan Marsh) at the Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Macy's (former Jordan Marsh) at the Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Sears at Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Sheraton Hotel across from Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Former Filene's at Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Filene's and JCPenney at Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Macy's court at Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Macy's at Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine Maine Mall in South Portland, Maine

725 Responses to “The Maine Mall; South Portland, Maine”

  1. just an interesting note… i was actually just at this mall yesterday and found out that best buy is building a standalone store just across the street from their location in the mall to move to in the near future. no word as to what is or might be going in their soon to be vacant spot… but with (soon to be) two dark anchors, as well as all of the other development that has sprung up both around the mall and in nearby towns, you have to wonder what may come of the mall in the not too distant future.

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    Jim Reply:

    The Best Buy building never happened. In fact, a Cracker Barrel just opened November 1, 2010 across from the Mall.

    The Mall is a shell of it’s former self. If the project in Westbrook ever gets off the ground, the Maine Mall area could become a ghost town.

    We’ll see.

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    LO559 Reply:

    @Jim, the Cracker Barrel location was not where Best Buy was going to be. It was going to be where the old theatre IHop and Pizza Hut used to be, over to the left of the Wyndham Hotel is located. With all of the newer high-end stores, the mall is hardly a shell of its former self. Don’t forget, with the Macy’s merger, virtually every major mall on the east coast that had a Filene’s, or Shrawbridge, or Hect’s, or on the west coast had a Bullocks, or I. Magnin lost a major anchor. We were hardly alone with THAT loss. The mall’s former “self” was consisted of the wing between Jordan Marsh and Sears. Were you here when that was all it was? Did you watch this mall under construction? How you can think the mall is a “shell of its former self ” is a mystery!

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    LO559 Reply:

    that would be “Strawbridge”

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  2. I really love the old Jordan Marsh building. I love the green awnings above the entrances, which means it was probably built back the same time the South Shore Mall in Quincy, Mass and Warwick Mall in RI was. It has a certain charm about it, unlike the boxiness of the current stores.

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  3. I could be wrong, but I sincerely doubt that the Maine Mall is in any huge danger. I had heard a rumor about Best Buy moving out of the mall, and there are two other large vacancies (the two Filenes spaces), and it’s true that I’m not sure who will be able to replace these, but this mall has always been a first-tier mall with very little competition nearby.

    If the mall faces any challenges filling its anchor spaces, it’s because Maine is in the corner of the country, and thus is not on the “edge” of any expanding chains. Target already opened a store near the mall, as did many other potential anchors (Dick’s, etc.). It makes you wonder why Best Buy is really leaving, since their location is plenty large enough and has good frontage (as you can see in the above photos).

    I’m relatively confident it will continue prosper but it will be interesting to see how.

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  4. http://www.geocities.com/zayre88/plaza-mainemall.html

    Some history on The Maine Mall for ya.

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  5. Being the “Main” Mall in Maine (Maine appears to be as under [indoor shopping] malled as neighboring New Hampshire, Vermont and those upper tiered tips of New England) it’s not terribly impressive although it scores points for having some vestigial charm (like low ceilings) beyond the former Jordan Marsh (which almost immediately caught my eye). Overall, the place has a typical today image; architecturally bland, featuring umpteenth time over used decor like most of today’s malls which have had their origins killed with sterile, safe-zone, visionless renovation.

    There’s a Macy’s that looks just like this one in Bedford, New Hampshire near Manchester’s Mall of NH at the Bedford Interchange. I will have to get some shots of it soon – almost looks like it had a mall attached to it at one point but is a stand-alone.

    I really like that first image with Lechmere in the snowy distance; I sure miss that store – great shot.

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  6. Bobby, just viewed that site, not sure if its yours or not, but JM Field’s was headquatered in NYC, under JM Fields Inc. Im not sure if there were stores in the city itself, but thats where the offices were.

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  7. I don’t say this often, but I really like the Macy’s at this mall. If they had preserved Jordan Marsh’s exterior showcases it’d be better, but it seems pretty faithful to the original design, and that’s a good thing.

    I have a feeling a higher-end store will take Best Buy’s anchor position…this is not a mall in distress by any means.

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  8. Perhaps a store like Boscov’s or the Bon-Ton would do well in the Best Buy or Filene’s locations. I would have suggested Lord and Taylor, but since Lord and Taylor is in regression mode, maybe in the future, but it will not anchor here now. Is there an L.L. Bean at this mall?

    Nordstrom should demolish the older Filene’s and build a new store here, like it has been doing at numerous other malls (just a suggestion).

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    LO559 Reply:

    @Kyle, you were correct all those years ago!

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  9. Hi, i’m the author of the http://www.geocities.com/zayre88/plaza-mainemall.html website. From what i know, Best Buy is moving out to where the Maine Mall Cinemas used to be. I’ll have to check back but i think that the mall wants to transform the Best Buy space into a new main entrance to the mall. The mall does not have any large main entrance. David’s Bridal is also in the former Lechmere space with Best Buy. Nordstrom, Boscov’s, The Bon-Ton, you name it, anything can happen but the mall is not in distress.

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  10. I’m with ya, Caldor. This Patriots fan wanted to get away from anything Super Bowl-related by the 4th quarter, too…

    For someone who goes through Portland 3-4 times a year, I don’t stop here very often, though Bangor Mall and Fox Run almost always are pit stops for me.

    The problems with the stores the others mentioned is their geographical footprints. The Bon-Ton isn’t too big in New England (they only have 4 stores, 3 of them being somewhat close to the NY border), so I doubt they’d have much interest in Maine. Nordstrom doesn’t have too many stores in markets the size of Portland, either; and they’re just starting to enter the Boston area (granted, all through spaces vacated by Filene’s). Likewise, Boscov’s doesn’t have anything on this side of NYC.

    I’m really at a loss right now as to thinking of which stores could fill the former Filene’s spaces…H&M maybe? Steve and Barry’s?

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  11. How is the college population in the area? One company comes to mind that has expanded its market in the past few years. IKEA opened its first New England location in 2004 in New Haven, followed in Stoughton Mass in 2005/6. Maybe they can be an option for part of the space. Just a thought.

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  12. A book store like Borders or Barnes could fit in here nicely. Just another new store to embarrass an outdated wood V-shaped JCPenney who refuses to update their facades.

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  13. YOU KNOW THE MALL HAS A LOT OF STORES…JUST LIKE PORTLAND…..I AM FROM THE SOUTH..IT WOULD BE GREAT .IF SOME ONE WOULD OPEN UP UP A TACO BELL….YUMMY…THANKS.FOR MY LITTLE THOUGHT.THAT WOULD MEAN BIG DOLLARS FOR SOME ONE.

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    Trooper336 Reply:

    @Lucyu, Taco Bell is already in the food court.

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  14. I lived in Portland in the early to mid 70′s. The mall had a grocery store in the early years. I went to Uof M with Steve King and the first time I saw “Carrie” displayed was at the mall. He was suddenly Stephen not Steve and my husband and I weren’t sure if it was really the guy we knew. I shopped Jordan Marsh at the sales for my baby boys. I could buy name brand clothes for 25 cents on the dollar. A hundred dollars bought 2 big bags of clothes and shoes.

    I hope the mall is always there and healthy. I live in AZ now and have dozens of malls to choose from, but I love coming home and going to S. Portland to shop. I’m not sure why there isn’t a Costco in Maine. Altho it wouldn’t be in the mall, it would bring lots of people to the area and that could help increase mall shoppers.

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    Kathy Smith Reply:

    @Claudia,

    What was the name of the grocery store as I can remember it but think I am crazy. Please help me.

    thanks

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    Orange Lobster Reply:

    @Kathy Smith,

    It was the Gold Star IGA. I was still a kid then, so I don’t recall where it was located, unfortunately. Still, I hope this helps.

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    Mark Reply:

    @Orange Lobster, @Kathy Smith,

    The IGA was on the back side of the mall, next to the former rear entrance on the Jordan Marsh side of the doorways. The break between the original mall and 1983 expansion can be observed in the rear hallway, as there are a pair of emergency corridors directly across from each other which patch over the division between old and new(er).

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  15. I do like how the Macy’s at this mall was faithful to the original design of Jordan Marsh and kept the original interior(and exterior) facades intact. I just only wish that the Macy’s signage that was used(when the Marshall Field’s and Famous-Barr stores in Illinois were converted to Macy’s back in September) were like the older Macy’s signage in place in malls such as here(without the ugly red star to the left of the Macy’s logo).

    And thanks to Bobby for posting the link to the history of this mall, this filled me in very, VERY well about the history of The Maine Mall. And as for the Filene’s and soon-to-be-vacant Best Buy anchor spaces, I seriously doubt they’ll have trouble filling in these anchor spaces, or converting those spaces to some new use, such as a major mall entrance. I noticed on this mall’s website, they were owned by General Growth Properties, and they seem to have a good track record with other malls I’ve visited that they also own(i.e. Golf Mill Mall in Niles, IL, among others).

    BTW, since I don’t know much about Bon-Ton stores, aren’t they mainly located in northeastern states and/or markets? I only know that they bought out the Carson Prairie Scott and all their sister stores(i.e. Bergners, Herbergers, Younkers, etc.) from Saks last year. (and sorry if this is posted twice somehow)

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  16. Just a few notes: The Porteous building was not demolished; instead, the two floored building was split into two distinct spaces for different anchors: Filene’s Men’s store and Sports Authority.

    Best Buy and David’s Bridal don’t want to leave the mall, they’re being kicked out to the outparcel so that GGP can build the new entrance as someone else said. It’s been said that Best Buy and David’s Bridal can survive on their own, they don’t depend on mall traffic… heck, David’s isn’t even connected to the mall.

    And the main Filene’s store is set to be razed so that a new Regal 16-screen theater (replacing the one at Clark’s Pond just down the road) and several restaurants can be built.

    Someone mentioned the possibility of Borders taking over the old Filene’s Men’s space: that would make sense except the mall has a Borders outlot. B&N would fit well there, as there aren’t any in the Portland area, but Borders must have some clause against GGP renting to both tenants. H&M or Steve & Barry’s wouldn’t surprise me at all for that space.

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  17. We have a small, non-big-ticket, Bon-Ton which occupies the space of the former Steinbach store (originally Howland’s) in a Hamden strip mall. A one floor store that was expanded after the merger. It’s the only Bon-Ton in CT and from what I know about them, they are Pennsylvania based. I’m not even sure where the closest store is located, I rarely shop there. I do know that they tried to fit as many departments into this location as possible and the store is not only tiny, but difficult to shop as most of the home merchandise mixes together in one clump.

    I’m not sure what the current situation is for Lord & Taylor, as far as expanding again, but to my knowledge, I don’t think they have stores further then Boston. Since they are now not part of the MayCompany, maybe a higher end store such as them would be nice in that part of the country.

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  18. At this point, I don’t believe Best Buy has signed any formal contract to move, but the mall management apparently is working on it. The plan is to build a new formal entrance to the mall in front; to accomplish that, Best Buy’s old building will be demolished. Many high-end retailers have expressed interest in locating there, and COACH and THE WALKING COMPANY are already moving in, and CACHE has recently opened. I believe Regal Cinemas plan a 16-screen cpmplex in the Filene’s Main Store, and although they haven’t been announced yet, there are 4 new restaurants coming as well. The Maine Mall is doing very well, but with so much big box construction in nearby Biddeford, as well as Auburn and Augusta, the Maine Mall needs to add more high-end stores in order to offer their patrons something that the smaller shopping areas in Maine do not offer.

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  19. The South Portland board of appeals has apparently approved the construction of the 16 screen movie theater in the old Filene’s main store. The story I read also stated that JCPenney is going to be expanded, and that four new restaurants, including SMOKEY BONES, will be built.The planning board still has to approve it. I’m not sure if all 4 of the new restaurants are going to built as outparcels, or if any of them will locate within the mall itself. The article said that parking is going to be increased. Word is that Best Buy will be in their new location by Christmas, but as of yet I haven’t heard that they’ve signed anything to move across the street. But I’ve heard that many high-end retailers are indeed interested in locating in the new front wing where Best Buy currently is located. A 3,500 COACH is under construction now; will open in the spring, and THE WALKING COMPANY will open a store very soon as well.

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  20. I am at the mall at least twice a week for my walking exercise. I enjoy talking to the employees concerning the upcoming changes. From what I’ve heard most recently, Best Buy workers were informed that the move will NOT be taking place. Apparently they’ve decided to enlarge or renovate their current store; at least that’s the latest I’ve heard. I expect to see more high-end stores moving in as current stores’ leases expire. The d.e.m.o. store is closing, and I notice that the temporary craft store in the main wing has closed as well, making room for two more possibilities. At any rate, the Maine Mall continues to offer a popular mix of stores, with a bright, pleasant and safe atmosphere; more than can be said about other malls I’ve visited lately.

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  21. wow, this is interesting… I just moved out of South Portland 5 months ago (and ALSO moved to Arizona), I lived in South Portland my whole life (19 years) until 5 months ago – I can’t believe all the changes being made now though! The old picture from 1997 is funny to look at because I don’t remember how it looked back then! I’d like to see some big retailers like Coach, Costco, etc. go into that mall, because I think it needs some new stores, a lot of them have been there a long time and the Mall needs some new flavor to it. Just like Claudia said there are a lot of places to go here in AZ, and I’d like to see that happen somewhat back in South Portland so that when I go home to visit I’m not so bored… hahaha! I’ve heard A LOT in the past years that they were going to put a movie theatre in the mall and I’m glad to hear from Justin that it really may be happening this time, more parking space would also be GREAT!!! A lot is happening in that area, such as the new bridge, Super Walmart, Lowe’s, Best Buy moving to the old Cinema location, and I can’t believe – MORE RESTAURANTS!!!! I think 4 more restaurants in all the same location is going to be a bit much, they need to spread them out a bit more! As for some stores closing and leaving I have heard rumors that either their leases are up or they can’t afford the prices ever since the Maine Mall was bought out by a new company… I have to say I was sad to hear the Orange Julius was shut down, seeing as they have been there LONGER than I can remember!!! But like I said I am excited for all the new improvements they are making around my home town, and it woul dbe the BEST DECISION for the board to make when they approve all the new construction ideas!! I know that there are a lot of people living in South Portland (that I know personally) that are truely bored of the Maine Mall and think that it needs to be updated, wish it hadn’t taken them THIS long to finally do it, but better late than never!!!!

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  22. Actually, if the Maine Mall is in a hurry to attract new high-end tenants, keeping BEST BUY there is a good idea for two reasons: First, they’re going to add one of those “Million Dollar Rooms” like the larger BEST BUY stores, and second, if BEST BUY were to move, they’d have to tear down the old structure to rebuild the new stores. This way, they can simply either add a wing, or a new level without demoloshing anything. At any rate, they have several alternatives they are looking at. Although there was mention in the paper about a JCPenney expansion, no formal announcement has come forth to the employees as of yet. But I’m sure in the next year or so, there’ll be many changes there. I think one reason for the long delay in the update department was because the former owner, SIMON, signed many tenants for very very long leases, so the mall wants to upscale itself, it has to wait until these leases to expire, which for some stores will be a long time. But be patient.

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  23. FWIW, most Best Buy stores are on stand alone parcels or in in-line shopping centers, like at The Crossings at Fox Run. They did use the former Lechmere real estate to stage a quick entry into New England.

    Simon never did own the mall, it’s owners paid them a managment fee after S.R. Weiner decided they were going to exit the management side to concentrate on the power centers. GGP outbid Simon when the owners (Weiner, Cigna Corp., and the New York State Teachers Retirement System) decided to sell the property.

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  24. There isn’t too much news that’s publicly been reported lately concerning the mall. SEARS is adding a LANDS END department. COACH is expected to open the first weekend of April; looks like a very attractive space to me. By the end of April, THE WALKING COMPANY should open its doors. WALDENBOOKS has been in the news lately, as nearly half of them are being closed by BORDERS. Does anyone know what that will mean for the Maine Mall WALDENBOOKS? The lot across the street is bring studied as well, now that BEST BUY is remaining in its present location. Hopefully if there’s a new big box store to be built across the street, it will be something new to Maine, with possibly some smaller stores and a restaurant. I have heard that the new Cabela’s development will have space for other retailers, and they too are talking with high-end ones. For the first time, the mall may have some real competition in landing first-class tenants. There’s also the Wal-Mart space to consider, when the new supercenter opens. There will be retail space there as well. There are rumors that within the new cinema complex at the mall, there will be an IMAX screen, but I read in the paper that the owners of ZYCORP (CINEMAGIC) are building the IMAX in Southern Maine, not REGAL that is occupying the mall cinema. The AU BON PAIN space is being worked on, and I’ve heard there are interested parties. The change is slow, but it’s good to see some progress anyway.

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  25. This week, two long-time businesses at the Maine Mall either closed or announced their closing. Lerner/New York and Company is offering a 60% sale on merchandise, as they will cease business soon. Rumors of that store closing have been circulating for months now. Although THE DREAM MACHINE had operated in the former EASTERN MOUNTAIN SPORTS location next to BEST BUY for quite some time, that space was always considered VACANT by mall management. Well it finally closed for good this weekend. Upscale replacements to both of these stores are supposedly in the works, but as of late May no formal announcement has been made as to what or when we’ll see these replacements.

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  26. I’ve never been to the Maine Mall, but the news of NY & Co. closing there as they’re not “upscale” enough is a head-scratcher to me, especially as I have seen them doing well in many malls that cater to that exact crowd. Or perhaps Lerner is in more trouble than I thought?

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  27. Isn’t Lerner/NY & Co part of The Limited? They’ve renovated a lot of stores here in NJ, so I doubt they’re in trouble.

    Speaking of The Limited and its divisions, I am very excited that Reuhl is expanding…great store!

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  28. Limited consists of these banners currently:

    The Limited
    Bath & Body Works
    White Barn Candle Co.
    Victorias Secret
    Victorias Secret Body
    New York & Co. (aka Lerner New York, but this name is being phased out)

    Why didn’t I list Express? Because they just got spun off / sold to another firm. Their ‘Limited’ stores aren’t doing too hot. Right now their core niche that is successful is the Bath & Body Works and Victorias Secret divisions.

    Over the years, they also dumped off these chains, aside from the recent Express sell-off.

    Structure (phased out for Express Mens banner)
    Limited Too (At the time they spun this off, the chain was hurting)
    Limited Express (became Express in the 1990s)

    I’m sure they had other banners, but these are all I recall.

    I’m not sure how they got NY & Co. I recall the stores from way back when they were called Lerner Shops (Shorterned to Lerner in the 1970s, then became Lerner New York in the late 1980s.

    I can’t believe they’d be failing so soon. They’ve just only begun reopening stores in malls they used to be at back in their ‘Lerner’ days, and as stated, remodeling other former Lerner-branded locations to the new “NY & Co’ banner.

    They’re mid-market, not upscale. Not going anywhere soon I don’t think.

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  29. Just how upscale is the Maine Mall? Even with the departure of NY & Co., there are still a good number of stores that aren’t considered upscale. Unless the mall plans to incorporate a Nordstrom into the mix, I don’t really see the need to evict stores unless they’re performing poorly.

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  30. I remember The Limited! There used to be one in my mall. Now it is a Steve & Barry’s. (along with several other stores that were sucked up)

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  31. The Maine Mall, at this point, cannot be considered upscale, and being in Maine, probably can only go so far. But at this point it doesn’t have much choice. Years ago customers from a wide radius came to shop there, but with so many mid-level stores opening lately in Augusta and Biddeford, the Maine Mall is in danger of losing much of its customer base, unless they can offer choices that the new centers in Maine do not offer. An article in the Portland paper mentioned that the former Scarborough Wal-Mart will be demolished for an upscale center once the new Wal-Mart supercenter is open, and the Scarborough Gallery just added 90,000 square feet to its proposal – not to mention the Cabela’s project nearby, which also will attract retail. In addition, Freeport is planning a lifestyle center with the new L.L. Bean renovation. In contrast, the Maine Mall has sort of dragged on for quite a few years without a lot of change, but unless it upscales itself some, there’s not much left in the “mid-range” to add.
    Nordstrom will probably expand into every state eventually, but Northern New England apparently isn’t on their short term list for expansion yet. Maine Mall’s Filene’s is going to become a 16 screen movie theater. I agree with Mr Nelson – I wonder if NY & Company was doing poorly, or if another retailer wanted that space? Many of my co-workers like New York & Company, and are sorry to see it go.

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  32. A new tenant will begin construction of their Maine Mall store beginning the third week of June. It will be a prestige store found in most upscale malls. It will replace NEW YORK AND COMPANY. Portland shoppers should be excited about it.

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  33. JF, whats the name of the store?

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  34. A 1969 aerial photo of Jordan Marsh, before the Maine Mall! The area was pretty empty back then…

    http://pictopia.com/perl/ptp?provider_id=326&ptp_photo_id=339016

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  35. The new store is BANANA REPUBLIC. It says on the site that it will be open this fall.

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  36. FYE is undergoing a reconstruction at this time. It’s been temporarily re-located, but when it reopens in the fall, it will be 1/2 the size that it presently is. Most CD stores are either downsizing or closing altogether in this downloading age, so it’s good that it’s remaining open. It’s rumored that T & C NAILS will move into the other half of the FYE space, freeing up another space for new retail in the mall. So far, the Au Bon Pain space is empty, what was supposed to be DISCOVERY CHANNEL STORE is still empty, and the d.e.m.o. space is also without a tenant. With the exception of BANANA REPUBLIC, the mall hasn’t made any public announcement of any more changes, including the long-delayed movie theater.

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  37. JF: Like I said in the Cherry Hill post, Discovery Channel Stores are gone, so it will never be filled in, at least not with DCS.

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  38. Jonah: Yes, I am aware DCS are gone; I expressed my words unclearly; sorry.

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  39. SPENCER’S is in the process of changing locations. They’re going to take a space that was previously occupied by part of F.Y.E. (The CD store). Some employees had said T & C nails was going to make the move, but obviously it’s SPENDER’S.. F.Y.E. itself is undergoing a renovation, and like most CD stores these days, will be reduced slightly in size when it reopens. ORIGINS will be moving soon as well, to a location just to the left of COACH.

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  40. That was SPENCER’S; not SPENDERS. The Maine Mall, in my opinion, just plods along while other malls to the south grow and change. NORDSTROM has moved in to former Filene’s spaces in Massachusetts, but they’re not scheduled north of Boston as of yet. A movie theater should have opened by now in the former Filene’s, but construction hasn’t even started, poerhaps because of a lawsuit that needs to be settled ; not sure. The Filene’s mens is also still empty, and there are 11 other empty spaces in the mall just sitting there. What gets me is if General Growth was so quick to purchase this mall, which was one of the most successful in the country, why has nothing been done to revive it? They’d better get their act together, because a lifestyle center is being planed for Freeport that will contain upscale stores, plus a new shopping area is being planned at the site of the old Scarborough Wal-Mart, as soon as the new Supercenter opens, not to mention the new Cabela’s, which is estimated to attract millions of customers each year. I hope for better days in the Maine Mall.

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  41. I havent lived in Maine for over 6 years, and have not been to the Maine Mall since. Banana Republic should be a welcomed addition to the tenant mix!!! Its intersting to find Maine is beginning to become more “upscale” hopefully the Maine Mall wont stray to far from its roots, change is growth , hopefully all the changes will benefit everyone who shops the Maine Mall.

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  42. I also love the Maine Mall. I have so many great memories of it, ever since it was built. I remember Jordan Marsh sitting out there all alone for nearly two years before anything was attached to it. I also remember Portlanders saying “Why would anyone drive all the way out into the country when everything’s we’d ever want is right here on Congress Street?” Number one in the “How wrong can you be” category! I still have the insert that came with the Sunday Telegram for the 1971 grand opening. The first item I ever bought in the mall was a copy of Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May” That was #1 on WLOB when the mall opened. I got it at Krey’s Disc Shop there. Gloria Jean’s Coffee occupies that space today. The mall has changed a lot since those days, and even though some complain that there aren’t enough new stores, at least the mall is neat,clean and safe. The stores that are there must be doing well, because they’re all staying open. Usually if a store in the mall closes, it’s not due to slow business, rather because the lease has expired and was not renewed.

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  43. On October 23rd, the South Portland Planning Board voted in favor on the current Maine Mall expansion plan. As the article stated, plans for a 14-screen cinema are still propsed, a 40,000 square foot expansion of the JCPenney store, three new restaurants – two of which will be free-standing; the third as part of a concourse leading from the present mall corridor into the movie complex. According to the report, the entire project would take five years to complete. The pending lawsuit would have to be settled before some parts of the expansion can begin. For me, I’m so disappointed that all they’ve been able to come up with is a movie theater for that prime space, and although the restairants have not yet been announced, some of the more popular choices in other malls such as Cheesecake Factory, or California Pizza Kitchen apparently are NOT being considered. The Maine Mall may be still considered ripe for retail expansion, but at this point, only three new retailers have added space there. Maybe in five years, we’ll be surprised. Some of us will be too old by then!!!

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  44. BANANA REPUBLIC opened their new MAINE MALL store on Oct 28, 2007; very nice looking store, and a great addition. FYE has completed its downsizing, and reopens on Monday October 29th in their same space, only smaller and with SPENCER’S next door.

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  45. I just came from this mall a few hours ago. I only live a few miles away. I have worked in the mall at a few stores. I have a quite a few friends that work at this mall; some of wich work in the Best Buy. Speaking to one of them, I learned that Best buy will not infact be moving, they chose to stay at there current location. I also have learned that a multi-plex cinema will be moving to the former two story ladies Filenes. I have herd rumers swirling of some restraunts filling the other filenes. The mall also plans on a revitalization project to remondel the mall its self. This project will also include the expansion of the JC Penney anchor. With new high end store such as coach, and banana republic. Maybe with in the next few years this mall might see a Nordsrtom, Lord and Taylor or a Bloomingdales…Hopfuly it will I could really use some new places to shop =]

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  46. Although everything is just rumour at this time, Nordstrom doesn’t have any Northern New England location as part of its five year plan for expansion. As for Lord and Taylor, they are under new ownership, and many of their underperforming stores have closed, so I think they’re concentrating on just keeping what they have. Bloomingdale’s seems too upscale for this market, but who knows? My guess is to look out for the old Filene’s men’s and furniture store. I’ve heard new stores are coming there, and the whole area may be redesigned. I’ve also heard that the wing toward Sears will be an area of focus, since there’s not much down there to attract shoppers aside from Lines and Things. The entire Maine Mall Road/Payne Road area is becoming more competitive, because of the new Lowe’s/Wal Mart Center, and the Cabela’s Gateway Project in Scarborough. According to the South Portlander website, restaurants are in talks with management of all of these centers, not to mention the high-end lifestyle center planned for the old Wal-Mart site once the new Supercenter opens. I think we’ll see a lot of new shopping opportunities in the Southern Maine market in the next few years, but the biggest changes may not be at the Maine Mall.

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  47. I would just like to know where all the shoppers for all these “high end” stores are supposed to be coming from? Every mall I visit in the Northeast seems to be reconfiguring to be a clone high end retail center, with the same overpriced stores and the same white tile. Meanwhile, all I’ve heard for years is that there are no high-paying jobs to be had in Maine, and with all the economic indicators (especially the mortgage mess and housing market) pointing toward a meltdown, who ARE all these shoppers who apparently won’t set foot in a mall unless they are offered the opportunity to go into even more debt? It all seems like insanity to me.

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  48. That’s a good question Jeff. What’s the point of adding high-end stores if the area can’t support that? The economy is in very bad shape for all these overpriced stores to be invading malls everywhere, what’s the point of it all?

    You’d think with the tough times today, outlet stores would be a much better choice, but I don’t know…

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  49. I agree with both Dan and Jeff. Even in areas where the market easily supports the high-end stores, people are probably overspending there as well. One big problem is perception. If well-heeled shoppers in Maine are aware that “better” retail choices exist in Massachusetts, they’ll head there, just as they did back in the 50′s before the Maine Mall was built. When that type of exodus occurs, the mall management will bring in the new stores to keep shoppers close to home. Maine is one of the last states to be affected by the new high-end retailers; new stores are being supported in markets with less population AND less income than Southern Maine. But in ten years, who knows? Many of these stores will perhaps go out of business, due to the flat economy. While I feel that Maine should have the same retail opportunities as other states with similar population, I won’t be able to afford many of the high-end ones.

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  50. FWIW, the K-B Toys store is being closed. It is not on the list of this being liquidated by DJM, like Auburn Mall and Brunswick. Perhaps it is just a normal lease expiration. Also, the Sheraton Hotel has been reflagged as a Wyndham.

    Many of the affluent shoppers are already shopping high end stores from Maine via the Internet or catalog options (i.e. Bloomingdale’s by Mail, Nordstrom, etc.) These higher end stores have been more immune to the economic pressures affecting Wal-Mart, Penney’s, even Target.

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  51. An article appeared in the February 26 and 27th editions of the Portland Press Herald regarding a huge project being planned in Westbrook called “Stroudwater Place.” The article stated that eventually, there would be 1 million square feet devoted to retail, and the developers are looking for high-enders such as Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Cheesecake Factory, and Legal Sea Foods among other nationally known upscale tenants. In addition, there would be a large farmers market, offices, sports and movie entertainment, indoor gardens, and a convention center. According to the developers, high-end retail is a segment that Maine shoppers have never had, and would support in large numbers. It would be built in stages over 6 to 8 years, with the retail part probably coming first. With the 4,000 permanent jobs it will create, the center has a great amount of support from all over Maine.
    The Maine Mall, on the other hand, will face stiff competition for the first time if this “Destination Center” is built. With limited space available to suit upscale tenants, no space at all to expand up or out, and with a lawsuit dragging on and on, the Maine Mall, in my perception, will definitely lose its edge as the premier shopping experience for Southern Maine. Like so many other cities across the country, the Portland market finally will be able to offer its retail customers a choice they’ve earned!

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  52. Hmm…sounds like the “Riverplace” project that could’ve killed Pheasant Lane Mall!

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  53. i like this idea… seems like everyone’s expanding except Northern Maine!
    A question about a previous post, the NY & Co, don’ t they have a store in Bangor? At least that’s what the website said…..
    I would also like to see the Bangor Mall expand, there’s so much it has now and it probably will want more soon, but there’s just no room left… i believe almost every store is filled with something…. what are they going to do? I know the Bangor area is expanding, their getting a WalMart supercenter and restaurant (Red Robin) coming soon…

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  54. I read that the Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua is planning to add on a “Lifestyle” component, in response to the objections to the proposed “Riverplace” in nearby Hudson. I think Bangor could do well with something like that. Bangor doesn’t have as much population around it as Portland or Nashua, but it DOES have the advantage of being close to New Brunswick, and with the Canadian dollar as it is, many Canadianas are flocking to Bangor as it is! Bangor is also the major shopping center for a good part of Aroostook County! I agree with Ben; Bangor Mall is nearly full, which is more I can say about South Portland, which has at least 8 empty spaces currently not spoken for. I wonder how many stores the mall could get if they added a second floor? If Bangor can’t get the upscale stores, why not add an outlet center, like Wrentham or Kittery? That would attract many shoppers from Central and Northern Maine, as well as Canada. Bangor is a small city, but I think it offers more than most cities its size. It has great potential!

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  55. yeah, it sounds like a good idea to add a second floor, but unfortunately if Portland does have a second floor on their mall, there’s no way Bangor’s just suddenly going to have the largest mall in the state. Aroostook County people already come to Bangor for their things more than any other place, in fact, the JCPenny and Sears that are all ready up here don’t offer as much as what Bangor and portland have, we have the leftovers up here! I don’t know of any other retail coming to Bangor, fill me in please, I know their getting a Hilton Hotel last time I was there, it was just going up. There’s the walmart project, and is that it? I would love for Bangor to get a Chuck E Cheese or some other upscale store, we will see. They certainly have the retail to support it!

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  56. Some have suggested that Bangor will look more attractive as a retail destination once the Hollywood Slots project is complete. But from my experience in Connecticut with Mohegan Sun or Foxwoods, visitors there rarely leave the building, and the retail is built within the casino’s walls. Unless Hollywood Slots decides on its own retail space, there probably won’t be much spillover. I’m not sure. I know that the Maine Mall here in South Portland is working hard to fill its empty spaces; I would imagine with the slowing economy it’s much more difficult, as it is everywhere in the country these days. But construction WILL begin soon on the Filene’s Home Store renovation. No tenants have yet been announced, but rumor has it there’ll be fairly upscale retailers brand new to Maine. That will be something to look forward to! From my perception, the upscale stores added in Portland – Pottery Barn, Coach, Banana Republic – have proven to be popular, so this should act as a stimulus for other upscale retailers to locate at either the Maine Mall or the proposed Stroudwater Place.

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  57. “Speaking of The Limited and its divisions, I am very excited that Reuhl is expanding…great store! ”

    mallguy – Ruehl is actually a division of Abercrombie & Fitch, which was severed from Limited Brands in the 90s. New York & Company was also split off from Limited Brands in 2003 and is now a separate company. Ironically, Limited Brands sold controlling interest of its namesake brand to Sun Capital Partners in August 2007 … I wonder how much longer the company will be called Limited Brands, considering it doesn’t own The Limited anymore. They also sold off Express and Express Men brands to Golden Gate Capital in May 2007. Their reasoning was to focus on its personal care and intimate apparel chains (Bath & Body Works, Victoria’s Secret, LaSenza, etc.)

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  58. To add to what Tricky Nicky said above, something else that Limited Brands is doing, is reinvesting in real estate in their hometown of Columbus Ohio. A mega development called “Easton” includes apartments, headquarters for some current & former chains of Limited Brands, other office uses & a 1.5 million square foot lifestyle/ town center. http://www.eastontowncenter.com

    The project was developed in partnership with a local specialty developer Steiner Associates & The Georgetown Company of New York.

    Based on the calliber of the tennents they have on board, the project has been nothing short of fantastic. Be sure to check the link above & you’ll understand why Les Wexner Made those choices, it was a no brainer.

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  59. Sean – I clicked on that Easton Town Center; WOW! It has all of the tenants the Maine Mall CLAIMS are interested (and then some!), but with GGP doing next to nothing attracting new tenants, The Maine Mall will never see anything close. But the Stroudwater Place proposal is focused on upscale development – I’m confident they’ll work a lot harder than GGP, since there’s more of a local connection. Perhaps at least SOME of these great stores may find their way to Maine sometime soon! We can only hope!

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  60. I never understood the GGP way of doing things in terms of atracting new & better stores to it’s malls.

    I saw a video were the company had a press conference after buying some malls, and when the members of the business press questioned how the transaction was handled finantially the CEO lost his cool & had a mini meltdown with cameras rolling. This happened several years ago, but it was quite memmerable, because it was not the first time the CEO went off on the press.

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  61. If GGP doesn’t get its act together, their property here in Maine will eventually become a dead mall. Although there is construction soon to start on at least two new stores, there are still ten other spaces sitting empty (including a Filene’s), and it’s nothing to do with how unattractive the Portland market is; but rather GGP’s dragging its feet, due to either lawsuits or its unability to satisfy prospective tenants with what’s available. For months, you watch the GO! Games temporary store, or the Puzzle Store, or the Tiffany Lamp store, or the Calendar Club store switch from empty space to empty space. It gets really old and lame fast!!! One of the temporary spaces has boats on display; probably they’ll stay there all summer. It truly gives the illusion of nothing going on, which for me is certainly my impression! But for those who are ready to give up, at least the Stroudwater Place proposal means that SOMEONE has faith in our market.

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  62. Well, one thing that’s improved – the boats have disappeared; guess they won’t be there all summer. The property across the street from the mall reportedly is being negotiated by a major bookseller (BARNES & NOBLE?) and P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. Those would be wonderful choices for that property. Recently it was announced that FOREVER 21 will take over part of the Filene’s Home Store location, with an international clothing chain looking for space in the other part of Filene’s Home Store. A computer store and cosmetics store are also in negotiation, it was reported. (SEPHORA and APPLE???)
    If those go through, that would be a major step in the right direction; just the shot in the arm the Maine Mall needs. CRACKER BARREL is also looking for space somewhere in the mall area, after being rejected in Scarborough.

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  63. I really like this mall for some reason, whether it be the Best Buy or the octagonal-shaped Filene’s Home store! I think I’m just a sucker for unusually-shaped anchor stores. (that’s why Queens Center is cool, too!)

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  64. General Growth has apparently abandoned its plans for a movie theater in the former Filene’s building. In the couple of years since Regal Cinemas made this proposal, a 16 screen Cinemagic opened a few miles away in Westbrook, and the former Clarks Pond Cinema re-opened with an upsacle 10-screen complex known as Cinemagic Grand. Consequently, the area has been saturated with theaters already. The article I read states that mall management is still working hard to fill the present vacancies within the mall itself, and to develop the parcel across the street. Those plans have not been dropped. With the economy taking a downturn, and with no major tenants for Filene’s, it may end up sitting
    empty for quite a while longer. The proposed STROUDWATER PLACE destination center in Westbrook is planned to be built in stages, so as the ecomony improves, new stores can be added gradually, unlike the Maine Mall, which has empty spaces that need to be filled immediately. I do think that over the next few years, the Maine Mall will lose its edge in the Portland area as the dominant retailer unless GGP gets busy and adds more upscale retail. Progress is horrendously slow there. But from what I’ve heard, the Westbrook proposal has had positive reaction, so my hopes are turning to this project, as I am losing interest in the Maine Mall rapidly!

