Case Study: The Capital Region of New York

Map of the Capital Region of New York

The Capital Region of New York, with a metropolitan area population of around 800,000, has an awful lot of enclosed shopping malls. There was 11 at one point, but there’s fewer than that now. It also has a big Pyramid mall that brought on the decline or closure of several of them. Let me explain.

Back in October, we offered a similar study of Syracuse malls, which painted a portrait of another upstate New York city where a very large mall developed by the Pyramid Companies–in that case, Carousel Center–caused nearly every other mall within the metropolitan area to shut or go into decline. Syracuse-based Pyramid has employed similar strategies in other cities in New York, including Buffalo, Poughkeepsie, Middletown, and Springfield, Mass.; where a shiny, new, too-large mall opened near perfectly fine existing malls and wiped them away.

Of course, Pyramid can’t exactly be blamed either. From my own experience, trends favor of a move towards these larger, destinational, super-regional malls, and away from older and smaller malls in the first place, so they were merely riding the wave. Still, it’s sad to see the carnage.

Even with the 1.7 million square foot Crossgates Mall, the Capital Region has quite a few remaining enclosed malls, and interesting ones at that. We’ll be posting about these in much more detail in the coming weeks, but I wanted to offer a bit of an introduction:

  • Colonie Center – The second-largest mall in the region, the 1.3 million square foot Colonie Center has managed to mostly hold its own over the years, despite its proximity to Crossgates (which may corroborate the seemingly-counterintuitive Freakonomics theory that things like this do better when clustered together to create destinations, versus spread widely to offer convenience). Opening in 1966 and expanded in 1991, Colonie Center is the oldest mall in the region and hosts Macy’s, Sears, and Boscov’s (formerly Steinbach) as primary anchors, with Christmas Tree Shops and Steve & Barry’s as junior tenants. Mall owner Feldman Retail Properties is currently in the middle of an extensive renovation and repositioning of the center that will add Barnes & Noble, L.L. Bean, and Regal Cinemas as additional anchors while adding more dining and lifestyle options.
  • Latham Circle Mall – This older mall (which was originally constructed as a plaza in the 1950s and enclosed in the early 1970s) is struggling against its larger competition, and was partially big-boxed with the addition of a Lowe’s store in 2003. Current anchors are JCPenney, Burlington Coat Factory, and Lowe’s.
  • Mohawk Mall – This shockingly ugly mid-sized mall opened in the 1970s to serve the eastern suburbs of Schenectady. Upon my first visit in late 1999, it had only two tenants remaining: a Media Play and a Marshalls both located at the mall’s center court. The remainder of the long, carpeted concourse was completely barren, and the mall would be demolished completely in 2001 to be replaced by a big box center. Mohawk Mall was once home to Bradlees and Montgomery Ward, and Deadmalls has a rather complete photo set of it pre-demolition. Go see the photos there, because I don’t have any.
  • Rotterdam Square – A mildly dated but successful mid-sized, mid-tier mall directly serving the Schenectady area and points west, Rotterdam Square is isolated enough from the area’s main retail centers that it is able to survive. It counts Sears, Macy’s, Kmart, and a movie theatre as anchor tenants.
  • Amsterdam Mall – While this 300,000 sqft mall may have at one point functioned as an actual shopping mall, it now houses almost nothing but offices. I’m guessing it was built in the early 1970s, as part of a horrific urban renewal project that demolished most of downtown Amsterdam and replaced it with this unloveable two-story center, which once housed local merchants Carl Company and Present Company as anchors. Amsterdam is an old industrial city along the Erie Canal corridor that functions quite separately from the Capital Region itself, and it seems unlikely this mall ever had any serious chance of being a major retail destination. I wasn’t able to make a visit this time around (I wasn’t even sure it’d be open on the weekends, and it’s somewhat off the way) but Deadmalls also has a few photos of this one.
