For all intents and purposes, the Holyoke Mall at Ingleside is–at least for the moment–the largest mall in New England. It will soon be eclipsed by the Natick Mall, which is nearly doubling in size, and technically, the Northshore Mall in Peabody, Massachusetts is the largest shopping center in sheer square footage. However, Northshore’s floorspace is tucked into its five massive anchor stores, two of which are currently dark, while Holyoke Mall is a true giant.
It’s also pretty cool.
Developed by the Pyramid Companies of Syracuse and opened in 1979, the Holyoke Mall was designed as a dominant mall to serve not only the metropolitan Springfield region of Massachusetts, but also to serve as a major regional draw bringing customers from all of Central and Western Massachusetts, Connecticut, and many parts of New Hampshire and Vermont. The 1.6 million-square-foot, 200-store, three-level mall is strategically located near the junction of interstate 90 and interstate 91, just northwest of Springfield.
Despite that the mall received a minor renovation in 1995, it mostly stands as a monument to 1979, in all the best ways. The grand, three level center court, complete with wood paneling and concrete stairwells, is a charmingly gauche relic of another era. Also, the mall sports some unusual anchor stores, including Christmas Tree Shops, Target, AC Moore, Best Buy, Babies ‘R Us, and DSW Shoe Warehouse along with more typical mall anchor tenants such as Macy’s, Sears, JCPenney, and H&M. The Holyoke Mall has one major anchor vacancy in the form of a vacant Lord & Taylor which closed in 2004, and some past anchor tenants include Lechmere, Nobody Beats the Wiz (a rarity for Massachusetts), G. Fox, Filene’s, Steiger’s, Service Merchandise, Filene’s Basement, and Kids R Us.
Metropolitan Springfield is home to approximately 600,000 residents, though the Holyoke Mall pulls from many rural areas for hours around. Still, it’s inevitable that a mall this large would wreak serious havoc in a mid-sized metropolitan area, and it did: The Fairfield Mall in nearby Chicopee shut in 2001 after years of decline; the Baystate West/Tower Square Mall in downtown Springfield has been reduced to little more than a food court; the Hampshire Mall in Hadley (which serves the Amherst/Northampton area) succeeds mainly on the strenth of its anchors, but its interior is lagging; and the Eastfield Mall in Springfield has had major ups and downs over the years, even if it’s on relatively solid ground at the moment. The Enfield Square Mall, just over the border in Connecticut, also suffers from a relatively uninspired tenant roster despite anchoring one of the most successful retail districts in the Springfield area.
All photos taken in 2001 by Prangeway. Find a more recent set at The Caldor Rainbow!