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  65. As of early May, there are signs of change in the Maine Mall. Both TEAVANA and APPLE have advertised for job openings, and four or five other great tenants are rumored to have either signed or are close to signing leases to move in. I noticed that the Vogel’s Hallmark store has “STORE CLOSING” signs on their windows. This is one of the original stores left from the mall’s opening in 1971, and along with Sears, in its original location. Both Lamey-Wellehan and Radio Shack have moved, and Waldenbooks expanded. Although the Maine Mall probably doesn’t need two Hallmark stores, it’s sad to see employees lose their jobs. One woman said she’d been working there for 25 years. I hope these dedicated workers find new employment soon. It hasn’t been announced where APPLE’S location will be. The mall has been known to shuffle some retailers around, so time will tell what the Hallmark space will be used for. But with that location gone, there is room in that wing for APPLE’S arrival.

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  66. Any word yet on the Apple location?

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  67. I have heard that APPLE doesn’t advertise its location until about a week before its store opens. But once VOGEL’S HALLMARK closes, I have a feeling it will move to that spot, which is across from POTTERY BARN and AEROPOSTALE.

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  68. WALDENBOOKS’ last day in the mall will be May 31. There was a talk of renovation, but I guess that won’t happen. I have heard that the MAINE MALL’S major focus in the next year was going to be the wing between WALDENBOOKS and G.M. POLLACK’S. Apparently, they are holding true to that promise. There are now five empty spaces there, all vacated by stores which had long since served their purpose.(Wilson’s Leather, Finish Line, Hammett’s Learning World, Spencer’s (moved to a new location), and Waldenbooks) I’m excited to see the mall breathe new life into that wing. It’s much needed!

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  69. APPLE may not be coming to the HALLMARK spot after all…No one is saying where its location will be, or when it will open.

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  70. [...] An Apple Computer retail store is finally coming to Maine. Justin Ellis of the Portland Press Herald broke the story in mid-April (after discovering job postings by Apple), but to date there has been no formal announcement of timing or location. The job posts, unfortunately, indicate the location is the Maine Mall so it’s possible that this post is too late. But no one I’m aware of, including the vigilant folks who write about the Maine Mall on the LabelScar blog, can identify a specific site under construction yet. Apple brilliantly controls its PR and is notoriously clever in their public relations. Maybe, just maybe, this isn’t a done deal. [...]

  71. I agree with “Six Reasons” – until the APPLE logo appears, I don’t think anyone can say with certainty that it’s coming. Right now, the wing beyond G.M. POLLACK’S is pretty dead. There are presently 4 spots in a row vacant, except for the temporary RAVE-X store, and by the end of the week WALDENBOOKS will be empty as well. It’s odd; GGP paid so much for this mall, yet when stores close, they often sit empty for months, even years before something new comes along. I notice down on the food court, there’s an auto credit dealer moving in to the old Dream Machine #1 spot. With all the stores Maine Mall needs, that’s best they could do there???? It certainly gives the impression that nothing is going on, at least for now. Over at the former Porteous is where the changes are coming at the moment.

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  72. I would say the VOGEL’S HALLMARK location and the old PORTEOUS locations are spots in the Maine Mall to watch. From what I hear, good things are happening at those two hotspots. Maybe what was originally expected at the HALLMARK store is coming after all, since the job postings are still online to see!

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  73. They should have a crate and barrel in one of the empty spaces. I think it would do pretty well. Im sooo exited for forever 21 to go into the mall

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  74. Kind of weird, why the heck did Macy’s closed the Filene’s stores, they has 2, they should ahve just closed the original Macy’s Jordan Marsh and kept the 2 Filene’s stores, that’s stupid, :( why close the 2 locations? the same happened on the North County Fair Westfield in Escondido CA, they had 2 Robinson May stores, both close and they kept their original Macy’s! What a waste, just close the one Macy’s and keep the dual location! :) By the way, i hated the Discovery Channel Stores, i was happy when the one in the same mall (NoCoFa) closed! DCS were for nerds :P

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  75. Does anyone know when the H&M store is going to open in the Maine Mall, and are they going to carry mens items?? The Salem NH store has womens and childrens clothing only.

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  76. A Coldwater Creek store is being built in the former Spencers Gifts and Wilsons Leather shells.

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  77. With FOREVER 21, H & M, COLDWATER CREEK, and APPLE coming in, the MAINE MALL is certainly upscaling itself. I’m not sure when H & M is set to open. I know CRAIGSLIST has ads for managers at the Maine Mall H & M store; if it opens when FOREVER 21 does, it would probably be September or October. WILLIAMS/SONOMA is planning a major move up to the center court early next year, and the store will expand greatly. Rumors are that a popular makeup and cosmetics chain (SEPHORA?) will be taking their vacated space.

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  78. I can confrom that the Apple store will be opening at the former Vogel’s Hallmark (Store E-107) site.

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  79. The FOREVER 21 store in the Maine Mall will be 26,000 square feet, and the H & M store will be 17,000. COLDWATER CREEK will take up the two former stores to have a combined space of 6,600 square feet. APPLE, which may not announce its opening, I understand, until the day before it actually DOES open, will be 5,500 square feet.

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  80. H&M is said to be opening late fall/early winter. I’m very excited!

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  81. In response to GENO, who was wondering if men’s clothing was going to be available at the Maine Mall H & M, my guess is yes. The store is 17,000 square feet which makes it larger than the Rockingham store, and the photos on their “opening soon” sign show two men and two women posing with H & M’s latest fashions!

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  82. JF,

    Thanks for the info, I havent been in the mall, in a few weeks, its good to know they should be carrying mens items in additionto womens clothing. Next I hope we get to see California Pizza Kitchen!

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  83. I did a little investigation whether H & M would carry men’s clothing. If you look under GGP’s website, you can get a downloadable plan of every mall they own, which lists each retailer and square footage within their malls.Then, on H & M’s website, you can look up any of their stores and find out what departments each H & M store has. I noticed that every H & M store of 14,000 square feet or more carried men’s, but there were quite a few, including some upscale malls (Providence Place, for one), that did NOT have a men’s department. The Providence store is less than 8,000 square feet, but the Brass Mill H & M in Waterbury CT (a fairly low-end mall) has a men’s department because it is 26,000 square feet. So the Maine Mall’s H & M is 17,000 square feet, which should be enough to have a men’s department. I hope.

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  84. When I was at the mall last week I asked customer service, I asked about it and was told that H&M would be men and women’s but Forever 21 would be only Women’s. I was expecting that H&M would take up most of the space that used to be Filene’s, which would be almost all the same size at The Sports Authority. Wouldn’t it make sense that Forever 21 would be smaller than H&M? I’ve been to 3 Forever 21 stores, two of them are in NYC, one of those two which is at Union Sq. has a men’s section the other doesn’t. The other Forever 21 i’ve been to at West Farm’s in CT has a men’s section.

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  85. does anyone know what space in the mall teavana will be occupying and when it’s slated to open?

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  86. From my experience, Customer Service in the Maine Mall is usually the LAST to know anything, so if they say FOREVER 21 will be only women’s, don’t take their word for it. I asked just last week if H & M would have a men’s, and the girl at the desk said she’d never heard of H & M, even though their enormous “coming soon” banner practically faces the information desk! I’m from Hartford, and the Westfarms FOREVER 21 is smaller than ours is supposed to be, but there is a small men’s section there. Westfarms also has FOR LOVE 21, which is the same company, but sells accessories. The H & M coming to Westfarms is also smaller than ours, and there’s been no anouncement if there’s a mens or not there. But I would say at 17,000 sq feet here in South Portland, a men’s is almost certain. The smaller CT H & Ms, such as Danbury, do not have a men’s, but the 15,000 sq foot one in Waterbury does. As for TEAVANA, I heard that they’re still coming but there was no space right for them. They need a small space – 800 square feet, I was told. Now I heard that Williams-Sonoma is moving up to where THE DREAM MACHINE was, locating on both sides of GLORIA JEAN’S COFFEE. Perhaps if all that space is larger than W/S needs, TEAVANA could occupy 800 square feet of that. I’m not sure, WALDENBOOKS and DISNEY space is too big, and the vacant spots next to A T & T are too big as well.

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  87. I use to be a big target at this mall. Back in 1997 when I was 17 Sears use to have a fundraiser where if you pay a dollar to these teeneged male Sears employees they not kidden give you a Piggy Back ride through the whole mall, even the one time when I was shopping for straight 2 hours this guy Piggy Backed rided me through the whole mall into all the stores and I pointed out what I want and it held all the bags while he was carrying me. I didn’t even have to request this he just saw me and requested me before someone requested him. I havent seened him in years though.

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  88. FOREVER 21 has a table set up near the information desk, taking applications for their new MAINE MALL store. In my last blog, I mentioned that usually the customer service reps are always the LAST to know anything. Well, sure enough….I asked if the MAINE MALL FOREVER 21 would have a men’s department, and both of the representatives from FOREVER 21 said YES, even though customer service had said NO.. So as far as I know, both H & M and FOREVER 21 will sell men’s fashions.
    Rumor has it also that A T & T will be moving into the space vacated by DISNEY, freeing up even more space in the dead wing between G M POLLACK’S and SEARS. I would imagine that the more open space there is down there, the greater the choices for new tenants there would be. With LINENS N THINGS doing poorly nationally, and OLD COUNTRY BUFFET near the end, the mall probably needs to wait and see what happens with them before they start to make any plans. But at least COLDWATER CREEK is a good start for new blood in that wing. I also notice that the wonderful seasonal Halloween and Christmas stores will be returning, as well as ITZ A PUZZLE. Whoopie.

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  89. URBAN BEHAVIOR is closing. They have signs in their windows that read merchandise 50% to 90% off. That’s another space in the dead wing open for something better. I’m hoping.

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  90. A small space needs to open up so Teavana can finally open in the mall. I’m been waiting forever for them to come here.

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  91. When did the Disney Store close by the way? I’m not at the mall that often but often enough to notice that the Disney Store hasn’t been gone very long.

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    Jonathan Harriman Lhota Reply:

    @N, I think it closed on February of 2008. Then it came back on August of 2009, Then it reclosed on June of 2011. But it’s now inside JCPenney since 2013. I love The Disney Store.

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  92. should have just made one post but I keep thinking of things..

    so Old Country Buffet is closing? If so, that location would be perfect for a California Pizza Kitchen.

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  93. I can’t remember the exact date that the Disney Store closed, but I know that the signs were up around Memorial Day. The signs in the window kept counting down the number of days left. I’ve noticed quite a few Disney Stores not doing well in various malls I’ve visited. There are many who say Disney stores charged too high a price simply for their name, and from what I’ve seen in there, I can’t help but agree. I think the store’s closing was a good idea, considering the upscale stores that are moving into this wing. With the success of the more higher-end retailers such as COACH, CHICO’S, CACHE, WALKING COMPANY, BANANA REPUBLIC, the mall can offer Maine shoppers a higher level of choice, and this space is a great location to keep that momentum going. Rumors were around that A T & T would move from their present location to that spot, but to me, a phone store doesn’t fit into the mix that the mall has created there. An employee in the now closed Waldenbooks said that California PIzza Kitchen had been rumored to be interested in part of their space. Apparently they changed their minds, but if Old County Buffet does eventually close all their restaurants, maybe CPK would be interested again, since that space would be much larger.
    Then again…there’s STROUDWATER PLACE. Tonight the Westbrook City Council approved to change the zoning, clearing the second hurdle for this project, which when complete, will have a million square feet of upscale retail, office and exhibition space; larger overall than the MAINE MALL. If this project goes through, and the developer is said to have good connections, the big name stores will be going there.

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  94. The Maine Mall was always the place I went for back to school shopping, because that is where all the good stores were when I was a kid (which wasn’t all that long ago. Think early-mid 90s.) My family drove the 2.5 hours down to South Portland from Bangor, making a stop in Freeport, and later adding Augusta to the list as it got built up (had the best Old Navy, and currently the best, in the state.) Everything was bigger and better in Portland, and it still has certain stores that have their only foothold in the state there (Banana Republic for example.)

    Bangor has only recently been attracting typical mall stores. I live in VA, but I’ve heard that recently in the mall there has opened a Hollister, a Charlotte Russe, a Trade Secret, Starbucks, and an Arie. This is the most the mall has grown since I was in 7th grade when the Filenes (now Macy’s) wing opened.

    Even with the recent growth of the Bangor Mall, I suspect that most Bangor residents are still going to travel south for the outlets and the Maine Mall. There’s nothing too much to worry about, though it would be cool if a Sephora went into the Filene’s homestore spot. :)

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  95. another idea that popped into my head the other day was the vacant spot that vinny’s t left open next to chucky cheese’s…that building would make a good location for a P.F. CHANG’S. i’m sure if that westbrook mall deal gets approved and what not then that would be a more attractive of a location for Chang’s than the old Vinny T’s spot.

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  96. another idea that popped into my head the other day was the vacant spot that vinny’s t left open next to chucky cheese’s…that building would make a good location for a P.F. CHANG’S. i’m sure if that westbrook mall deal gets approved and what not then that would be a more attractive of a location for Chang’s than the old Vinny T’s spot.

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  97. I read in the “South Portlander” website a few months ago that P F Chang’s was indeed in discussions with opening a location here. I think the spot is across the street where the old movie theater/Pizza Hut/IHOP property once was; now known as “MAINE MALL COMMONS.” Barnes & Noble is still in talks as well for that location. P F Chang’s is building in Farmington CT at the Westfarms Mall there; right by one of the entrances. It looks like a palace there. With the stores found there, and compared to Burlington and other malls in Massachusetts, the Maine Mall is years and years behind the times, even with the 4 new stores coming.

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  98. I was at Westfarms mall yesterday afternoon for about a half hour. The H&M is open there now. It has men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. I’m not sure the size of that store, I asked an associate but she didn’t know. I’m guessing that the H&M at the Maine Mall will be like the one at Westfarms. When I was at Westfarms a month ago, I visited the Teavana store and was talking to the woman working there about the one opening at Maine Mall, she said that It was planning to open in September. I’m not sure where its going to be located. I think that maybe Journey’s could move to a larger location and Teavana coud go in that spot.

    There are a number of stores that are both in the Bangor Mall and the Maine Mall, that opened at the Bangor Mall first like American Eagle Outfitters, and Hot Topic.

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  99. I know that Teavana had job postings for the Maine Mall, but the former manager said to me that Teavana needed 800 square feet, and it didn’t want to move into any of the spaces that were then available, because the spaces were too large. An associate in the mall said people had been talking about its possible location. Apparently, Williams/Sonoma is going to make a major move soon, locating in the original wing on either side of Gloria Jean’s.If they take the space that’s now occupied by Picture People/Ritz Camera/and the vacant spot to the right,it makes a total of 5578; add to that the space of the old Dream Machine, that totals 10,538. I don’t think W/S will take all of that, but there would be space for Teavana in that area. Many in the mall are saying that cosmetics store SEPHORA will take the W/S location as soon as they move.

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  100. I would LOVE it if we finally got a Sephora. I have always wondered why we don’t have one here. I’m hoping those rumors are true.

    It is about Maine got with the times here! It is not the freakin Ice Ages. A Nordies would be great too…maybe someday.

    Does anyone know when H&M and F21 are opening? I know sometime this fall but does anyone know more specifically?

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  101. I wsa at the mall on Thursday the 28th, and I asked one of the workers on the Forever XXI side when they were opening. He had no idea, but I can see that the light fixtures are mostly in, and the walls look all painted and ready. The H & M side has walls and some fixtures up as well, so I think both of them will open in September. Apple’s blog also says September; Coldwater Creek I can’t see through the cracks well enough to make out their progress.
    I spoke with the mall’s former manager two years ago, and at that time Sephora was interested in coming. It’s not that these major retailers don’t want to be here. I’ve heard that when SIMON was in charge of the leases, they signed many stores for longer-than-average leases, and they haven’t run out yet. I do think that when some of the lower end leases expire, the mall will add more upscale choices. As for Nordstrom, Mr Snyder who is developing the Stroudwater Place project, says he’d like to bring stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s to the area. I also think that having a destination store like Cabela’s nearby strengthens the whole Southern Maine market. It has a long way to go, but I think it’s improving. We’re pretty much on par with Rockingham Park in Salem NH, and certainly better off than either Manchester, Nashua, or Newington NH.

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  102. September 20 opening date for FOREVER XXI
    November 8 for H & M – or so they’re saying -they’re both having job fairs now

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  103. I wonder if Hollister is going to come to the mall- surprised Bangor has it but Portland doesn’t….. hmmm……

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  104. I too wish Hollister would come to the mall. A representative for the Maine Mall said that Hollister does want to come to South Portland, but there are no spaces at the moment that are large enough. I think that a few stores, WIlliams/Sonoma for one, that are planning major expansions or moves, so some of the stores that are now empty will be used for temporary locations when the moves are going on. Once the moves are complete, new spaces will appear.I still would be surprised if Hollister does NOT come in the bext two years.

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  105. I was at the mall on Saturday,September 6, and the barricade in front of APPLE has come down. The workmen are putting finishing touches in back, but the tables are all ready and it looks like the store will open early next week. It will certainly be a great addition. I also heard from mall employees that Forever XXI doesn’t have a full crew quite yet, so probably will open a little later than September 20th. H & M apparently has moved their opening ahead to sometime in October, I heard.

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  106. APPLE GRAND OPENING 9:30 September 13

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  107. Does anyone know whether the Maine Mall H&M will carry children’s clothing?

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  108. Does anyone know the size of the H&M at Westfarms in CT? I was in there 2 weeks ago. They have women’s men’s and children’s clothing, I ask an associate but she didn’t know. I noticed the the store locator at hm.com doesn’t list men’s as available at the Westfarms location even though they do have it.

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  109. I too was at Westfarms two weeks ago. Judging by the size of the South Portland H & M, I would say that South Portland’s is slightly larger, and that’s 17,000 square feet. I’d say Westfarms is between 13,000 and 15,000, although I can’t find out for sure. But H & M’s store locator DOES list a men’s for Westfarms. South Portland has a men’s also. The Brass Mill Center, in Waterbury CT, a not-too-exciting mall, has nonetheless a very large H & M that’s over 25,000 square feet! For the size of the South Portland store, my guess is that it would carry children’s, since it’s one of the larger New England H & M’s.

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  110. H & M will carry mens and childrens. They will not carry juniors. H & M opens NOV 6 – FOREVER 21 opens SEPT 19

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  111. The new APPLE store opened on September 13 to a long line of waiting and excited fans. The first 1,000 people got a free T-SHIRT! In addition, FOREVER XXI took its barricade down on Friday night, revealing a high-class marquis, classier than any FOREVER XXI I’ve seen yet. H & M’s manager promises their entry will be even more spectacular. I just hope the MAINE MALL keeps this momentum going, after the four new stores open.

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  112. I don’t think anyone has mentioned that AMATOS has opened in the food court in the old au bon pain location.I’ve been there a few times during busy times and they had no customers.The majority of customers in the food court are usually at McDonalds or Taco Bell.

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  113. I heard F21 isnt supposed to open until the first weekend in October due to hiring complications.

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  114. The last time I bought food at the mall beside either cookies or ice cream, I got something from Amatos.It was a Saturday this summer and they were pretty busy.

    Forever 21 must have taken down the barricade after the mall closed Friday, because I was there, probably until 7 or 7:30 and it was still up.

    JF on 9/10 you posted “South Portland has a men’s also”, where did you find this out, I’m glad this has been confirmed because I love H&M and won’t have to drive to Boston to shop at one. I did find out that they will have men’s on the forum on the H&M Myspace page. I’m thinking that this store will me similar to the one at Westfarms. I think the Downtown Crossing H&M in Boston is the largest in New England.

    Any more info on Teavana? I’ve been thinking that maybe journey’s could use a larger space and Teavana could go there. What had been T&C Nails would had been perfect. The mall also needs and American Apparel.

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  115. I walk in the mall about three times a week for exercise, and I talk to so many people. The former manager also spoke many times with me. He was very friendly, and all the employees were fond of him. Anyway, I found out about the mens department from three sources. One of the employees at the customer service desk said she had heard it; I asked the employees who were conducting the job fair, and they confirmed it, and now the store manager is conducting interviews himself, and he also said yes. At 17,000 square feet, this is a much larger-than average H & M. Forever XXI also has a mens, according to the employees at the job fair there.
    I have to be careful about what I eat these days, so I have stopped at AMATO’S there every so often, and every time I stopped, I had to wait in a long line.
    As for TEAVANA, I haven’t heard lately, but I was told that it’s still coming, but they’re waiting for a space that’s right for them. They need 800 square feet, and all the spaces now available are too large. So what someone thought would happen was when WILLIAMS/SONOMA makes their big move, part of the space includes the old EMS, or DREAM MACHINE space up by BEST BUY. Maybe they could move into a slot there, and be close to GLORIA JEAN’S. I’m not sure; I don’t think the mall has any other definite stores lined up until after the holidays. But I’ll keep walking and try to find out any plans they have!

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  116. Forever XXI opened today at 9:30. I stopped in real quick on a break from work to check it out. The store is f’n massive. I’ve been to the flagship Forever XXI with my girlfriend in Pasadena, CA which is huge but this store blows that one of the water. The Maine Mall really needed this…bad. The men section isn’t bad at all. Good size. Today I think is the soft opening. Tomorrow is the true Grand Opening according to the store’s GM.

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  117. Once we finally get a Teavana, American Apparel, P.F Chang’s, and California Pizza Kitchen, I will never have to stop/eat at another other mall in New England lol. My girlfriend and I usually take mini trips every now and then around New England and usually try and stop at the mall in the area we are in since the Maine Mall has lacked in good stores until most recently.

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  118. oh, and also Cracker Barrel and Trader Joe’s..then I will be a happy camper. haha.

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  119. Does the “true grand opening” mean there will be free stuff? I was surprised they didn’t hand out anything this morning…

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  120. While I think the four new openings are wonderful, the MAINE MALL still has a long way to go. In the SEARS wing, there’s nothing beyond COLDWATER CREEK of any value on that side. The FILENE’S main store still sits empty, VINNY T’S is vacant; there’s a total waste of time used car dealer in the food court, there are all these temporary storees like GO! GAMES, ITZ A PUZZLE, HALLOWEEN STORE, RAVE-X, DAY BY DAY CALENDAR that really give the impression nothing is happening. Soon URBAN BAHAVIOR’S space will need to be filled, not to mention LINENS N THINGS or OLD COUNTRY BUFFET if either of these chains go under.Though they say WILLIAMS/SONOMA is planning a move up to center court, it’s taking forever to happen. Doesn’t it seem like the MAINE MALL is slow at filling vacant spaces after a store moves out? It seems as though other malls are able to end leases of non-performing stores, and quickly add new ones. But here, the same loser stores seems to keep going on and on. I guess that’s because they’re still popular. Not with me. I love seeing the changes. These four new stores are really a big help, but it can’t stop there. We need SEPHORA, WHITE HOUSE/BLACK MARKET, bebe, GILLY HICKS, NIKE STORE, JANIE AND JACK, RESTORATION HARDWARE, J CREW, j jill, MARTIN & OSA, HOLLISTER, METROPARK, CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN, CHEESECAKE FACTORY, PF CHANG,CRATE & BARREL, POTTERY BARN KIDS, not to mention NORDSTROM. If these were here, I wouldn’t go out of state to shop. EVER.

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  121. When I went to the grand opening of FOREVER XXI, I walked into the mall through SEARS, At SEARS, I could have counted the number of customers I saw on one hand. But FOREVER XXI had hundreds of customers, plus two long lines at the register; each with at least 100 people waiting. At 25,000 square feet, it’s a large FOREVER XXI by New England standards, and the men’s department is a lot larger than I envisioned. Even though I’m past my prime, there’s quite a few shirts or slacks I could get away with wearing without people think I’m suffering a mid-life crisis. For any critics out there who think Maine can’t support new retail, they’re out of their mind. The Southern Maine market is extremely under-retailed for what it could support. The problem here is that there are too many of the same stores that build within a few miles of each other, such as Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, Staples, Lowe’s, Kohls, Rite Aid, et cetera. But if Maine shoppers are given the variety that other markets enjoy, and they’ll come in droves. The fact that so many excited shoppers came to the grand opening of this, and the APPLE store last week shows how hungry this market is for this variety and change. When Westbrook’s new Stroudwater Place comes up before the board soon, I’m sure there will be comments against it, but the argument that Maine can’t support any more retail is completely unfounded. I hope customers are just as kind to Coldwater Creek and H & M when they have their respective openings.

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  122. Wait, a used car dealership in the food court? Are you kidding? Interior entrance? Drive-away right there?

    I don’t see it on GGP’s official mall directory.

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  123. To Jonah,
    The lovely used car dealership signed a one-year lease. It’s located between a U.S. Cellular store (there’s a company that’s way overbuilt in this area) and the BC SPORTS store. It’s called CREDIT NOW AUTO SALES. They have one car in their showroom, and as I pass by, the poor young lady who works there spends most of her day standing at the door, or sitting at her desk alone; sort of like being in prison. I can’t believe this was the best the mall could do for that spot. But then again, the Maine Mall has lots of wasted space that major retailers apparently don’t want. If GGP ever reads these blogs, it would be nice if they made a major effort to bring life back to ALL the sections of the mall, once the big four have completed their grand openings. The former manager was aware of this situation, and said GGP was in the planning stages of restoring life to the SEARS wing. At present, the SEARS wing is an excellent place to fall asleep. The food court area is busy, but the quality and choices are so limited for those who need to watch their fat intake and cholesterol. Many new upscale malls eliminate their food courts altogether and replace the fast food restaurants with better quality sit-down ones. Even the CHEESECAKE FACTORY, which is not known for nutrition, has several healthy choices in their menu. At least you know you’re not getting all the processed and pre-packaged foods that you find at some of the food court offerings.

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  124. H&M will be open October 30th at Noon

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  125. You know, with the economy the way it is, the Maine Mall has done remarkably well. It’s always been in the top ten percent of dollar-per-sqaure foot malls in the country. I’m not sure if it still is or not, and I’m certain some stores are seeing less revenues than last, but the Maine Mall certainly seems to have more customers than many other centers I’ve walked through lately. I’ve heard that quite a few chain stores around the country are facing bankruptcy, and I notice that General Growth, who owns the mall, is planning to sell off some of its properties soon to pay off a debt. It’s hard to know what will ultimately happen here, but I’ll bet the Maine Mall will fair a lot better than many – and H & M, our next new store to open, has reasonable prices and high quality fashion that’s popular around the world. A great addition!

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  126. BC SPORTS COLLECTIBLES has “STORE CLOSING” signs out front. Although this vacancy will add more available space in the MAINE MALL for new stores, it’s not in a highly desirable location, so I’m wondering whether it will sit vacant for a long time. But at least “CREDIT NOW USED CARS” is still there. The fact that THIS business was added just screams “DESPERATION” or “LOWERED EXPECTATIONS” for me!

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  127. Linens & Things just asked the Bankruptcy Court for permission to sell and close ALL the remaining stores. There is a faint hope of a white knight. Otherwise, this will leave a rather large hole in the Sears wing. Maine Mall did at least dodge the first and second round of store closings, unlike Bangor Parkade and Biddeford Crossing.

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  128. I see that LINENS N THINGS has Going Out of Business signs out front. Besides the fact that one of the strongest stores in this otherwise weak end of the mall is closing, there are many fine employees who work there. I have shopped LINENS N THINGS often, and I feel badly that such valuable workers will have to find other jobs. They will be missed by a great many, and I hope they’re able to find other positions soon.
    COLDWATER CREEK will open on Tuesday October 21, and H & M has a banner advertising its opening on October 30. Word is out that WILLIAMS/SONOMA will make their move to “Center Court” in May 2009, and SEPHORA is still rumored to be coming to the spot it vacates. Where will PICTURE PEOPLE and RITZ CAMERA relocate. Will they relocate?

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  129. Make sure to check out http://www.mainemall.com under events to see some interesting news about H&M’s Grand Opening!

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  130. I’m planning to go the grand opening of H&M, Do you think there will be alot of people there? How early should I get there to get in line?

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  131. I think that the empty LINENS N THINGS would be a great place for a Nordstrom RACK, Saks off 5th, or a LAST CALL Nieman Marcus. Also, any new news on what GGP proposes to do about the still vacent two story Filenes?

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  132. I don’t think that the Linens N Things would be anything Dan mentioned. This is isn’t “Maine Mills” here.

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  133. You can’t be too sure about that. I’ve seen plenty of non-Mills malls with Nordstrom Rack/Off 5th/Last Call. If not, they can just do what Pyramid always does and keep splitting up the anchors until they end up with 28 big box stores in the mall.

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  134. At the Christiana Mall in Newark, Delaware (also owned by GGP), they are taking a former Lord & Taylor store there and converting it to a destination called “THE EPICENTER”. It features 60-or-so online retailers, each with their own space and catalog, and apparently a computer so that the customer can order products, with “free home delivery”, plus choose from an array of merchandise on display as well. The empty LINENS ‘N THINGS would work for that, although slightly smaller. If Jason Snyder is true to his word, and can indeed bring NORDSTROM to the Stroudwater Place development in Westbrook, I can’t imagine what clothing retailer would be left to occupy the old Filene’s. I’ve heard rumors from employees at the mall who think it will eventually be torn down. Another idea that they were floating around is after the building is demolished, build a new structure featuring a row of upscale restaurants with both outside and inside entrances. With the economy the way it is, and with GGP the way IT is, I don’t think anyone is in a rush for any of that.
    Would a NORDSTROM RACK open in an area where there is no real NORDSTROM? Since the Maine Mall’s focus is on upscale stores, I would think they would set their hopes higher for the LINENS ‘N THINGS space than for a NORDSTROM RACK, or any off-price establishment.

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  135. Except Epicenter Collection/The Epicenter was in development for nearly two years and I’ve just heard radio silence. Neat idea, though.

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  136. Nordstrom had a shoe-only outlet in downtown Honolulu for many years before opening a full line department store at Ala Moana Center earlier this year. I realize that Maine and Honolulu, HI, are quite different but there is precedent for something like that.

    FYI: Both Boston papers are reporting that the Tweeter chain is going to be liquidated shortly. The only Maine location is directly across from the Maine Mall.

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  137. According to Fox23, southern maine’s Fox affiliate; says that General Growth Properties might be selling the Maine for to offset a 27 billian dollor debt.

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  138. The Maine Mall is a good one, and I always thought the size was perfect – very large, but not absurd and overwhelming.

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  139. In this time of economic hardship, one still cannot dismiss the popularity of this mall. On the afternon of November 22nd, I counted three tour buses in the parking lot; one from Vermont, another from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and a third one from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Although Halifax is the largest city in Atlantic Canada, many Haligonians take the 800 mile trip here because of the many American stores that Atlantic Canada does NOT have. I was in Sydney a few years ago, and the manager of the hotel where I stayed told me he brings his family to South Portland once a year for a shopping experience. For him, he said it was the closest large mall to home, which by the way is 1,000 miles. Of course H & M is worldwide, including quite a few Canadian stores, but none as of yet in the Atlantic provinces. So whatever happens with General Groweth Properties, the Maine Mall, and the area around it down to Cabela’s, continues to be a major shopping destination for a vast hinterland to the north and east. We who live close to it tend to take it for granted, but we ARE very fortunate in the Portland area to have it in our back yard.

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  140. I was at the Maine mall today. It was full of people, and they looked like they were actually shopping as apposed to just hanging out in the mall…everyone had shopping bags and this is still fairly early in the holliday shopping season. I think the Maine mall is still going to have a good shopping season considering the downed ecconemy. However, this years “Rock’n Shop’n eve” will be the last for the Maine mall. Apparently there was to much theft along with people getting drunk out in the parking lot and acting disorderly inside the mall. That pared with the fact that “Rock’n Shop’n eve” didint bring in much revanue is why the mall chose not too continue this popular event. But still, I think the Maine mall is going to do well. Oh, and the new F21 and H&M stores were PACKED!

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  141. The mall is the victim of its gradual purge of more downscale stores. There used to be a CVS drug store, next to Sears used to be a…. Woolworths? (If that wasn’t it, it was similar in style to one) There used to be a top notch comic shop not too far from the food court, Moonshadow. The arcade just off the food court, a staple of the Maine Mall for decades, has gone. There used to be a newsstand and two bookstores. Today the only reading material you can buy is a newspaper from a machine (assuming even THAT is still there)

    Outside of the anchor stores, unless a business sells only high margin items or high volume, they just can’t afford to be in the mall now, I guess. This probably served the mall well in better times, but has driven the diversity of stores inside the mall down.

    The Maine Mall used to have a unique character to it. They lost it over the years. I doubt they will be able to get it back (though I will say that Amato’s joining the food court does help matters)

    The only additions in recent years that attracted me has been Linens & Things (OOPS! Out of Business), and the Apple Store.

    The growth of retail outlets elsewhere in the state, and in the portland area, along with that loss of uniqueness, all contribute to the fact that the Maine Mall is no longer the must go place for shopping that it used to be.

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  142. I think the mall is improving with the additions of store like H&M and Forever 21. No more having to drive to Boston to shop at H&M. I have been going to the mall for a long time. I do remember there being a comic book store where Express is now located. There was a CVS not to long ago where I beleive Ann Taylor is now located.

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  143. I have to disagree with a couple of recent comments made about the Maine Mall. When that greasy rundown arcade finally closed for good, multitudes of people celebrated its demise. I also disagree that a local comic book store or a Woolworth’s can be called major shopping destinations. In the first place, Woolworth closed all of its U.S. operations, and if you want comics, you can cross the street and go into Newbury Comics; for a bookstore you can walk out of Macy’s a few steps to Borders. I don’t recall a second bookstore in the mall besides Walden, but Borders chose to close ALL of their Waldenbooks locations; the mall didn’t make that choice. The Maine Mall is but a tiny wheel in the retail industry of America. When a national chain closes, the Maine Mall store goes right along with it. I for one am thankful for the new additions there, such as Coach, Cache, Coldwater Creek, Chico’s, Banana Republic, The Walking Company, H & M, XXI Forever, and Apple. I don’t regularly shop in all of them, but these retailers are found in virtually every major market across the country, and it’s about time that Maine residents at last have the same retail choices as shoppers elsewhere have been enjoying for years. Once the economy improves, watch the changes in the Sears wing. In two years, you won’t recognize the place, with the new stores I’ve heard are planned for that area. Once we start bringing back Moonshadow Comics or Dream Machine, we’ll know the mall is in trouble. Those kind of stores, along with the temporary ones that always pop up just before the holidays, give the illusion that nothing is going on. These types of businesses are simply not found anywhere in successful malls anymore.
    General Growth Properties is having trouble paying off its debt, due partly to overbuilding in the Las Vegas area, but notice that the Maine Mall is not one of the properties it plans to sell off to pay the debt. Apparently all of the tourbuses from ATlantic Canada that appear in the Maine Mall parking lot every weekend are filled with shoppers who enjoy the mall’s selection. One woman from Halifax told me that her children love PacSun, Aeropostale, Abercrombie, Banana Republic – stores that the MicMac Mall or Halifax Shopping Center don’t offer. The exchange rate has been almost even, but for Canadians it’s not just the exchange – it’s the selection!!! I am certain if we brought back the mall to its 1970′s “diversity”, the exodus to Boston would happen in droves; just like it existed before the mall arrived. I love the changes in the Maine Mall, and look forward to its further upscaling. For me, it’s a change LONG overdue.

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  144. Don’t knock mall arcades :(

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  145. The mall needs entertainment! I want a mall that has a movie theatre, arcade (a good one), restuarants, a bowling alley, pool hall, rock gym, fitness center and coffee shops that actually have seating. Is that too much to ask. ;)

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  146. Perhaps I’m a lot older than the previous two bloggers, but what I hear being described is more Old Orchard Beach than a mall. But I do agree that entertainment is important. Many upscale malls include fitness gyms; some have movie theatres, but because of the proximity of 26 screens to the Maine Mall, that’s NOT a good idea. In Natick, they’re building condos. I wouldn’t want to live at a mall, but maybe some people like that concept. I would like to see the food court be replaced with four or five high-end sit down restaurants like PF Chang’s Ted’s Montana Grill, Cheesecake Factory, or California Pizza Kitchen. Those restaurants are so common everywhere else, but not here as of yet. The huge mall is West Nyack, New York (Palisades Center), has an amusement area with rides; also an IMAX. But that mall isn’t going in the upscale direction that the Maine Mall seems to be going, so I would be unhappy to see a bowling alley or an arcade there. But with the economy the way it is, who knows what they’ll decide? Would a comedy club work?

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  147. Maybe the Filene’s could be converted into an ice rink, which is an “upscale” attraction. Other entertainment ideas include a carousel, climbing wall, bungee jumping, or a waterslide. I’ve always wondered what the old Hydrotubes looked like inside malls.

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  148. Pallisades actually has 3 arcades, 5 if you include Dave & Busters and Lucky Strike. They get great business, and it really saddens me to see upscaling malls kicking out the arcades.

