In addition to the Worcester Common Outlets, the city of Worcester is home to another, smaller enclosed shopping mall: the Greendale Mall, on the city’s north side, near the junction of Gold Star Blvd (MA-12) and I-190, not far north of the junction of I-290.
Anchored by Best Buy, Marshalls, and TJMaxx N More, nearly everything about the Greendale Mall identifies it as an ancillary mall, from the TJX anchor tenants to its diminutive size (311,436 square feet). However Greendale has always felt a bit more significant. For one, it’s home to a few things rarely found in smaller malls, such as junior anchors like Old Navy and DSW Shoe Warehouse, and a food court that’s situated on its own mall level, sunken and off to the side of the main level. In addition, the Greendale Mall sports some really neat architecture, especially inside: like the Arsenal Mall in Watertown, Massachusetts (a favorite of mine which will be posted about soon), the mall was carved out of an old brick industrial building, and as such it sports a character-laden mixture of historic architecture and more modern mall decor, and appropriately mirrors its surroundings in the industrial revolution-era metropolis of Worcester. The uses of exposed brick and a slightly odd floorplan with much of the parking tucked under the mall and accessible via a small basement level only reinforce this.
Despite being a relatively local mall of mine, I know quite little about the Greendale Mall’s history. Judging by some of the elements of the mall’s decor, I would imagine it was part of the mall-building spree by Steven Karp’s Malls of New England Development in the early 1990s or late 1980s, likely with Lechmere and Marshall’s as its original anchors, and I am certain that the TJMaxx N More anchor (which is located down a side hallway) was added sometime in the late 1990s. Lechmere closed at the mall in 1997 when their troubled parent, Montgomery Ward, savagely dumped the entire chain. Lechmere was replaced by Best Buy in 2000 or 2001, though I can’t pinpoint the precise year of that change. Greendale Mall has been owned by Simon since 1999, when it was sold to them as part of a package of malls divested by The Malls of New England Development. While Greendale’s size and location prevent it from ever being a truly dominant regional mall, it is relatively successful, hosting a variety of mid-level tenants that cater to the immediate area. With the 1996 opening of the Solomon Pond Mall approximately 10 miles to the east–the mall that truly became the large, dominant Worcester-area mall–Greendale settled into a niche as the convenience-oriented mall for Worcester residents, since the “big mall” was so far-flung from the city proper. And hey, it has certainly outlasted its bigger cousin downtown.
We have two sets of photos of the Greendale Mall, taken five years apart, though not much really changed inbetween. Prangeway took a small set on a trip in 2001, and I took the rest last month (That’s August 2006 to y’all from the future).