  • Clifton Park Center (formerly Clifton Country Mall) – At one point, Clifton Park Center was one of my favorite malls in the area, with its unusual layout and dated mid-80s decor. The mall opened in phases, with the northern, “C” shaped part of the center opening in the 1970s, and the long southern “tail” wing opening in the middle 1980s. At various points the mall hosted Caldor, Steinbach, JCPenney, Marshalls, and Regal Cinemas as anchors. Despite anchoring a major retail area in a large and somewhat affluent suburb, the mall reportedly never did terribly well. An unfortunate 2006 renovation tore down half of the mall (the original mall, minus the mid-80s expansion which remains) and replaced it with a rather cheap-looking lifestyle portion that is currently more vacant than the mall ever was. Current anchors are Boscov’s, JCPenney, Marshalls, and Regal Cinemas.
  • Wilton Mall – This large and somewhat bland 1-level mall opened in 1990 to serve the affluent Saratoga Springs area. Current anchors are the Bon Ton, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Sears, and JCPenney.
  • Saratoga Mall – The original enclosed mall serving the Saratoga Springs area, this two-level center was completely demolished in 1999. Immediately adjacent to the large Wilton Mall, the center stood very little chance once its neighbor opened. One of two malls in the area I never got to see firsthand, it opened in 1974 and was anchored by Montgomery Ward, Barker’s (later King’s, and then Jamesway), Carl Company, and Service Merchandise. There’s a bit more about it at Deadmalls.
  • Aviation Mall – A mid-sized, Pyramid-owned mall serving the Glens Falls/Lake George area. It’s relatively non-descript but successful. Current anchors include Sears, Target, JCPenney, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and The Bon Ton (replacing a former Caldor).
  • Crossgates Mall – The regional behemoth, this 1.7 million square-foot center originally opened in 1984 and was more than doubled in size in 1994. Located at the crux of I-87 and I-90, the center pulls shoppers from most of the eastern half of upstate NY as well as western Massachusetts and southern Vermont. The third largest mall in New York, it is today anchored by Best Buy, Cohoes, Borders, Dick’s Sporting goods, DSW, H&M, JCPenney, Macy’s, and Old Navy, but also hosts several anchor vacancies, most notably the former Lord & Taylor and Jordan Marsh/Macy’s spaces.
  • Northway Mall – Upon my first visit in 1999, this mall was already gone. Located directly across US5 from Colonie Center and only a few miles from Crossgates, this small mall was likely far more valuable as a site for big box, which is what it does today (as you’ll see in the below pictures). Beyond Montgomery Ward, I’m not even sure what the original anchors were. However, behind the mall is the remains of a large (and now heavily-vandalized) Lechmere store that closed when the chain folded in 1997, and was never replaced. I really miss Lechmere, who had a heck of a lot more personality (and much wider offerings) than contemporary superstore chains like Best Buy. There is also an abandoned cinema complex near the Lechmere, which is equally heavily vandalized. Bizarrely, the original Northway Mall pylon still remains, a decade or so after the mall closed, reportedly due to some skirmishes with the Colonie Planning Board. The big box center that replaced the Northway Mall still has no signage of its own!

Pylon for the former Northway Mall, as it remains nearly 10 years after the mall closed

Big box center that replaced the former Northway Mall in Colonie, NY Abandoned movie theatres behind former Northway Mall in Colonie, NY Abandoned Lechmere store behind former Northway Mall in Colonie, NY Abandoned Lechmere store behind former Northway Mall in Colonie, NY

Abandoned Lechmere store behind former Northway Mall in Colonie, NY Abandoned Lechmere store behind former Northway Mall in Colonie, NY
And if you want even more, the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce has written a history of Crossgates and Colonie Center with some more details.
And here’s a fun bonus: Some photos from the former Cohoes Commons located in downtown Cohoes, NY, near Troy and Latham. Cohoes is an off-price department store very similar to Kohl’s in format, and the historic building seen here is their original flagship store, which shut sometime in the early 2000s. For a period, Cohoes liked to build small enclosed malls attached to their sporadic locations, and I even remember a similar mall to this one attached to their Cranston, RI store in the Garden City Center (I believe it was called Post Office Square, and I can remember almost nothing about it–can you?). This downtown Cohoes location was dictated by history moreso than strategy, and as a result was terrible for retail; it’s located away from through roads and in the middle of a Hudson Valley town whose best years appear to be behind it. It couldn’t have helped that Cohoes also opened a store at Crossgates, and that malls of this size (probably less than 100,000 square feet) never seem to fare well. It’s still an interesting artifact, even though it now houses state offices and appears to have been reconfigured.