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  149. In Westchester and Rockland Counties, however, there are several choices for malls. The WESTCHESTER in White Plains is really the upscale mall, and the PALISADES CENTER resembles the MAINE MALL and all of its satellite stores – only they’re all attached. If it’s an arcade you want, why not use the former STRAWBERRIES location, or any of the open spaces over by TJ MAXX? Once the Scarborough WAL-MART moves to its new supercenter, the present WAL-MART property will surely include retail space. You could take out a loan, and open a nice arcade in any of those spots, and watch the millions of dollars roll in! SInce I’m not a teenager anymore, I look at the mall in a different way. I know as a fact the reason many malls have eliminated arcades and movie theaters is because of problematic kids who hang out and intimidate other shoppers. The WESTFARMS MALL in Connecticut had complaints and lawsuits – concerning shoplifters, purse snatchers, and in general, rude,self-centered teenagers just “hanging out”,bothering other shoppers walking by. Once they got rid of these low-end teen establishments (such as arcades, or in this case, a theater),and brought in quality retailers like Restoration Hardware and Nordstrom, the problems all but disappeared. I don’t think the MAINE MALL has ever had problems this severe, but to me it doesn’t matter. People of all ages who visit ANY mall for shopping have the right to feel safe, secure and comfortable while they are there. I’ve been spoken to rudely by many a teenager at the back door when the DREAM MACHINE was by the food court. It doesn’t bother me at my age now, but nonetheless, it’s not fair to have to walk past an intimidating crowd of kids “hanging out”, if you’re elderly or uncomfortable. The mall is a place to shop, not a place for teenagers to just “HANG OUT”. In many malls, the only reason an arcade is there at all is because the mall can’t attract anything better. Maybe with the economy this bad, the MAINE MALL will bring it back. But if it doesn’t, I think it’s time to say goodbye to the 70′s. For now, the arcade is gone. Live with it.

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  150. JF,

    To your remarks about arcades in malls, White Plains has an electronic games ordenance on the booksI,E arcades are illegal in the city limits. The ecceptions are rentals for parties.

    Infact the AMC theatre in Paramus NJ removed there games & seating area for aditional cuing space for movies with larger crowds.

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  151. SEAN -
    Thanks for sharing that information. I was not aware of that, but it’s as it should be. The mall (referring to ANY mall) should be a place that all generations should be able to enjoy. The teenagers have their stores; Abercrombie, XXI Forever, Areopostale, Hot Topic, Spencer’s, Claire’s, FYE, Game Stop; there’s enough for them without having to infringe on the rights of others with arcades.
    …and let me add something else…It’s not only arcades…FYE, Spencer’s, Game Stop, and Hot Topic are also stores that, in some malls, are not seeing their contracts being renewed when they expire. Store owners, particularly in this economy, are victims of increased shoplifting, and it’s more common in stores that cater to the “arcade” crowd. I was at the Maine Mall a short time ago and witnessed a teenager in FYE testing the security barrier as he stole a pile of video games. The employees in the store were nowhere to be found, but I saw the manager around the corner, and he called security immediately. When mall management gets these low-end stores out, along with the arcades, the lowlife people are gone as well. I spoke to the former mall manager repeatedly about the problems a movie theater in the old Filene’s would bring about for nearby stores such as The Gap, or Lane Bryant.. It’s sad that Filene’s is still empty, but shoppers should be thankful it’s not a theater. It’s a shame that a handful of “bad apples” ruin it for others, but apparently there are enough of these bad apples for malls all over the country to stand up and take their stores back.

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  152. On the flip side, if you get rid of all the stores that are remotely interesting and fill it with dull clothing stores and overpriced food joints, you exclude others, too. Like you said…malls should be a place for all generations to enjoy.

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  153. News for you buddy, what happens if there are no teens at the mall? Oh, that’s right, 20% usually more of mall stores would go out of business, which could possibly cause the mall to fail. There goes your shopping!

    Where the hell do you think teens are supposed to hang out? Taco Bell parking lots? In the alley doing drugs? Get real.

    And what makes you think that teens are the only people who tend to steal things? Seriously.

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  154. Teenagers spend more per square foot then any other segment of the population. To exclude them is playing finantial russion rulette.

    Many teens at that age don’t drive & use transit to get to the mall, with that in mind malls in the past few years have tried to BAN busses from there properties. The practice is illegal, but they do it anyway because the belief is no transit, no problems.

    The other issue is if you don’t want teens shopping in your property, why then do you sign leases for A&F, gap, spencers & stores like that in the first place?

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  155. Beats me, I thought that the teenage stores should be kept.
    It also seems malls want to eliminate minorities, too.

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  156. This entire discussion started with an arcade. Of course teens contribute greatly to the mall’s economic success. No one would want to see any of the Maine Mall stores that cater to teens dropped; particularly the new H & M and XXI FOREVER, which probably do the most business of any mall stores. I was referring to teens who “hang out” for the sole purpose of disturbing other shoppers; some of those “other shoppers” are themselves teens. There are high-end malls that have eliminated arcades and theatres because of incidents concerning large crowds who come to “hang out”. I’ve spent many a time in Dream Machine in my younger past, and I recall employees asking people to leave if they were standing around and not using the machines. Where I used to live, the problems in the arcades/theatres were serious enough for the mall to not renew their leases. Where should teens “hang out”? If they’re going to harass and intimidate others who are trying to enjoy their shopping, then the mall is not the place for them. The mall is for shopping. I wouldn’t think that Taco Bell would appreciate a large crowd in their parking lot, either.
    Although this is a whole other subject, I too have heard and read complaints from minorities who claim they are being discriminated against in retail centers. In some cases, chain stores vary what clothing styles they send to their stores, depending on how much diversity or population exists in the radius around the city. And of course, Maine is not considered diverse enough in the eyes of many retail chains, so Maine, and the Maine Mall are both victims as well.

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  157. Sorry, but the mall is also a place to hang out. If you’re too scared to go to a mall because you think that 5 or 6 teens talking, having fun near an entrance are causing trouble or going to annoy you, you might want to check out online shopping.

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  158. Let’s remember how malls started folks. They started as utilitarian places where people could buy everything in one place, either configured as a strip of shops, an outdoor ‘garden’ (ala Old Orchard, Mayfair, Oakbrook in my neck of the country), or enclosed suburban ‘town centers’ (ala: anything the late, great Gruen put together).

    The whole ‘teenager’ element didn’t come into play until the early 1980s. “Going to the mall” was by this time, an activity groups of teens all did…it was part of their daily lives and mall management took full advantage of this, shoving away all the variety malls had (at the time, ie: replacing local and regional shops) and replacing them with your chains like the Gap, Chess King, County Seat and the behemoth Merry Go Round conglomerate of banners. Not to forget the oodles of shoe stores that came inline with the stalwarts Thom McAn and Kinney, and other accessories type places (Claires, Afterthoughts, etc). It also brought in this newfangled thing called the ‘Food court’ to malls across the nation.

    My take on the whole ‘malls getting rid of teenagers’ element isn’t so much them getting rid of those spending money. They love those and want to keep those folks. They dislike the element who only use the common areas to ‘hang out’. Now this isn’t to say all of them who just ‘hang out’ cause trouble, but those that do….mall owners want none of that crowd. Keep in mind, malls are private property that serve a public function…not the other way around.

    Let me spin this in an easier direction. How would you like it if you had kids who caused trouble that you didn’t know in your house, which of course, is private property? It would cause distractions for yourself as well as others in the house.

    Now you know how mall owners and management feel, and thus why you’re starting to see many malls starting to impose ‘curfews’, and blocks of time where they have to be accompanied by a parent.

    I hit up my local mall every couple weeks…twice a month. I’ve not come across any teens that I’d consider unruly. It really depends on the mall’s location, access to mass transit (especially the bus system), how clean / upkept it is, and the tenant mix.

    Easy solution….take malls back to the old days, where they served a utilitarian purpose as well as being a town center where activities are held. Size them down too…..they may as well, since there’s much fewer national chains to go around these days.

    Until that happens though, either ignore them (the teens) or shop online.

    I’ll take the mall or online shopping over going to a mega-grocery-discount-type store filled with families each with 15 kids all screaming for something-or-other any day.

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    Alex Steed Reply:

    @Matt from WI @JF –

    I don’t particularly like how teenagers are always singled out in these conversations. I worked at the mall for 7 years on and off, and it was very rarely – if ever – teenagers that I had a problem with. Rowdy teenagers – when asked to stop being rowdy politely – would often stop.

    My biggest problem came from perverted old men (not just those who liked to tell dirty stories…), self-entitled shoppers, and other adults. The myth of the teenager of nuisance is just that – a myth. Sure – they can be trouble in the mall context, but no any more than other subsets of this subculture.

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  159. MATT -
    I totally agree. The management of the Maine Mall has said, along with many managers of many malls, that they frown upon teens who just come to “hang out”, and not buy anything. In their opinions, arcades and movie theatres were two of the establishments that attracted this type of a crowd. In West Hartford, CT, the WESTFARMS MALL business improved drastically when the higher-end stores replaced the “hang-out” places. I’m not sure where the hanger-outers went. Maybe they DID go to the alley or Taco Bell. But this blog is about malls, so it’s not important where they went. They’re gone from the mall, and the shoppers, including the teen shoppers, have made this mall a destination once again..There’s nothing wrong with a group of teens talking as a group at an entrance, but if they cause trouble or annoy customers, this IS a major problem and businesses will quickly suffer the effects. All walks of life; whether it be teens, parents, children, the elderly, have the right to be safe and comfortable in a mall. I can’t imagine anyone being selfish enough to tell an elderly person to go shopping online. My mom doesn’t own a computer and has no knowledge of them, yet apparently it’s the right of the teens to intimidate her and bother her as she walks by the entrance? That has never happened at the Maine Mall, to my knowledge.(Thank goodness) And with the direction that the Maine Mall is trying to head, I don’t see it happening anytime in the future, either.

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  160. Unlike today, malls were not created with only shoppers in mind. When malls were designed in the 50s and 60s, they were essentially community centers. Originally open-air and later enclosed, its initial function was to serve as a gathering space for the area that it served. Retail shops, restaurants, supermarkets, etc were still part of the mall concept, but the incorporation of fountains, trees, birdcages and carousels were added to create a virtual main street. The fact that malls were originally created to encourage people watching (and window shopping) is part of the aspect that make malls unique.

    Instead of having management turn their backs on most teens (the ones who act civil, mind you) who come to the mall to hang out, they should instead embrace them, give them a reason to enjoy their experience. Many teens choose to hang out at the mall for a number of reasons. A lot of them may simply be bored and want to get out for a few hours. My local defunct mall once held dance parties in its center court, which many of the teens attended. It was pretty successful and gave them something productive to do on a Friday night. If more malls would actually do things like that, it may even help their bottom line, not hurt it.

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  161. The Sebago Brewery will move their restaurant out of the mall parking lot early next year, when their new one is completed, in front of the Homewood Suites Hotel. Office Depot is closing too, next to Toys R Us. But apparently the slowdown in the ecomomy hasn’t halted the plans for the Maine Mall Commons, across the street from Sears. It looks as though Barnes & Noble, along with two more retailers and two restaurants (I heard one of them is PF CHANG’S CHINA BISTRO) are all set to go!

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  162. When I was at the mall monday evening I noticed that Hallmark was having a moving sale. Anybody know where they are moving too? I wonder what will go in that space?

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  163. I was at the mall today, and I asked someone at the Hallmark store where they were moving. She said no one was sure, but they definitely are staying in the mall, but moving to larger quarters. I think the RAVE-X skateboard store (which I hear is doing very well, considering it’s supposed to be temporary) is moving to the Hallmark site, which will free up yet another space in the SEARS wing. I figure the more free space in that wing, including the 40,000 square feet from LINENS N THINGS, the better it will be for new tenants. Hopefully, some of them will buck the economic trend and locate there.

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  164. I was told by an employee of the Hallmark store that they still haven’t heard where it is they will move. Someone thought perhaps near Sears, where there’s acres of open space at the moment. As far as the skateboard store goes, it could be a different one than RAVE-X. The CREDIT NOW Auto Sales dealership, in the food court, is gone. J B ROBINSON’S JEWELERS, has closed. WILLIAMS/SONOMA is not moving to a new location, as planned. CIRCUIT CITY is liquidating all its stores – doesn’t sound like 2009 will be a year of positive changes in the retail sector, but stores that truly offer quality and affordable merchandise along with knowledgeable and helpful staff will fare a lot better. From what I’ve read, CIRCUIT CITY’s departure was expected, due to their low level of customer service. In this economy, it’s survival of the fittest.

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  165. KAY’S JEWELERS now occupies JB ROBINSON’S former space. The KAY space is rumored to be a new location for a store already in the mall. If the rumor is correct, it will free yet ANOTHER space in the SEARS wing, which hopefully will be a completely new wing if and when we see improvement to our economy. Up next to POTTERY BARN, the GO! GAMES store has moved to the SEARS wing. I’m wondering if that space has a new tenant coming, or if GO! GAMES just needed a larger space.

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  166. Today there was an article in CURRENT discussing the financial difficulties of General Growth Properties, and speculation that Jason Snyder’s STROUDWATER PLACE project in Westbrook would never be built, given the economy, and the fact that Southern Maine’s population is fairly stagnant; meaning that new retail will simply drain away revenues from existing businesses. I think that skeptics of this project need to remember back forty years, when the present-day Old Port was virtually empty, abandoned, and written off as being unfit human inhabitation – where Congress Street was the ONLY place to shop in Greater Portland, and, considering that STROUDWATER PLACE is going to be built there, how Westbrook has evolved from a one-industry paper mill town to its present diversified economy. Could anyone predict, back in 1969, that 40 years later, huge institutions like Porteous, Benoit’s, Owen Moore, Rines, Casco Bank, Maine National and Maine Savings Banks would all be gone, yet small but steady HAVEN’S CANDY KITCHEN would still be here? They all laughed, just as people are laughing about the STROUDWATER PLACE project. I disagree totally with anyone who thinks the new development will devour the MAINE MALL. It’s incorrect to say that the Southern Maine market is not large enough to support two major centers, because other markets smaller than the Portland Metropolitan area do it all the time. Take Charleston SC – they have two malls; one west of the Ashley River and one in North Charleston; besides that, their Main shopping street downtown has become a haven for high-end retail chain stores. Nearby Mount Pleasant has a lifestyle center, and there is a new outlet mall with about 150 stores in it as well. Granted, Charleston has its share of upper-level incomes, but many of those residents don’t even stay in the city during the summer months because of the unbearably hot weather. The city has to depend on tourists, who are more likely to frequent the local shops and avoid the chains. Yet all the centers are still there. Charleston’s metro population is 572,000, while the Portland-Biddeford-South Portland population is 612,000; not to mention OUR tourists who visit every summer; many from Canada who enjoy the American stores that they cannot find back home. There are a great many stores that, when and if our economy gets better over the next couple of years, have never been in Maine. Why not give them a try, and see if they do well? I see nothing wrong with giving Maine shoppers the same advantages that shoppers in other cities of similar size already enjoy. Linens N Things, Tweeter, and Circuit City didn’t close simply because their business in Maine was down. Many of their financial difficulties began way before the economy began tanking. The MAINE MALL is a lot healthier than many centers across the country. I believe strongly that whether STROUDWATER PLACE is built (and I hope it succeeds) or not, the MAINE MALL will also continue to do well.

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  167. I feel so badly; I was at the MAINE MALL today, and discovered that the GINGER PAD had closed. That was the best restaurant, to me, in the food court area. The employees were always so friendly and courteous, and the food was fresh and delicious, unlike many of the fast food trash left there. I guess its slow business meant it wasn’t that popular, but for me, it’s a sad loss to the mall.

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  168. Aww I’m glad you loved Ginger Pad! I worked there as a waitstaff and it was very sudden. Corporate came in and said they were shutting us down. I didn’t know until my boss texted me to come in the next day to sigh paper work. I talked to the mall securities and they told me that corporate wasn’t supposed to do that without notifying management. They thought Ginger Pad got robbed or something, so they called the patrol officers. We girls will miss all our customers. We all cried because it was such a great place to work and we were surrounded by such wonderful people. But we hope we will see our customers again and that you guys will be able to find another great place! :)

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  169. Maine Mall Commons has been postponed indefinitely, according to published reports. GGP will continue with the approvals process so they can build when the economy (and GGP itself?) rebounds. The six store and four restaurant complex was to be anchored by Barnes & Noble.

    BTW: JF, I’m 99% sure I know you in the “real” world. It’s a small world after all.

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  170. As someone who has been ill, and uses the mall to exercise at least three times a week, I have a lot of attachment to the place, and want to see it succeed. In this economy, it’s difficult to think ahead and hope for better times, but hopefully, one day we’ll be out of this mess and the retail sector will improve once again. Several years ago, I was asked by a former mall employee to apply for a job at the information desk, as there were a few jobs open for the summer. This employee interviewed me, and, knowing I would be a desirible candidate for the position, set up a second interview with the then manager of the info desk. I went in, answered questions pertaining to “how I would tell a customer to get to one store from the other” ,which for me was easy. But then he asked me why I wanted to work at the mall. I replied that I had spent a great deal of time at the mall over the years, watching the growth and changes. I told him that I worked at Jordan Marsh during Christmas season in my college days, and I actually was there at the grand opening. He said, “Oh, yes, way back in 1982(I think it was 1982 he said – not sure of the date, but it was the wrong date)…” I said No, that would be 1971. That’s the year the stores were added onto Jordan Marsh.” He then said, “No. The mall opened in 1982″. I said, “I’m sorry. It was 1971. It was before you were born. I was there.”
    Needless to say, I didn’t get the job. I discovered later that he had hidden my application way way up to the back of the slot so no one would notice it, and it was only discovered after my employee friend called to ask why I’d never applied. By the time they found my application, they’d already hired the people they needed, and that manager had been let go; not because of my application, but for some other reason. But he certainly would have been more successful if he showed more respect to us old folks!
    I find the staff at the info desk to be the most friendly and helpful the mall has had in years. A short time ago there was a very rude young lady there who spent most of her time playing video poker. But the girls there now are all highly professional, and extremely courteous. With the economy the way it is, it’s getting so that when a customer asks for diections, they can reply. “I’m sorry. That store isn’t here anymore.” I hope it never comes to that. I think one aspect of the mall we all could do without is the obnoxious salesmen from T-MOBILE who annoy customers and seem to think they’re God’s gift to the world. I’ve heard so many people complain about them at the info desk. Yet they always seem to have customers, so I guess some enjoy being annoyed.

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  171. I was at the mall this evening and noticed that Cinnabon is gone.

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  172. Poor CINNABON. I recall walking in the mall one afternoon, and noticed the two employees with their feet way up on the counter. With that attitude, goodness knows what was in the food! While I would never eat that miserable food anyway, the thought of that made me sick every time I walked past. There are so many retailers at malls everywhere who make it their practice to hire kids with no knowledge of their product (Like Circuit City), or with an attitude, such as this Cinnabon. And then they pay enormous fees to marketing strategists to determine why their clientele disappears! Gee, I wonder why? A real no-brainer to me.

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  173. I’m saddened when I travel to other cities and see malls with NO empty spaces and new construction going on. What really gets me is the overpriced and unsuccessful NATICK COLLECTION, that’s still being worked on by GGP, even though so many high-end stores have either closed or decided not to come. CRATE & BARREL is expanding their store, and the young ladies are coming from far and wide to the new AMERICAN GIRL doll store there. Yet there’s almost no customers in the new expensive wing, at least this Saturday in mid-February 2009. GGP spent a fortune to build this tribute to greed and extravagance, but many of its other malls, including our MAINE MALL, have been practically ignored. I’m not too surprised that GGP is close to filing Chapter 11, but I wonder who, if anyone, will buy us, if we become for sale. We have the potential to make this one of the best shopping destinations in New England, but we need a reliable company, like perhaps Taubman, who can elevate the Maine Mall up to quality standards. Taubman malls never have any vacancies, and if they do, the spaces are quickly filled. They’re also famous for short leases, which is also helpful in getting the most bang for the buck. How I wish a representative from Taubman could come here, and see this untapped market of Southern Maine.
    On the other hand, maybe the Maine Mall as it exists today is as good as it gets. I sure hope not.

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  174. If GGP sells off Natick Collection, it might be able to save its soul.

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  175. Stamford TC a Taubman mall has 10% of it’s stores unoccupide at any one time. Although Forever 21 opened an enormous 2 level store near Barns & Noble & restaurant row, which dropped that percentage somewhat. There are key locations that still need to be filled, example several spots in the food court & where Sharpper Immage use to be.

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  176. Out of curiosity, what did the Ginger Pad offer? Was it sit-down or order at the counter?

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  177. It was an asian sit down restraunt. I only went there once but the food was pretty good.

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  178. I am surprised to see that so many people think this mall is “nice”. I go there only because there are things I need occasionally or in a pinch. If I have my choice and have time, I order online, go to the Old Port boutique stores or go to Boston. I find the mall to be terribly kept – there is trash littering the outside all the time, the doors to the large department stores are so old and heavy, I wonder how someone with a stroller let alone a handicapped person can enter. The only halfway decent department store is Macy’s, and that is an embarrassment to say the least. They supposedly went through a remodel years ago – I wonder if they have anyone cleaning the place. Their rugs are all torn and stained, and their bathrooms have not been redone probably since 1980′s. I would never bring anyone from out of state in that mall – it is a disgrace. I can not understand why it can’t be kept up. I do, however, understand why big name stores like Nordstrom, JCrew, Crate and Barrell, etc wouldn’t want to come. With the oversight such as it is, I certainly wouldn’t want the sidewalk outside my door to have trash flying around it. . . . . I will be thrilled if Stroudwater Place becomes a reality. Until then – I will take my business elsewhere and hope for a miracle for the Maine Mall, or watch it fail miserably.

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  179. While I find the interior of the Maine Mall to be reasonably clean, I thoroughly agree with the last blogger in regards to the piles of trash outside. I went walking there one afternoon, and in one of the bushes near Macy’s, there was a newspaper stuck there. I happened to be there a couple of days later, and no one had collected that newspaper. It was still there, along with endless numbers of cigarette buts, tissues, and other assorted trash. I also think Macy’s overplayed their “renovation”. They did nothing at all to the second floor, and I too find the bathrooms old and tired. Sears supposedly is built on unstable land, so the possibility of a second floor is out, so all of their clothing racks are jammed so tightly together, customers can barely move. The JCPenney lacks many departments that other JC Penneys have, that haven’t got as much volume as the South Portland store.I heard that at one time, JCPenney was planning to expand, but I guess that is not going to happen.
    According to mall officials, however, neither Crate & Barrel nor Nordstrom’s decisions not to come were based on the trash situation. This past weekend I was down at the “Natick Collection”, also owned by General Growth. The trash outside is equally as bad a problem as the Maine Mall; even with high-end stores like Neiman Marcus, and Nordstrom. On top of that, Natick has no customers in their high-end wing. The Neiman employees were waiting on each other. I am NOT kidding; my friend and I were the only two customers we could see on the entire floor while we were there! Maybe one can blame the economy right now for the cutbacks on trash pickup. But, I do agree with the above message; the trash problem has been going on for a long long time. I also hope that Stroudwater Place comes to pass. And you know…if Jason Snyder happens to run into difficulty getting tenants (he claims he already has some prospects), perhaps some Maine Mall stores will jump ship and move over there once their leases expire. It would serve the Maine Mall management right!

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  180. I was planning to go to Maine (not anymore since my father got fired and me and my mother are the only ones working, i had to cancel my trip) i am trying to go to every macy’s in the US but i was wondering, is there a restaurant in the Maine Mall Macy’s, or am i imagining it? Also, it;s sad that a lot of stores are closing, not only at MM but at countless other malls, such as LNT, how sad :( but hopefuly they can open a Nordstrom Rack! :)

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  181. At one time, the second floor Macy’s DID have a restaurant, and a bakery. You could smell the aroma of their bread baking. But it’s not there any more. Actually, Macy’s took the restaurant out. It was there when the store was still Jordan Marsh.

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  182. It was called The Bakery at Macy’s before it closed. The store leased out the space to a lady. She still sold the “Jordan Marsh Muffins” until her supplier of batter finally retired. It would get mixed and frozen in Massachusetts and shipped up here. The Boston Globe had a story on it a couple of years ago.

    The department stores at The Maine Mall, like most, own their own buildings and the land underneath them. Therefore, mall management most likely doesn’t have the authority to make them install lighter weight doors, for example.

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  183. I was at the mall yesterday and discovered that Forever 21 no longer has guy’s clothing, I’m thinking that it was just that store because its still available on their website.

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  184. An article in the paper on March 20 stated that the new mall manager would begin full-time on April 1st. Apparently he does not put up with empty stores, and according to the article, he would have 93 percent of the under 40,000 square feet stores filled by the end of summer. Zumiez, the famous surf and skateboarding store, has been signed, as well as the very nice Brighton Collectibles. Words is as well that several tenants have been discussing dividing up the Linens N Things space. It’s nice to hear that while a GGP mall is Louisiana is being foreclosed upon, and that the very large Providence Place mall is for sale, the Maine Mall is still continuing to do well, maybe not at the pace it once was, but at least well enough to be attracting interested tenants. Cudos to the manager as well, for working to fill up the empty spaces, most of which, by the way, were left by retailers that closed nationwide, not just here.

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  185. I have heard that GYMBOREE is moving to a brand new home, between POTTERY BARN and BANANA REPUBLIC. While preparations are being made, GYMBOREE is temporarily setting up shop just to the right of RITZ CAMERA. Their old location across from COACH will be taken by BRIGHTON COLLECTIBLES, so I’ve heard. I’m happy to see that good quality stores are still coming despite the recession, and work is being done to fill the empty spaces with retailers that Southern Maine shoppers will enjoy.

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  186. Speaking of Ritz Camera.Ritz Camera has filed Chapter 11.
    http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_11765886
    Will they survive?

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  187. What did Linens N Things used to be?

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  188. What did Linens N Things used to be?

    Woolworth’s.

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  189. dELIA’S has its signs up. They’ll be located where the Disney Store used to be. They’ve been working since February, when they took out their building permit. So that makes four stores that have at least signed leases. But the Maine Mall still has a long way to go to become competitive with other malls across the country that supposedly are as successful. I think before they can attract quality merchants such as CRATE & BARREL or NORDSTROM,they need to clean up the piles of trash outside. I spend a great deal of time at many shopping malls along the East Coast, and this one is about the least attractive from the outside; thousands and thousands of cigarette butts, paper, and trash collected all winter and never cleaned up. The parking lot is a disgrace with all the potholes, and the sand that still hasn’t been disposed of. GGP may be bankrupt, but they’re still adding more and more to their NATICK COLLECTION – their CHRISTIANA MALL in Delaware has added a new NORDSTROM, plus SEPHORA and about 10 more stores are being added on by next year. As usual, Maine is at the end of the food chain, or so it seems. But perhaps by summer, with the new manager and all, we’ll start to see signs of improvement. Is the old FILENE’S going to be torn down? It makes me so sad to see it just sitting there, while in Peabody, Burlington, and even little WIlmington Delaware we’re seeing NORDSTROM fill all of these spaces. We could support so much more than we have so easily, but we have no one here who pushes hard enough to give Maine shoppers the choices that others have.

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  190. I was at the mall this evening and noticed that Teavana is finally coming. They are opening in the location next to Godiva that Crabtree & Evelyn formerly occupied.

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  191. GYMBOREE has its signs up; taking the location between POTTERY BARN and BANANA REPUBLIC. ZUMIEZ has its sign up as well, in the old HALLMARK location. With BRIGHTON COLLECTIBLES, dELIA’s, and TEAVANA, the MAINE MALL is at least looking like something is going on. The outside still looks messy, but inside the new stores are coming – certainly a lot better than the mall in Manchester NH, where I counted 12 empty spaces, as of Memorial Day, and nothing new being announced. It’s even worse at the FOX RUN MALL in Newington NH. So for all the complaining I seem to do about South Portland, I should be thankful for what we have!

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  192. JF: How bad is Fox Run? I was considering going down this summer because I haven’t been there since 2006. Worth the tolls?

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  193. To CE,
    FOX RUN does have a HOLLISTER, which the MAINE MALL does not have, but then again, Bangor has a HOLLISTER too, so it’s just a matter of time before we get one here. Aside from that, there would be, for me or for young shoppers, no reason to choose FOX RUN over South Portland. Besides the many vacancies there, I’m noticing a lot of mom-and-pop stores moving in, which, although good for mom-and-pop and good for those who support local business, seem to give the impression that they’re having trouble attracting more popular national retailers. I would say that if you’re looking for no-tax, any of the other three Southern New Hampshire Malls; Rockingham Park, Pheasant Lane, or the smaller Mall of New Hampshire all have better selections at this time than FOX RUN. It would not be worth the tolls for me.

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  194. If you’re looking for no tax shopping and plan on mostly clothing purchases go to Massachusetts.

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  195. Do you think the former Waldenbooks might become a Holister?

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  196. I agree with Jutty. When I lived in Connecticut, many shoppers there also came up to Massachusetts for clothing purchases. Besides, the malls in Burlington, Natick, and Peabody all have Nordstrom (although I’ve heard many are disappointed with the small size of the Nordstrom stores) and other specialty shops that New Hampshire, even Rockingham, Park, does not have. A while ago I asked the former manager of the mall if Hollister could go in the very spot where Waldenbooks was, and he said that presently that location isn’t too attractive because there’s so little foot traffic in that wing. It’s hard to be the first store to go in there, unless there’s a host of other stores moving in as well, such as in the Linens N Things space. But if they could divide up the Linens N Things space with prestigious retailers and/or restaurants, then I think the Waldenbooks space would be more marketable. Recently a barricade was placed in front of the Waldenbooks space, but I don’t think that means they’ve found a tenant for it. As of the first of June, I think the four new stores coming (Brighton Collectibles, Zumiez, Teavana, and dELIA’s, plus the new Gymboree) are all they have at the moment. Before the year is up, however, I’ll bet we’ll see more additions.

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  197. Zumiez opened on Wednesday June 24. Brighton Collectibles is supposed to open on July 10. Delias looks like it will be soon. When I was at the mall yesterday the store was still empty and the front still has some work to be finished. I’m not sure about Teavana.

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  198. deliA’s and TEAVANA’s barricades have come down; looking forward to the Maine Mall having two more stores that are popular elsewhere. It’s good to see the empty spaces filling up again.
    I read that Jason Snyder, who is developing the Stroudwater Place Lifestyle Center in Westbrook, is having trouble financing his project in this tough economy. Though I think his idea is a good one, and it signifies the direction that retail seems to be going throughout the country, now is the time for GGP to make a strong effort to go after the major stores we need to make the Maine Mall a true destination mall. I would love to see the Philbrook Road side of the mall become the new main entrance, with Nordstrom in the place of the old Filene’s, and perhaps Crate & Barrel in the Linens N Things location. I heard it said that Nordstrom turned South Portland down because they wanted more visibility. But, what I can’t figure out is…what’s so attractive about Maine Mall Road? A cookie-cutter Best Buy, a tired, 40-year old Macy’s, and a Sears that’s half the size that it should be? Why not make the other side of the mall the new grand entrance, with a few good restaurants, like California Pizza Kitchen, or P.F. Chang’s, Cheesecake Factory, or Ted’s Montana Grille? As I have said before, it seems to me that if GGP waits too long, the economy will improve, and ultimately, Stroudwater Place will become the main shopping destination for Maine……..
    which, in my opinion, would be great….but for now, The Maine Mall is all we have, so why not work a bit harder to make it better than it is?

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  199. You can still mail letters from the Maine Mall, but you need to bring your stamps with you – the machine is gone…..
    ….also gone is the information desk. The people who recently worked there were all extremely polite, informed, and professional. It’s sad that the desk had to close. The mall lost an important part of its staff.

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    Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D) Reply:

    Bet you a million points it’s because of GGP’s bankruptcy…

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    ce Reply:

    @Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D), USPS is not replacing the 20+ year old stamp vending machines. As they break, the working ones are being moved from lower to higher traffic locations. New machines would need better bill acceptors and other upgrades that were ruled to be cost ineffective with the declines in the need for stamps. GGP is not to blame for this one. Eventually. all the postage vending machines will be gone.

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    Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D) Reply:

    …I meant the lack of an information booth was GGP’s fault.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D),

    Paramus Park also closed there info desk. Infact they had moved it to the end of a side hallway where you would never find it. Only security new where it was.

    Real smart GGP, what are you doing? That isn’t the way to keep customers coming back.

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  200. The Barricade in front of Delia’s was gone by June 24th.

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  201. The closures of these information desks are not limited to GGP. CBL Properties has been taking their information desks away from most of their malls as well as a cost cutting measure. They’re allowing individual stores to rent strollers to patrons and letting the security guards handle customer service calls, which I think is ridiculous.

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    Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D) Reply:

    I was at Richland Mall a few weeks ago. The customer service desk was replaced with kiddie strollers, and the map had not been updated (Cozzoli’s Pizza was now “Anna’s Pizza”, kind of like Sunrise Mall’s “Orange Creations”)

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  202. Delia’s and Brighton Collectibles are now open.

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  203. Yesterday’s Portland Press Herald 7/16 had a 3/4 page ad for NORDSTROM.The closest NORDSTROM is @ the Northshore Mall.

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    Caldor Reply:

    @Bob, The Northshore Mall is only an hour and a half away though; that’s totally within reach for people in the Portland area who want to take a trip on a weekend day for some serious shopping. I used to work for a retailer in the vicinity of Northshore Mall and we got a lot of people down from Maine, mostly on weekends.

    And they very well may be trying to build up brand image in anticipation of opening a store in the Portland market…

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  204. I hate to dash anyone’s hopes about a NORDSTROM in Maine, but I think the ad was for NORTHSHORE’S sake. As CALDOR said, NORTHSHORE is very within reach from Southern Maine and New Hampshire.. People from here used to go to NORTHSHORE all the time for their shopping before JORDAN MARSH opened their store, and the mall was built out from that. NORDSTROM is very particular and methodical about its future stores, and if you go their website, they have all their future stores until 2012 all mapped out as to month and the day they’ll be opening. There’s no Maine or New Hampshire on the list; in New England, just a NORDSTROM RACK in Framingham, and a full NORDSTROM store at the SOUTHSHORE MALL in Braintree. The developer of the STROUDWATER PLACE project in Westbrook claimed he would bring NORDSTROM there, but so far, I would be surprised if he had one single tenant lined up, since his project has been delayed by the recession. He says by fall, the markets would improve, so maybe by then more stores will be eager to come. I certainly think this market can support a NORDSTROM, and probably one will come both to here and to New Hampshire (most probably to the MALL AT ROCKINGHAM PARK) in the future. By the way, although I haven’t been to the NORDSTROM at NORTHSHORE, I went to the one at BURLINGTON MALL, which is a larger, more high-end mall, and I thought the NORDSTROM was very tiny, with not that many departments OR customers the day I was there, and the mall itself was crowded. From listening to customers, I don’t think many were impressed, either. I hope if we get one, it’s nicer than that. As for our MAINE MALL now, the LINENS N THINGS space apparently isn’t going to be filled for awhile, because GOBEIL’S FURNITURE is going to open a gallery there. I’m not sure if the intent is for this to be a permanent store, or just temporary. Certainly GOBEIL’S sells very high-quality furniture, but since they already have a nice store, and since this is not the type of business one usually sees in a mall, it gives you the impression that not much is going on in the SEARS wing. On the other hand, with deliA’s, BRIGHTON COLLECTIBLES, and ZUMIEZ all open, and TEAVANA coming very soon, the MACY’S wing and the center wing between ZALES all the way down to the food court have built up quite an impressive array of higher-end choices in the last couple of years. The food court, unfortunately, is in a completely different class altogether…….

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  205. Teavana opens Thrusday morning, July 23.

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  206. Lindt Chocolate was slated to close last month due to GGP’S bankruptcy filing. hey renegotiated their lease to stay through the holidays.

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  207. RITZ CAMERA is closing their MAINE MALL location. I have noticed that many other malls have closed their RITZ CAMERA stores as well, so this one did well to hang on as long as it did. That space also has an empty one next to it, so the mall may wish to bring down the wall to make a larger store there. I know WILLIAMS/SONOMA was going to take part of that spot at one time. Although I feel badly for employees who will lose their jobs over the stores’ closures, I think for the mall’s sake, there a quite a lot of spaces that could potentially do better with a different store in that location. For example, a friend of mine went with me to RITZ CAMERA, and asked for a lens of some kind, only to be told rudely that it’s not being made any more. We went to WALMART and they had the very lens she was looking for, which she knew had not been discontinued. So if one can get the same product elsewhere, (with more courteous service, I might add) my feeling is it would be better if the mall added tenants that weren’t repeats of what we already have. The same is true with LINDT – We already have HAVEN’S, LEN LIBBY, and GODIVA; how many more chocolates do we need? There are plenty of retailers other cities our size enjoy, but we haven’t got, and could easily support. I hope some of them come to fill these new empty spaces. I was also informed that the mall is negotiating with tenants for the LINENS N THINGS space,so the GOBEIL’S FURNITURE is temporary, apparently.

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  208. As of July 31, 2009, ZALES is closed. They had plans to close 115 stores, so I guess it’s no surprise. It’s a good location, so mabye something more high-profile can locate there. Change can be a good thing! The mall certainly is changing!

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  209. There is still Hanoush, Kay and G. M. Pollock, and then Jared outside the mall.

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  210. For those MAINE MALL patrons who miss THE DREAM MACHINE, there’s good news – a new arcade place is going to open soon in the food court area. There are rumors that eventually, when the economy improves, that the MAINE MALL will eliminate their food court altogether and replace it with more sit-down, self-contained restaurants. But that’s a long time into the future, and for now, the food court is attracting NOTHING, so this will at least pay the rent, and make the former DREAM MACHINE customers happy!

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    AceJay Reply:

    @JF, Hahaha, are you serious? Do you have any source on this info, and do you know what chain will be moving in or if this will just be your mom-and-pop independant arcade?

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  211. This evening I was just thinking of stores that were in the mall at one time and trying to remember where they used to be, and what is where they are now. I do remember there was at one time a comic book store where Express now is and wonders if anyone else remembers it. When I was in high school I remember there being a Friendly’s and a The Athlete’s Foot but I don’t remember where they were. Lindt Chocolates used to be Glamour Shots. Does anyone remember where Express was before they moved to their current location? What about Natural Wonders and Lechters?

