Park Lane Mall; Reno, Nevada

Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV

Reno, Nevada is the second largest city in Nevada, with a population of about 210,000 people and a metropolitan population of about 450,000 (including Carson City).  It is not only the second largest urban area in the state of Nevada, but the only significant population center in the state other than Las Vegas, which is over 430 miles away.  Reno is known as “The biggest litle city in the world” and is famous for its gambling venues, and its historical importance in gold mining and transcontinental travel have poised it for tremendous growth during the 20th century and beyond.

The predominant retail strip in Reno is Virginia Street, leading south from downtown to the outskirts of the city.  On it, most of Reno’s major shopping venues, including Meadowood Mall, Old Town Mall, The Summit, and the now-defunct Park Lane Mall all stood.  Today, Virginia Street is still the focal point of Reno’s retail scene, with several miles of box stores, restaurants, and strip malls.

Park Lane Mall in Reno, NVPark Lane Mall was one of Reno’s first modern shopping centers, opening as Park Lane Center in 1967 approximately 1 mile south of downtown along Virginia Street.  Situated on 44 acres, Park Lane Center opened with 448,000 leasable square-feet and was anchored by a 138,000 square-foot Sears and a Sacramento-based Weinstock’s.  Other stores included Woolworth’s, Joseph Magnin, Rose Sporting Goods, and Kinney Shoes.  A major focal point of Park Lane Center was a 25-foot clock, constructed many decades previous by Joseph Mayer of Seattle using parts from Howard Company of Boston.  The clock once stood in downtown Reno since 1920, but the developer of the mall wanted to bring a piece of history to the new Park Lane Center, inspiring a sense of place and community in the new shopping center.

In the late 1970s, Taubman announced they were building a newer, larger enclosed mall less than two miles south of Park Lane Center at the edge of town.  As a response, Park Lane owner Macerich decided to fully enclose their mall in 1977-1978, a year before Taubman’s Meadowood Mall opened in 1979 featuring Hawaii-based Liberty House, JCPenney, and Macy’s.  This enclosure allowed Park Lane Mall to remain competitive with the new mall, for the time being.

In 1987, Macerich unveiled a new set of renovations for Park Lane Mall, in order to keep it up to date, featuring new entrances and an interior facelift.

Park Lane Mall Gottschalks in Reno, NVHowever, by the mid-1990s all of Macerich’s efforts couldn’t hold back competition from the bigger, better mall to the south, and Park Lane Mall fell into serious decline.  Sears left in late 1995, Weinstock’s closed in 1996, and Woolworth closed in 1997 amid a nationwide liquidation.  Taking these issues in stride, Macerich quickly replaced the fallen Sears with Fresno-based Gottschalks in 1996, and demolished the vacant Weinstocks for a new theater which opened in 1998.  The Woolworth’s remained vacant.

The first decade of the new millenium brought more hardship for Park Lane Mall.  With an increasing number of vacancies, the mall was already not doing well when a brand new Lifestyle Center development called Sierra Summit opened in 2005.  Featuring Dillard’s as well as the finest dining and upscale retail establishments in the entire Reno area, this outdoor mall even posed a competition problem for Meadowood Mall, so Park Lane was no match.

Running from the sinking ship, Macerich gave up the ghost and sold Park Lane Mall to M&H Realty Partners – based in San Francisco – in 2006, but not before making an odd decision to repair the historic clock.  The new owner decided it was time to close the doors, and all the remaining tenants (not many) were kicked out at the end of January, 2007 and the mall was locked for good.  Gottschalks, the theatre, and a few outlot businesses stayed open following the mall’s closure and eventual demolition in late 2007.  However, Gottschalks finally decided to throw in the towel itself and is closing on December 27, 2008, with its demolition to follow.

So what’s next for Park Lane Mall?  A mixed use development is planned, but as it is Reno a casino component is also rumored.  However, with the economy in the state it’s in, we really don’t expect anything quickly.

We took the pictures featured here in August 2004.  Leave some messages and let us know what you think, or your own experiences with Park Lane Mall.  Also, what on earth happened to the clock?