Former Cohoes Commons in Cohoes, NY Former Cohoes Commons in Cohoes, NY Former Cohoes Commons in Cohoes, NY Former Cohoes Commons in Cohoes, NY

Author: Caldor

Jason Damas is a search engine marketing analyst and consultant, and a freelance journalist. Jason graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in Music Industry. He has regularly contributed to The Boston Globe,, Amplifier Magazine, All Music Guide, and 168 Magazine. In addition, he was a manager for a record store for over two years. Currently, he focuses on helping companies optimize their web sites to maximize search engine visibility, and is responsible for website conversion analysis, which aims to improve conversion rates by making e-commerce websites more user-friendly. He lives in suburban Boston.

56 thoughts on “Case Study: The Capital Region of New York”

  1. You include Aviation Mall and the malls in Saratoga Springs in your study of the Albany Malls, yet you missed the Finger Lakes Mall (which is closer to Syracuse than these malls are to Albany) in the Syracuse version. What gives. As far as Cohoes goes, memory of the company is in their former store in suburban Rochester, adjacent to one of the two Lechmere stores in the area in Henrietta. Ah memories.

  2. Yeah, missing the Fingerlakes Mall was kind of an oversight on my part… I wasn’t even able to make it out there during my trip. I assume I’ll make it there whenever I go back out that way to redo Rochester and Buffalo, which will happen at some point.

    Glens Falls is 45 miles or so north of Albany, but the region certainly does seem to function as one large metropolitan area. It’s spread out, sure, but driving along the Northway you really don’t get the sense you’ve “left” Albany until after Glens Falls.

  3. I know it’s not in anywhere near Albany, in fact quite far north. But I used to live in Montreal and remember the Champlain Centres in Plattsburgh, NY. There were two of them, Champlain Centre North and Champlain Centre South. I remember browsing the net and finding them at one point, anyone have any data on those?

    Check out all the graffiti on that movie theatre and the light standard in the parking lot completely knocked down. Defintely lotsa vandalism.

  4. So it functions a bit more like Scranton Wilkes Barre than the Southern Tier. By the way, when you do the Rochester/Buffalo Run, there is a small mall in downtown Batavia that you may want to include (Genesee Valley Mall).

  5. Er Genesee County Mall.

  6. I was actually thrown out of the Genesee County Mall the one time I went, just about exactly two years ago. Apparently it’s not open on Sundays, and despite that the doors weren’t locked or anything, they were none too happy that I (nor my two companions on that trip) were inside. Some woman who seemed to be hosting a birthday party for a little girl in one of the storefronts came out and hollered at us, and physically escorted us from the building. She didn’t see us take any pictures, I don’t think (we were using real cameras, though), but she clearly did either think we were there for nefarious purposes or just felt we were ruining her little girl’s birthday party. Either way.

  7. Northway’s anchors were EJ Korvette (later something else), Jo-Ann Fabrics, Kids “R” Us, Lechmere, Wards, and Steinbach.

    Also, what was in the Gensee County Mall? Google isn’t helping any.

    Also, Bon-Ton at Aviation used to be CALDOR, not Target.

  8. Oops, that was a typo.. I fixed it. I’ve actually seen photos of this store when it still housed a Target. The Aviation Mall is mostly pretty bland, but the court area in front of Caldor/The Bon Ton is amazing, and worth a visit in and of itself.

    The Genessee County Mall still houses a JCPenney as an anchor, though I think it may be the only one. Not sure what else is there or even was there.