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    Alex Steed Reply:

    @Jutty – I believe that place was called Moonshadow Comics? The owner (or manager?) now works at Casablanca Comics in Portland. I bought my first comic from that place.

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  212. AceJay,
    I don’t have any source; I just walk the mall a lot for exercise, and I saw the sign for the arcade on a window in the food court. They actually have moved a few game machines in, and I think the sign says something about having classic video games from 1979-2009. Some of the arcades look old that I can see, but there are no lights on yet, and part of it is behind the curtains. But it’s coming! It probably will bring in a lot of business.

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  213. By the way, in an article from the Press Herald, the new Maine Mall manager said as he began his job,that the empty spaces 40,000 square feet and under would be filled by the end of summer. He has about 3 weeks to fill 11 spaces. Good luck.

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    Jutty Reply:

    @JF, I guess it depends on whats considered the end of the summer, Labor Day weekend, which is in 4 weeks, or the Autumnal Equinox about 2.5 weeks later.

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  214. @Arcade: Post some pics when it’s open, please!
    @Filling spaces: Wow, good luck. That will be pretty hard to do without getting small local businesses to move in. 3 weeks isn’t enough time for many people to make a full move.

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  215. The new arcade’s name is TWILIGHT ZONE FAMILY ARCADE, featuring games from 1979-2009

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  216. I do a lot of exercise walking in the mall, and often hear rumors about new stores coming in. Apparently there are quite a few new ones that are negotiating, one of which is rumored to be a retailer that will be a major draw; one that will surprise and wow many! The mall indeed has more than its share of empty spaces, but it should be noted that the empty spaces were occupied by retailers that either closed ALL of their locations nationwide, or were retailers that were unexciting, and whose space could be better suited by something else. I myself don’t miss any of the closed stores, except for Filene’s and the wonderful Ginger Pad. So even if they’re not all filled by the end of summer, I guess it’s better to wait a little longer and have this mall be a major destination once more.

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  217. There’s a new restaurant at the former Ginger Pad .It’s called Asian Garden Express.It looks like it just opened today.They also have Smoothies. Virtually no changes to the interior.The menu isn’t bad.Pretty reasonable prices.It looks like it could be temporary,maybe operated by one of the other food court restaurants.

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  218. I spoke to one of the employees at the ASIAN GARDEN EXPRESS. To me, it sounds like a great place. He told me that the company is looking to franchise, but for now, this was the only location. They have a regular menu and an express menu, from which you can choose two items for lunch. As Bob said, the prices look good, and this week, I plan to give them a try! They let me take a menu with me.
    Also, the TWILIGHT ZONE arcade place was open today. I counted 15 old second hand arcade games in there. They weren’t even lined up evenly against the wall. When I walked by, there were three people in there, with one woman waiting for her son to finish, obviously looking bored. When I walked by the second time, no one was in there. I’m not sure, but I think the ASIAN GARDEN intends to be permanent, but there’s not enough excitement in TWILIGHT ZONE to take it seriously; right now it’s about as exciting as a root canal.

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    Gary Reply:

    @JF, it doesn’t surprise me that there weren’t many people in the arcade. The late weekend could’ve been a factor as kids like to congregate in these places during Friday and Saturday nights. Arcades aren’t really big draws in this day and age unless they are in the scale of a Dave & Busters. The novelty of these places have died out since the early 90s.

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  219. Lamey-Wellahan just signed a lease for a space at Payne Road Plaza accross from the old Wal-Mart.Another blow to the Sears wing if they move out of the mall.That’s probobly one of the busiest stores in that wing.

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  220. I wonder if the mall has big plans for that wing, and are simply not renewing leases of stores in the Sears wing? I read in some business blog that there are several stores close to signing new leases. Some of them HAVE to be in that wing, and it was mentioned that one of them was a “WOW” tenant. So, my guess would be if they can get one major attraction down there, it would be enough to bring others in, and with Lamey-Wellehan’s space open, it means another good store to move in. I heard from employees that the last two weekends with all the rain translated to big numbers in the mall. With the higher-end stores apparently doing quite well, it should be an inspiration for others to follow. You have to hope……

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  221. Well there’s still stores that aren’t represented at Maine Mall, one of them being Hollister. Usually when there’s upscale stores in a certain mall, others will follow. What the mall needs is a destination anchor, like a Nordstrom. The former Filene’s space could be the new home of a Nordstrom. The former Linens-N-Things would also be large enough for an LL Bean. It also needs some upscale restaurants like the Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang’s.

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  222. Perhaps the “WOW” tenant they’re talking about is a restaurant. From what I hear in the mall, the manager is very quiet on what new plans there are, which is a good thing, because it prevents untrue rumors from spreading. You have to be grateful for the new stores that have arrived in the last two years – Banana Republic, Apple, Teavana, Coldwater Creek, Cache, The Walking Company, Brighton Collectibles, deLiA;s,XXI Forever, H & M, Zumiez, plus the stores that have renovated, such as Bath and Body Works, American Eagle, Spencer’s, FYE, and Gymboree. That center corridor, for the most part, is a great improvement. But then you have to look at the awful food court and the dead Sears wing and see how far there is to go. Wouldn’t it be nice to see Philbrook Rd, in back of the mall, turned into a lovely tree-lined boulevard without that dangerous curve, and what is now the back of the mall turned into a new front entrance? I was told NORDSTROM wanted a high presence, and that meant exposure from the Maine Mall Road side. At present, what’s so attractive about that? All you see is that ugly Best Buy, an outdated Macy’s, and the most crowded, clutter-filled Sears I have ever shopped in. I think with the back of the mall redone as a front entrance, JC Penney could move into the former Filene’s, and the present JC Penney could be torn down and replaced with a new NORDSTROM – then the food court could be demolished and new sit down restaurants like California Pizza Kitchen, PF Chang’s, Ted’s Montana Grille,and Cheesecake Factory could go there. It’s sad that so many shopping centers across the country, in smaller and poorer markets then Portland, have so much more retail choices to offer. I know of so many people who still travel out of state to find decent clothes for their certain age group. Hopefully in a couple of years, we’ll see improvement here. Some say this mall is doing well for what it has; others say something needs to be done quickly because the mall is in trouble. I don’t know who to believe. But if this area were so poor and remote, why is COACH doing so well? Why would CABELA’S choose this area over hundreds of others, knowing that L.L.BEAN, their strong competitor, was already here? Being optimistic, I think we have loads of untapped potential here.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @JF, while I understand your reasoning for replacing the food court with several sit down restaurants, some people prefer the convenience of a fast food establishment because they don’t want to pay an arm and a leg to eat at the Cheesecake Factory or the California Pizza Kitchen. Where would you put these fast food places? Scatter them throughout the mall perhaps?

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    Gary Reply:

    @JF, and if Sears has a clutter problem and they have a ground settling issue that prevents them from expanding their store, then maybe they should relocate to the former Filene’s space with an Auto Center building built as an outparcel and then the Sears building could be demolished. After the ground has been stabilized, then that could be the new home of a Nordstrom, which would be within view of the intersection of Philbrook and Maine Mall Rds.

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  223. This likely hasn’t been brought upon, but has GGP ever proposed adding a second floor to the mall? The mall is already big enough as it is, but a second floor would open the door to new retailers. That would of course require the need for a number of parking garages, like at Natick Collection. If a Nordstrom is built, certain luxury stores would subsequently follow. These could include such names as Louis Vuitton, Tiffany and Co., Juicy Couture, Gucci, etc. What you don’t want to do though is alienate the existing shopper, the common middle class folk who are used to shopping at Sears, JCPenney, PacSun, American Eagle, Payless Shoes, etc. What were seeing here is a mix between the lower end, middle end and upper end stores and that’s a good thing, because there’s a little something for everyone.

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    JF Reply:

    @Gary, good question;I have asked in this blog before if anyone knows why a second floor has never been considered. I know that Sears is on unstable land, but three anchor stores have second stories, so maybe it could be done. I agree that if the high-end stores do start arriving, the mid range ones need to stay, because even in Natick where the really expensive stores are, shoppers still prefer the old wing to the expensive new one. If we had a second floor here, I would prefer to see the stores in a mix, rather than to put all the high-end ones in one corner. As for the food court, I say too bad if people like to eat fast food junk. Most quality malls are eliminating their food courts. There’s nothing in that food court that’s worth keeping for me. Mrs Field’s, Amato’s, and Ben & Jerry’s can find new homes in the mall, but the rest? Scrap ‘em.

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  224. A second floor had been considered before the mall was sold to GGP. The problem is there is not enough land to offer ground parking and a garage would have to be built. Allegedly, that would be disproportionally expensive on the cost / benefit side which is why S.R. Weiner never moved forward on that.

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  225. It’s probably not a priority in Maine for us to have an attractive mall. Most people, including myself, don’t care enough to lose any sleeep over it. Certainly from the management point of view, having an attractive place to shop is not a priority. But for those who love to shop there, and think it’s got everything, you need to get in your car and travel about 210 miles to Connecticut to the Westfarms Mall in Farmington. Yes, it’s near Hartford, which does not have Portland’s reputation as a liveable city, but one thing the Hartford area DOES have is one hell of a nice mall. This mall is EVERYTHING the Maine Mall is not. The management does not allow stores to be vacant longer than a week. They don’t allow trashy merchandise to placed out in the mall corridor, as SEARS at the Maine Mall is doing now. They have an information desk with real people working there. There are new stores opening all the time, and the mall announces them. They have landscaping that is beyond belief. Here, we’re lucky if anyone cleans the debris out of the bushes even once all summer. It’s really a disgrace what Maine people put up with, and what we accept as normal. If I did my job the way GGP has done with our mall for the past two years, I wouldn’t HAVE a job. GGP may be broke, but they’re spending plenty of the money they say they don’t have on some of their other “BABIES”, and ignoring Maine. So what else is new? Hasn’t Maine been at the end of the food chain forever now? Still is!!!! Year after year goes by, and the same empty spaces linger on. Soon, Lamey-Wellehan’s empty space will grace the Sears wing, and I am 991/2 per cent sure there’s NO ONE to fill that empty space. At this point, I find it hard to believe that anyone at GGP is even trying. If they paid so much for this mall, and said it was in their top ten percent, why did they buy it and turn it into dust? I can’t help hoping, but the more I go over there, the more discouraged I get. Especially when I see that just a few miles farther south, there is management who cares about their clientele. Not here. Not here.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @JF, the point is Taubman knows how to run their malls, that’s why they don’t own 200 of them like GGP or Simon. Same goes with Macerich.

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    JF Reply:

    @Gary, so true. How I wish Taubman had bought this one. It would have made all the difference in the world.

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  226. The Maine Mall is promising us a “WOW” tenant, according to the manager. I wonder if it’s this new massage place that’s about to open next to the exciting calendar store! The massage sign looks like it was made by a group of 2nd graders – I’m really excited over this! (YAWN)
    I wanted to buy my friend a mall gift card. I work two jobs, so I can’t be there until after 6:30. Since there’s no information desk to get one, and the mall office closes at 5, and it’s not open until Saturday, I’m out of luck unless I want to order online. But GGP insists that this is an IMPROVEMENT…Right.
    I’m curious as to whether the mall manager reads these blogs. Does he know that at one time, this was one of the top ten dollars-per-square-foot malls in the country? I watched this mall under construction way back in 1971, was there for the grand opening, and although our metro population has increased by over 100,000 since then, the number of shoppers in the mall has dropped incredibly. Who wants to shop there? Sears has more of its rummage sale garbage out in the corridors, the driveways and the sidewalks are all crumbling, the cigarette butts and newspapers are still gathered all around the bushes, and the Sears wing and Filene’s are still empty, along with the space next to Best Buy, five spaces in the food court, and the two spaces next to Picture People. To me, the whole thing screams “Stay away. There’s NOTHING goin on here.” Believe me, there isn’t anything going on there. It wouldn’t be so bad if you could say GGP is cutting back on all of their centrers. but they continue to spend money on the white-elephant-Italian-designer-wing in Natick, and many other places that don’t have half the potential our mall has. It makes me sick to see our Maine Mall go downhill. It’s just so obvious that the management cares nothing about this mall, or for that matter, the employees who make their living by working there.

    [Reply]

  227. That was a typo – my mistake – I meant the mall office closes at 5, and is NOT open Saturday. Sorry for the error. Heaven forbid the office would be open Saturday!!!!

    [Reply]

  228. There’s 5 vacancies in the food court? How many tenants are left in it?

    [Reply]

  229. I consider a vacancy to be the same as a temporary store. So you take CINNABON, OLIVIA’ S SALAD, the place at the end that used to be the Sports Collectibles store, the space next to it that’s a temporary arcade place, and the Asian restaurant that has NO customers that I am positive will soon once again be vacant, you have 5. The problem is when this mall malls closes stores, the spaces either stay vacant for years at a time, or are replaced with cheap temporary stores such as a calendar store, the new “Massage” place, or the “Go Games”, or Gobeil’s furniture warehouse, or “Ambience”, or “Halloween Heaven”, or “A Christmas To Remember” – the list goes on and on. For people who are truly interested in the retail sector and do research on “dead malls”, these temporary stores give the impression that management is either unable or unmotivated to find upscale national retailers to fill those spaces. The more of these ugly temp stores there are, it obviously means that the mall is in trouble. From the middle corridor to the MACY’S end that are doing well with a great mix of retailers, I don’t think the MAINE MALL is in deep trouble yet. But if a high-quality national retailer were to take a mall tour, walking past all the vacancies and temporary stores, no one is going to want to locate in any of the three dead zones, limiting any chance for growth or improvement. As far as the FILENE’S wing, the SEARS wing, and the food court are concerned, the longer these cheap temporary stores remain, it will impossible to restore what once was without a major renovation, which I feel it needs, but have doubts GGP lists as a priority with the economy still down.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @JF, I gotcha, but what is your take on local mom and pop shops at the mall? These stores aren’t temporary shops but are actually established shops that have been in the mall for at least two or three years, except that they are locally owned? My mall has a number of these shops along with such upscale names as Ann Taylor Loft, Talbots and Helzberg Diamonds and they actually took the time to invest some money into blending in with the other stores rather than throwing up some tacky letters and calling themselves a store.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Gary, the MAINE MALL has a couple of stores that fit that description. One of them is RAVE-X, a motorsport performance outfitter that’s built up a very successful business selling specialized merchandise that no one else in the mall offers. Their decor is anything but “temporary”; their signs and displays are very attractive, and when I walk by, they’re always quite busy; busier than a lot of the chains. I believe they opened a second store in the FOX RUN MALL in New Hampshire (although FOX RUN is in no position to negotiate with major retailers) so for them, RAVE-X is a great addition. In the MAINE MALL, they’re next to COLDWATER CREEK. Another good local tenant is AMATO’S, home of the original Italian sandwich, a Portland tradition for over a century. One of their many restaurants, AMATO’S food is always fresh, and one cannot say that about many of the other greasy places in the food court. LAMEY-WELLEHAN was downtown for years and years, and has branch stores in the Portland area. Their shoe store has been in the mall since it opened. They’ll be leaving for a new location soon, but they have done the mall proud with their beautiful store. So yes, local stores such as those give our mall character and individuality, and it’s a privilege to have them here. But when a wave of “temporary” stores open, for me that’s something entirely different. When that happens, it gives the impression no one is interested in the mall any longer, and this has an adverse effect on local shops and national retailers alike.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @JF, I’ve never heard of Rave-X but that would probably be my kind of store since I’m into motocross… we have a store like that in our mall called Rock Star which sells similar clothing but they also specialize in band tees and other music merchandise.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Gary, another local one at the MAINE MALL is DOWNEAST ART and FRAMING. I’ve had so many pictures done there, and they have a huge selection of art work, much of which is of a local nature. They are located in a highly desirable corridor, mixed in with some high-end national tenants.

    [Reply]

  230. Anyone have any idea who this “WOW” tenant might be?

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Dan, it’s very possible that all the deals for these new tenants have fallen through. After all, this was the manager that promised that all the spaces would be filled by the end of the summer. I’m assuming now that he must have meant they would be filled with temporary stores. So, maybe we can hope for BUBBA’S WICKER WORLD? or maybe a branch of LINDA BEAN’S PERFECT LOBSTER ROLL. I heard that Marden’s taking over the Scarborough Wal-Mart is not a done deal. Maybe they could look at the LINENS n THINGS space for MARDEN’S SURPLUS SHOWCASE. At the rate I see this mall going, these would be GOOD choices.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @JF, When Walmart in Waterville built a new supercenter, Marden’s moved into the old Walmart building. I don’t think the Linens n things space is large enough.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Jutty, I was just being sarcastic. And even though I’m growing impatient with all the empty spaces at the mall, I am quite sure the management is working on filling them with highly respectable tenants. I was simply commenting on the SLOWNESS it takes GGP to fill them.

    [Reply]

  231. Hello! I just want to know if shopping centers in USA will be opened on october 12 because they will be closed in Quebec! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @Cassandra, Yes they will be open, They will be closed November 26.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Cassandra, that weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving.

    [Reply]

  232. The mall has not looked this old, tired, or UGLY in years. Gobeil’s still has its furniture, nice that it is, but we need the space for something better, at Linens n Things. The temporary stores are probably permanent as of now. Sears still has its garage sale out in the main corridor, with barely anyone down there to notice. Since early summer, nothing new has been added, and there’s not any signs up indicating anything coming. This is what holiday shoppers have to look forward to?I can’t for the life of me understand why GGP has plans to renovate so many of its other malls, but allows ours to rot into the ground, especially since they paid so much for it, and STILL maintain that this is one of their top dollar malls. On a positive note, it’s easy to walk for exercise, because you rarely encounter people to slow you down. Aside from Amato’s, there’s not even one single place to get fresh, healthy food. Tried the new place called Asian Garden, that replaced the wonderful Ginger Pad? You’ve been warned.

    [Reply]

  233. Cracker Barrel is going to be coming in 2010 behind the Wyndham Hotel adjacent to Toys R Us.

    Go to Malonecb.com and search 363 Maine Mall Rd

    [Reply]

  234. There’s a nice little BORDERS EXPRESS in the mall until after Christmas. It would have been nice if they had replaced WALDENBOOKS but at the time WALDENBOOKS closed, the intent was apparently to subdivide its space and put a couple of new stores. But maybe BORDERS would consider a slightly larger EXPRESS location if this one is successful. The ZALES location has a lovely temporary store called THE GALLERY. The exciting works of art there are about three steps lower than the dogs playing cards or velvet Elvis. Just loving those temporary stores – and speaking of WALDENBOOKS, their location is now CHRISTMAS MAGIC. So much for magic.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @JF, so the Borders Express store is part of the wave of closures across the country? Maybe they should kick out Gobeil’s and bring in a Barnes & Noble to fill in the former Linens n Things space since the nearest one is about an hour away.

    [Reply]

    CE Reply:

    @Gary, Barnes & Noble is supposed to be a tenant for the postponed Maine Mall Commons. MMC is across the street from the mall on GGP owned property. A seven screen cinema used to be there. There is a Borders in the mall parking lot however, it is on land owned by Macy’s.

    The Borders Express would be a temporary store. The Waldenbooks was closed rather than converted.

    [Reply]

  235. Maybe it’s the malls owned by GGP, but in other cities with malls owned by other companies, the new stores seem to be moving in. I guess I don’t understand the retail business, but I can’t for the life of me figure out why there are so many temp stores here when there are scores of mid-range stores that I have HEARD in the past that would love to locate here. I would just like to know if the lack of new stores stems from our remote Maine location, or if it’s bankrupt GGP, or if it’s our manager who is interested only in temporary stores. While I think that GOODWILL coming to the old CIRCUIT CITY, and MARDEN’S moving into the old WAL-MART are much more sensible than the high-end waste at the NATICK COLLECTION, the Maine Mall could be a very nice location for mid-range stores such as j jill, J CREW, SEPHORA, HOLLISTER, RESTORATION HARDWARE,and restaurants like CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN, or CHEESECAKE FACTORY. Are these retailers adding locations anywhere else? Or is it just Maine that’s being left out? It would also be nice to have a decent SEARS, or a JCPenney with departments found in other JCPenney stores. We really lack a lot of what other malls; many of which are in smaller markets in Portland, have had for years.

    [Reply]

  236. I’ve heard rumors of a couple of new additions to the mall after the holidays – one that ladies will enjoy, and another a very entertaining fast food place. Will have to wait and see……

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    @B2263, Can you be a little more specific? I hope the fast food place your talking about is a Sonic! =)

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @Dan, Not Sonic.

    [Reply]

    N Reply:

    @B2263, why tease us and just leave it at that? I could come on here all day and say I hear about this and that but not get into specifics but what good would that do? lol

    [Reply]

  237. I was in the mall yesterday and it looks like theres somthing going in where Olivia Saled used to be in the food court. I wonder whats its going to be? Any Ideas?

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @Dan, according to my boss Johnny Rockets will go there. the lease has already been signed and should open in May 2010.
    Also, believe it or not McDonalds will be closing by the end of this month. I couldn’t believe it either, but we heard directly from the source.

    [Reply]

  238. I heard it was Green Mountain Coffee Roasters.

    [Reply]

  239. Oh, well Green Mountain Coffee roasters will be great!

    [Reply]

  240. Ben & Jerry’s closed.

    [Reply]

  241. I’ve heard that several more food places are slated to close soon. I’ve also heard that they need to push out a few walls to make space for the food place on the end. From what I’ve heard, it’s not Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. It’s much more fun than that, but I’ll believe it when I see it. From what people are saying, the food court will be quite different in the next few years. Look for changes in the vicinity of “The Picture People” and the massage place. Something’s gonna happen there.

    [Reply]

    Dan Reply:

    @B2263, I’M DIEING TO KNOW! Lol, why cant you just tell us what is? After I read your first comment I research “fun fast food restraunts” and I really couldn’t find anything that would locate its self it Maine any time soon that I would call “fun” Is they’re anyway you can just tell us what it might be?

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @B2263, When you say fun, Rainforest Cafe comes to mind.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Jutty, Rainforest Cafe fun? What are you smoking!

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @SEAN, I’m assuming that you’ve never heard of Rainforest Cafe then. The enviroment of rainforest cafe is based on the same princeples of bugaboo creek, but more exotic with a jungle theme.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Jutty, Yes, I have been to Rainforest Cafe once when they were at Palisades Center & I hated it. The food was tasteless & was laced with salt. Even Hard Rock Cafe has better food & I’m not exactly a Hard Rock fan either . I’m more a Cheesecake Factory & Planet Hollywood person.

    My favorite eateries are City Limits in White Plains NY & Cafe Bacci in Westbury, on Long Island.

    Like mallguy who posted below, I also enjoy Dave & Busters as well. There are others on my list, but Rainforest isn’t one of them.

    [Reply]

    mallguy Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Rainforest Cafe first opened in the Mall of America, but after opening in Disney World (2 in Disney) opened more restaurants in the US…in the NYC area, Menlo, Palisades and Jersey Gardens (maybe the Source). Menlo is the only one left

    There was also a “poor man’s Rainforest Cafe” in Oxford Valley Malll…can’t remember the name of it. It is now a Forever 21.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @mallguy, There was a Rainforest Cafe at The Source in Westbury. It lasted about Three years if that long. Now it is an H & M & a large one at that.

    At Menlo Park a few years ago, outside the Rainforest Cafe location there was something going on. I don’t know if it was careless on maintnence or something related to RC. An opaque oilly substance that was extremely slippery spilled on the floor. When I hit it down I went. Luckily nothing happened, but the next person wasn’t so lucky. No sooner then I walked away to notify security of this issue I herd a large thud & sure enough a young woman falls really hard on the same spot. Thankfully she wasn’t siriesly hurt, but need medical atention. Now I walk through there very carefully & I encurrage you & everyone else to do the same.

    [Reply]

  242. I have not heard it’s RAINFOREST CAFE. I haven’t seen any sign of change in the mall, but word is that early next year, a major addition will take place in the food court. For my own personal taste, it’s much more entertaining than RAINFOREST CAFE, but probably not considered quite as upscale. While I think the Maine Mall is slow to add new tenants, I think that next year if the economy gradually improves, we’ll see the changes we’ve been waiting for. Word is the other store will be even more prestigious, but only for the ladies.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @B2263, I was thinking Sephora, but it has men’s also.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @Jutty, I would assume something like Juicy Couture, but that may be a little too high end. Maybe Ann Taylor (they already have the midrange LOFT store) or Talbots?

    [Reply]

  243. Much more exciting than Rainforest Cafe, what about Hard Rock Cafe?

    [Reply]

  244. I’m not sure how “exciting” this would be,but my guess will be

    Johnny Rockets..

    They are probably removing walls so they can do their retro sit down area..

    Makes sense,right?

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @SP, yes u are correct, Johnny Rockets will come to that space around 5/2010. the lease has been signed. also, sad but true. McDonalds will be closing end of January 2010, manager has already confirmed with us. and I cant wait until Sephora comes here.

    [Reply]

  245. It makes sense to me.

    [Reply]

  246. I never knew Sephora had a men’s department. At my age, I guess I could use a touch-up every so often. Maybe in 2010, I’ll be able to!

    [Reply]

  247. The Maine Mall doesn’t look as lively as it did when I last went in 2001. I’m sure there hasn’t been much change from those 07 photos. I’m sure there are even less patrons there now. Last I knew, the big attraction there was Hot Topic, Best Buy and the DDR machines.

    The Auburn Mall seems on its way out and I wish they would do SOMETHING, like replace FYE with Bull Moose. Bull Moose could certainly use more shelf space because the Lewiston Mall space they have is starting to get far too small for the store and we know that all of the other Bull Moose locations are HUGE in comparison.
    It seems like the Marketplace near University of Maine at Augusta is taking away all of Lewiston/Auburn’s business because they are located a mile or so away and have better stores. They also have The Augusta Crossing with Target and Petsmart over on Western Ave. . Auburn really needs to step up their game, a crowded Wal-Mart isn’t enough anymore.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @207Shawdy,
    I couldn’t agree with you more about Auburn. There are more people in Auburn alone than in Augusta, so the Lewiston/Auburn area could easily support what Augusta has. As for the Maine Mall, I think that the success of so many higher-end stores shows the direction GGP wants to progress with it; Although the vacancy rate seems high at this point, none of the stores that have departed, with Filene’s the exception, are to me a great loss. Hopefully the markets will improve, and we’ll see some new retailers, both in the mall and across the street, and if that doesn’t happen, perhaps Jason Snyder’s Stroudwater Place will get off the ground. Some critics assume that Stroudwater Place has been abandoned, since we’re not hearing about it as of late, but it’s still on track. Though Auburn and Augusta are too small to attract Portland customers, the Maine Mall area, with its higher-end stores, hotels, and satellite centers all the way down to Cabela’s, still draw from as far away as Presque Isle and Caribou, because they offer choices that no other market in the state can match.

    [Reply]

  248. It’s been awhile since I’d been to the mall; I didn’t do ANY of my holiday shopping there. I tried to support Portland’s local businesses, so I shopped a great deal in the Old Port, which not just during the holidays but anytime, is the nicest downtown in all New England. But there are changes in the mall – SEPHORA will definitely be arriving this summer, according to a website. GOBEIL’S has closing signs out front,paving the way for a good tenant fo rLINENS N THINGS. BORDERS EXPRESS, which was only temporary, is closing too. I heard that SEPHORA will open in that wing, presumably where BORDERS EXPRESS was, and they’ll no doubt take the massage place next door; maybe PICTURE PEOPLE? Don’t know. MASTER CUTS is moving to the old CINNABON location, and I’m wondering if the old WALDENBOOKS will soon be welcoming a new tenant. After the Christmas temporary store closed, it has a blockade over it as if something is coming. Food court construction hasn’t started yet, but word is that a fun restaurant has indeed signed a lease to be there!

    [Reply]

  249. I was at the mall today and saw that Lady Foot Locker was closing so Sephora will probably be going in that space along with the Border’s express space. I do wonder though if that space will be big enough. I’ve been in 2 or 3 other Sephoras and in my mind the combined space of the Borders Express and Lady Foot Locker seem kind of small compared to the other locations I’ve visited. I wonder if they would go into the former Waldenbooks space? The other thing I noticed, Is Lamey Welleham leaving the mall? The had flyers at the entrance of the store that they now have a new location in that strip mall where the Bull Moose Music Warehouse is. I wish American Apparel would open at the mall. They have one in Burlington VT, and two within a couple blocks of each other on Newbury St in Boston. Why don’t we have one here yet?

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @Jutty, yes, in terms of size, I thought that space would be too small for a SEPHORA as well. That’s just what I’ve heard; that hey are moving into that wing,near BANANA REPUBLIC. I’m thinking that the LAMEY-WELLEHAN space would be a better size for SEPHORA. Certainly if something new moved down there, it would bring a little life to that dead wing. But I, too, have heard that LAMEY-WELLHAN is closing; now they will have to fill the LINENS N THINGS space, as well as WALDENBOOKS. But way back last fall, it was rumored that five major retailers were close to signing leases. I’m only guessing, but now that the changes are seeming to be coming more rapidly, maybe the mall was waiting until after the holidays for the changes, so as not to disrupt holiday shoppers. I hope GGP gets out of its bankrupt state, and invests a little money into this mall. It sure could use a shot in the arm.

    [Reply]

  250. I do think the proposed SEPHORA location is large enough; with LADY FOOT LOCKER gone, that plus the two spaces next to it are indeed quite large, so those who have long waited for a SEPHORA will be happy. I’ve heard that JOHNNY ROCKETS will start construction soon for an opening in May. URBAN BEHAVIOR is closing as well, so if that temporary velvet Elvis store called THE GALLERY closes, a large window of opportunity will appear in that corner. I think January 27 was the last day for LAMEY-WELLEHAN, and GOBEIL’S is also closed and nearly cleaned out. WALDENBOOKS is completely empty, so that wing, whatever happens, is slated to be completely changed. Contrary to what people may think with the slow economy, the employees to whom I have spoken are reporting steady business, particularly in the higher-end stores, proving that Maine shoppers support retailers other than WALMART and MARDEN’S. With so many large spaces available now, hopefully we’ll see more upscale retailers that other markets have enjoyed for years.

    [Reply]

  251. I was at the mall this evening. Master Cuts is now open at the former Cinnabon location. Lamey-Wellehan is still open, and the last day for Urban Behavior is tomorrow.

    [Reply]

  252. ULTA cosmetics is a large retail store and will be coming to the maine mall, job posting is already on craigslist and their website ULTA.com

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @mall employee, what about Sephora, will they be opening a store at the mall?

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @Jutty, yes, even Macy’s employee said Sephora is coming, but not sure when?

    [Reply]

  253. It seems funny that the mall would open two cosmetics places, seemingly at the same time. I’ve been told for months that the location between THE PICTURE PEOPLE and AEROPOSTALE is reserved for SEPHORA. But now I’m wondering….I’m really disappointed if ULTA is the only one coming. They don’t usually locate in malls, from what I’ve seen; they’re in smaller shopping centers close to malls. I know several people in other states who hate the customer service in ULTA, and much prefer the selection and the atmosphere at SEPHORA. But indeed…ULTA has job postings. So probably that’s what that barricade between THE PICTURE PEOPLE and AEROPOSTALE is for,,,,ULTA. I hope not, but with the lack of movement in any of the empty spaces, I guess mall management will take what it can get, but I am disappointed. To me, ULTA does not have the upscale reputation that SEPHORA has.
    As of Feb 5, URBAN BEHAVIOR is gone – signage and all. McDONALD’S went as well, and the TD Bank branch has closed too. In that wing toward the old FILENE’S, there are three spaces in a row gone; the former KAY JEWELERS location, TD BANK, and MASTER CUTS, that moved. Hopefully something large could fit in that section. Pretty dead right now, along with the food court, SEARS wing….wish we’d see SOMETHING

    [Reply]

  254. McDonald’s is gone! There are three black curtains in the front of the stall and name is off the sign.

    Also, The TD Bank merchant branch closed in Jan. The two ATM’s are still present.

    [Reply]

  255. Mcdonalds seems to be backing out of malls. I know the Mall of New Hampshire lost their McDonalds and a few other malls are losing theirs. I remember McDonalds always being a good choice when I would eat at the Maine Mall,but maybe with Johnny Rockets going in,that will provide the burger/fries option…

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @SP, I agree with you – I heard long ago from a former mall manager that eventually, they would like to do away with the food court altogether, and replace it with higher-end, sit down restaurants – not necessarily more nutritious, but places that give the impression of better quality, by charging higher prices, like Cheesecake Factory, CPK, P F Chang’s, etc. Johnny Rocket’s isn’t really high-end, but while McDonald’s seems to be leaving malls, Johnny Rockets are coming in.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @B2263, Most malls I know depend somewhat on their food court as a traffic generator. As for MCD’s they don’t need to be in malls to generate customers while JR depends on mall shoppers for revenue.

    If you look at Starbucks today as a contrast, there in most large malls but, they don’t nessessarily need to be there to generate customer traffic because there footprint is so large & if people want Starbucks coffee they will go to one. Of course it doesn’t hert Starbucks at all being in malls.

    In 2005 I took my first trip to Los Angeles. One of the amazing things I saw while driveing around the metro area from one atraction to another was the extreme number of fast food joints on almost every corner McDonold’s in particulare. I realize that LA is a far cry from NYC but, wow!

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @SEAN, Well, some of the higher-end malls have eliminated their food courts, for one reason or another.
    One mall in my former home town was overwhelmed by hordes of intimidating young people who hung around the food court (and the movie theatres that were once there) and disturbed shoppers to the point where the mall was not a safe place any longer. When TAUBMAN bought the mall, they closed the movie theatre, took the food court and spread some of the places, such as Mrs Fields and Burger King to opposite ends of the mall, and brought in high-end stores and sit down restaurants. Needless to say, the customers came back. If the MAINE MALL needs its present high-cholesterol greasy food court offerings and its breathtaking video arcade attraction as a money generator, then they are desperate! What exists there now is CERTAINLY not worth any special trip. What the mall needs, the former manager once said, is an array of stores and restaurants that are not offered anywhere else in the area. There are scores of reasonably-priced restaurants, including a McDonald’s, around the mall now. Although I think it will be years before the mall makes any final decision on what to do with the food court, I don’t see that they’re in any hurry to fill the empty spaces that they have there. Unless they push out a wall, Johnny Rockets will need room for its sit-down spaces. If it comes, I hope it brings about more changes in that area; no prize for the food court as it is.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @B2263, Sitdown restaurants have been the in thing in malls the past decade or so. Often you can judge a malls status based on what restaurants they atract.

    Example…

    If a mall can atract
    1. Cheesecake Factory
    2. Kona Grill
    3. Legal Sea Foods
    4. Mitchell’s Fish Market
    5. Daily Grill
    6. The Capital Grill

    in some combonation, then you are in good shape. There are other regional restaurants I’m leaving off this list for simplisity.

    Also I’m leaving off CPK & PF Changs because they seme to be popping up in restaurant row at every mall & lifestyle center being built today.

    Also restaurants are as importent to a mall as as atracting such stores as Nordstrom or Neiman Marcus.

    [Reply]

    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @B2263, geez, what mall is this?

    Sometimes it can go both ways. Memorial City Mall used to be run-down but then they added a large movie theater, expanded the food court, added an ice rink, a Target, AND put in a bunch of upscale stores. It’s always crowded with shoppers!

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @B2263, Is this mall that your describing that Taubman bought the Westfarms Mall in Farmington/West Hartford CT. When I was a kid Westfarms was the mall I probably visited the most whenever I visited my grandparents. I do remember the movie theatre, and went to see a movie there once though I don’t remember what it was. It would have been the early 80s. Where was the foodcourt at Westfarms. My grandmother took me shopping at a store called Arthur’s. We also went to Lord & Taylor alot. As a teenager I remembered a shoe store called Fan Club and had googled it but can find no info on it.

    [Reply]

  256. The mall near me, Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg, Pennsylvania has a food court, but lost its Ruby Tuesday restaurant in January. Judging from some of the stores the mall has received in the past few years, it looks as if the mall is eventually going to go upscale, and perhaps that will mean a new casual but upscale restaurant to fill the vacancy left behind by Ruby Tuesday.

    [Reply]

  257. Is there anyone out there who knows for sure…..
    Is it SEPHORA, or ULTA that’s coming…or both? I find it hard to believe that TWO cosmetic places could be opening in the mall at the same time, yet. Everyone thinks that new barricade next to AEROPOSTALE is SEPHORA, but I think it’s ULTA, which I don’t think has the class that SEPHORA has.
    YANKEE CANDLE is moving up to the space next to PICTURE PEOPLE. How exciting is that. So what will be moving into the old YANKEE CANDLE space? Maybe CIGARET SHOPPER!

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @B2263, Besides the Maine Mall, Ulta will also be coming to Augusta and occupying the unused space in Old Navy.

    [Reply]

  258. Well, it’s nice to see SEPHORA advertising job openings on the MAINE MALL website, so at least people know they’re coming for sure. With all of this talk of ULTA, some were beginning to wonder. I’ve been away this week. Is SEPHORA coming to that spot between PICTURE PEOPLE and AEROPOSTALE?

    [Reply]

  259. Could Sephora be going into the JCPenney store at the mall? They’ve been renovating a lot of stores across the country to incorporate the Sephora stores.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @Gary, I don’t believe so. Our JCPenney is VERY VERY small compared to most around the country. I would be surprised to see it happen here. What I WOULD love to see is JCPenney move into the old Filene’s – that would give it more space, and the JCPenney store could become a whole new wing of stores, and they could create a new rear entrance for CRATE & BARREL or NORDSTROM

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @B2263, well, somebody else already concluded that Sephora is opening a store inside the mall.