Downtown Reno, NV Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV

Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV

Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV Park Lane Mall in Reno, NV

34 Responses to “Park Lane Mall; Reno, Nevada”

  1. This actually kind of reminds me of the Shore Mall outside of Atlantic City. Maybe there’s some weird kinship of lower-tier malls on the periphery of gambling towns.

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  2. Wow…all these recent new mall arrivals! This was once on BigMallRat.com…it was removed later.

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  3. What I hated is that it was the only easy to get to shopping around here – – and payless, the earring place, subway, the Artist’s Workshops and bookstores were heavily used by me and many of my neighbors, who didn’t want to drive miles to meadowood, or get lost somewhere up around keystone – or who needed something local they could walk too –
    So it is very missed –

    I can’t see downtown attracting much business, – since it’s supposed to be trendy new boutigue hotels/condos – but as far as living in the condos/hotels, who wants to live in a place where there is no decent affordable shopping choices close by?

    I have heard many rumours why parklane went, and I wish the marketing had been better – I think it was a great place, and it’s service to the community in accessibility was awesome – Now I have to drive miles out of the way just to get shoes etc –
    Hope they do something with it soon and get payless and subway back -

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  4. “However, Gottschalks finally decided to throw in the towel itself and is closing on December 27, 2008, with its demolition to follow.”

    2008? Typo, lol.

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  5. I think he meant that Gottschalks continued to stay open even though the rest of the mall closed down and was subsequentially demolished.

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  6. Right, the Gottschalk’s is still standing and open for the next few days. They apparently still want to re-open in the area and are looking for a new site.

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  7. What a cute little mall, how sad it close down…anyway, I heard this mall was haunted, does anyone know for sure, i read that on the internet, aparently in the basement restrooms a woman got raped and killed, i sure hope that was like an urban myth and not real, how scary! That’s why my friend Pilar, who lived nearby said she hated going shopping there alone, she moved from Reno to Tahoe CA 2 years ago so she didnt heard about that anymore, anyone knows if this is true?

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  8. Here’s a story of what happened to the clock – http://www.newsreview.com/reno/Content?oid=623443 – Apparently, the City of Reno is now the proud owner and it now sits in a storage unit :-(

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  9. Park Lane was unique because it featured local tenants; not the usual mall-fare. However, it wasn’t enough. Most of the tenants were on year-to-year leases since Macerich decided to redevelop the mall years ago (think lifestyle center or mega-casino). They abandoned the project and sold the mall to M&H, who valued the real estate more than the mall.
    You wanted to know what happened to the clock… I want to know what happened to the ghost. If you knock down the building, does the ghost move on?
    Scott

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  10. In 1968, at age 11, during a visit to Reno with my parents, we went to Park Lane Center (after Harrah’s Auto Museum, where else in Reno do you take the kids?). Having only seen the old Weinstock’s in downtown Sacramento, I thought their ‘new’ store was very cool indeed. The elevator had a PH button, which my father told me meant ‘penthouse’. Conjuring up images of a Rainbow Room-type cocktail lounge filled with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers lookalikes (and to think my parents were surprised when 7 years later I told them I was gay), I instantly pressed the PH button. Boy was I disappointed when the elevator doors opened and there was nothing but a bunch of naked mannequins and discarded sale signs.

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  11. Very interesting and informative write-up about the history of this mall. I had a very sneaky suspicion looking at the pics that the decor was stuck in the 1980s, and I see with when the last mall renovation for this mall occurred that I was right!

    Funny that both this entry, plus the one before on Golf Mill, were consecutive entries about malls that opened as open-air centers, and were later enclosed! Finally, I hope that clock is one day reinstalled somewhere in the downtown area, now that this mall shuttered.

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  12. Will Gottschalks be reopening any where soon, I really miss that store?

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  13. Gottschalks won’t be reopening here or anywhere now; the chain is liquidating.

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  14. PARK LANE MALL–RENO , NEVADA —THE MALL WAS COMPLETELY TORN DOWN YEARS AGO!! IT’S JUST A BIG EMPTY LOT NOW

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  15. Reading this story is depressing. It reminds one of the relentless march of time.

    As a young lad of 18, I came to Reno in 1980. Park Lane Mall was my favorite hangout spot. At the time, masses of crowds populated Park Lane; by contrast, Meadowwood Mall was a tomb. You see, Meadowwood Mall in 1980 was located in the “boonies”.

