Richmond Mall opened in September 1988, a relative latecomer to the regional scene, as nearby Lexington’s three regional malls opened in the 1960s and 1970s. Richmond Mall enjoyed success for two decades, despite the eventual dominance of Lexington’s Fayette Mall, the largest and one of the best malls in the state of Kentucky. Local competition eventually did Richmond Mall in, with the opening of nearby Richmond Centre in 2008.
The Schuylkill Mall opened in 1980, developed by Crown American properties, with Kmart, Hess, Sears, and Pomeroy’s as anchor stores. With around 800,000 square feet spread across a “T” shaped pattern, the mall was extremely large, especially given its rural trade area, and initially opened with a bevy of mid-range national tenants
Phoenix was one of the largest cities in the country that I hadn’t personally visited until a few months ago (others on the list include Miami and Atlanta), and I really had no knowledge of its development patterns or neighborhoods. Just looking at a map and guessing which malls might be in a safe place [...]
Crown American’s Martinsburg Mall debuted in 1991, located west of downtown directly along I-81. When it opened, the mall was anchored by Wal-Mart, JCPenney, Sears, and Allentown-based Hess’s, with space for about 60 additional retailers, and, according to ICSC, 556,000 square feet in total. Interestingly, Crown American owned Hess’s at the time, so putting a store here was a natural fit. This one level mall also features a food court, and was Crown American’s signature period mall design, similar to the centers they built in Lancaster (which we’ve featured on this site) and Newark, Ohio. All of these malls are designed with two main hallways and a “loop” at one end containing the food court area.
Neatly perched atop a giant slag pile nine miles southeast of downtown Pittsburgh, Century III Mall has an interesting name and an even more interesting history. Opened in 1979, Century III Mall was the result of a mutually beneficial partnership between regional real estate magnate Edward DeBartolo of Youngstown, Ohio, who wanted to build a giant mall, and the U.S. Steel Corporation, who had a giant mountain of slag marring the landscape south of Pittsburgh that needed a better use. For those who don’t know, slag is a by-product of steel production, and for many decades the slag from Pittsburgh’s steel mills was transported to this site until it became an otherworldly artificial mountain taller than anyone could have imagined, disaffectionally known as Brown’s Dump.
The third cluster of retail in Effingham is located along US 45/Banker Street to the south of downtown. This area is the least convenient to the interstates, and is not as successful as the strip around Exit 160. It serves locals in and around Effingham, and has also seen the most turnover and vacancy in the area. This cluster is anchored by a small enclosed mall, Village Square Mall.
Our second installment of hickory-themed malls in Tennessee brings us to Antioch, a neighborhood of Nashville located 10 miles southeast of downtown. Thoroughly suburban, Antioch is home to housing developments from the post-war era to present day, with a large housing stock of starter homes intended for blue collar families. As such, Antioch is a diverse mix of residents from many economic levels, ranging from recent immigrants to native Tennesseeans. Recently, though, a demographic shift has brought more immigrants and minorities to Antioch than ever before, making it much more diverse.
As Antioch grew, a large, regional mall was developed in 1978 near the interchange of Bell Road and Interstate 24. Called Hickory Hollow Mall, it was Nashville’s second super-regional mall after north-suburban Rivergate and the largest mall in the south half of metro Nashville. Its location was somewhat strategic, taking advantage of proximity to the monied areas of south Nashville as well as being only 20 minutes from fast-growing Murfreesboro.
Opened in 1973, Valley View Center was the first major mall in far north Dallas, the expansive, monied area of the DFW Metroplex located north of I-635. Valley View is situated at I-635 and Preston Road, about 13 miles north of downtown Dallas. When it opened, Valley View Center was on the edge of town – today, Valley View is only a third of the way from downtown to the edge of the Metroplex. After 36 years, multiple expansions and competition appearing literally adjacent to it, Valley View is on the precipice of a major change after having seen better days.
Located in Brooklyn Center, an inner-ring suburb 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Brookdale Center is a behemoth of a mall living on borrowed time. Opened in 1962, Brookdale debuted to a new, sprawling post-war building boom which eventually levelled off as the area became built out. Over time, many original residents serving the mall’s purpose moved up and out to newer and better suburbs, and were slowly replaced by those with a different socioeconomic status. Today, Brookdale is in serious decline, existing as as an ever-dwindling collection of stores inside the husk of a super-regional mall on the precipice of closure.