    [Reply]

    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @B2263, HA! I consider you fairly lucky. My mall is the only one in miles and features a JCPenney with almost that exact square footage (coincidentally, it opened in late 1982, compared to your 1983). Compare THAT to an even smaller JCPenney an hour away that caps around 35000 square feet. And all the food court has is a smoothie place, a Sonic (the main food items are greasy and overpriced, and almost always cold), a Nestle Toll House Cafe (mostly desserts), Roman Delight (gross), a Manchu Wok (meh), a Chick-fil-A, and a sushi place (which is the best IMO).

    [Reply]

  260. The boards for Sephora and Yankee Candle have gone up in the Macy’s wing where lady foot locker was. Sephora opening date is listed as June 18th on the store front.

    [Reply]

  261. WGME is reporting tonight that GGP has scuttled the Maine Mall Commons project. This would have had Barnes & Noble and several restaurants across the street from the mall.

    [Reply]

  262. wow didnt realized Sephora is posting up their job posting on the website already.
    I guess both Ulta and Sephora will be coming in.
    I know 2 cosmetic company @ once? but hey our mall is so empty right now, any stores coming in is a positive in my book.

    and yes JR will be opened by June/July 2010. they already started renovating that space where the old Souper Salad/Olivia Salad used to be.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @mall employee, I don’t think so – I looked behind that barricade – nothing going on

    [Reply]

  263. they should consider opening a Dunkin Donuts in the mall. with starbucks and gloria jeans prices being high, a DD will make pretty good money going into the old MCD’s space. every mall i go to has a DD< except ours.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @mall employee, I’ve been to MANY malls without a DD. I know the prices are high, but in order to attract more customers, the MAINE MALL has to offer stores and restaurants that no one else offers. That’s what brings people in. True, mall employees would probably like it since the prices are lower, but since there’s a DD on every street corner already, let the employees stop at DD on their way to work. I would be quite disappointed if DD opened there, since there are so many other unique and different restaurants that other malls offer that ours does not. There are so many retailers we haven’t got. Surely we could do better than yet another DD.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @B2263, i was just saying, I hate an empty slot in our mall. especially in the food court, it doesnt attract customer. I was thinking about a coffee place because Most customer who comes and ask us, is there a place in the mall which serves coffee, we tell them, yes star bucks and gloria jeans? theey shake their head and say , those are too expensive. so i was just inputting some ideas because I get asked that a lot when I’m working.
    but i agree we need more stores which are rare in other malls to attract people .

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @mall employee, Are not prices at Dunkin Donuts similar to Starbucks. There are only 4 starbuks drink I ever order; coffee, hot chocolate, the ice tea, and frappacino. A large Dunkin Donuts coffee cost more than a venti at Starbucks.

    Also, what kind of place is Johnny rockets?

    also, Mall Employee, how is it possible to say the mall is empty right now? I guess most of the empty space is in the Sears wing.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @Jutty, Johnny Rockets is like an old fashion Malt shop, they serve fries, cheeseburger, chicken etc…..
    johnnyrockets.com

    i noticed a lot of people got so mad because there’s no more McDonald’s. seriously, shouldn’t we be teaching our kids to eat a little healthier?
    i was sad to see a kid started crying because they couldn’t get french fries etc.. i went to the mall in canada, and wow, the selection of food was such a variety, they had everyting from greek, korean, thai, japanese, american, etc… much better selection than our mall.

    [Reply]

  264. As of late February, I have not yet noticed any construction of Johnny Rockets in the food court area. There’s nothing going on in back of any of the barricades now up. Johnny Rockets is usually a sit-down self-contained restaurant, so again, I would be disappointed to see it replace something in the food court, unless it’s the TWILIGHT ZONE arcade, the former SPORTS COLLECTIBLES (which is currently vacant) or the awful ASIAN GARDEN. In my opinion, NONE of the empty spaces in the food court needs to be replaced. For me, let them close one by one, as the leases expire, and then, like in the SEARS wing, the mall can make that area into something reasonably appealing. I know that CALIFORNIA PIZZA KITCHEN or CHEESECAKE FACTORY are more expensive and not all that healthy, but there’s nothing healthy about the trashy fare that exists there today, with the possible exception of some offerings at AMATO’s.
    The one-step-lower-than-the-Velvet-Elvis GALLERY has thankfully closed its doors, leaving the east side of the SEARS wing nearly empty, at least once LAMEY-WELLEHAN leaves, and that will be soon. Only MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY remains, all the way down to AMERICAN EAGLE and that’s it on that entire side. So there’s lots and lots of space open for negotiations. We have to think that over the next year or two, big changes are happening there. Jason Snyder, who is planning the huge STROUDWATER PLACE lifestyle center in Westbrook, is still going after tenants for his project. If the mall is smart, they are now in a good position to bring in these high-end retailers with so much space to divide up. But maybe GGP hasn’t got the funds to accomplish this task. I read recently that SIMON may make a hostile takeover of GGP. Best thing that could happen!!!!!

    [Reply]

    AceJay Reply:

    Why would you be happy that the arcade would be replaced? That makes no sense.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    Makes a LOT of sense to me.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @B2263 Yes JR is a sit down, restaurant, but at Providence Place Mall in RI, they have kind of like a booth set up. with 10 seats or so around the counter area, it maybe the same concept as over there? Ive been to other JR as well and they have an area where they have a sit down area, but I think the size of the maine mall food court, it maybe hard to do that. so the booth is proably the way it’s heading. ,

    [Reply]

  265. i can confirm 100% that Johnny Rockets will be going into the old Souper Salad next to panda expres. I know this from the source first hand. The guy who owns the franchise has already sent people down to Florida to train and he is also opening up another Johnny Rockets up in freeport as well. how JR inthe mall will be renovated, I do not know yet myself, but it will be opened by May or June, how do I know? I work for the Owner of the franchise who is putting it all together.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @mall employee, It JR opens there, maybe they could push the wall back a bit to make a little extra room for the seats around the counter. I hope the employees entertain with some good music! I had heard from someone else that JR would go into the vacated McDonald’s, and with such a small space at THAT location, I’m glad it is indeed opening on the end. Looking forward to it – great addition to a now boring food court.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @B2263, yes, its definately going in the end, I do hope that they makeit look pleasant as well. Compared to other malls, our food court is kind of blah, i hope something does go into the old MCDoland’s space. i hate looking into a black wall.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @mall employee, I still believe that eventually, we will see the entire food court go. Food courts in ALL malls, where they still exist, are BLAH. Ours is no worse than any other, because virtually all of them offer the same greasy fast food; just that the names of the vendors change. The MAINE MALL will do a lot better if management brings in upscale retailers and restaurants that will attract customers who make a special trip to the mall just to eat. No one drives down from Augusta for the thrill of a gourmet meal at TACO BELL. If you’ve been shopping, and you’re just too tired to pick yourself up and visit any of the restaurants that surround the mall, you’ll end up at the food court. You’re stuck with what they have, because that’s all there is. I don’t care if McDonald’s space opens or not. Let all the food court close; let’s turn the entire wing into a “black wall”. At least then, there will HAVE to be an improvement. New topic needed; food court BORING

    [Reply]

  266. Johnny Rockets is going in the space that used to be Olivia’s. There is a sign up on the wall there. Sephora is opening on Friday June 18th.

    If Ulta is also coming in, anyone know where they will be located?

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @Jutty, myboss said june should be the opening date for JR. and he statd it will be set up as a booth area.

    [Reply]

  267. What happened to JF?

    Anyway, I think Ulta is going to be where Linens N Things was.

    [Reply]

    A5634 Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, I noticed on some website that the address listed for ULTA was on Philbrook Rd, and the LINENS N THINGS building faces out onto Philbrook Road, so I’ll bet that’s where it will be. From the other ULTAs I’ve seen, they do take up quite a bit of space, so the LINENS N THINGS space would make sense. Too bad, though. The mall could really use CRATE AND BARREL or RESTORATION HARDWARE for that spot. Having ULTA there will not bring the deadness of that wing back the way that CRATE AND BAREL could.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @A5634, one of my clients, who is a plummer, stated he got paperworks showing that Crate and Barrel will be coming. to the mall area as well. where exactly? he does not know. all he know is that he will be in charge of the plumbing for that location.

    [Reply]

    A5634 Reply:

    @mall employee, that’s very exciting news to hear. I would imagine if CRATE & BARREL comes to the mall, they would probably rebuild the LINENS N THINGS location. As for ULTA, could they possibly be planning an outbuilding over in the parking lot – maybe in the old SEBAGO BREWERY location. It’s how things change….the former manager of the mall was very friendly and extremely open about the new stores negotiating for space. Now, no one knows ANYTHING so it’s sort of fun to hear all these rumors. I also think that if indeed CRATE & BARREL is coming, the mall will be able to attract whomever it wants to the remaining empty spaces. On the other hand, in many cities, CRATE & BARREL has not built in the local mall at all; and in this area it would do very well downtown. But Portland is not too receptive to downtown chain stores, so the mall area it has to be.
    By the way, I heard from a friend that a restaurant in the mall area is about to be closed because of complaints by the board of health. He didn’t know which one, but said that we’d hear about it soon. I certainly have not heard anything to that effect.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @A5634, that could happen, I just have a hard time believing that they would build an Ulta and a Sephora in the same mall. An outparcel would make more sense.

    [Reply]

    A5634 Reply:

    @Gary, I agree; I have never seen an ULTA in a mall, but have seen several in satellite buildings or outbuildings near malls. As for CRATE & BARREL, there are many of them attached to major malls, so I hope CRATE & BARREL will have a major role in the SEARS wing renovation.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @A5634, yah I’ll see if my client knows more about where Crate and Barrel is opening, because he doesn’t know yet himself. He said he just got the layout for the plumbing.
    I would love if Cheesecake factory came in!
    i wonder what they will do about that empty spot next to Chuck E Cheese. maybe Ulta may go there as well? who knows right now.

    [Reply]

  268. My guess is the Crate and Barrel would go into the former Linens-n-Things, and that ULTA would probably need a smaller space.

    [Reply]

  269. I remember that the former MAINE MALL manager said that CRATE & BARREL was interested in the BEST BUY property at the time BEST BUY was considering moving across the street. Apparently the mall wanted to add several stores to the front and build a new entrance, but CRATE & BARREL said they wanted the entire building. I guess the mall wasn’t ready to hand them over the whole thing so the deal fell through. CRATE & BARREL, if they are coming, would not have a presence on MAINE MALL ROAD, so they’d have to make their appearance bold enough as to imitate a new mall entrance. Why not redevelop the old FILENE’S?

    [Reply]

  270. The issue with the Filene’s building is that it’s located in an area that doesn’t offer much visibility, so by Crate and Barrel taking up the entire Best Buy space, it would take advantage of the visibility along Maine Mall Road and Philbrook Rd. Personally, I would like to see the Best Buy and David’s Bridal building torn down and a new two-story Nordstrom built in its place as it would be prominent to the highway, and Crate and Barrel could open up in the former Linens n Things space. As for Filene’s, they could tear it down and build a lifestyle center on that site.

    [Reply]

    A5634 Reply:

    @Gary, that would be a WONDERFUL idea. And I DO think NORDSTROM will get here eventually. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just snap your fingers and it could all happen???

    [Reply]

  271. sorry I meant to say Cracker Barrel, not Crate and Barrel. they sounded alike with me, but yes my client said its Cracker Barrel. that’ will be coming to the mall area.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @mall employee, OH PLEASE! YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING! Cracker Barrel was announced over a year ago. But then again…there’s not much difference between Cracker Barrel and Crate & Barrel – about the same difference as MARDEN’S and NEIMAN-MARCUS

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @B2263, no. not kidding. i guess they want to bring in more restaurants to the area?? as if we don’t have enough already.
    we need more retail stores here.

    i would love Neiman-Marcus to come here, but honestly, do we have the market for that? customers at the mall complain over the size of FREE water, where some places will charge you for water when you aren’t a customer there.

    even with Sephora opening I’m afraid it will be a bunch of teens just hanging out and trying make up.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @mall employee, well, I doubt that Sephora would open up a mall location there if they didn’t think that the market could support such a store. Sephora is an upscale retailer and they will only open stores in more affluent areas.

    [Reply]

    A5634 Reply:

    @mall employee, Portland DOES have the market. We not only have he market, but we have a HUGE hinterland around the mall; larger than most cities, because there’s no competition for miles. The new high-end stores have all been successful; I saw in some report that the new COACH was ranked #2 in sales in the entire country. While I’m not sure NEIMAN-MARCUS is right for this area, as it’s located usually in major cities, NORDSTROM, on the other hand, has stores in many markets smaller than Portland. I do think that in a few years, Maine and New Hampshire will be places they will want to come – and Jason Snyder, who is developing the STROUDWATER PLACE Lifestyle Center, is pushing hard for NORDSTROM. I don’t think GGP has been good for THE MAINE MALL. GGP spent so much money on that stupid waste-of-time NATICK COLLECTION – bringing all of those ridiculously high prices stores in that apparently few people care about, and just about neglected our mall. But South Portland has been a good portfolio for them. I wish they would show their appreciation by filling up our SEARS wing and doing something with FILENE’S. I wonder if anyone from GGP reads this blog? Certainly there are enough comments to show the management that we’re concerned and waiting for changes to occur.

    [Reply]

    A5634 Reply:

    I want to reply to the “bunch of teens hanging out” comment. I don’t fully agree, and this topic has been discussed in detail by others in this blog. SEPHORA, and the majority of stores that have opened in the mall in the past few years, are not stores that all average teens can afford. And even if they CAN afford, the employees who work at these places have no patience with kids who “hang out” or come in and don’t buy anything. This all goes with employee training, along with keeping a watchful eye for shoplifting. If the MAINE MALL has a problem with teens hanging out, they need to get rid first of the video arcade place, and secondly, the food court. These are the places, and I so agree with others who have said this before, where the problems begin.The mall almost made a mistake of putting in a movie theatre; thank God that deal fell through. But as the leases expire for some of these low-end places, and the retail market shows improvement, if the mall wants people there who come to SHOP and not HANG OUT, they’ll do what hundreds of high-end malls have done, and replace the food court with sit-down restaurants, and add new stores with strict policies against “HANGING OUT.” One move the mall made that I feel is a good one is putting the present low-end stores all in one end; stores like CLAIRE’S, HOT TOPIC, FYE (Many malls have eliminated these) and SPENCER’S. Notice they’re all down by the infamous FOOD COURT!!!! This wasn’t just a coincidence! SEPHORA is in a wing that has vastly improved in the last few years. I don’t think there’ll be any hangers there. The management won’t allow it.
    CHRISTIANA MALL, also owned by GGP, is a mall similar in size to MAINE MALL. They’re located in Newark, DE, just outside of Wilmington. They have embarked on a sizable expansion, with NORDSTROM and about 15 new higher-end stores. Although they still have a food court (Actually when they did the expansion, they rebuilt the food court), they now have a curfew restricting young people below the age of 18 from attending the mall without a parent; I believe after 6 PM. I wouldn’t mind seeing that happen here, if problems arise such as they had there.. I’m sure the arcade clan would be unhappy about it. And I forgot to cry.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @A5634, well the curfew could be enacted if things don’t improve, but I think once the food court is removed, there will be no need for a curfew as there will be no place for these teens to hang out and they will only stay there to shop or at the very least, hang out and grab a bite to eat at one of the sit-down restaurants that may pop up with the removal of the food court. Remember, teens, for the most part, are also shoppers, and some of the stores in the mall are geared towards them. Fortunately, most are well behaved when they come to the mall to hang out and that’s fine but a select few give everyone else a bad reputation. The bad teens are the people we should be weeding out, not everyone else.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @Gary, and if they REALLY want to put a movie theater at the mall, it wouldn’t hurt them if they put it as an outbuilding on the mall’s periphery.

    [Reply]

    B5634 Reply:

    @Gary, Absolutely true. Only a handful of “hangers” make a problem for others. The trouble is that in some malls, there’s more than a handful. In some cases, it’s the change in the neighborhood that surrounds the mall, such as Landover in Maryland; in other cases, it’s the bus route. One mall in Trumbull CT stopped running the Bridgeport mainline bus directly to the mall, and the situation improved greatly. They also got rid of stores that catered to inner-city culture to improve the atmosphere there. I don’t think the MAINE MALL is changing at that rate, nor do I think the food court will go anytime soon, but I think the day will come when if the mall wants to bring people to stores that no one else in Maine offers, replacing the food court with more upscale restaurants will ultimately bring shoppers to them who made a special trip to eat there.

    [Reply]

  272. Well, so ends that ray of hope. It should be mentioned that CRACKER BARREL is coming to an outbuilding across from the mall; not in the mall itself. So for all in hopes of something decent in the mall, we seem to be back at square one. I heard that GOBEIL’S may be coming back to that LINENS N THINGS location. Sorry I got all excited for nothing. There’s quite a difference between CRACKER BARREL and CRATE & BARREL – about the same as between MARDEN’S and NEIMAN-MARCUS

    [Reply]

  273. GODIVA will be leaving soon

    [Reply]

  274. GODIVA HAS its “STORE LOSING” signs up. This should be a sign of alarm to anyone who frequents this mall. GODIVA, as far as I know, has not closed a number of locations around the country, as some other chains have done. They’re only closing their “non-performing” locations. In many cases, the mall doesn’t renew leases of stores they’d like to see replaced, but GODIVA should still be a fairly strong draw, but apparently it’s not. Business at the mall has certainly dropped; not just because of the economy, but because, as most are aware of, there has been nothing to replenish the empty spaces. I hope this year SIMON comes to our rescue, gets us some fresh new stores, and hires a manager who cares.

    [Reply]

  275. Well, like anything else, you have to analyze the business. Perhaps what’s scaring these propective tenants away is the fact that there are two major vacancies in Linens ‘n Things and the former Filene’s, both of which has seen little to any progress in terms of being retenanted. Add to the number of vacancies in the mall itself, it makes the picture seem rather bleek, but I still think the mall will survive, it’s just going to take some time.

    [Reply]

    ABE 923 Reply:

    @Gary, I’m hoping you’re right. In our defense, GGP hasn’t abandoned all of its projects. They have built a nice addition in Delaware to one of their malls. This mall lost THREE anchors; two of which are still vacant. The third store was torn down for the addition, and a NORDSTROM, but the NORDSTROM is about half the size of the anchor it replaced. But at least there are new stores, and the wing looks clean and new. Our mall is dirty and old. The MAINE MALL COMMONS project has been cancelled, and I’m disgusted when I look at SEARS, where the flea market racks outside the store have now been replaced with cardboard boxes holding cheap pillows. I can’t believe why the mall manager or the SEARS manager don’t do SOMETHING to make the SEARS entrance more attractive. I have no business training; I know nothing about the procedure of bringing tenants in, but I nonetheless have the impression that our manager is uninterested in this job. I pray that in a few months we’ll see SOMETHING. I look forward to be proven wrong!

    [Reply]

  276. It may not be that the manager simply doesn’t care, I’m sure he’s doing his job, but there’s only so much a general manager can do. I occasionally talk to the general managers of two different malls in my area, both owned by different companies, and they tell me how the economy is making their jobs harder and that the companies they work for have cut back on services and such, making it more crucial to spend wisely. Each mall has a limit as to what they could spend on housekeeping, general maintenance, utilities, not to mention the cost of hosting events, marketing the center, etc. Leasing, believe it or not, costs money. It’s not as simple as emailing a retailer and asking them to open up a new store. There’s demographics involved, research and development, which costs money. Security also comes at a major cost, which is why most malls have now eliminated in-house services in favor of contracting outside companies to do the job. You ever wonder why decorative features such as trees and fountains have been removed in favor of RMU’s and kiosks? It’s because it’s too cost prohibitive for some malls to handle. More recently, malls these days are taking away paper towels and replacing them with high powered hand dryers. It’s not so much that they’re concerned about waste as it is the cost of buying paper towels week after week, month after month, year after year. It’s mainly a cost issue.

    [Reply]

    ABE 923 Reply:

    But there are SOOOOOOOO many other malls who seem to be surviving the economy, and adding new retailers all the time. If GGP wanted this mall so badly, and if it’s one of the top performers in its portfolio, why does it look like crap?

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @ABE 923, well, the economy hasn’t been faring so well, not to mention GGP’s bankruptcy perhaps led to the lack of interest of their malls, I don’t know. One thing is for certain, if this mall is one of their top performers, then apparently it is still doing well with the community. GGP is probably simply looking for the right tenants to fill some of the spaces… if they want to continue the upscale concept of the mall, then all you can do is wait it out until they find the tenants to fill the spaces.

    [Reply]

  277. I used to think that as soon as local mom-and-pop stores moved into a mall, replacing national retailers, that the mall was beginning to die. Well this is happening to the MAINE MALL now, as GOBEIL’S makes its plans to move into the old FILENE’S. But I think this is a great move; both for the mall, and for GOBEIL’S. First of all, NORDSTROM does not have Maine or New Hampshire in its sights as yet, and I can’t think of any other high-end retailer besides NORDSTROM that the mall could get for that space. So instead of seeing that entire wing empty, GOBEIL’S will certainly attract customers; it did when its bargain furniture was on display at LINENS N THINGS, and this will be much larger and more upscale. For me, GOBEIL’S has some of the best quality furniture around, and from what I’ve seen at the new NORDSTROM stores in Massachusetts, I don’t think we are at such a great loss not having one yet. If and when NORDSTROM does arrive, maybe a new wing could be built for it, or even better, the mall could boot our that dumpy SEARS and build NORDSTROM there!!!. At least with GOBEIL’S we would have all our anchor spaces filled, and the mall won’t look so much like nothing is going on. I’m sure the employees at GAP and LANE BRYANT would welcome the increased traffic by their stores.
    Is there anyone out there who knows of any negotiations for retailers in the SEARS wing? I heard six months ago that there were five new retailers in negotiation. Only SEPHORA and JOHNNY ROCKETS have apparently come through.

    [Reply]

  278. Article in today’s Press Herald about Gobeil’s seeking financing to move into the Filene’s space.
    http://www.pressherald.com/news/gobeils-wants-to-move-into-the-maine-mall_2010-03-27.html
    They’re going to need about 2.1 million to get into the space.It would only be a 2 or 3 year lease.
    Read some of the comments at the bottom of the Press Herald link.Some guy is concerned about the”humongous empty Porteous space”???

    [Reply]

    LF 14 Reply:

    @Bob, I read that article. The Porteous guy is obviously losing sleep over the mall’s empty spaces. Apparently he hasn’t set foot there for at LEAST 2 years!!!! LOL. People are entitled to give their opinion, but their opinions are worthless when it’s obvious they have no idea what they’re talking about. I think GOBEIL’S is a great furniture store. I’ve shopped there several times; love their service and friendliness. I’d like to see it succeed in FILENE’S space – wish I knew if the mall has talked with NORDSTROM, however. If the lease with GOBEIL’S is a short one, maybe NORDSTOM would come after that.

    [Reply]

  279. I can see why he’d want a Norstrom’s type store in an anchor, but if GOBEIL’S is doing great business out of that space(thinking ahead) I would hope they wouldn’t kick them out….I haven’t been the Maine Mall in several years(unfortunately-love the mall-just hard to make the drive from MA(now RI)) and i’m not familiar with this furniture store,but having them in an anchor store would be great for the mall. If they company is willing to take a HUGE risk putting that much money in,why tell them how long they can be in there. If they are good tenants and paying the rent and attracting business,why be like “oh they’ll only be here 3-5 years.”

    Could the L’N’T space work for them if the Filene’s space falls through, or even with 2 stories would it be too small?

    [Reply]

  280. Most Linens n Things stores are in the range of 25,000-30-000 square feet, whereas most major furniture retailers run in the range of 50,000-80,000 square feet, so perhaps the Linens space is a little small for their preference. Apparently, the foot traffic at a furniture store isn’t going to be as much as per say a Nordstrom, but any foot traffic is better than nothing.

    [Reply]

  281. Gary thank you for doing the math about square footage.

    As for your point about Nordstroms..I do agree they probably would create more foot traffic than many other possible anchor tenants but I just find it silly that management is potentially limiting their future tenants on the chance Nordstroms does choose the Maine Mall,which i think if all done correctly could be a great move for both..

    Maybe the reason it has sat vacant for so long is because Management has given other tenants the idea that they will only be temporary,so to speak,thus scaring others away.

    Also,Nordstroms doesn’t always create foot traffic. If they build an “upscale wing” like at Natick Collections(or even Northshore mall-to a lesser extent) it could be an even bigger mistake.

    I just don’t like the idea of Management putting a time-table on a tenant willing to make a home out of something that has been sitting vacant for a couple years.

    Can anyone make a trip to the mall and take new pictures,as i said,I love this mall but haven’t been for years and would love to see more pictures than the one’s provided.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @SP, and another thing to consider, if Nordstrom does decide to come to the Maine Mall, they will most likely build a new store from scratch and in a very prominent area, which would be within view from Philbrook and Maine Mall roads. The Best Buy anchor could likely be relocated to the former Linens space and a Nordstrom could be built right on that spot. The former Filene’s doesn’t offer very much visibility as it sits in a part of the mall that is hidden from the major roads.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @Gary, another very good point Gary..

    I know Best Buy is looking to downsize some of their big box stores(as some of the newer one’s to open have been smaller in square footage) so the Linens space could probably work..

    Also,another thing to maybe think about-IF management isn’t satisfied with the furniture store in their anchor,IF nordstroms takes over where best buy was,Best buy could always take over the filene’s space(or part of it) as well,if they don’t mind giving up the prominent spot.

    Honestly,I could see Best Buy building a prototype “green” store on an outparcel..

    As for the food court-anything happening with Johnny Rockets? I go to the one at Providence Place quite a bit and usually have a very enjoyable meal..I know it isn’t the type of place many on here want,but I think it will do decent business.

    [Reply]

    LF 14 Reply:

    When I used to talk with the former manager, he said the mall was always thinking of new ways to configure the retailers that were already there in order to satisfy the needs of hopeful new retailers. I think all of those ideas, too, are good ones, and wonder if any are in the planning stages? I heard that CRATE & BARREL wanted the entire front parcel, back in the day when BEST BUY was planning a move across the street. So I’m sure the mall wouldn’t mind a change there!
    I haven’t seen any sign of construction yet at JOHNNY ROCKETS. I’m also wondering if Jason Snyder has lined up any tenants for his lifestyle center in Westbrook.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @LF 14, Ive seen the lay out for Johnny Rockets, there will be about 12 booths (like the way it’s set up in Providence Place Mall. There will be a chili dog station, milk shake, grill, etc..

    [Reply]

  282. What is the front parcel that Crate & Barrel wants? So is it Crate & Barrel thats coming and not Cracker Barrel. Cracker Barrel is a Restaurant, Crate & Barrel sells housewares. I think they already have a store in Kittery.

    I was just thinking of how the new Best Buy in Augusta is smaller than the one at the Maine Mall, so I get the point that SP made. If Nordstrom moves to that spot, would it fit? It would come close to Maine Mall road.

    All this talk about Nordstrom wanting more visibilty just made me think of the first Nordstrom I ever knew. They opened a location at Westfarms Mall in CT in 1997 in the back of the mall, hidden from the view of traffic on New Britain Ave.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @Jutty, it would definitely come close to Maine Mall Road, but it would still be possible, albeit it would require some changes with some of the road infrastructure and parking layout. I drew up a diagram below detailing these changes. One thing that concerned me was the traffic coming in from the Maine Mall Road entrance in front of Nordstrom… I could imagine that it could get backed up during the holiday season. Therefore, I think synchronized traffic lights would be required, or in other words, if you have the green light, then both traffic lights along Maine Mall Road and in front of Nordstrom would stay green whereas the traffic from all other directions would still be red.

    http://img20.imageshack.us/img20/4715/mainemall.png

    [Reply]

  283. Godiva has closed, I was the mall this evening and it was all closed up, It was still open when I was there on last Friday.

    [Reply]

  284. PANDORA, a popular costume jewelry chain, is moving into the old ZALES location, that just previously was a velvet-Elvis type art establishment called THE GALLERY. PANDORA has many stores in many countries, and although many will say we don’t need another jewelry store in the mall, PANDORA is very popular, and is found in hundreds of malls in other cities. It’s a good addition. YANKEE CANDLE has opened their new, larger, much more upscale store. Quite a line this morning at the APPLE store for the iPAD, and no sign of life at JOHNNY ROCKETS as of yet.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @JF, johnny rockets is not set to open until June 2010.

    [Reply]

  285. Has any considered turning the complex into an amusement park. With the closing of Fairyland years ago the inter city has been left without an accessible theme park. I think this would be a good fit for that area.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @Tomm Godard, what you posted seems to be in the wrong place. This blog is about the Maine Mall, not another place.

    The blog seems dead right now anyway.

    [Reply]

  286. Was at the mall this afternoon. A new “urban” wear store has moved into the former Urban Behavior location. Foot Locker is temporarily moving to the former Lamey Wellhan space while the other space is being remodelled.

    [Reply]

  287. Johnny rockets has been pushed back to July for opening due to layout construction.
    Sephora opening June 18th!

    [Reply]

  288. I hear rumor that a new clothing store will be opening soon between COACH and PANDORA – hopefully not something temporary. I don’t think it is. Oh, by the way, PANDORA is open. Tonight, in early May, as I walked through the mall, there was a good crowd there. Actually, there was a good crowd most everywhere in the mall, including the food court. I feel bad GODIVA has closed, but I’m noticing that they are closing in other major malls as well. I just wish we could see some movement down toward SEARS. Does anyone know if there are retailers at least negotiating for any space down there?

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @SEQUIN70, whats currently located between Pandora and Coach?

    [Reply]

    SEQUIN70 Reply:

    @Jutty, Nothing. It was ZALES JEWELERS,but when ZALES closed, PANDORA took only part of the space.

    [Reply]

  289. Glad to hear a new store is giving the maine mall a chance, but based on what SEQUIN70 described, it doesn’t sound like it will be a very big store,as most Zales locations arn’t always big,and with Pandora in part of the space it makes it smaller…

    [Reply]

  290. Francesca’s Collections, a popular and trendy women’s boutique with an online store, will be opening soon in Maine Mall. They just opened a store at the Natick Collection, and other stores in New England include South Shore Plaza, Evergreen Walk (S. Windsor), Danbury Fair, Shoppes at Glastonbury, Garden City (Cranston), and Providence Place. Their online website has a list of locations coming soon, and Maine Mall is included. Slowly but surely,stores that are popular in other parts of the country are coming here at last. Though I think Maine Mall has a way to go, with all those empty spaces, it nonetheless is better off than many other malls. Wonder which space Francesca will occupy?

    [Reply]

  291. As of May 14, Francesca’s Collections is advertising on Craigslist. The space between Coach and Pandora is so small; maybe Francesca would like the old Godiva location for her collections.

    [Reply]

  292. I hear FRANCESCA’S COLLECTIONS is coming to the mall. Their ad is posted on their website, and also in Craigslist. This is a popular store, both in other malls and online. For the women, FRANCESCA’S COLLECTIONS will make a nice addition.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @B5634, They put one at Providence Place where Nine West used to be. There are usually quite a few people in it

    [Reply]

  293. I’m noticing some activity in the old VINNY T’s space. I think that’s going to be where ULTA BEAUTY will locate, although I haven’t seen a sign for it yet. They’re usually quite large centers, with a retail store, beauty consultants, and a salon all in one, and they’re almost always near a large mall, but not in the mall itself. So that would seem like a logical space for it. FRANCESCA’S COLLECTIONS is moving into the space between COACH and PANDORA. That space is indeed small, but the other FRANCESCA’S boutiques I’ve seen are about that same size.

    [Reply]

    mall employee Reply:

    @MV6223, i believe you’re correct.
    If you search the address for ULTA in south portland, ME it will be on Philbrook ave (which is the address Vinny T is on),

    [Reply]

  294. As I walk through this mall, I certainly notice a lot less foot traffic than in years gone by. But despite that, the Macy’s wing down to Teavana has many fine stores, including a brand new SEPHORA opening June 18, PANDORA on the corner, and just beyond that, a nice COLDWATER CREEK. Then, the walk from PANDORA down to the food court is also filled with great stores including COACH, CACHE, CHICO’S, THE WALKING COMPANY, W/S, SWAROVSKI, BRIGHTON COLLECTIBLES and a new FOOT LOCKER and a new BATH & BODY WORKS, deLiA;s, ORIGINS too! But despite the smaller crowds, it’s busier than the NATICK COLLECTION, when I happened to stop by. The older section was uncrowded, but the high-end district was completely empty. Up on the second floor, I counted one person. There seemed to be quite a few cars in the lot, but they must have been at the CHEESECAKE FACTORY or CPK. So maybe the traffic flow in the MAINE MALL is pretty normal during these recession times.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @MV6223, Business at the Maine Mall varies alot, and I think that the weather has an effect on it. You can expect to find alot more people in the mall on a sunny afternoon in the winter than during the summer.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @Jutty, Totally agree…I think in the summer you can expect to see more people. Old Orchard Beach, Sacco, etc.. The more traffic they have the more traffic the mall will likely have. It is a great mall!

    [Reply]

    MV6223 Reply:

    @SP, No, the weather has NOT been a factor in the old days of the mall. In the days when malls were more of a novelty because they were a new invention, it didn’t matter whether the weather was warm or cold, sunny or rainy, the Maine Mall was always crowded. But yes,on a rainy day in summer, it WAS even more crowded, but with today’s recession, and with other types of shopping, such as more big box discounters, and lifestyle centers like the new Freeport Village Station, malls are having to work harder to keep customers. In the mall area alone, the new Cabela’s, the new Walmart and now the new Goodwill Store and the future Marden’s are giving the mall healthy competition. Sephora has signs up all over the mall advertising their June 18th opening. Johnny Rockets has begun construction in the food court.

    [Reply]

  295. does anyone kno how big the sephora is going to be?

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @carla, It looks to me about the same size as other SEPHORAS I’ve seen. It took the place of two former stores; the RITZ CAMERA, and the old CAMBRIDGE SOUNDWORKS, so it’s a good size. Originally, I had heard that WILLIAMS/SONOMA was considering moving to this spot, and SEPHORA was moving to W/S space, but the reverse happened. Anyway, it’s in a high-traffic location, and little by little, we’re seeing popular stores coming in.

    [Reply]

  296. I read in a business journal that while other malls are still showing declines in volume, the Maine Mall is up a full 9 per cent compared to a year ago. Memorial Day, despite good weather, still brought a fairly large crowd. I don’t know if this is temporary or not, but the Linens N things space is going to be partly filled with a shoe place; perhaps Super Shoes; nothing too exciting but better than an empty space. The article I was reading went on to say that other major retailers are negotiating for space in the mall. Good news!

    [Reply]

  297. I heard from ULTA. they are planning to open on September 26th. The old Vinny T looks like a great space for that store/salon to go into.

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @mall employee, I too think it’s a good location. I was wondering – I’d heard that a fairly low-end shoe store (Super Shoes?) was moving into Linens n Things’ space – is that temporary? I had hoped the mall would negotiate with, perhaps Restoration Hardware, or maybe Crate & Barrel, for that location. But I’ve heard others say that Crate & Barrel wanted Maine Mall Road visibility. In that case, I’d love to see Old Country Buffet be the next closure. That space would be a good one for a high-profile tenant. What a waste of space it is now!

    [Reply]

  298. Did Ritz Camera move elsewhere, or did they just close?

    Since some of the comments here are vague on the subject, Cracker Barrel isn’t opening on an outparcel in the Mall complex itself. The Wyndham Hotel (former Sheraton) is subdividing part of their parking lot near Toys’R’Us and that’s where Cracker Barrel is going. I’ve wondered why their parking was suddenly superfluous, but that’s just me.

    I don’t think the mall owners can do anything about Sears except perhaps wall up the internal entrance. As I understand it, Macy’s and Sear’s actually own their own real estate, so they don’t lease from the mall itself.

    Still no word from the Stroudwater Place development; I’ve seen speculation that they might have to change the name since there’s already a street named that. Nordstrom’s doesn’t interest me much, but I am anxiously wishing / hoping to see a Cheesecake Factory somewhere in the area. Hey, the Sebago Brewing / Hu Ke Lau space is open!

    [Reply]

    B5634 Reply:

    @Mark, yes, I realize Cracker Barrel is not part of the mall itself; just a part of the mall neighborhood. The former manager told me once that Cheesecake Factory representatives were here, and they turned the Maine Mall down saying, “Frankly, we didn’t notice enough Lexus and BMW automobiles in your parking lot to make a restaurant here worthwhile.” It’s so good to know how INVESTIGATIVE some chains are when determining where their retail locations will be. A fifth grader could have done better. Certainly if a customer can spend $300 on a purse at Coach, he/she could afford a slice of cheesecake. Ridiculous! But, who knows? Maybe if the mall continues its high-end sweep, which it’s doing quite well, then they could be persuaded to give a second look.
    Ritz Camera DID close; for me, no great loss. One of their employees directed a hateful, racist remark at a friend of mine a couple of years ago, so since then I have not been a strong supporter of that store.

    [Reply]

  299. Chipotle Mexican Grill will be going in across from the Maine Mall near Cracker Barrel next to the Wyndham Hotel Airport.

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @GENO, that’s a good one! A great addition!

    [Reply]

  300. SEPHORA will open this week; June 18th at 10. I hear that the former GODIVA space will have a new tenant soon.

    [Reply]

  301. SEPHORA looked as though it had a good grand opening. There was a fairly large crowd gathered behind the”velvet ropes”, before 10 AM, and by 11:30, I think everyone in line had gotten in. Although the store is smaller than the 13,000 square foot flagship in Times Square, at 5,200 it’s substantially larger than some SEPHORA’S, and its space goes far back. I know little about cosmetics, but the district manager said the store now carries products that previously customers had to travel out of state to buy. I know there are many who say “buy locally”, but if the Maine Mall is doing well, which it certainly is trying to do by offering destination stores such as this one, then this too is good for Maine!