    By the year 2005, this pattern was exactly reversed: Meadowwood Mall swamped, Park Lane Mall a tomb. By that time, thousands of houses had been built in the vicinity of Meadowwood, and the business followed this development. Meanwhile, Woolworth’s, a major player at Park Lane, had gone under, while online music swapping killed Mirabelli’s, the record store in Park Lane that was another big hangout. Even Walden Books, a third hangout, had gone under—another victim of the Internet.

    On a related note, it is not widely known that Park Lane Mall even had a resident “ghost”—a young woman who was murdered in 1979 who was said to haunt the lower-level restrooms.

    But time marches on. Park Lane Mall will always hold a special spot in my memory. I was sorry to see it go.

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  16. I was 7 when Park Lane opened, and being a Reno resident, it was THE place to go for many years, and they were the most special years of ones life, I believe. Especially in the Holiday Season. Many was the time my Mom would take me along as she did Christmas shopping there, and I have many fond memories of good times spent there with family and friends over the years. I also have a good number of crummy memories waiting for my Mom as she tried on clothes at Weindtock’s usially. I bought many major gifts for all my girlfriends, and my ex-wife, and had logged a huge number of hours for whatever reasons during my life at Park Lane, and really do miss it, perhaps more so now, since I have finally noticed that it has been completely erased from the landscape. It’s 11-19-2009. Well, they haven’t had any reason to go there for a long time, I suppose.

    I put the blame of Reno’s economic downfall dirtectly on the shoulders of those that chose to ban “Cruising” downtown Virginia Street., which was the One experience that held the true Magic of Reno, and had enabled it to prosper.
    What an enormous, city killing, unnecessary blunder. some group of fools had made. Who had voted to put an end to Cruising Virginia? Did any of them grow up in Reno? If so, hadn’t they cruised? It is just so clearly the one Major thing that had created an interest for the Downtown area among the youthj, that would grew to be the adults, that kept the phrase “Biggest Little City” alive and active in their hearts and minds. And, that is just a part of what having a busy, crowded “Main Street” was doing for our once unique city. It’s hard for me to imagine how out of touch in understanding the very heart of Reno the worthless idiots were, and are, that voted in favor of ending the cruising that one very short, yet most beloved stretch of asphalt.
    At least it once had a special meaning to the youth and young of heart of the community, as well as visitors worldwide.
    So, stop scratching your empty heads wondering what in the heck happened, you pretentious asses, and realize that your votes to kill our spontaneous desire to enjoy our town by “Dagging Main” was what strangled the life out of it.

    I would like to, and could go on giving you the verbal beating you so deserve, but I’m sure you are at a loss and don’t get what I’m saying. I would enciourage all those who do know what I’m talking about to join togethter and reinstitute and encourage Cruising Virginia, as it may not yet be too late to resuscitate our city, as I deem it will be incredibly popular, were the Soul of Reno to be allowed to return and dwell with uis, and whithin us.

    I can’t believe I’m the only one who knows and realizes this, and I would encourage those that share my small amount of common sense and have the ability to bring it to the public’s attention to do so.
    I can’t say for certain that banning Cruising caused Park L:ane Mall to ultimately be completely demolished, but I’m pretty sure it did. It certainly caused our World Famous “Biggest Little Strip” to become, when compared to the years that teens and others were allowed to Cruise, little more than a ghost town. So, here’s to you, what’s left of Reno, I wish I could see a better future for you than Park Lane, but I imagine the current “Leaders” are far more clueless about your nature and what drives you than those that had originally outlawed your citizens to celebrate and honor you.

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    George Reply:

    @Matt Pierce, Park Lane Mall wasn’t close enough to downtown to have been affected by the ban on cruising.

    We all have to realize that as times change, we have to change with them. While cruising was a harmless avocation all the way into the 90s, it began to take on an ominous tone when the crime rates on cruising night began to rise.

    The disco era wasn’t the same as the era of gangsta rap, and, similarly, practices that might have been perfectly innocent in the former era didn’t work in the latter…

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  17. Never was a haunting there, just an urban legend

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  18. I too remember when cruising was the thing to do on the weekends. Downtown Reno sure seemed livelier back then with all the ols casinos still in business and JJs market where now Silver Legacy sits. Hot August Nites was amazingly fun! So I agree. Taking cruising away took away from the city and maybe even Park Lane Mall. Here’s to the good ‘ol days now so far gone.