    [Reply]

  302. so excited wish i can see pictures

    [Reply]

  303. The barricade came down in front of FRANCESCA’S COLLECTIONS; very attractive dark wood door and window frames in contrast to the very light colors of PANDORA and COACH. I’m noticing that construction is proceeding down at JOHNNY ROCKETS. The only empty space between MACY’S and HANNOUSH JEWELERS is rumored to be taken, but so far no formal announcement.

    [Reply]

    B2263 Reply:

    @JF, FRANCESCA’S COLLECTIONS opens today!

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @JF, What is the only empty space between Macy’s and Hannoush, is it the former Godiva location?

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Jutty, yes it is. While the GODIVA store has been closed for some time, I’ve heard rumors that BARE ESCENTUALS has signed on to it. Of course, if you count the FILENE’S wing as part of the Macy’s-to- Hannoush space, there’s four spaces, counting FILENE’S, that are empty. Even so, it’s doing better.

    [Reply]

  304. Johnny Rockets is set to open on Monday July 19th. Be ready to see dancing and enjoy burgers, hotdogs, shakes. etc…

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @Mall Employee, Johnny Rockets is opening on Tuesday, July 20. I walked by today when I was at the mall.

    [Reply]

    Mall Employee Reply:

    @Jutty, yeah, they were supposed to open Monday, but had some delay with Products. My boss is the one who is running it; that’s how I know. But yes Tuesday July 20th is the opening day. They did some dances yesterday as well.

    [Reply]

  305. I stopped by the food court area yesterday. Johnny Rocket’s is close enough to opening that they actually have neon turned on in the window next to the entrance… I looked through the window and peeked around the corner of the barricade and it looks like they’re close to being ready to load in some food.

    The former Vinny T’s location is in the midst of significant renovations, and the windows definitely look retail as opposed to restaurant. That would fit the Ulta Beauty mentioned above. Most of the beige-y Vinny T’s outside paint has been replaced with gray.

    Cracker Barrel is now getting wood framing, and the area where the signage will go along the roofline is obvious. Someone mentioned Chipotle Mexican Grill… I’ve never been to one, but I looked them up, and they seem a lot like Costa Vida (or whatever the former Costa Vida on Western Ave. is now that they’ve dropped the franchise). Has anyone here been to both and can offer a comparison?

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @Mark, I’ve been to Chipotle many times i’ve I first discovered and tried out the chain on a visit to NYC. The closest chipotle is in Newington NH. I went to Costa Vida once last summer, and decided that I wouldn’t go back there, though I managed to finish my burrito, it just didn’t taste as good. I’m looking forward to Chipotle coming to South Portland.

    [Reply]

    Jennifer Reply:

    Costa Vida sucks. They were/are really popular, so I am curious to see how their business drops once Chipotle comes. We used to eat there several times a week in Denver. Giddy!

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @Jennifer, you won’t get the chance. Loco Baja (formerly CV) closed last week. No word on a possible reopening anywhere.

    [Reply]

  306. What a phenomenal entry.

    I recently started up a Maine Mall Alumni page for workers and mallrats alike:

    http://www.facebook.com/mainemallalumni

    In the next couple of months, I’ll be writing a couple of guest posts in various Maine blogs about the Maine Mall’s place in Maine’s cultural history. I look forward to sharing those then.

    Take good care, and keep up the great work!
    Alex

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Alex Steed, I happen to have the original newspaper pullout from the summer of 1971, to announce the mall’s official opening. Actually, there were two different pullouts; one when the first group of stores opened, and then the second one entitled “Hail Hail The Gang’s All Here” when the remainder of the stores opened. Someone on Facebook asked the name of the supermarket where Olympia now stands. It was Gold Star IGA. Before Musicland, there was Krey’s Disc Shop. And someone else wanted to know where York Steak House was. It was right out in front, where Best Buy is – right across from the Plum Tree. Yes…I’m old. So if there’s anyone out there who wants to remember old stores, this article lists all the originals.

    [Reply]

    Alex Steed Reply:

    @JF – That stuff sounds amazing. I’d love to take a picture of those at some point, or if you have those pictures to share, that would be awesome too. That’s so, so excellent.

    [Reply]

  307. We made a tradition of stopping at Deering Ice Cream (across the hall from York Steakhouse and next to the Plum Tree) after every visit to the mall. A cone to go was always the perfect ending for a trip to the mall. Does anyone remember when the dolphin show set up in the center of the mall? Boy they had some weird promotions back then. I also remember when New England Music opened up next to Kreys Disc Shop. Every so often, they’d have someone playing an organ near the front of the store and the music would carry out in the center. Both were located about where Norma Jeans is now.

    [Reply]

  308. I was at the mall again today and noticed that there are Ulta posters hanging in the windows of the remodeled former Vinny Ts locaton advertising about watching for their grand opening.

    Where is the cracker barrell being built? I haven’t noticed it.

    Also, does anyone know for certain if a Chipotle will be opening? I spent the day in Boston friday and then went to the Northshore Mall after, getting there around 7:45. I had a craving for Chipotle for dinner and wasn’t sure if I could make it to the Newington NH location before they closed at 10 if I left the mall at closing, so I googled Chipotle on my phone and found there was a location on the otherside of the Northshore mall. When I’ve been there previously, I’ve not been around the whole place but only come off of Rt. 128 and park and enter the mall at the new entrance in the Nordstrom wing between Zara and NorthFace. This Chipotle location is only accesable from outside the mall which would make sense because most of their locations doen’t close ealier than 10 pm Monday thru Saturday.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @Jutty, Cracker Barrel is going up across the street, in part of the Wyndham (former Sheraton) Hotel parking lot between the hotel towers and the empty Tweeter, etc. building. It’s easily visible from the Turnpike or the Longhorn Restaurant entry patio.

    [Reply]

  309. Jutty-

    There was a “public notice ” in early June for Chipotle applying for some sort of state permit.. If you “GOOGLE” 359 Maine Mall Rd & Chipotle” it will lead you to some sort of permit etc at the city of South Portland Website.

    [Reply]

    Steve Boutet Reply:

    @geno, While browsing the South Portland website, I found what appears to be a permit for re-developement of the Burger King on Gorham Rd. Looks like they’re finally ready to build a new BK and fix up the property.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @Steve Boutet, are you sure they’re building a new BK or are they simply demolishing it to build a brand new business on the spot?

    [Reply]

    Steve Boutet Reply:

    @Gary, The process was initiated by BK.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @geno, are they going to build a Chipotle or is it going into a pre-existing space? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Chipotle by itself. I was just thinking about it. The same with Subway.

    [Reply]

  310. I heard that the new building replacing the old Burger King is a new Burger King. As for Chipotle, according to the building permit, it doesn’t say anything about a multi-store structure; only Chipotle. I notice that Super Shoes has its signs up along the old Linens N Things space. I am SOOOOOOOO disappointed that this is what is going there. I can’t see this store bringing customers in droves, especially since you can shop at a Super Shoes in many small towns in Maine already. Not to mention the fact that Payless, another store that is already across the street, isn’t attracting any business as it is. I’m losing hope that the Sears wing will get better anytime soon, but not giving up completely yet. Maybe Super Shoes is a one-year lease only. Does anyone know?

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @JF, do you mean across the hall, or whatever you call it, rather than across the street. Will supershoe occupy that whole space, it seems rather large, compared to let say, there store at the auburn mall.

    [Reply]

    JF Reply:

    @Jutty, actually I meant both. PAYLESS has two stores in the Maine Mall area – besides the one across the hall, there’s one across the street near OLD NAVY & AC MOORE. So was wishing for something better. And to say they have a store in the Auburn Mall only adds to my grief; the old Porteous store in Auburn is now a TD call center. So instead of a nice CRATE & BARREL or a CHEESECAKE FACTORY, we have to settle for a store that has a branch in a dead mall with a call center. How’s that for prestige?

    [Reply]

    B5634 Reply:

    @JF, it’s not too exciting about Super Shoes. I was walking around today and talked to one of the construction workers there. If you look in through the back of the old Linens n Things, you can see that Super Shoes are only using a small portion of that space. They have already built a back wall; so much for it being “temporary.” One of the men also said that a temporary tenant would be moving in to the back part of the space – something to the nature of an indoor arcade, amusement park for kids, that would stay open until after Christmas. I hope the hoes there will be super enough to bring shoe shoppers down to that wing. Maybe its success will spill over to Payless – or on the other hand, maybe Payless would be put out of business. Either way, still nothing great for that wing – disappointing indeed.

    [Reply]

    B5634 Reply:

    @B5634, hoes? I think you meant shoes.

    [Reply]

    B5634 Reply:

    @B5634, just typing too fast, and not double checking my spelling. Where is Chipotle going to be? Between Wyndham and the vacant lot? I’ve been looking to find where the pad for it will be.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @B5634,
    My understanding is that Chipotle will be a neighbor to Cracker Barrel, in the northern side of the Wyndham parking lot, essentially behind the former Tweeter box. Now that I see Cracker Barrel going in particularly, the near-total lack of visibility of these stores from Maine Mall Road is stunning… you literally can’t tell they’re there unless you’re specifically looking for them, and even then the viewlines by-and-large prohibit spotting them from the road. I’m sure Cracker Barrel will make up for that with a sign that will be visible from the Portland Observatory; no telling if they’ll let Chipotle have a lower rung on their posts.

    Still no sign of new food court tenants in the old ice cream, McDonald’s and Ginger Pad locations.

    [Reply]

  311. Just a thought, but would Chipotle ever think of moving in the former Ginger pad location.

    [Reply]

  312. When I was at the mall yesterday I noticed that Lindt Chocolates is closing. They have a 50% to 70% sale going on.

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    There’s already a barricade over the Lindt’s location. Sometimes that means a new tenant is coming in. That would be great if it is indeed so! I met some executives from JCPenney in the mall, and they said they were quite impressed with the crowds, and the healthy mix of stores. They liked how the newer high-end stores seem to be attracting a crowd. From someone who visits the mall often, I tend to get impatient when spaces stay vacant for a long time, but, according to these Penneys execs, there are countless malls all over the country that are bordering on DEAD (including Auburn Mall in Maine, where a former anchor store is now a TD call center). So for them, the Maine Mall was impressive. Business is up this summer, so I hear. The recession is still here, too, so perhaps new stores will come in rather slowly.

    [Reply]

    Cardboy Reply:

    @HU923, Lindts is becoming Papyrus. We’re opening sometime in October 2010, no official date yet. It’s a higher end card and stationery store. Check out our website http://www.papyrusonline.com !!

    [Reply]

  313. I viseted the mall yesterday. The former vinnie T’s location has been redone as an Ulta Cosmetics. Im not sure when the opening date will be

    [Reply]

  314. @Dan, I think it’s the first week in October. There have been banners everywhere in the mall advertising it, but since I have no interest in ULTA, I have no idea when the opening is either! But I think it’s in the first week of October. I just wish there were something new in the mall to look forward to for openings, but it’s pretty boring these says, although sales were good this summer. I HATE Super Shoes and I’m so mad that the high potential LINENS N THINGS space is being wasted on that low-end store that could have easily taken MARDEN’S empty space at PINE TREE, I’m disappointed beyond measure over that. Just when you thought the SEARS wing couldn’t scrape bottom any further…..

    [Reply]

  315. Ulta is a chain of beauty superstores in the United States carrying cosmetics, skincare, fragrance, and haircare products for men and women. They also have a salon in the store. They open Friday, October 1.

    [Reply]

  316. Papyrus is opening October 2010 in the Lidnt space. It’s a higher end nicer quality stationery & card store. You can check out our website http://www.papyrusonline.com

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @Cardboy, the former manager of the mall mentioned Papyrus as a much-wanted tenant four years ago. It took a long time, but with no Hallmark stores any more, I’m sure it will do well. Papyrus will blend in with the higher-end additions nicely. I’m so glad to hear that!

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @AA6692,
    With no offense meant to @Cardboy or Papyrus, I have to feel bad about the loss of the Hallmark store. When they were having their closing sale, one of the employees told me that the mall had essentially demanded their space, while promising they would get another spot that has never appeared.

    [Reply]

    Cardboy Reply:

    @Mark, I’m unaware as to the circumstances revolving around the two hallmarks closing. I do know that we were approached to go into the mall not the other way around. Of course I never want to see any business close and people to loose their jobs because healthy competition keeps you on your toes. It could be that the mall asked them to leave or their lease was up and the mall opted out of resigning because paper stores such as hallmark tend to run a relatively low $$ per square foot for the size space they occupy. When you rent in a nationally leases mall the rent structure is two spaced. You pay a flat rent monthly depending on your size space and location (ie higher rent for prime space next to a high power anchor such as Macy’s or the center of the mall) you also have to pay a percentage of your sales to the mall. Stores such as a hallmark or Carlton cards operate at about 4,000 square feet and since the average price point is about $3 the $$ per square foot are smaller then say a sneaker store with an average price point of $100. Papyrus stores operate at much much smaller spaces and have a high ticket price which make them a more attractive alternative for a mall to have a paper store. I’m not saying that is what happened but merely throwing that out there. Malls do things like that all the time because their main focus is maximizing their center’s profit.

    [Reply]

  317. Across the street from the MAINE MALL, the former TWEETER building is coming down, and just to the left of it, a new building is rising. I’m guessing that’s the CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL. It looks as though the wonderful CRACKER BARREL is close to opening. Meanwhile SUPER SHOES is hosting a job fair near the first of October. SUPER SHOES. WHOOPEE.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @AA6692, Super shoes has had a store in the Auburn Mall for at least 2 1/2 years, and from what I’ve noticed the sell alot of footwear that you don’t find in other mall stores.

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @Jutty, like I said…SUPER SHOES….AUBURN MALL….(considered a dead mall)….WHOOPEE.

    [Reply]

  318. Does anyone know what exactly is going on with the former Tweeter building? As of this morning the front of it has been ripped off so it appears maybe it’s being stripped down to a shell to accomodate something new. Or maybe they’re just tearing it down really slowly.

    Cracker Barrel is supposed to open November 1 according to their site. I can’t imagine how insane that place will be on Black Friday!

    Excited about Chipotle as well. They now have a “Coming soon” sign stuck on the plywood on the front of the building.

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @Brett, I’m not completely sure about the TWEETER building, but I think it’s coming down. If it were to stay, it looks as though it would be in the way of the CHIPOTLE structure.

    [Reply]

    xe Reply:

    Chipotle is supposed to open mid-December, though I hope it’s sooner than that!

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @Brett, I think you may have something there with the TWEETER building. It sure does look as though it’s being torn down slowly. Now that CHIPOTLE is up, you can see that neither building is in each other’s way. I hope it IS being converted. The more new life in the area, the better. Also, the new retail center over toward Redbank has signs up; lots of new spaces available there.
    PAPYRUS took its barricade down – looks nice – a great addition to that area. SUPER SHOES has signs on their barricade advertising a December opening. I’ll be up all night waiting for that one.

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @AA6692, definitely the TWEETER building is being remodeled. The Pizzagali Construction signs are up around it, and it looks as though it’s being divided up into smaller spaces. Maybe some more upscale stores there, since it’s across from the mall. CHIPOTLE looks like it’s coming along well, SUPER SHOES has its barricade down; nice looking sign at the entrance, and though I think the mall could have done better with that space, it’s better than nothing. Certainly if hey have a large selection, it will bring much-needed life to the wing. PAPYRUS is open now – very attractive store and a great addition for those who miss the Hallmark stores that used to be in the mall.

    [Reply]

  319. I’m looking for to Chipotle opening. Whenever I go to the mall, I’m usually there in the late afternoon/evening and will go to have dinner after. I have typically gone to Wild Willy’s but they close at 8:30 and then at 9 on Friday and Saturday. If this Chipotle is like others, they’ll be open until 10 pm and then 8 pm on Sunday.

    [Reply]

  320. I liked the Mall back in the 90′s better. They had a pet shop and a restraunt(not Thatchers) and right next to it there was a sports store. I also liked how they use to have an in ground sitting place. There also was long benches with plants and things in it.

    [Reply]

  321. BUFFALO WILD WINGS AND SUBWAY ARE GOING INTO THE NEW CENTER GOING UP ON WESTERN AVENUE AND GORHAM ROAD.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @geno, Where exactly is this building going up? Isn’t there already a subway in that area?

    [Reply]

  322. @Trooper336, I’m not sure what restaurant you mean. There was York Steak House, which was right at the front door to the right, before Lechmere was built. Down at the end of the food court before the remodeling, there was Winchester’s. Also, there were both Deering and Friendly Ice Cram Shoppes there. I remember Herman’s World of Sporting Goods, but that was over where i-Party is across the street. If you liked the mall in the ’90′s, then you’d probably not like many malls around the country. The upscale changes that are happening at the MAINE MALL are reflective of the changes going on at virtually every major mall and lifestyle center nationwide.
    There are lots of places to sit!

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    Sorry; ICE CREAM NOT ICE CRAM!!!

    [Reply]

  323. Olympia Sports is basically where it always was. Pre-1983 it was the end of the Mall, across from Friendly’s. Herman’s is in Mall Plaza, now Petco. That space was originally a Shaws Supermarket that moved to Western Ave. (now Burlington Coat) and finally to Scarborough.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @CE, Friendly’s was in the mall when I was a teenager. Is Footlocker in the space that was Friendly’s? I go to the mall more now than when I was a teenager.

    [Reply]

    CE Reply:

    @Jutty, not completely sure. I think it’s more like the ex-Disney Store space. There used to be a place that served pizza called All Star Deli by the corridor ot the Management office.

    @LO559, I thought Heartland vacated then it became Shaw’s. I could be wrong. BCC looks very much like an old Shaw’s. They never even changed the “Managers Office” sign that Shaw’s put on the door. It was very similar to the now closed Hogan Road, Bangor store.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @Jutty, I think that the last spot in the right (Benoit’s) side of the rear corridor was a state liquor store, and that Friendly’s was the next spot in from that. The seam between the 1971 and 1983 buildings is the pair of service corridors that are directly cross from each other. The IGA Gold Star was in the last spot on the Jordan Marsh side of the corridor and I believe that’s A&F now. It went away during the 70′s.

    Heartland was in the Western Ave. location when it was built, and either the current Staples or the Make Thyme for Dinner was Marshall’s. Shaw’s got awards for its “PRICE WAR” flyer campaign it put on when Heartland arrived. I think Heartland went away when Purity Supreme went under, but I’m not positive.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @CE, and when Shaw’s moved out of Western Ave, Hartland Food Warehouse was there for awhile, if I’m not mistaken.

    [Reply]

  324. Jutty its near to where Eggspectation used to be ib the vicinity of the Outback

    [Reply]

  325. Does anyone remember York Steakhouse and the Plum Tree???

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @geno, OF COURSE! I ought all my dorm room posters at the Plum Tree; right across from York Steak House. In the early days, the mall hadn’t expanded to Filene’s, Porteous, and JCPenney, so the corridor was short, ending with a Gold Star IGA Supermarket. Remember that?
    I’m reading that Bare Escentuals is hiring. Earlier job hirings stated that the position was for within Macy’s, but this most recent one makes no mention of Macy’s. I’ve heard that they were interested in the old Godiva location, and was wondering if this job posting is for a self-contained store.

    [Reply]

    CE Reply:

    @LO559, too young to remember the IGA. When did it close? I remember Shaw’s having a store IN the old Newington Mall. As a kid I thought that was odd.

    [Reply]

  326. I was at the mall this evening. Super Shoes is now open, and I peaked into the space across from it. It looks like its going to be a Christmas shop. Wasn’t it last year too? At this time there is nothing else that seems to be developing at the mall. I check out Summit Adventures, and then discovered its not a store.

    [Reply]

  327. According to the commercial real estate advertorial section of today’s Press Herald, the former Tweeter building is being reconfigured for two tenants. It will house EyeMart and Vitamin Shoppe. Construction shold be complete by late December.

    [Reply]

  328. There is now a carousel by the food court right in front of Hot Topic.

    [Reply]

  329. Here’s a couple links to articles about The Mall emerging from bankruptcy and one about retail around the Mall.
    http://www.theforecaster.net/content/s-spmainemalltaxappeal-120310

    Chipotle, located at 359 Maine Mall Road, is expected to open its 73-seat restaurant on Dec. 17.

    http://www.keepmecurrent.com/current/article_53a05b7a-fd70-11df-b5e8-001cc4c002e0.html

    [Reply]

  330. My fondest memories of the mall are from when I was little. When it was cross-shaped. I remember Sampsons grocery store, Deering Ice Cream, York Steak House, The Plum Tree, Record Town, Woolworths, Fannie Farmer, Jordan Marsh and the small bakery counter they had upstairs, Casual Corner, The Pet Menagerie, Hickory Farms (yes, a whole store) CVS, Chess King, Friendlys and many others that I just can’t remember at the moment. There were no kiosks so they used to have car shows, antique shows and even a petting zoo from time to time there. I remember sqaure tiled fountains that you could sit on and throw coins into with big ball things that spit out water from all sides. They also used to have the greatest Christmas displays with the moving figurines all thru the main aisle. I never go to the mall anymore because now it’s big, impersonal, expensive, sterile and uninviting.

    [Reply]

    matt Reply:

    @Sue Osier,

    I remember most of those, Sue. My mom worked at the Jordan Marsh, so I got to know the mall well in the early ’80s. York Steak House was a favorite, with that dark lighting and long corridor where you would pick your meal. They would put those triangular plastic things on your tray with the number of your order (burger with mushroom sauce was my regular!). Then you had Friendly’s across the way near the main entrance, and the similar Deering Ice Cream down towards the middle area. I remember petting a HUGE python one time when they had a petting zoo in there. Man, those tile fountains…forgot about that! The little step-down sitting areas surrounded by plants were great for breaking open my new GI Joes and playing in while I waited for mom to get out. I remember Starbird Music having a store next to Record Town, and being wowed by the electric guitars that I would soon learn to play. Speaking of Record Town, I remember it being like a huge wall of cassettes in those clear security containers that had to be removed. Wow, remember those? Geez, what else….oh, speaking of the bakery upstairs at Jordan Marsh, right above the bathrooms there was this armless woman like on the front of an old ship that used to creep me out!! Haha….and check this out, I ended up working there in the late ’90s when it had become Macy’s, and I was in the back stockroom and she was lying on a shelf!!! It was a little creepy, I have to admit…haha.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    I worked at Jordan Marsh in 1971-72, on weekends to earn extra college money. but it was not a pleasant experience. The personnel director, Dotty, was arrogant and rude, and as a “contingent”, I was called to different departments each night – from the ski shop to housewares, but mostly men’s furnishings. The employees with whom I worked were, for the most part, friendly, but the needless extra work expected of them was ridiculous, For example, charge slips were nearly ten pages long, and for more than half of your charge sales, you had to leave your department, and search, (usually in vain) for a superior known as a “blue-lead”, to authorize the charge. The security director, who went out of his way to be nasty, used to send decoy customers to various departments, just to check to see that employees are living up to his “expectations”. It was a prison camp there for me, and for the hard-working employes, some of which stated that they never knew from day to day if they’d have a job! At the time, Jordan Marsh was quite new, and I was just so surprised to learn that the Sears where I worked previously, in Connecticut, was a far happier place for everyone than this police state up here in Maine. The awful management MUST have come from Massachusetts. I hope they eventually moved on to annoy other people somewhere else.
    Downeast Art and Framing is moving out of the mall to a new location – I heard a rumor online as to who will take the space, and if it’s true, it will be a good addition – a store that’s already in many other New England malls. But I will wait before I say anything, because the rumor could be false.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    I can also remember a very shy but extremely gentle and kind woman who was a cashier at Woolworth’s. Although I never heard her speak, and she rarely made eye contact with customers at the register, you could tell she knew her business and gave all she had. Sometimes I used to see her sitting on the bench after work, and noticed her husband coming to pick her up. I often wonder what happened to her after Woolworth’s closed. I hope her shyness didn’t prevent her from finding another job, because once you got to know her, it was obvious that Woolworth’s could see what a valuable employee she was. I hope she knows that at least one of her customers remembers her and wishes her well.

    [Reply]

  331. I stand corrected on the Sampsons supermarket. It was the IGA. Also there was a bank.

    [Reply]

  332. @Sue Osier, one fact about malls back then is they had a host of local stores; Porteous didn’t build a branch at the mall until the addition in 1983, but when the mall opened in 1971, there was Owen Moore, Benoits (For Ladies), Lewiston-based Ward Brothers, and Lamey Wellehan, which is about the only local store that, although not in the mall any more, is still a part of Portland’s retail landscape. At first, the mall seemed to end over-the-border shopping for most Mainers, and today with the addition of the more upscale retailers, there is less reason to shop out of state for necessity. I don’t personally think the mall is sterile and uninviting, but the lack of local identity makes it like so many malls across the country. But I admit that many of the new upscale stores, while expensive, are an attraction that brings shoppers in from many miles around. Teenagers like the chains because of the brand name identification, and if the mall were like it were back in 1971, many shoppers would be heading back over-the-border.

    [Reply]

  333. Points taken.

    [Reply]

  334. Is there anyone out there who has any idea if GGP has plans for FILENE’S? The Christiana Mall, in Delaware, has a market population similar to ours, and they are about to complete a good-sized addition with NORDSTROM and about 15 other new stores. Unlike the Maine Mall, Christiana Mall lost three major anchors with the Filene’s-Macy’s merger, and even with NORDSTROM, one anchor is still empty, but NORDSTROM would do so well here. Mall management just seems non-existent, or at least non-caring. After so many years, the additions between Macy’s and Pandora, and down to the food court have been fairly good, but for me, there’s not much of interest anywhere else. Super Shoes was a real disappointment – could have done much better in that wing with a little effort.
    If GGP is out of bankruptcy, any word on the space across the street?

    [Reply]

  335. Well one place across the street is moving along – the former Tweeter building has the EYECARE place and the VITAMIN SHOPPE nearly read to open. I’m thankful none of the mall stores closed over the holidays ; business must have improved somewhat. I read, however, that sales actually didn’t improve across the country. More money was apparently spent because prices went up. It didn’t mean that shoppers were necessarily buying more items; just paying more. But I guess the good ol’ Maine Mall is still with us. I too, am waiting for something big to happen.

    [Reply]

  336. I have to think that if Nordstrom were expected to do well here, Macy’s would have put a Bloomingdale’s into the former Filene’s space. I’ve also heard speculation that they (N’strom) might be an anchor in the Westbrook development, but the amount of smoke being spread by that development group (a new arena?) makes me seriously doubt that it’s ever going to come to fruition.

    [Reply]

    Caldor Reply:

    @Mark, I really think Bloomingdales is pretty unrealistic for the Maine Mall. They only have about 40 locations total, nearly all of them in or near major metropolitan areas, and there’s only even one location in all of New England at the moment.

    Bloomies is quite a ways more upscale (and more “fashionable,” hence the trends towards bigger cities) than Nordstrom, however, who tends towards more classic lines and would probably work in Portland. Nordstrom also has placed stores in smaller markets in the past (Salem, Oregon?!) so Portland would certainly not be out of the question for them, especially since they’re still expanding. Bloomingdales will almost certainly never happen.

    [Reply]

  337. @Caldor, a few years ago, I was at the Providence Place NORDSTROM, and was talking to a person in management. She said that eventually, Maine and New Hampshire would see NORDSTROM stores. According to this woman, she seemed very aware of the MAINE MALL and said that NORDSTROM loved Portland and would love to locate at the MAINE MALL. But here’s the mystery…They want Maine Mall Road exposure; just the same way CRATE & BARREL did. I personally see no reason to care about exposure there, particularly when all you see is the broken down BEST BUY and the completely outdated and boring SEARS! Yes, I would love to see BOTH of those structures demolished, but what’s the chance that’s going to happen anytime soon? In addition, WESTFARMS MALL in Connecticut built its NORDSTROM in a back parking lot which has no road whatsoever running past. MAINE MALL, on the other hand, has Philbrook Road, a perfectly fine thoroughfare with terrific exposure to all of the center; Macy’s and Sears included. Don’t you think that if NORDSTROM and CRATE & BARREL both located in the back where there is plenty of expansion room, that THEY would form the new entrance? It just seems to me that this mall, and the Portland market in general, has so much to offer, but have no one in charge who lifts a finger to put us on the map. I just will never understand how GGP spent so so much money to put those waste-of-time high end stores in Natick that have pretty much fizzled, yet won’t spend a penny to even clean up the trash or bring much needed change to this mall. When this wonderful market of Portland can only attract a SUPER SHOES in the past six months, I am certain it’s management that’s asleep at the wheel. But it could be worse. We could be Manchester NH.

    [Reply]

  338. New stores on the way!
    I hear that a popular women’s store that sells only clothing in two contrasting colors is coming – also a high-end bean-bag type furniture store that is common to many malls elsewhere, and a long awaited women’s store that begins with a J but does NOT end with Crew. Possibly negotiations are underway for the Filene’s space, and it sounds good, although it’s not Nordstrom. In addition to all that, there’s a store that I heard is leaving the Maine Crossing Shopping Center and moving into a soon-to-be-vacated (and no great loss) space in the mall. If this all comes to pass, wonderful news for the mall!!

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @AA6692, what space is being vacated? also where is the Maine Crossing shopping center? Your mention of a store that sells only clothing in two contrasting colors makes me think of a store I’ve seen before called White House/Black Market, is that it?

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @Jutty, the space being vacated come April is where Summit is operating that indoor sports center in back of Super Shoes. Black and white certainly are popular contrasting colors, aren’t they?

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @Jutty, Maine Crossing is next to Target. It has Bed Bath and Beyond, A.C. Moore, Old Navy, Babies R Us, Men’s Wearhouse among others.

    [Reply]

  339. So in other words, a White House/Black Market, LoveSac and J. Jill stores are coming to the mall, correct? Also, can you give any clue as to what might be filling the former Filene’s?

    [Reply]

  340. Could it be Gobeil’s Furniture.They were talking about this last March and Gobeil’s has been having some major sales recently like they were totaly liquidating,maybe raising cash for a possible move to the mall.Here’s a link to the story.
    http://www.pressherald.com/news/gobeils-wants-to-move-into-the-maine-mall_2010-03-27.html

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    Not Gobeil’s.

    [Reply]

  341. Jones New York?

    [Reply]

  342. Crate & Barrel? I hope it’s that!

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @HU923, I have to say macys has ruined the retail sectoy from new york to maine with may- federated merger. they have taken away so many stores sterns and abraham and straus in new york along with filenes, jordan marsh that many malls have at least one empty anchor store. Bloomingdales is very expensive and Nordstrom I would see Lord and Taylor they at least run sales and coupons and their quality on clothes are a hect of a lot better than macysand more reasonable than Nordstrom and Bloomingdales. Its a shame dept stores from the south Dillards and Belk wont come up this way. I like Belk they remind me of Filenes.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @rob, The thing i’ve noticed is Nordstroms has that luxury wing that people can’t afford. I think if malls/nordstroms just had them open in an exposed anchor as is it would be more successful. For example,at providence place nordstroms is an anchor,but walking the mall there are high end,and lower end stores mixed in around nordstroms and it is nice.

    Burlington, and especially northshore malls, those hallways are usually died because the market doesn’t have a whole lot of interest in high end stores.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SP, I agree I live near Paramus New Jersey the town of five shopping malls so one the Garden State Plaza has that mix neimans nordstrom jc penney macys and lord and taylor. Two out the five anchors are too upscale for me. I like malls where you can shop all anchors but we are over saturated with macys within 20 min of each other.Im just saying right now the way the econom is Nordstrom should run more sales as Lord AND Taylor does.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @HU923, Nope. Not Crate & Barrel.

    [Reply]

  343. Six BORDERS stores in CT are closing – along with Boylston St, Hyannis, Wareham, Peabody, Burlington MA, and Nashua NH -even the huge King of Prussia PA store is closing, but South Portland is staying open.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @LO559, four in new jersey are closing and the one on wall street in manhattan and 47th street

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @rob, I read that! I wonder if they will all be closed eventually?

    [Reply]

  344. I’m new at this.Is there a way to not have to scroll down the whole page when reading this blog.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Bob, Hi Bob, just press control & end on the keyboard at the same time to zip to the bottom of the page. To go to the top press control & home together. It works on ALL windos aps.

    [Reply]

  345. Thanks!!

    [Reply]

  346. Check out this website for Glow in the Dark Golf @ the Maine Mall next to Sears.
    http://www.opryglowgolf.com/lo_southportland.htm

    [Reply]

  347. I have a fear; not sure if it is substantiated, but a concern, if anything. I walk in the mall a great deal, and after all these years I’ve become friends with various employees in different mall locations. I too have heard that several fairly high-end stores are signing leases, but while some employees say business is up; it’s wonderful; couldn’t be better, others say that the mall is barely a trickle above what it was at the height of the recession. I’m curious what will happen when stores’ leases expire. I’ve heard that TEAVANA is in trouble, also BROOKSTONE, and that COACH is dead. On Saturdays all the stores seem crowded; I see shoppers with bags, including COACH ones. But during the week, I do not notice much of a crowd. But I firmly believe that the negative forecasters for this mall need to realize that though it’s in Maine, Maine is not at the bottom of the retail chain in relationship to our other 49 states. The mall supports a wide hinterland, bringing in shoppers from Aroostook, Atlantic Canada, not to mention the cruise ship people, some of whom come on over. So my take on this is that if stores do indeed close when their leases expire, I’m certain that it’s happening all across the nation. From what I’ve seen in other malls in other states, Maine is not alone when it comes to still living in a recession.
    I really think that business during the week could improve if the mall would do SOMETHING………ANYTHING….with that dump at the end of the corridor called SEARS. They have a new “coming events” sign written in magic marker, not to mention the rummage sale stink they now and then push outside the store. They should pay US to take this merchandise nobody wants off their hands. If we indeed still ARE in a recession, then why aren’t customers running to this dump in droves??????

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @AA6692, are you speaking just about the Teavana in the Maine Mall or the entire chain. Everytime I’m at the wall which is about twice a month, and maybe more frequently in the summer, I stop into teavana to have some tea samples, and will occastionally order a tea to drink. They stop serving from their tea bar an hour before closing, but the Northshore mall Teavana serves up until closing.

    [Reply]

  348. I was at the Mall today and noticed they were gutting out the former Seadog Brewing.Anyone know what’s happening?

    [Reply]

  349. @Bob, The SEADOG Brewing? That’s way over by Outback Steak House. I love that place. Don’t tell me it’s out of business.
    What about the SEBAGO Brewing in the parking lot. That was already closed. Is that the one you mean?

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @HU923, most likely because the seadog brewery appears to be open,per their facebook page.

    [Reply]

  350. OOP’S! You’re right.It’s the former Sebago Brewing

    [Reply]

  351. The old Sebago Brewing is going to be a second location for Jimmy The Greeks from Old Orchard Beach. Here’s a link to the O.O.B. location.
    http://www.jimmygreeks.com/index.html
    Got this from the Forecaster:
    Jimmy the Greek’s will open another location in South Portland, at the former Sebago Brewing Co. at the Maine Mall, 150 Philbrook Avenue. Manager Bethany Desjardins said the restaurant is expected to open by the second week of June.

    [Reply]

  352. THE CHILDRENS PLACE is moving to the space vacated by LAMEY-WELLEHAN. They should be in their new home by mid-May. Once that is done, there apparently will be a wall placed between the present CHILDRENS PLACE AND BABY PLACE, allowing two new stores to locate there. I hear that one of them is a women’s clothing store that specializes in two contrasting colors (although lately they’ve been throwing a little red in as well). I heard Michelle Obama likes this store. Maybe she’ll check out the new Maine location……….

    [Reply]

  353. I have also noticed a huge barricade in the food court, that runs all the way from the PRO VISION place to the door by JOHNNY ROCKETS. Hope it’s something a bit more lucrative than BUBBA’S WICKER WORLD.

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @AA6692, I was thinking about that barricade, and if you add up the square footage of those three spaces together, would that be enough for OLD NAVY? Could OLD NAVY be actually locating there, beside the food court? It still seems small to me, but the only other spot is behind SUPER SHOES once the SUMMIT ADVENTURES place goes out. There’s no direct entrance into the mall from there. Then there’s the space next to BEST BUY, which has been empty for a long time, but I don’t think that’s large enough either. But OLD NAVY is indeed coming, as banners announcing the arrival of OLD NAVY, j jill, and White House/Black Market are hanging in the central court.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @HU923, Is Old Navy relocating from its current location over by target?

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @Jutty, I think it is. So that vacated space will leave room for a nice new tenant. Barnes & Noble? Bob Stores? P.F. Chang’s? There are lots of possibilities there; quite a few retailers which Maine hasn’t got yet could locate there.

    [Reply]

  354. This is slightly off-topic for this thread, but I saw whatever the opposite of a labelscar is this weekend: the new Hampton Inn in downtown Portland has the support brackets in place for its sign facing Franklin St., but not the letters themselves. You could definitely see their logo in the pattern of the brackets.

    The former Sebago Brewing / Cricket’s / Hu Ke Lau building now has a “Jimmy the Greek’s Coming Soon” banner outside it. I know it was said above that they were going in there, but this is the first time I’ve seen the sign.

    [Reply]

  355. The Summit Adventure space has 24,613 sq ft. That would be a good fit for Old Navy. The Food Court space only has 7,056 sq ft.