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  19. As native of Carson City, my family made almost weekly trips to Reno. Park Lane Mall was probably the first mall I ever remember being in as a young child. Some of the best memories I have from childhood were from shopping with my family at Park Lane Mall. My favorite store to shop in the mall was Wool-worth’s. I was very saddened when Wool-worth’s closed down. Seems like the mall began to change quite a bit after the demise of Wool-worth’s. Even still, the mall remained a favorite hangout for me in my teenage years when I used drive myself to Reno. It saddens me that the mall finally closed its doors altogether, but I’ll always have the memories that mall’s friendly atmosphere and great shops helped to create in my life. Theirs was a motto (at least for me) that was true to the end…Park Lane Mall, where good things happen.

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  20. I live in Seattle, but I remember going to Park Lane Mall in Reno AND to Meadowood Mall, and thinking that Meadowood Mall was kind of “sterile” – i.e., it looked like every mall anywhere in North America. It’s been YEARS since I’ve been to Reno, and I was saddened to see that Park Lane is now gone…

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    Mandy Reply:

    @Mark Sinden,
    I grew up in Reno but now live in the Seattle area as well. :)
    You are so right about Meadowood Mall. Growing up I spent a lot of time at Parklane. When Meadowood opened it was supposed to be a big hit, and it was. For those of us who grew up shopping at Parklane though, it just felt more like home to go there. It was in a much easier location too. That’s where I saw Santa, the Easter Bunny, hung out with friends once in high school. Just so many memories.
    You describe Meadowood perfectly. Sterile and honestly, boring. We at one time lived down the street from Meadowood but still went to Parklane. I was so saddened to hear of it’s final days which were lived by the time I moved up here. I heard they were selling pieces of the flooring of the mall. It meant that much to people.

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  21. I grew up in Carson City, but my friends and I would usually drive to Reno every weekend to see a movie (either at the old Century Cinedomes next to the Peppermill, or in the art house theatre in the basement of the former MGM/Bally’s). We would always stop into Park Lane Mall to shop. My buddy Tony and I spent TONS of money buying punk rock cassettes in Mirabelli’s Music. We would usually grab a slice of pizza at the pizza joint situated at the end of the mall (can’t remember it’s name) too. I left northern Nevada in 1995, but still visit about once a year. I remember going to see a movie in 2003 at the theatre they opened next door to Park Lane. After the movie, I walked through the mall, and was saddened by the emptiness. I know the mall’s been demolished now, but I’ll always have fond memories. Thanks for this…it was great to read and see your pics.

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  22. Cruising was indeed cool but the fact that it was banned had little or nothing to do with the Demise of Parklane. Cruising…like Parklane, were both products of a kinder, gentler time….and both victims of a new and vastly different age. Modern day cruising in downntown Reno would probably consist of gangbangers, fights and general mayhem. Many adolescents in this day and age don’t much understand the principles of chivalry, moderation, restraint and personal responsibility.

    I spent a lot of time at Parklane. I still have a considerable amount of Vinyl in my collection that was purchased at Mirabelli’s. When my ex and I were younger, before our children came along, she worked at Weinstocks for a few years. I often dropped her off and (picked her up after her shift) if I knew she was pulling a late shift. After Weinstock’s closed they started hosting antique fairs at Parklane and these too, I frequented. I still have a number of furnishings from these fairs in my home.

    I hated watching Parklane’s demise. Toward the end, with all the characteristic retail tenants that usually populate a dying mall (independent locals selling knock offs, generic perfume, and chinese junk) the place was usually a ghost town, and just a sad shell of its former self. It would have been better if they’d have let Max Baer take over the place, raze it and put in his Beverly Hillbillies themed casino. At least then we all would have been spared its long, slow progression into oblivion.

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  23. Wow!! I’m slow:-(
    moved away from NV in 2006 and just now I find out Parklane mall is gone. How sad. My favorite store was actually on the outside. Think it was called Pathways..or Pathfinder.
    Does anyone know if they closed for good..or just moved?

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  24. oh, I liked the stores. I’m so sad they were taken away. I love value priced real hometown malls. I feel like I can spend all day looking for great values. I dislike all the glamour and glitz. I hope they bring back another mall that’s not so overrated and branded, you know, ones for us who just love shopping.

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  25. I grew up in Reno; as a teen in the mid 80’s my friends and I spent hours hanging out at Park Lane Mall. We would meet up with friends, look at the shops, our favorite was the record shop, Mirabelli’s Music. We would look at the imported LP’s looking for our favorite punk bands. We would shop for cheep makeup or other strange things at Woolworths, and then go to their lunch counter for fries and shakes. We also liked getting free samples from Weinstocks. We would leave there looking and smelling like a French hooker. It was our Saturday refuge. The only place we like better was the little mall under the MGM. That was our evening hangout spot. We would catch the free shuttle bus from down town and spend most the night there. Oh the fun of youth with the summer off from school.

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  26. Geez, I’m surprised. I left Nevada in 2003, the mall was always full back then. Sometimes I would come just to eat at Edo’s.

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  27. I grew up in Reno in the 80s and for a long time, Park Lane Mall was the preferred mall for pretty much every one in town. When my family moved to Northern Nevada in 1982, Meadowood Mall was a virtual ghost town and was WAY on the outskirts of town, so no one shopped there. If you look at the historical imagery on Google Earth for the early 1990s, you can see that the Park Lane parking lot was packed whereas Meadowood was nearly empty. Park Lane always benefited from a good mix of stores and was nicely anchored by Weinstock’s, which was such an elegant store – I loved shopping there at Christmas because they always decorated the store with pretty ribbons and trees.

    Throughout my childhood and teen years, Park Lane was the favorite hang out of the Reno youth. Mirabelli’s was a small record store that everyone went to regularly. It was a sad day indeed when it closed. My other favorite stores included the T shirt shop where you could have custom t-shirts made, Spencer’s, Pizza by the Slice (YUM), Woolworth’s, Hallmark, and Huston’s Shoes. My stepfather went to a barber in the basement for years and years. There was restaurant space on the outside northeast corner that hosted a series of pretty good restaurants. I think the last one was a sushi place.

    I was very sad to watch the mall’s slow decline. The demolition of Weinstock’s was heartbreaking and was the death knell for the rest of the stores. I remember shopping there afterwards and thinking how weird it was that there were doors to the outside where Weinstock’s used to be. When Sears left, the mall was definitely living on borrowed time.

    I’m not much of a mall person but Park Lane was somehow more than just a mall. In some ways it was part every Reno-ite’s psyche. It was “our” place in a way that Meadowood and the newer malls aren’t. But maybe it’s best that Park Lane is gone. It was from an era when Reno was smaller and more personal. When I could go to the Century Theater on Virginia (the old dome theaters) and always run into someone I knew. Now that the town is so much bigger, a little hometown place like Park Lane doesn’t stand a chance against the bigger mega malls.

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  28. Yep, the city of Reno is losing all of our great memories of this actual shit hole! Reno sucks now! I have lived in this dump since 1978 and I have hated it here ever since! I heard that the Park Lane Mall clock is across the street from the Nugget by the water fountains. I went to the Farmers Market a few times now and I swear it is right there!

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  29. The clock is now proudly standing in down town Reno only a couple of blocks away from its original location, which I believe was Ginsburg Jewlers.

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  30. I got the location of the clock wrong. It’s on the NE corner of 1st and Virginia.

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  31. This property would now best serve the community of it was turned into a sports complex primarily a soccer facility. Las Vegas and other have done this type of thing and have benefited for the kids. Reno doesn’t have a soccer culex with more than 4 fields. With the size of the property it could easily facilitate 12 to 18 fields. Reno than produce large tournaments which would really benefit local hotels, restaurant and shopping in an area that is in desperate need of economic development as more and more development heads south. This could and would bring in millions benefit kids and community both

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  32. I drive by the old Park Lane Mall lot and it makes me sad. I remember it from when I was a child. It a empty lot full of weeds now. When I was 18, I went into the downstairs bathroom where the murder took place. I had no idea about the murder before I went in, but I had a psychic impression of a woman being stabbed. It was one the disturbing expierances of my life. I still think about it when I drive by.So sad.

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