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @Scott, you’re right if that’s all the space there is. I have also been asking around the mall and the only drawback to Super Shoes is no entry into the mall from there. If one were to take the space from the old Ginger Pad restaurant, and added to that the other two spaces up to the Pro Vision Center, that’s all there is? 7,056? The mall used to have a spec sheet you could refer to, but that’s gone on the website now. Where can I get specs for that?

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    Just found the site plan – indeed too small for OLD NAVY. So hopefully something better than what we had will go in the food court, since it’s all barricaded off. OLD NAVY will most certainly have to go behind SUPER SHOES.

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @HU923, it didn’t take long to discover the mystery of the 7,056 square foot space. It’s going to be FIVE BELOW, based out of Philadelphia, a retailer selling merchandise $5 or less. Compared to most “dollar” stores, these are quite nice. I’ve seen many of them in New York and Pennsylvania, and they have other locations in New England as well. FIVE BELOW, in my opinion, is a great addition to the food court area. It’s somewhat “low end” but other successful malls have them, and I think the Maine Mall is offering, with their new stores, a good mix of retailers that people off all incomes can enjoy.

    [Reply]

    CE Reply:

    New Old Navy stores are smaller than the existing fleet. New builds run 14-17k sq. ft. Older stores tended to be between 18-23k sq. ft. The floor space in the current South Portland store is poorly utilized most of the time.

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @CE, 24,613 is the square footage for the new space. Is that larger or smaller than the present OLD NAVY?

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @CE, Old Navies are being made smaller. Part of the Old Navy in Augusta is now an Ulta.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Jutty, Not only that, they are paring down the number of Old Navy locations. The store in Scarsdale NY will be closing in a few months to make way for The Fresh Market. TFM is a Greensboro NC based food retailer that is esentially a cross between Trader Joes & Whole Foods.

    [Reply]

    CE Reply:

    @SEAN, the GAP store was closed back in January at Steeplegate Mall in Concord, NH. Gap Inc. seems to be getting more thoughtful with their real estate strategy.

    [Reply]

  356. I would assume it is similar. I couldn’t find an exact figure but the ON at The Crossings at Fox Run is 25,327sq ft..

    [Reply]

  357. The new CHILDREN’S PLACE will open on May 23, in the former LAMEY-WELLEHAN, next to MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY. After that, the former CHILDREN’S PLACE will be divided in two, with one side j jill and the other WHITE HOUSE/BLACK MARKET. I have seen people inside the old DOWNEAST FRAME AND GALLERY doing some measuring. No signs are up yet, but I have heard that a high-end sectional bean-bag furniture type store is taking that spot; a store that is being added in malls all across the country. JOURNEYS is undergoing a remodeling. The MAYFLOWER MASSAGE, a temp store, is always empty in the location that it is, next to the ever-popular FILENE’S, but I see they’re moving to another temp location, between VERIZON and TRADE SECRET – where YANKEE CANDLE used to be. Also, the MAINE MALL has added a cute little train that carries young people and their families on a journey between MACY’S and SEARS. You can pick up some train tickets right in the center, near TEAVANA.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    A new Maine Artisans and Craft store is opening in the empty space next to Starbucks. Although they are a local store and not a national chain, they DO have some beautiful things for sale there, much nicer than one would see in a lot of chains.
    THE CHILDRENS PLACE is now open. It’s smaller, but doesn’t appear to have any less merchandise. The decor is more colorful than in the old store.

    [Reply]

  358. This mall needs a cheesecake factory.

    [Reply]

  359. I was over at the mall on June 10 and noticed a lot of activity inside the old FILENE’S. The mall entrance door was open today, and I could see that new walls had been erected, dividing up the first floor. Some had speculated that this was where OLD NAVY would go, but this is not the case. SUMMIT ADVENTURES is temporarily moving in there, and OLD NAVY is indeed moving in behind SUPER SHOES. I’m still hoping for a new anchor, and with SUMMIT only temporary, there’s still a chance that GGP will host a major renovation, and bring in something good. If LORD and TAYLOR can come to Salem NH, we could be lucky too someday soon.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @AA6692, I would suggest it to mall management. Lord and Taylor is opening a new store in Yonkers N.Y Dicks Sporting Goods and forever21 took over a former Filenes in Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury connecticut The problem is Macys took away two of their own stores due to mergers ABRAHAM AND sTRAUS AND JORDAN MARSH AND ALL THE MAY DEPT STORE UNITS FILENES HECTS, ETC.Macys ruined the retail market that left some malls with empty anchor stores.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @AA6692, Lord and Taylor is so not a good fit for Salem N.H and would be a much better fit for The Maine Mall given all the tourists to come to the mall from all over.

    GGP FINALLY put a Least Plan on their website,so I(who hasn’t been to the mall in years)can keep up with the mall.

    I could see ULTRA moving into the space in the food court that has a few empty stores(where some thought Old Navy would go) or maybe where EMS used to be.

    Hopefully I’ll get back to the mall soon.

    [Reply]

    AA6692 Reply:

    @SP, I agree with you so much on that. GGP, and retailers in general, only look at basic population figures when they determine placement for a store, where each metro area needs to be examined individually for whatever differences may occur; in Portland’s case – no other major malls in the state, big summer tourist traffic both from Canada, and from cruise ships. It’s true, Salem is NOT really NH, but is a part of the Boston market – you don’t see Manchester getting a Lord & Taylor or Nordstrom.
    Actually, the food court doesn’t have much empty space now – just the former BEN & McDONALD’S. FIVE BELOW, the deluxe dollar store from Philadelphia, is taking those few spaces at the bottom, and ULTA is outside where VINNY T’s used to be. That lease plan doesn’t show the move by THE CHILDRENS PLACE, and doesn’t show WHITE HOUSE/BLACK MARKET, OLD NAVY, FIVE BELOW, or j jill. It needs to be updated.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @AA6692, I forgot that ULTRA has moved outside the mall. My mistake.

    At the providence place mall they are putting a store called “buckle” which is based in the midwest. It looks like it will be the first of their stores in the NE area. The store looks kind of similar to a hollister/abercrombie, in terms of the demographic they go towards,but looks like the clothes are not exactly the same.

    Maybe Buckle could expand to areas like The Maine Mall or Mall of New Hampshire if they find NE a viable market.

    [Reply]

    Gary Reply:

    @SP, the Buckle tends to be more along the lines of a PacSun with some of their own line of clothes.

    [Reply]

  360. I meant to say BEN & JERRY’S – don’t know how the rest of it got omitted.

    [Reply]

  361. The barricade advertising “FIVE BELOW” has been taken off, but others have said that things are being moved into the space, so it should be opening soon. j jill and White House/Black Market have their “coming soon” signs up on the old “Children’s Place” location. Where the old Downeast Framing store was, some Gold Trader place is opening – another temp waste of time.

    [Reply]

  362. From what I can see, FIVE BELOW is NOT building a store in the mall. Except for j jill, WHITE HOUSE/BLACK MARKET, and OLD NAVY, there’s nothing to report but stores that one finds when no one else is interested; such as GOLD BUYERS of AMERICA, SUMMIT ADVENTURES, and the nice but temporary MAINE CRAFT CENTER.

    [Reply]

  363. URBAN SOURCE has closed – I noticed that from time to time, the employees of the store didn’t even bother to show up in time to open with the other stores in the morning. Talk about lazy – no great loss with THIS store gone – only was a temp anyway

    [Reply]

  364. It’s nice to see URBAN SOURCE completely empty. Now there’s a chance for a REAL store in that spot. Rumor has it that the vacant GODIVA store has a new tenant. I heard that it was a store that’s already been in the mall, but closed and is now returning. I think THE WALKING COMPANY is in the space that it formerly occupied.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @LO559, What is going in to the former Godiva space?

    [Reply]

  365. THE BODY SHOP

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @LO559, I noticed some “moving in” at the former URBAN SOURCE location, and it’s an outlet type store that apparently has an outpost in Kittery. It’s called LUGGAGE LOFT. I have rarely shopped in Kittery, so I’m not aware of it, or heard of it.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @HU923, I walked through LUGGAGE LOFT a few days ago – a few good pieces of luggage for low prices, but the store to me is not worthy of that space. I wish they could build up that wing with SOMETHING. Too many cheap temp places. Does ANYONE play GloGolf? I rarely see more than 2 people in there at a time – same for SUMMIT ADVENTURES.

    [Reply]

  366. It’s official. Borders Group is going to liquidate. The court hearing to confirm the plan is scheduled for Thursday. GOB sales could begin as early as Friday.

    The Maine Mall store is owned by Macy’s. Maybe B&N will talk to them about taking possession once Borders is out.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @CE, I certainly hope so. There are so many out there who don’t use Kindles and love exploring bookstores and actually turning the pages of a real live book. While B & N and Amazon have done better than Borders at the new technology, they also offer the same traditional bookstore for those, like me, who read the old-fashioned way. I can’t imagine Portland without a major bookstore.

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @LO559, once Borders is gone, what does the Portland area have for bookstores?

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @Jutty, well, there’s LONGFELLOW BOOKS, located in the former BENOIT’S department store. It’s quite a large store, and although it’s smaller than BORDERS, they can order anything and get it for you. Also, quite close to the mall, there’s BULL MOOSE, that recently added a large book section. I’d like to see B & N come, but not to BORDERS’ space. I’d rather set my sights high and bring CRATE & BARREL here.

    [Reply]

    CE Reply:

    @Jutty, the Borders building may remain a bookstore. The South Portland site is one of the 30 that Alabama based Books-A-Million is proposing to assume the lease and buy the inventory of. The Bangor Mall store is also part of the bid.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @CE, that would be a MAJOR blow. Those stores are trash.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @CE, ALTHOUGH…..Some of those BOOKS A MILLION stores, I think, are superstores that have cafes in them, and giftshops. Some of the ones in malls appear as though they are just temp stores but I think if our store were like a couple of those superstores I’ve seen, it could be kinda nice!

    [Reply]

  367. Question: Is Books-a-Million a discount bookstore? I will miss Border’s although Amazon.com shoppers like myself are partially responsible for the demise of this chain. It would take two things for me to buy my books at a brick and mortar bookstore: an everyday discount (ideally 20% or more) and an in-depth, thorough book selection. It seems to me that Bull Moose might someday be that store! (I would encourage Bull Moose to consider adding a coffee shop with free WI-FI as yet another incentive.) If anyone reading this has shopped at a Books-a-Million superstore,I would love to know your impressions.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @Tom from Kennebunk, the first Books-A-Million I went into was in suburban Richmond VA. It was located in a mall that seemed to be having difficulty keeping tenants. It took over a long empty space, and when I went there, all it consisted of were long cafeteria-type tables with books piled on them, with no rhyme or reason; sloppy, messy, no one interested – very much like Marden’s here in Maine. But apparently that was not a superstore, because according to their company description, all of the superstores contain a “Joe Mugs” cafe with many kinds of coffee and tea, fresh baked cookies and other treats – sounding similar to what Borders has. Plus some of the superstores have greeting cards and gift wrap as well. I can’t imagine our Maine Mall store NOT being a superstore. All I can do is hope for the best. I would rather see B & N move into the empty lot across the street, along with Best Buy, and we could bring Crate & Barrel to the old Borders store. That’s what I wish. I can’t help but think Books-A-Million is what we in Maine are stuck with because the better stores don’t want to come here. But I could be wrong.

    [Reply]

    Scott Reply:

    @LO559, Bloomberg.com is reporting this morning that the deal for Book-A-Million to purchase the Border locations has fallen through and will not happen.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @Scott, The book industry is shakey, because of the internet and even Barnes and Noble is a little bit shakey as well..They spoke on CNBC AND SAID MANY RETAILERS ARE EYEBALLING THE FORMER BORDERS STORES. BED BATH ,KOHLS , AND SOME RESTAURANT CHAINS,

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, Isn’t it interesting that as recently as a year & a half ago despite Borders problems, landlords were falling over themselves to sign bookstores as junior anchors. This was done either to fill a closed department store in part or as part of a lifestyle expantion. Now look where we are today with Borders demise. Incredible.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Rob, First of two articles from Retail Traffic reguarding Borders.

    Borders Liquidation Will Hit Power and Strip Center Landlords
    Jul 20, 2011 8:03 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Retail Traffic Associate Editor

    The Great Recession has claimed another big-box retailer—two years after it was declared over.

    Unable to secure a buyer interested in keeping it as a going concern, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based bookseller Borders announced plans to liquidate its remaining locations late Monday. DJM Realty, which is part of the Gordon Brothers Group, became the stalking horse bidder for Borders’ assets, and will now begin disposition work on Borders’ entire remaining portfolio. It includes 259 full-line Borders locations and 114 Borders Express and Waldenbooks stores.

    Borders was brought to the brink by increased competition from digital readers, combined with several years of declining sales due to a weak consumer environment. Its mega stores were also saddled with too much music- and video-related merchandise and not enough products aimed at the typical mid-income American consumer, according to Cynthia Groves, senior managing director of global corporate services with Newmark Knight Frank, a real estate services firm.

    Though a Borders liquidation isn’t welcome news for retail landlords, many of whom are still dealing with wobbling fundamentals, it won’t have nearly the same impact as the liquidations of Mervyn’s, Linens ‘n Things and Circuit City a few years earlier. Many of Borders’ landlords are already having conversations with alternate retailers to backfill its stores, says Andy Graiser, co-president of DJM Realty.

    Borders owns some prime real estate and the last of its stores represent the best of its portfolio: locations in big markets, with good demographics and steady shopper traffic. Borders superstores average 24,500 square feet in size and can range from 10,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet. They feature long-term leases, typically lasting 15 or 20 years, with multiple extension options. Overall, the current disposition portfolio totals about 10 million square feet of space.

    When Borders filed for bankruptcy protection in February, we compiled a slideshow of 10 potential replaces. Click here or on the image to view the gallery.
    As such, Borders’ liquidation will impact the overall retail vacancy rate in the U.S. by less than 1 percent, according to Chris Macke, senior real estate strategist with the CoStar Group, a Washington, D.C.-based research firm.

    The biggest issue for landlords will be disposing of two-level boxes, which are normally very expensive and sometimes impossible to retrofit, and dealing with a drop in rental rates as retailers who will end up taking former Borders locations will likely drive very hard deals, according to Chris Wilson, president of Wilson Commercial, a Los Angeles-based real estate services firm.

    “You have to recognize that so many of the Borders leases were written or signed in high land value, very desirable at the time locations,” Wilson notes. “Many of those leases are way over market; especially the adjusted market for big boxes. So while there may be a lot of demand, the ability for the property owner to satisfy the market rents may further impact the timing of when those stores get absorbed.”

    Lots of interest

    Graiser says he expects plenty of interest from retailers in the Borders locations. Having witnessed multiple bankruptcies and liquidations over the past couple of years, expanding chains have been doing due diligence on the remaining Borders stores ahead of time, to ready themselves for a potential auction, he notes.

    In fact, on Monday rumors emerged that Books-a-Million, the third largest U.S. bookseller after Barnes & Noble and Borders, was in negotiations with the retailer to pick up some of its stores. Books-a-Millions, like Borders, operates both superstores, which range from 8,000 square feet to 39,000 square feet, and smaller format stores, ranging between 2,000 square feet and 7,000 square feet. Most of its existing stores, however, are located in enclosed malls and strip centers, while Borders has gravitated more toward power centers and freestanding locations.

    Books-a-Million would not return calls for comment and Graiser said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss any ongoing negotiations, other than to say that “there have been a few retailers that had conversations with Borders on taking some locations.”

    Among the retail players most likely to go into the smaller Borders boxes would be the dollar stores, in Graiser’s view. Supermarkets and furniture sellers might be looking to lease the larger stores. It’s also a possibility that electronics chain Best Buy, which has been concentrating on opening stores in the 30,000-square-foot range, would be interested in relocating to vacant Borders boxes from some of its existing locations, according to Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based retail real estate consulting firm.

    H&M now occupies a former Borders location at the Carlsbad Forum in San Diego, Calif.
    In addition, fast fashion retailer H&M might be looking at Borders stores, according to Steve McClurkin, senior vice president with brokerage firm Grubb & Ellis. Earlier this year McClurkin negotiated a deal for H&M to go into an approximately 20,000-square-foot Borders store in Carlsbad, Calif. McClurkin notes that the majority of Borders’ portfolio is made up of desirable real estate that should be quickly absorbed based on the quality of the assets and the market.

    “H&M has been pretty selective in their growth in regards to urban markets and they are still aggressively expanding in the U.S.,” he says. “I am sure they are going to be looking at those locations throughout the rest” of the country.

    Horizontal vs. vertical

    Still, even with plenty of interest from alternate tenants, some Borders stores will likely go back to developers, Graiser says. During the last round of dispositions, DJM had a particularly hard time marketing multi-level Borders locations and brokers, including Graiser himself, expect that it will be no different this time around.

    When Borders agreed to go into multi-level locations some years ago, it was a matter of necessity due to high land prices in certain markets, according to Wilson. Today, with plenty of empty one-level boxes still on the market, retailers have no incentive to pick up leases on multi-level stores.

    “Many two-levels Linens ‘n Things are still vacant in A markets three years after they closed,” Wilson says. “The cost to retrofit them is very expensive and oftentimes, structurally very, very challenging.”

    Graiser estimates that to re-lease a two-level Borders store to two retailers operating on separate levels, a developer might have to spend up to $1 million in construction costs. In certain instances, a retrofit might be impossible to undertake, either because the developer can’t get the necessary permits or because of the store’s layout.

    “It’s still a challenge, I have to be honest,” Graiser says.

    Of the 259 full-line Borders stores that DJM will be marketing, 43 feature a two-level layout and three feature a three-level layout. The remaining 213 locations are all one-level stores.

    Dollars and cents

    In addition, many of Borders’ landlords will likely take a hit on their incomes from lower rental rates even if they manage to secure new tenants, according to Chris Macke and Jeff Green.

    Based on the average remaining lease term of 7.4 years on Borders stores, many of its leases were signed in the early and mid 2000s, near the peak of the real estate cycle. At the peak, in 2007, power center rents averaged above $20 per square foot, according to CoStar Group data. In the second quarter of this year, power center rents were down to $17.09 per square foot.

    In prime markets like New York and Los Angeles and on older stores, retailers might be more flexible on rental rates because of lack of new development. Michael O’Neill, senior director with brokerage firm Cushman & Wakefield, has spent the past three months marketing a 35,000-square-foot, four-level Borders location in New York’s financial district. His team has received inquiries ranging from apparel retailers to drug stores to fitness club operators, some of whom would be willing to take the entire block of space.

    The asking rent for the whole store would be around $3.5 million, with a 15- to 20-year lease term. O’Neill would not say how that rent would compare to what Borders used to pay, but the bookseller moved into the downtown Manhattan location back in 2002. It was the first big-box retailer to sign a lease in the area after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    “There has been a substantial amount of demand since we brought that store to market,” O’Neill says.

    On Borders leases outside major urban areas, however, “it’s going to be a huge challenge for retail developers to recoup those rents,” says Green. “Those who are expanding and could fill the boxes are driving some very hard bargains. The tenant is in the driving seat, not the developer.”

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Rob, Article #2.

    Long Road Ahead for Borders’ Landlords
    Jul 26, 2011 8:47 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Retail Traffic Associate Editor

    Even though leasing brokers insist Borders’ liquidation is not going to be nearly as devastating for the retail real estate community as liquidations of Mervyns, Linens ’n Things and Circuit City, the loss of another big-box tenant will still put a strain on some owners.

    In the commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) market alone, at least 135 loans include properties where Borders currently serves as one of top three tenants, according to Trepp LLC, a New York City-based research firm focusing on CMBS and commercial mortgage information.

    Eighteen of those loans are already delinquent. Another 45 have now been put on Trepp’s watch list for delinquency.

    As recently as June, the CMBS delinquency rate in the retail sector was showing improvement, falling 12 basis points to 7.82 percent. Borders’ liquidation has the potential to reverse that trend.

    Thomas Fink, senior vice president and managing director with Trepp, spoke with Retail Traffic about which properties and owners might be most at risk from the final round of Borders’ store closings.

    Retail Traffic: How unexpected was this liquidation?

    Fink: I don’t think anybody thought it was unexpected. Clearly, there was significant pressure on booksellers in general, and on music sellers, from the digital format. A store like Borders, which was books and music, had to be under significant retail pressure.

    Retail Traffic: How much of an impact is this going to have on the total volume of distress in the retail sector?

    Fink: It’s going to be hard to say how it’s going to affect delinquencies. There is a real possibility that a number of properties that were otherwise in good shape will have to find a new tenant. There were a number of cases where the Borders in and of itself was the only tenant [in a freestanding location].

    Those properties are going to experience the greatest distress. In many cases those were build-to-suits for Borders. They are 20,000 to 40,000 square feet. Those are big stores. They are not mega stores, they are not Lowe’s or Walmarts — but it’s a large store plate.

    Retail Traffic: Do you think the freestanding locations will have the hardest time finding replacement tenants in time to avoid default?

    Tom Fink
    Fink: I think it’s going to depend on the traffic of the location itself. A standalone Borders in a high-traffic area, with a lot of parking, could be attractive to a lot of retailers. You can put in an entertainment use or any number of large clothing stores.

    In cases where it’s the largest tenant in a multi-tenant property, that’s a big chunk of empty space. It’s going to depend on how the rest of inline space is leasing. If the property is already suffering, and the largest tenant in the strip is going out, it’s going to struggle.

    When OfficeMax closed a bunch of its stores, or Linens ’n Things started closing stores, what I often saw was that the stores that took those places were a little bit more downscale than what was there originally.

    The question is: Does that stabilize the property or does it put pressure on the remaining stores that were there to get the same amount of traffic that they were getting from Borders?

    Retail Traffic: What type of property owner would be at greatest risk of default from the Borders liquidation?

    Fink: I think it’s probably the small, private property owner who owns a series of stores in the local community. Obviously, when it comes to the big REIT developers, the Kimcos and the DDRs (Developers Diversified), Borders is going to hurt, but it’s not going to put their properties over the edge.

    They have a lot of capital, and Borders was never as significant a client for these developers as for some of the others. That’s why I think it’s going to be the local and small regional developers who will feel most of the pressure.

    Retail Traffic: How long do you think it will take for the market to absorb all the extra space?

    Fink: You know, again, it depends on the location. My guess is that it’s not going to be quick. These are not going to be snapped up at a moment’s notice because retail as a whole [is still challenged].

    One of the things we’ve observed is that there isn’t the next big theme retailer out there. The only tenant that is able to draw a huge amount of traffic right now is Apple. You can draw high-dollar clientele with an Apple store.

    But it’s not like the old days, when Linens ’n Things and other big concept stores were coming online. I don’t see the next big idea that’s going to absorb lots of space all over the country.

    Retail Traffic: In your view, have we seen the last major retail liquidation in this cycle, or do you have your eye on additional retailers who might be at risk?

    Fink: Oh, we are nowhere near done. Even though things have gotten a little better in terms of the numbers, my guess is that we’ve got another two to three years before we can say that we are through with the bulk of the problems, and that’s assuming a healthy capital market. I don’t think we are done with liquidations at all.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @SEAN, from Article #1, can anyone put this into something other than marketer-speak?
    “Its mega stores were also saddled with too much music- and video-related merchandise and not enough products aimed at the typical mid-income American consumer, according to Cynthia Groves, senior managing director of global corporate services with Newmark Knight Frank, a real estate services firm.”
    I.e., what do they actually mean by “the typical mid-income American consumer” and why are they felt not to be as interested in music- and video-related merchandise?

    [Reply]

    Raymie Reply:

    @Mark, I think that was intended to mean too much music and video found elsewhere and nothing unique and distinctive.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Raymie, Your spot on, since the “average American” could find better deals on music & video elsewhere such as Best Buy.

    @Mark, Like you I’m not a fan of marketing spin either, but for an open discussion like this it works fine since open debate & idea exchanging is the goal of this site along with memmeries of course.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @SEAN, I wasn’t criticizing the “marketer-speak” being here (especially since it was a quoted article); I just was trying to reach some clarity as to what they were talking about.

    Thanks for the answers, @Raymie and @Sean.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Mark, \Oh I realize you wanted clarity, it doesn’t always seme easy when you inject marketer spin into articals like these.

    LO559 Reply:

    @Scott, maybe BULL MOOSE will take a look. Or maybe BEST BUY will downsize, as they are doing in most markets. If BEST BUY moved there, the mall could add new stores and build an entirely new front entrance. I’d like CRATE & BARREL to be there the most, I think.

    [Reply]

  368. Just read that Books-A-Million has just made a NEW bid TODAY for the lease for both the South Portland and Bangor Borders locations. See article below…

    BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Bankruptcy court documents say the Books-A-Million bookstore chain has agreed to buy the leases of 14 Borders bookstores, including two in Maine.

    Borders Group, the nation’s second largest bookstore chain that once operated over 1,000 stores, announced in July it was liquidating and going out of business.

    Citing documents filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, the Bangor Daily News says Books-A-Million has agreed to buy the leases of stores in South Portland and Bangor, as well as in New Hampshire, Connecticut, Maryland, Ohio and New Jersey, for about $934,000. The South Portland and Bangor stores are still open.

    The agreement must be approved by the court by Aug. 29.

    Books-A-Million, based in Birmingham, Ala., has 232 stores in 23 states and Washington, D.C.

    [Reply]

  369. j jill’s barricade has come down. I think the store will open October 6; not sure, but the mall’s website indicates that’s when their grand opening celebration begins. White House/Black Market’s barricade has gone up, and lots of work is going on in there, probably for a November 2011 opening. The Gold Buyers temporary store has moved to the old TD Bank location near the old Filene’s. In its place will be AVEDA. Glo Golf has moved in beside the plastic bubble in the pool Summit Adventures in the former Filene’s. I think the temp store for Christmas decorations will move in where Glo Golf was; the former Waldenbooks. Finally, Old Navy continues to build in back of Super Shoes. I wonder what will take Old Navy’s place at Maine Crossing. Does anyone know? I’ve heard rumors that there are talks for a permanent store at the Filene’s location. I would love to see Summit and Glo Golf out of the mall as soon as possible.

    [Reply]

  370. Does anyone know why The Old Country Buffet switched to the Home Town Buffet? I Know both brands are owned by the same company, I was just wondering what the marketing or demographic reason behind the change might be.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @Aaron G., I really have no idea but it looks to me that the HOME TOWN is a bit more upscale, and has a greater choice of many different ethnic cuisines. I rarely eat there, but I went in shortly after the renovation, and it looked much brighter, had nicer decor, and, as I said, had a LOT more choices.

    [Reply]

  371. Many customers were carrying j jill bags out of the mall today. The store had its grand opening on Oct 6 – looks nice inside, an great addition to the mall. OLD NAVY will open in its new location on Nov 16. There are banners advertising the opening. THE BODY SHOP is setting up for a soon-to-be-opening. WHITE HOUSE/BLACK MARKET work is progressing.

    [Reply]

    AA692 Reply:

    White House/Black Market opened on Thursday, November 3 – nice looking store. Aveda is open as well, but that one looks like a pop-up store since it has just a few shelves. I think The Body Shop is a pop-up store as well. They may not stay open after the holidays. Books-A-Million is also open. They lack a local section and their food is much more limited than Borders. The carpet was not replaced, so it’s worn and stained in places. But their book selection is quite good and the magazine section is just as extensive as Borders. There’s still a bit of cosmetic work to do, and since this is the largest Books-A-Million in the chain (yes that’s right) there are quite a few spaces to fill.I understand that a large percentage of former Borders employees were hired for the store, so for me, I’m very pleased.

    [Reply]

    will Reply:

    My understanding is that BAM wanted to open as quickly as possible in order to take advantage of the holiday shopping season, which kind of explains why they didn’t replace that worn carpeting. The Maine Mall location was the most expensive ex-Borders lease IIRC, which undoubtedly added to their haste. It’s reassuring that BAM is settling into the community with respect to tailoring their selection to the local market, which was a concern about them early on.

    [Reply]

  372. Noticed that the Old Navy at Maine Crossing is closed, so I’m assuming that the Maine Mall location is now open.

    [Reply]

  373. OLD NAVY is open behind SUPER SHOES. Its entance is from the outside; not from the mall. BOOKS A MILLION has expanded departments and now has a very good local section. The food area also has more pastries, and more chairs and tables are on order.

    [Reply]

  374. The tuxedo rental place by the back door has closed; so has TACO BELL.

    [Reply]

  375. I was near the mall today at Scarborough Gallery and noticed that a new Red Robin is being built between the Texas Roadhouse and Lowes. Its great to see new construction going on (anywhere)! There is also new construction in front of Walmart. Are we seeing a turnaround in the economy?

    [Reply]

    will Reply:

    About time! Red Robin has been making noises about building in Scarborough for six years…

    [Reply]

  376. Thank you for sharing these pictures and also to the other posters that are sharing their experiences! We are thinking about moving to Maine (Falmouth) so even info like this is helpful. I love being able to learn as much as I can about the area!

    [Reply]

  377. Two things I noticed as I was doing my shopping: there is a new Maine Mall Snacks shop in the old Ben & Jerry’s / Big Scoops space between Mrs. Fields and Amato’s; it’s essentially a convenience-store without food prep, and the girl running it said it was intended to be permanent. Also, Go! Games has a full calendar store in the former Kay Jeweler’s space at the corner of the Filene’s aisle; that’s presumably temporary. Still no takers of the McD’s space, though, and of course Taco Bell is still empty.

    [Reply]

  378. John Caterina, Sr., one of the prime movers behind the Maine Mall project, has died at 85. He had quite a life…
    http://www.pressherald.com/news/john-caterina-sr_-85-banker-veteran-guided-mall-project_2012-01-03.html

    [Reply]

  379. The iconic twin towers of the Sheraton/Wyndham Hotel across from the mall got a makeover recently and will be reflagged as a Doubletree by Hilton at the end of the month
    http://www.pressherald.com/news/South-Portland-hotel-switching-affiliation.html

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @will, Personally, I don’t like the new look. I thought the all-over gloss black was much nicer than the crimson stripes with beige trim they’re sporting now. It will be nice to have Doubletree (and their trademark cookies) back in the Portland market.

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @Mark, There is a doubletree in orlando that has a similar look(square buildings,as opposed to round) and it is a unique look. It stands out.

    http://www.discoveruniversal.com/accommodations/doubletreeorlando/doubletree-pic-01.gif

    [Reply]

  380. The BODY SHOP has ceased being a pop-up store; barricades are now up in the same corner location for what will be a nice upscale permanent store. As of January, that’s the only construction that I’ve noticed at the mall, other than the bathroom facilities by the food court are closed temporarily for renovation.

    [Reply]

  381. Facade work is being done on the former Kids R US and ex-Office Depot building on Maine Mall Rd. No Idea whom the tenant may be.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @CE, Eastern Mountain Sports, I heard

    [Reply]

    Scott Reply:

    @AA6682, yes you are correct… the EMS website states a Spring 2012 opening in South Portland….

    [Reply]

    SP Reply:

    @Scott, Maybe im dead wrong,but I thought EMS was already in the Maine Mall at one point,over by where Best Buy is..It closed and was the former home of Dream Machine,before it closed.

    So maybe they are coming back to the area after closing in the mall a few years ago.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @SP, I too remember EMS being there, next to Best Buy. When you look at the EMS website, it says “TWO PORTLAND LOCATIONS”. So the EMS that is currently next to Trader Joe’s,(which from what I can see does a good business), will stay open.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @AA6682, now that RAVE-X has moved out of the mall, GO GAMES is taking their spot, and next door, at the old GO GAMES location, word is that a store for plus size women (I assume TORRID) is planned to open. If it is indeed that store, they’re a good chain and feature great designs. They’ve been popular and successful in other malls; hope they do well here.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @LO559, JCrew may be coming – TRADE SECRET is closing

    [Reply]

    MontyBurns Reply:

    @AA6682, Must be a bad year for hair. The salon next to Best Buy has closed permanently.

    Does anyone know about the 2,000 and 5,000 sq ft restaurants available for lease by Days Inn. Chilis is likely the larger space, AFAIK, it is still operating. Maybe there is a restaurant space in the motel as well.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @AA6682, the salon HAIR EXCITEMENT up next to BEST BUY has also gone out of business. Rumour has it that AVEDA will be moving to a new location shortly.

    [Reply]

  382. According to this article SEARS has sold its Real Estate in 11 Malls to General Growth Properties
    http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-biz-0224-sears-20120223,0,4483819.story

    .Don’t know if this includes the Maine Mall.If SEARS goes thats another big spot to fill.Still can’t seem to fill the old Filenes space.Too bad the Movie theatre didn’t happen.That would have brought in a lot of foot traffic.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @Bob, I disagree. There are far too many movie theaters in the area anyway, and malls with movie theatres often have problems with kids just “hanging around” and that chases away shoppers. If SEARS does indeed leave, I think both LORD & TAYLOR or NORDSTROM would be interested in that space. From reports I heard, NORDSTROM wants a Maine Mall Road presence, and the FILENE’S space doesn’t, in their opinion, have enough traffic going by to risk building a store in back. Business at other NORDSTROM stores in the Boston area hasn’t been that great, from what I can tell, so that could pose a risk as well. But there are other possibilities. BEST BUY could move over there, and the front of the mall would be free to add more smaller stores. CRATE & BARREL also likes this mall, but there hasn’t been a space big enough for whaqt they would like. But to me, a movie theatre is a waste of good space. Better in my opinion to wait until the right retailer comes along.

    [Reply]

    SDB111 Reply:

    @Bob, Until something permanent happens with the old Filene’s space, it seems to me that it could be turned into a huge Maine Made Marketplace, with each vendor selling only products made in Maine. The way the old Filenes is set up, it has a perfect “Maine Street” that runs around each floor. With little to no renovation required,except some temporary dividing walls between the spaces, it seems like it could house anywhere from 40 to 50 different vendors. Might be a huge draw for out-of-state tourists.

    [Reply]

  383. Is there a Dick’s Sporting Goods anywhere near the mall? They could probably fill the sears space IF needed. Unless Sports Authority puts the axe to it..

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @SP, yes, Dick’s Sporting Goods is across the street. As for the Maine craft vendors, there was a local center for Maine Craft that was headquartered in Gardiner, that operated in a couple of locations last year, and although they had very nice merchandise, they didn’t do well. We have enough of those in the Old Port area, and it’s a much nicer atmosphere there. I don’t think a local vendor flea market would work. We need to have something there that is for people who LIVE here, not for the tourists.

    [Reply]

  384. Found this is a related article

    Here is a list of the properties:

    Ala Moana Center — Honolulu, Hawaii
    Apache Mall — Rochester, Minn.
    Bellis Fair — Bellingham, Wash.
    Coral Ridge Mall — Coralville, Iowa
    Fashion Place — Murray, Utah
    Mall of the Bluffs — Council Bluffs, Iowa
    Market Place Shopping Center — Champaign
    Provo Towne Centre — Provo, Utah
    Quail Springs Mall — Oklahoma City, Okla.
    West Oaks Mall — Ocoee, Fla.
    The Woodlands Mall — Woodlands, Texas

    As you can see, Maine Mall is not on the list to sell to GGP

    [Reply]

    SDB111 Reply:

    @SDB111, Should have said, the Maine Mall Sears is not on the list to sell to GGP.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @SDB111, WPIX-TV in NYC reported last night that Sears is trying to sell 1200 stores to raise $730 Million. I’m going to verify that info.

    As for the comment regarding cinemas in malls, newer cinemas are being designed for the over 21 crowd. Examples include National Amusements Cinema Deluxe & AMC’s Cinema Sweets/ Fork & Screen.

    [Reply]

    SDB111 Reply:

    @SEAN, Check out the link from Bob on Feb 27. It describes what Sears wants to do. According to that article on 11 are mall stores. The rest are hometown and outlet stores. Interesting read though. Sounds like Sears is starting to get desperate.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @SDB111,

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @SDB111, Sears is getting desperate? Sears is really desperate!

    The article was a good read, I like Sandra M. Jones reporting style.

    I’ve posted other related Sears articles on the J C Penny revamps logo thred.

    [Reply]

    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @SEAN, interestingly, in the light of Sears doom and gloom, a new Sears has opened…in Bermuda.

    http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20120229/BUSINESS03/702299977/0

    [Reply]

    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @SEAN, also, unlike Borders et. al., Sears isn’t having a problem with liquidity or assets, it’s all about profitability.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, If you aren’t profitable, then it really doesn’t matter how much liquitity you have. I could have billions of dollars, but if my business keeps losing money, then there’s no point in flushing good money after bad. Eddie Lampert knows this all too well, but in the eyes of a hedge fund manager the goal is to suck out every ounce of value from Sears & Kmart until there’s nothing left. It’s what hedge funds do regardless if you realize it or not. That’s how they make money. They have little interest on longterm value.

    Another way to look at this can be found in the restaurant senes in the early parts of “Good Fellas.” Once all the value was extracted from the restaurant, “you bust the joint out, you light a match.” Eddie has lit the match & it is only a matter of time until it blows up.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @SEAN, I still have to agree with the other post that movie theatres in malls are a waste of space. Those spaces are for anchor stores. And simply because there are cinemas that cater to an older crowd, that doesn’t mean we would have gotten one of those. At the time, Joe Soley was fighting a lawsuit over his property that included the Clarks Pond Cinemas. The plan was simply to move those cinemas over to the mall. Now the CINEMAGIC GRAND has a slight appeal to the over 21-ers in the refreshment department, but they show no international or specialty films, and there are plenty of under 21s there.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @LO559, Perhaps South Portland just isn’t a good example where these types of cinemas can be profitable in a mall & that’s OK. Most circuits don’t show foregn or indipendent films, although AMC is devoting a bit more screens to them & audiences have responded.

    As for theatres in malls, you need to keep in mind as the number of department store brands shrink, developers & mall owners need to deversify there anchor mix. Theatres are just one of several options to choose from. Others include restaurant rows & if you can believe it supermarkets. However I’m not refering to Shaws or to Stop & Shop, rather to specialty stores like Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Fairway & The Fresh Market.

    Big Box electronics & book sellers were good anchors for a while, but they fell out of favor with the loss of Borders & Circuit City as Best Buy & Barns & Noble continue to struggle.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @SEAN, the restaurant idea is a good one to me. The former manager of the mall was hoping to get BEST BUY across the street so they could do just that. And you’re right, the number of department stores AARE shrinking. But there’s still LORD & TAYLOR and NORDSTROM as eventual possibilities, which would to me be the best choices. I still think it’s better to play the waiting game until something higher end comes along.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682, I’m in total agreement with you. Nordstrom & Lord & Taylor are the best department store options out there, but is South Portland the right market for them? That remains to be sene. As you posted above, the best stratigy at this point maybe just waiting & see how things play out.

    If you look at the Natick Mall page, GGP tried to turn that center into New Englands version of Garden State Plaza with the aditions of Neiman Marcus & Nordstrom, but it didn’t work out as expected. This brings up an interesting question for Nordstrom’s viability at the Maine Mall, but Lord & Taylor has a strong base of stores throughout the northeast increasing it’s chances of being viable.

    Thaughts?

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @SEAN, lots of them…
    Lord & Taylor DID close a few stores in the northeast, so at first I was skeptical that they would consider the Maine Mall. But they opened a store in Rockingham Park in Salem MH (which is legally NH but technically part of the Boston market). Now I’ve heard that representatives of Lord & Taylor were here looking at the Filene’s property, but apparently they passed on it, because it’s been such a long time. Summit Adventures and their hamster bubble are dominating that space. I have also heard that Nordstrom officials have been here, but they, probably like Lord & Taylor, want a store out front. Now if Sears were to sell of their property, the circumstances regarding THAT location could possibly be quite different from that of Filene’s. I don’t think that should be, however, because Filene’s was EXTREMELY popular here, with customers preferring it over Macy’s. Regarding Nordstrom, their nearest store to Portland is in Peabody, which is really not too far away. If the right location at the Maine Mall became available, I would think they’d have a problem trucking their merchandise up the pike an extra 80 miles. But regarding if it would work here, I’m wondering how it’s working in other malls. Whenever I go into the Nordstrom, either in Peabody, Burlington, Westfarms in CT – there seems to be no one ever there. The Nordstrom in Peabody is built in a wing that is quieter than our Sears wing. So who knows? I think whatever the Maine Mall does, they need to bring in stores that no one else in the state offers. Shoppers from Caribou lined up at the Apple store when it opened, which proves the right store can bring in a crowd, regardless of income.Sephora and Pandora are two other examples of stores that for many are destinations. I didn’t notice a line out the door for Super Shoes. Yet the mall settled for something cheap and ordinary just to fill the space. When something more lucrative comes along, the mall has now lost its chance. When I see stores like Payless and Old Navy ,both of which have multiple locations everywhere, it doesn’t make going to the mall a special trip. Some malls, like the Palisades Center in New York, have high-end and low-end stores mixed with movie theatres, Wal Mart, Home Depot, BJ’s. But these centers are usually found in huge markets, and besides, we already have most of those stores in other shopping centers around the mall. So I feel rather than add new tenants that have in the area already, I feel the mall needs to either offer short term contracts to the lower end stores, and wait until the perfect tenant arrives.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682, I think you ment Nordstrom would not have a problem opening a store 80-miles up the pike fromPeebody.

    Nordstrom is selective where they open stores, but even they have closed or moved stores based on demand. Someone on this blog noted that they closed there Indianapolis store abruptly last year.

    [Reply]

    rob Reply:

    @SEAN, SEAN OF WHAT I CAN SEE OF THIS MALL MAYBE BONTON OR BOSCOVS WOULD FIT BETTER AT THIS MALL. I DIDNT GET THE DETAILS I HEARD NEWBURH MALL IN NEWBURGH NY IS HEADED TO FORECLOSURE.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @rob, This is more of a mid-tier center where Boscov’s might work if they wanted to take a flyer on it. After checking the store lineup, I’m starting to have a few doubts about Nordstrom’s chances at this mall. Lord & Taylor may do better in a mall like this.

    rob Reply:

    @AA6682, LORD AND TAYLOR ONLY DID THAT WHEN MACYS BOUGHT MAY CO WHO OWNED FILENES AND LORD AND TAYLOR. LORD AND TAYLOR IS OWNED BY A DIFFERENT CO AND THEY ARE OPENING A NEW STORE IN YONKERS NY THIS SPRING. THEY ARE LOOKING TO REOPEN STORES IN FLORIDA AS WELL. I LIKE LORD AND TAYLOR NORDSTROM IS OVER PRICED.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @rob, thanks for the info. And I agree; Nordstrom IS INDEED overpriced. If it were here, it would make a nice status symbol for the mall, but I personally couldn’t afford to shop there, unless they put a Nordstrom Rack somewhere closeby.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682, The question is, what retailers are most suitable for a mid-market mall like this. One might be almost under your nose, LL Bean.

    SP Reply:

    @AA6682, What about a Bass Pro shop or Christmas Tree shop. Something that will capture the culture/climate/activity up that way.

    Mark Reply:

    @AA6682, @SEAN, L.L.Bean has said at one time or another that putting a full-scale store in the Portland area would cannibalize traffic from the Freeport flagship stores, so they don’t want to do that. @SP, Christmas Tree Shops have a store across the Turnpike bridge, maybe 1/2 a mile or less from the mall.

    So far as the Filene’s space goes, if it’s not going to be a movie theater, I’d like to see them break it into a nightclub zone similar to the one at Mall of America. Between the two levels you could probably put in at least 4 different dining & dance spaces. The big question would be how to handle the mallside entrance after hours; could it be made emergency-use only and alarmed after 9 Pm? I realize this is a shoot-the-moon idea, but there’s too much space there to be sitting empty for so many years.

  385. I’ve been told many times that the Maine Mall Sears is one of the nation’s top performers. My question is why, if it’s such a “top performer” is it still only a B1A store? The Sears in West Hartford, CT for example, is 3 floors and has a lot more departments then ours, and it is considered an “A” store.. The answer that I get is that the mall land on which it sits is not sturdy and that there’s danger of the building (and the whole second floor of the mall, if one were built) sinking. So to compensate the smallness of the store, the departments are all squashed together to offer the selection of the average “A” store. Compared to many other B1A’s I’ve seen, this is ABSOLUTELY true. There are a great many Sears stores out there that have all the room in the world, because they’ve got such little merchandise. But on the other hand, that end ofthe Maine Mall is so desolate. All the shoppers at Sears must not come into the mall, because there’s lots of room to fall asleep down there. But when you look at the entrance to Sears, there’s NOTHING there that invites you inside. So while I would love to see Sears move out of the mall so we could get a NORDSTROM, I think that if Sears decides to shed stores, our Maine Mall Sears will be one of the last to go.

    [Reply]

  386. We already have a CABELA’S a mile from the mall. Christmas Tree Shops has been here already for a long time. Why do people think the Maine Mall is too weak to support another REAL anchor? How many stores that have located in the mall have gone out of business because the market couldn’t support them? If the Boston area can support 4 NORDSTROMS and 5 LORD & TAYLORS, then Portland could support one.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682, South Portland maybe near Boston, but the retail market may not be the same. Let me give you an example of what I’m refering to. Paramus NJ, 10- miles from NYC is one of the most robust retail areas in the country with nearly every national & regional chain having some level of representation. Now Drive a few miles north to Clarkstown NY & you will see a market that is in a state of flux with an older mall in Nanuet being redeveloped & a super regional center Palisades in West Nyack that is struggling to hold on to what market share it once enjoyed.

    In both of these cases you have A level markets I, e Boston & New York with B level submarkets Portland & Clarkstown respectively.

    Yu might think that the Portland area should be more robust than it is currently & you maybe right, but the retail planners, marketers & others just don’t see it that way. If they did, the Maine Mall would have been updated a long time ago.

    [Reply]

  387. Retailers and marketers can’t be lumped into one category. I’m sure they each have their own staff who carefully market each area. It’s possible that some retailers haven’t even considered the Portland market, so they have no idea what they could be missing. Each metropolitan area in the country is unique in its demographics. What makes Portland’s area more unique than other metros in New England is that our mall is basically the ONLY real mall in the state. Bangor is a fairly good mid-range mall, but with the exception of Hollister, they haven’t got anything Portland hasn’t got. So many from the North – way beyond the boundaries of Portland’s three-county metro area – come down on the bus or by car to the Maine Mall. Not to mention the Candian tourists in summer, some cruise ship visitors, and of course the residents already here. Maine Mall is owned by GGP, which is just coming out of bancruptcy. This mall was one in their portfolio that they apparently want to hang on to – I believe once the company is totally solvent again, an update is VERY possible.
    A few closures to report – TRADE SECRET is gone; no surprise there since they’re closing other stores in other locations, the temp store LUGGAGE LOFT closed, and THINGS REMEMBERED has a barricade up advertising their new store coming. They have a temp store over by STARBUCKS.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682, I never implied retailers & marketers were the same nore having the same agenda. I just needed to find a way to simplify it for discussion purpuses.

    I mentioned on the Nanuet Mall page a friend of my mother is a mall marketer for Simon & has taught me a few things about the business from her end. It’s different than the retailers perspective. In order for the mall to be successful, all sides need to work together from the corporate office on down to local public safety departments. It’s a careful ballencing act of several interests.

    [Reply]

  388. Some changes in the Sears wing are coming to pass; NEWBURY COMICS is moving from MALL PLAZA to take over the former WALDENBOOKS. J CREW is going to take the corner space now occupied by GLORIA JEAN’S GOURMET COFFEES, and push out at least part of the wall in the old DREAM MACHINE location to make a large destination store. GLOROA JEAN’S is actually going to have a larger space when it moves across to the former HAIR EXCITEMENT.
    As for the FILENE’S space, think in the not too distant future, we could not only have THAT space to consider, but also the SEARS and BeST BUY spaces. BEST BUY has announced that it will close 50 stores, and I’m sure they’ll be more to come. The BEST BUY at the mall needs major renovations, and if it were to close, I think both NORDSTROM and LORD & TAYLOR would consider the MAINE MALL road location for its good visibility. I know that CRATE & BARREL expressed interest in it when BEST BUY was considering moving across the street a few years back. So with the quick changes in the retail scene, I think that in the not-too-distant future, we are set to see much bigger changes in not just this mall, but in the way people shop altogether. But it don’t think a nightclub is a good idea for FILENE’S at all.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682,

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682 I don’t think a nightclub is a good idea for FILENE’S at all. That is because it is not. Unless there’s extra security & doors can be installed that can be closed at particular times. Also don’t forget about the insurance required by both the mall & club opperators.

    [Reply]

  389. With no lead fanfare at all, Dickeys Barbecue is opening today in the food court.

    [Reply]

  390. A minor positive for the Maine Mall Best Buy store…the store at Biddeford Crossing will be one of the fifty closeures. BBY released the list today.

    [Reply]

    will Reply:

    @MontyBurns, a report on the Best Buy closing on WMTW said that there was a rumor going around that the vacant Lowe’s could be getting a supermarket tenant. Can’t imagine a supermarket taking the entire space, but it could be a game changer for The Shops at Biddeford Crossing, which has struggled since it opened.

    [Reply]

    will Reply:

    It’s official – Market Basket will open its first Maine supermarket at the Lowe’s site. The garden center will be demolished as part of the redevelopment.

    [Reply]

  391. I was over at the mall today and barricades are up for LUSH and J Crew. J Crew goes all the way back to BEST BUY and LUSH is approximately in the space where PICTURE PEOPLE used to be. By the way, PICTURE PEOPLE has not left. They are over in the FILENE’S wing across from LANE BRYANT. Also coming is LIDS LOCKER ROOM, down in the food court area near the back door. The other LIDS is staying where it is; the new store will have the jerseys, sweatshirts – basically everything but the hats. THINGS REMEMBERED has completed their renovations. The new store looks great. GLORIA JEANS has also moved to the former HAIR EXCITEMENT location. It’s larger and a lot more comfortable; think it will do well with the new stores across from it.

    [Reply]

    SDB111 Reply:

    @AA6682, Does J Crew fill the old Gloria Jeans all the way back to the restroom hallway? If so, it’s great that the old EMS (Deering Ice Cream-I’m dating myself) space is finally filled.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @SDB111, yes, the barricade goes all the way back to BEST BUY

    [Reply]

  392. If you take a look at the downloadable section of the Maine Mall website, they show J CREW as a very small store (actually the LUSH store next to it is larger) with the back section toward BEST BUY listed as “vacant.” However, the barricade DOES indeed go all the way back to BEST BUY, and the signage for J CREW “coming soon” covers that entire wall, so the store has to go at least part way back there once the barricades come off. If the mall needed that section for storage, why would they barricade it all up until August? Also a bean-bag comfort chair store, YOGIBO, which has several stores in malls quite close by, will open in the former KAY’S location next to STARBUCKS. Quite a lot of new choices for the summer. If only FILENE’S would get developed.

    [Reply]

    SEAN Reply:

    @AA6682, If only FILENE’S would get developed. I know what you mean, most of the retailers or cinemas that would have taken up the former Filenes are shrinking their size requirements.

    I’ve posted numerous articles throughout the site on recent trends in retailing, & the shrinking big box is something that popped up when the ressession was in full bloom. Outside of Trader Joes & a handful of other retailers, shrinkage of retail space by the largest chains shows no signs of slowing down.

    [Reply]

  393. I believe that on Thursday of this week, NEWBURY COMICS opened. They have a much larger space here at the mall than they did over in the MALL PLAZA store. The original two stores that took this spot when the mall opened in 1971 ANDERSON-LITTLE and WALDEN book store. Lots of changes since then!

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @AA6682, IIRC the sportcoats that got me through Cheverus came from that Anderson-Little. I can actually remember when A-L was still at Pine Tree, before it moved to the Mall.

    [Reply]

  394. At least then, you could actually buy a mans’s suit at the mall. Now you have Macy’s and help yourself to a cheap suit at JCP. If you need a suit get in the car, it’s a long way to Boston. Btw no disrespect to Joseph’s but sometimes a guy needs a Hart, Schnaffer and Marx suit and doesn’t have a grand to blow. Men’s Warehouse is just about the same as Macy’s, medium level service at best with mediocre prices. Maine needs a full service men’s store at the mall.

    [Reply]

    AA6682 Reply:

    @John, what full-service mens’ stores are in other malls? I can’t think of any. What store in Boston are you thinking of?

    [Reply]

  395. Team spirit has closed. a travel agent is opening down by food court in empty spot.

    [Reply]

  396. Two temporary stores have closed this week; MAINE MALL SNACKS, located between MRS FIELD’S and AMATO’S, and TEAM SPIRIT, between MOTHERHOOD MATERNITY and PANDORA. No great loss to the mall; hope their workers found new employment. Maybe the former TEAM SPIRIT location can finally have a decent tenant. It’s been years since anything permanent has been there.

    [Reply]

  397. I was in the food court over the weekend, and the Snacks space is being taken by a Red Mango frozen yogurt location. No idea if that means anything for TCBY at the other end. While the snacks shop was never really built out, it was nice to have someplace selling convenience sundries in the Mall again; I don’t think there has been a store with that product line in the mall since CVS moved out. (Aside: is there any store in the Mall now that sells daily newspapers?)

    [Reply]

  398. RED MANGO has many locations in other states, so this is a good addition. Since yogurt stops are more on impulse, I don’t think TCBY will be affected. J CREW and LUSH will bring more traffic to that area, which is basically at the opposite end of the mall. PICTURE PEOPLE is moving down to the food court area, next to the upcoming LIDS LOCKER ROOM. Also, the former TEAM SPIRIT location has a barricade up. This seems to me like good news; if another temp store were opening there, they wouldn’t have needed a barricade, so hopefully that location will finally see a “real” store.

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @AA6682, that new store is THE PAPER STORE, a chain headquartered I think in Acton, Massachusetts – they have quite a few locations in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island. Their website looks nice and they’ll sell Hallmark cards and upscale gifts. The barricade in front lists not only THE PAPER STORE, but all the new stores that as of summer of 2012, will be coming into the mall including JCREW, LUSH, RED MANGO, and LIDS LOCKER ROOM.

    [Reply]

  399. Except for the FILENE’S space, which is not really empty but might as well be, and the two spaces next to it (where TD BANK and PICTURE PEOPLE used to be), the mall is full. Quite remarkable; I think. While some malls fill their empty spaces with mom-and-pop stores, THE MAINE MALL has almost none of those, except for the GO! GAMES, which I think is considered a temp store, DUBE TRAVEL, a good local business which is coming soon to the old TRADE SECRET location, MAYFLOWER MASSAGE, and JASMINE JEWELERS, all down near JC PENNEY.

    [Reply]

  400. August 4th for LUSH opening
    August 15 for JCREW

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @HU923, and according to an ad in today’s Press Herald “Go” section, Kamasouptra will open in the Food Court on August 30. I’m assuming that’ll be in the Taco Bell space since the ex-variety store slot is kind of small and away from the core “lunch” stations.

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @Mark, I’m sure you’re right on that, because at the former variety store space, RED MANGO has their “coming soon” sign. Well, good! That will fill the food court completely!

    [Reply]

  401. LUSH was open today (August 3) to a huge and apparently enthusiastic crowd. I got a chance to sneak in the back of JCREW and took a look. Beautiful store, but, as usual with JCREW, that long wall will be blocked off. The only windows are on the corners and in front by the door. Still a great addition to that key corner in the mall.
    At LIDS LOCKER ROOM down in the food court, the barricade came off, but the windows are still blocked. Except for FILENE’S, and the two spaces across from LANE BRYANT, the mall is full to capacity. I’m also including KAMASUPTRA, coming to the food court.

    [Reply]

  402. KAMASOUPTRA

    [Reply]

  403. J CREW opened to good reviews, from what I could tell. It’s certainly a large store, and the outside decor and windows are very upscale looking. RED MANGO has a new barricade up, advertising its yogurt flavours. That should be opening fairly soon. LIDS LOCKER ROOM seems busy with its food court location, and very soon, PICTURE PEOPLE will open in the food court to its new larger digs. Now, if a new tenant wants to come into the mall, something’s gotta go! With the exception of the two spaces next to FILENE’S (which would be a surprise if they could be filled at this point) every other space in the mall is taken. Who will be the first to go?

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @HU923, I noticed today(LABOR DAY) that THE PAPER STORE took its signs down, and there’s a dumb CALENDAR store there, hopefully only until after Christmas. PICTURE PEOPLE is closed – will be soon moving to their new location. KAMASUPTRA is open – great food court addition. RED MANGO isn’t open yet, but has its signs all up on the barricade.

    [Reply]

  404. It would be nice if the person who originally wrote this article would update it. The article also has many innacuracies. First of all, the mall was not built in the mid 60′s. The Jordan Marsh store opened in 1969 as a stand-alone store. The mall was built onto it, and opened in July 1971. I actually still have the Portland Sunday Telegram with the grand opening pullout.The expansion mentioned above is correct, which states 1983.
    At this point in early October 2012, RED MANGO still hasn’t opened, and neither has the new PICTURE PEOPLE. Both have their barricades still up. THE PAPER STORE seems to have flown the coop, at least for now, because in the space where I thought it would open, is a GO! CALENDAR store; maybe just for the Holidays; not sure. ICING is doing a remodel. The store is temprarily located next to SUMMIT ADVENTURES. Ouch! I’m so cool it hurts.

    [Reply]

  405. I wonder what happened to THE PAPER STORE? The sign came down, and a temporary GO! CALENDAR store is there, at least until the Holidays. ICING is undergoing a remodeling, RED MANGO and PICTURE PEOPLE have yet to open. The mall is nearly full, aside from FILENE’S.

    [Reply]

  406. Red Mango opened on November 1st.

    [Reply]

  407. I was at the Mall today & ICING is open & so is PICTURE PEOPLE.There still a long empty space next to PICTURE PEOPLE,the space that extends outside the entrance to the FOOD COURT.The last thing I can remember being there was some kind of Asian restaurant.

    [Reply]

  408. The Portland Press Herald is reporting that Bon-Ton Department Store will open in the former Filene’s space in September, 2013. Renovations will begin in February.

    [Reply]

  409. This will be a nice add for the Maine Mall. The Bon-Ton is very popular in Pennsylvania and Upstate New York – nice fashions – fairly even with Macy’s. Even though I was a little disappointed that Lord & Taylor came to Rockingham Park and not here, I think The Bon-Ton is a wonderful addition. Those two empty spaces next to that dump Summit Adventures will easily be filled. Really happy to see THAT disappear. Bye Bye Chuck E Cheese’s – Hello Bon-Ton.

    [Reply]

  410. Do you think Chuck E. Cheese’s will relocate to Western Avenue? That’s my bet.

    [Reply]

    484928 Reply:

    I’ve been reading several blogs about THE BON-TON, particularly from the Rochester, NY market, where they are leaving. Apparently not everyone is sorry to see The Bon-Ton go. There were three Bon-Ton stores in the Rochester area, and at least two of them were victims of what I read to be “massive shoplifting”, especially in the cosmetics depatments. So in one mall (Eastview), the management there terminated Bon-Ton’s lease and those of quite a few other lower-end stores and added upscale Von Maur to replace Bon-Ton. As with the Westfarms Mall in Farmington CT, once management terminated the low-end leases, and brought in retailers like Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, and Tiffany’s, the customer clientele shifted upward. Not to mention also terminating certain bus routes from Hartford. I don’t think this situation applies to The Maine Mall, but I’m concerned that Bon-Ton will not be in direct competition with Macy’s, which, according to store description, it should be. In malls in New York, where Bon-Ton was the only anchor, Macy’s nearly always performed better when it was added. Here in South Portland, customers have long lamented the loss of Filene’s; never warming up to Macy’s. So if Macy’s is indeed a step up from Bon-Ton, to me it would be a waste of space, unless the Maine Mall Bon-Ton competes directly with Macy’s. I have seen many levels of Bon-Ton; the ones in Buffalo have many departments, upscale displays, and are busy. The Concord NH one, by contrast, has a poor selection of merchandise, is cluttery, and has little business. But Concord is a very small market; smaller than Portland, and our store is larger, so I’m hoping for the best.
    On the other hand, I read just as many stories from Rochester customers who LOVE The Bon-Ton and will not shop at the new Von Maur because of the outrageous prices. So I would say that it’s up to GGP or the mall management to give our local customers an enjoyable experience here, and to make Bon-Ton both a good match for our mall, and friendly competition for Macy’s. We shall see when Bon-Ton opens its doors.

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    @484928, I have never shopped at Bon Ton but have visited at least a couple stores. For the past few years I have taken a vacation to Saratoga Springs NY and have visited the mall on the edge of that city. Sometimes I have parked outside The Bon Ton and walked through it into the mall. When recalling what I’ve observed about the store, I could best describe it as being comparable to Kohls and JCPenney.

    [Reply]

  411. Has anyone else heard that Nordstrom rack is going to the former Old Navy spot near Target?

    [Reply]

  412. It’s official: A 30,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack will be built in the space formerly occupied by clothing retailer Old Navy in the Maine Crossing Center in South Portland near Target.

    [Reply]

    484928 Reply:

    Now that NORDSTROM RACK is coming, I’d love to see Best Buy reduced to a Best Buy Mobile, then the original store be demolished and a new entrance to the mall constructed with a full-fledged NORDSTROM, plus PF CHANG’S, CHEESECAKE FACTORY, and CRATE AND BARREL? Maybe if NORDSTROM has confidence enough to put a RACK here, then maybe soon they’ll build a store at the mall and we could have a real front entrance. That BEST BUY has become a dump. Three quarters of what they sell no one has cared about for years. It’s good to see the changes coming in the mall,however. AREOPOSTALE is apparently moving to the space across from the GAP. It will go from the corner right down to BON-TON. The walls of the old TD BANK and MASTERCUTS have already been knocked down. Wonder what store will take AEROPOSTALE’S former space? BUCKLE would be nice.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @484928, as of Monday, January 28, AVEDA and the Go! Calendar Store have both closed. No official word whether new tenants have been found for either space. but THE PAPER STORE website still maintains a new Maine Mall store is coming. Does anyone know who is lined up for AEROPOSTALE’S old space?

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @LO559, I’m noticing Dickey has barbequed his last chicken – the place is closed. Also Go! Games is leaving their location next to Coldwater Creek. Claire’s is doing a remodel, Eddie Bauer has remodeled one side; finishing up the other, and workers are busy gutting Filene’s for the new Bon-Ton. Aeropostale also has workers there, beginning to build their new location. I’m not sure the location yet, but Paper Store is advertising positions, as is Qdoba Mexican Grille, that I think is going to open this summer where the old Ginger Pad used to be – at the sit-down restaurant next to Picture People. The Adeva space is barricaded up too; haven’t heard what’s going there. Mall is a changing place these days. Nice to see the new stores coming!!

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    @HU923, Qdoba is probably going to be where Dickey’s BBQ was, I’m assuming since its that sort of place.

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @Justin, no it’s not that sort of place. Qdobas are sit-down restaurants like Chipotle. Although the coming soon listings have now been removed from the mall website, I think if it were coming, it would locate at the last space at the end of the food court, where the Ginger Pad used to be. That is a sit-down restaurant space there.

    [Reply]

    CT484928 Reply:

    @HU923, YOGIBO will complete their move from outside H & M to its own little space where GO! GAMES used to be. They’re painting the inside thi week, and by the end of the week (March 8) they should be moving in.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @HU923, I’m sorry to hear Dickey’s has closed; I really liked their food (and I never got to fill out my loyalty stamp card :( ).

    [Reply]

    153603ME Reply:

    @Mark, I read online that Dickey’s was a horrible company to work for. Many of their franchises have closed. I don’t think it was the food quality; the management did them in.

    [Reply]

    153603ME Reply:

    @LO559, YOGIBO will be moving into the former GO! GAMES space by the end of the week (March 8). Painting is going on now and the sign is up in front.

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    @484928, Best Buy Mobile is not the same type of place as Best Buy. BBM sells cell phones and accessories.

    [Reply]

  413. I was just looking at the webpage for Doubletree Hotel in South Portland. It describes the Maine Mall as the largest in New England. Is there any truth to that fact?

    [Reply]

    Caldor Reply:

    @Justin, nope. It is the largest in Maine and it’s close to the largest in Northern New England (I think only Rockingham Park in Salem NH is bigger), but it’s not even close when compared to the bigger malls in MA, RI, and CT.

    [Reply]

  414. Five Guys has been approved for the site of the former Carpet Town outbuilding at Mallside Plaza:
    http://bangordailynews.com/2013/01/16/business/five-guys-burgers-and-fries-franchise-permitted-for-maine-mall-area/

    [Reply]

  415. According to The Maine Mall Directory online, Qdoba Mexican Grill is “Coming Soon in Zone A” which includes the Food Court.

    [Reply]

  416. Cellular Sales, a Verizon Wireless store, is open at the Maine Mall. Not sure what it took the place of, but the address is given as Suite S107.
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/2013/3/prweb10467000.htm

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @will, it’s the same Verizon store that just did a remodel. It looks great!

    [Reply]

  417. I haven’t been in looking around lately; have the T-Mobile kiosks closed or switched providers? They’re no longer listed in the T-Mobile store locator.

    [Reply]

    153603ME Reply:

    @Mark, the T-Mobile kiosk is right where it’s always been, in the main corridor. It has a great big T-Mobile sign; hard to miss. There were two T-Mobile kiosks before, and the other one is now Delta Dental.

    In other mall news as of 3/25/2013, Motherhood Maternity today revealed its new location replacing Adeva cosmetics. They will be moving down there on Wednesday, I believe. I’m not certain if The Paper Store is taking their place, but the mall map shows The Paper Store in that zone, so quite possibly. I noticed workers taking measurements in there, so whatever the new store is, Something new IS coming.

    Bon-Ton has new signs up on the barricade to their new store. So great to have that empty space filled. So glad these loser stores like Dream Machine, Summit Adventures, and Glo Golf are finally gone.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @153603ME, Thanks for the answer! I can’t say I’m glad that the Dream Machine is no more, though… the original 2-level version in the food court when the mall first expanded (1984) was an awesome arcade!

    [Reply]

    John Fenlason Reply:

    @Mark, I was there for the grand opening of the expansion and I remember that well. I had kids who loved to go there, but nowadays these types of entertainment belong at Old Orchard Beach, not in a mall. The very reason that some malls fail is because of the young people who gather around these places, eventually spilling into the mall and intimidating shoppers. Although I never noticed any of that here, I have always felt video arcades in malls were problems waiting to happen. At least the Glo Golf and Summit Adventures are more geared toward family fun, but when a mall tries to upscale itself and moves to attract a higher-end clientele, it’s time for these type of venues to move on.

    [Reply]

    ME153603 Reply:

    @John, I was at the mall on May 4th and there’s a display that mentions Pier 1, Clarks, Qdoba, and Paper Store as new tenants either this spring or fall. Clarks will take over the former Aeropostale space, Qdoba will be at the end of the food court between K+Johnny Rockets and Picture People, Pier 1 will replace Chuck E Cheese, and once again push out Summit Adventures, and Paper Store will be across from Coldwater Creek. I’ve heard Charley’s Grilled Subs will be added in the food court. If that happens, there will be no vacancies in the mall whatsoever – quite an accomplishment – especially with virtually no temp stores! (Maybe Mayflower Massage is temporary)

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    @ME153603, I am a frequent customer of Mayflower Massage and they are always moving around. They have been in the mall at least 5 or 6 years. I do recall them having been set up in front of Teavana, also near Build-A-Bear, between the escalators before one was moved to make way for H&M, and also where the nail salon was previously.

    [Reply]

  418. The Paper Store has opened.

    Also some info i just found from this site: http://maine.eater.com/archives/2013/05/10/sopo-five-guys-opens-monday-qdoba-on-the-way-this-fall.php

    Qdoba Mexican Grill, which does not currently have a Maine location, will be opening in the Maine Mall food court this fall, according to a sign posted in the mall. It will likely take the spot recently vacated by the short-lived Dickey’s Barbecue with hopes of siphoning off some of the burrito seekers from the perma-line at the nearby Chipotle. [EaterWire]
    — Tom Minervino

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @Justin, the Qdoba is a sit down restaurant, and it’s opening just beyond Picture People in the space on the right going out the back door. I have heard that Charley’s Grilled Subs will be where dickey’s used to be.

    [Reply]

  419. In April 1986, when I was a kid, I remember going to a wedding at the Cathedral in Portland, then afterward we went to the reception at the Ramada Inn. Where was the Ramada Inn?

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @Justin, it’s still there, in Libbytown, near the Thompson’s Point area, the I-295 interchange with Congress Street. It changed names a couple of times; it was a Doubletree for awhile, and now it’s, I believe, a Clarion.
    If Charley’s Grilled Subs does come to the food court, the Maine Mall will have NO vacancies, and no temp stores OR pop-up stores!! That’s a great accomplishment! How many malls can boast of that?

    [Reply]

  420. Pier 1 Imports coming to the Mall
    http://www.mainebiz.biz/article/20130529/NEWS0101/130529936/1088

    [Reply]

  421. I noticed yesterday on T-Mobile’s site that the Maine Mall kiosk I asked about a few months ago is now an official T-Mobile company store… the only one in Maine. The closest company-owned store before this was in Fox Run Mall, and there’s a dealer store in Brunswick.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @Mark, (Replying to myself) I asked the T-Mobile kiosk workers today if they were, in fact, a company-owned location, and they’re not.

    [Reply]

  422. Anyone know what’s happening across the street at the former IHOP location.Is that where the new Starbucks is going?

    [Reply]

  423. There’s also a Mattress King going on the first lot next to the Double Tree Hotel, along with the Starbucks.

    [Reply]

  424. Sleepy’s has gone into the Mallside strip, in the corner space formerly occupied by Strawberrie’s (and I’m not sure what else).

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  425. Charley’s Grilled Subs is open and it’s great.I don’t know about Qdoba.I tried it twice and both times the food was lukewarm.I’ll bet a lot of people don’t even know it’s there.Not a good location.They need better signage.The sign” Qdoba” is up high barely visible.No indication of what kind of food is there.

    [Reply]

  426. We noticed that GM Pollack and Sons is walled off….any idea of what’s going in that space or is it a remodel?

    [Reply]

  427. The Disney Store just recently opened at their JC Penney. Here is the details: http://www.bizjournals.com/dallas/news/2013/10/03/jc-penney-to-launch-disney-store.html

    [Reply]

  428. This forum seems like of dead right now. I’ve been able to get to the mall a little for often lately since I now work in South Portland and will sometimes stop after work. There has been a few changes there lately. Mrs. Fields and the agency i think that was next to it and whatever was in between is now gone. The sign on the barricade says that Yogibo is moving to that space from where they currently are. Sbarro is also closed in the food court. GM Pollock moved outside of the mall. I’m not sure what will be going where it was. I can’t recall is Yogibo is currently right next to where it was. I’ve also wondered if that Torrid store is just temporary. In other malls they have a different sign and store front. You would think that if it was a permanent location it would be made to look like other Torrid stores. I also noticed that Starbucks is closing for a week for remodeling. Anybody else know anything?

    [Reply]

  429. The Mall didn’t stay 100% occupied long.I was just in the JC Penny wing by the Food Court today & Trade Secrects,Dube Travel,Mrs. Fields are gone.Also SBARRO’s in the Food Court is closed.Highly recommend Charley’s Philly Steaks.Mall was busy but there wasn’t a single customer in Qdobba (sp).Could be the location.Very easy to miss.

    [Reply]

  430. I guess G.M. Pollacks has been closed for a while.TCBY/Pretzel,Starbucks & Brookstones are a closed for renovations.

    [Reply]

  431. Some updates from a couple of visits:

    * Yogibo is moving to the location formerly occupied by Mrs. Fields and the adjacent store (one time Trade Secrets). The folks at the T-Mobile kiosk told me that they’re then going to get an actual storefront in the current Yogibo location near Radio Shack.
    * Starbucks and Brookstone are currently closed for renovations; Starbucks says they’re reopening tomorrow (3/12).
    * G.M. Pollack and Sons has closed their longtime location at Center Court and have moved to Mall Plaza. No sign of what’s going in there, but the space is apparently being combined with the former TCBY/Pretzel Time which has moved to a small spot across the hall, next to the long aisle to the restrooms.
    * Signs up indicate that Linda Bean’s is going to open a Lobster Roll Cafe near Starbucks. They have a listing on their website with no details.

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    @Mark, I didn’t realize there was space across the hall. I Thought J Crew came all the way back. I would think that Linda Beans would move into the food court. Where is there space near Starbucks?

    [Reply]

    HU923 Reply:

    @Justin, The Linda Bean Lobster Cafe is going up in the center of the mall, surrounded by H & M, XXI, and Aeropoostale. It’s where the model railroads are for Christmas.

    [Reply]

    LO559 Reply:

    @Mark, I think the former G M Pollack’s space is going to be MICHAEL KORS. It’s listed in the mall’s official website and the workers going in and out through the door are saying so. SOMA INTIMATES is another store that’s coming, and I believe it will be in the space of the former TORRID. COACH has closed and CACHE is going to close as well. COACH reportedly will be replaced with L’OCCITANE EN PROVENCE. I’ve heard rumors of other new stores slated for later, such as lululemon, LOVESAC, ATHLETA, and I’ve heard from several people they’ve heard that CHEESECAKE FACTORY is in the works; maybe not right in the mall, but in a space across the street. Can anyone substantiate that?
    LINDA BEAN’s way of doing business does not sit well with many locals. I assume this restaurant is for Canadian tourists. I’m not pleased to see this here.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @LO559, I’ve been saying for ages that if The Cheesecake Factory ever comes here, it’ll be the end of my cholesterol count, my waistline and my wallet! :) None of the other stores you mention interest me, unfortunately.

    [Reply]

    Justin Reply:

    @LO559, I can confirm that Michael Kors is going into the space that was G.M. Pollock. I was at the mall last night and it was up on the wall around that space. Lululemon currently has a pop-up store that has been in the old port on Milk Street for a couple or years or so.

    [Reply]

  432. Does anyone know if a Microsoft store is opening in the Maine Mall? If so, where? They are advertising jobs for a new Portland store.

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @Scott, They’re advertised as opening in May on the Mall marquee signage, but I couldn’t find any likely spots for them when I was in there last week… all the walled-off spots have new stores labeled on them. Just now, I looked at the Mall website, and they’re going to be in a kiosk… possibly taking over for T-Mobile when they move into a storefront?

    [Reply]

    Orange Lobster Reply:

    @Mark, it is open. Specifically, it exclusively sells Microsoft Surface tablets. I was talking with a clerk, and she stated that it was likely “testing the market” for a full-fledged store. It’s located off the center court facing Sears.

    [Reply]

  433. I noticed a couple of things in the Mall yesterday:

    * T-Mobile did in fact open a month or so ago, in the Sears wing. They kept the kiosk as well. It’s still a reseller store, not company-owned.

    * L’Occitane en Provence and Michael Kors are both open.

    * Villa Fresh Italian Kitchen is going into the former Sbarro spot in the food court.

    [Reply]

  434. Has anyone heard that CarMax is going in at the former IHOP and Maine Mall Cinema site?

    [Reply]

    Mark Reply:

    @geno, that would be a terrific waste of that space. I’d love to see a Sonic go in there, to be honest, but I doubt anyone in Maine is working on one of their (expensive) franchises.

    [Reply]

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