  9. I, too, greatly miss Lechmere. Talk about dying breeds of stores… Since we didn’t have Ward’s in Connecticut, it made up for the few Lechmere stores we had. My dad claims Lechmere failed because they expanded their goods selection beyond their core audience (having jewelry, luggage, while being a core electronics retailer). Don’t know if I can agree with that now knowing what I know about the parent company, Montgomery Wards.

    Anyway, I cannot wait to see the update for Aviation Mall. That picture of the Caldor, that’s on DeadMalls and elsewhere, that used to be there is one of the legendary locations that looks like it never changed! It almost speaks for a bulk of the company’s stores right before closing (like rival Bradlees). That court in front of now Bon-Ton still looks brown-70s draped with globe lighting, correct?

  10. Ok, several things. First off, THANK YOU! I love Albany, and a mall study of the area is greatly needed. Technically speaking, teh Capital District ends a little north of Saratoga Springs, and a little west of Schenectady, so Amsterdam and Glens Falls being included are a little bit of a stretch, but it’s not a pressing issue(besides, population statistics within the next 5 to 10 years will probably include at least Glens Falls to be within the Albany MSA).

    But anyway, I give you full permission to use whatever.information you want off my website.

    Just to let you know, at Northway Mall, Korvette’s became Montgomery Ward, and there was a Kids R Us in the mall at one point. Silo was there too(and that is now David’s Bridal). Lechmere came in 1994, and BJ’s was always there(though possibly not in the current building). The theaters were not always 10 one point they wee 6, then 8, and finally 10, and they were owned by Hoyt’s and closed in 2000.

    And Target is still at Aviation Mall, and is actually the newest anchor for the mall, opening in 2004. Caldor was vintage 1970’s and did not have it’s own exterior entrance(which is what the court area in front was used for). After Bon Ton went in, they built their own entrance, and the court out front was repainted into a white and brown color scheme, instead of all brown. It is much brighter in there now then it was beforehand.

  11. oh, and one more note, Saratoga Mall was originally called Pyramid Mall at Saratoga, and was built in 1974 as one of the Pyramid Company’s first orginal three malls. Only Pyramid Ithaca remains of those first three. The other of the three was Pyramid Mall at Plattsburgh(later Champlain Centre South).

  12. Pyramid did that more than you’d expect with their anchors. Originally, the Hills in the Pyramid Mall in Ithaca had its only entrance from the interior of the mall, similar to the Caldor at Aviation. It wasn’t until the mid 1990’s that this was addressed.

  13. Steinbach wasn’t in Northway Mall, it was in Colonie Center where Boscov’s is.

  14. Interesting writeup of the history of malls in the Albany/Capital Region of New York state.

    Anyways, my only question is about Cohoes Commons. Did this building used to be some sort of older brick downtown office building or served as some other purpose, before Cohoes opened a store there and also built an ‘indoor mall’ area by its store?

    Since I know there used to be an indoor mall in Chicago up till the late 1990s, that was built in a building that was formerly a warehouse decades ago called 1800 N. Clybourn, and was an enclosed shopping center until the late 1990s/early 2000s, when most tenants within the mall were forced out, and a middle section of the building was torn down to make it an outdoor strip center with big box tenants, and with a parking lot in the middle, seperating the former building in half. Which I still think wasn’t a great idea to this day, though hey, I’m sure they’re damn people who think otherwise, since I believe its all occupied since that conversion occurred. But I still miss the old mall that used to be there, especially the miniature(sp?) golf place that used to be there. Though I do realize this mall had a high vacancy rate, right before the conversion to being an outdoor strip center occurred…

  15. Allan, what mall was that in Chicago?

  16. Bobby, the place I was talking about was just called 1800 N. Clybourn. That was the EXACT name of the place. It’s where the Goose Island Brewery is still at today(and where a Bed, Bath, and Beyond, among other big box retailers, is too). The area(and all throughout both North and Clybourn Ave. area + corridor) has amazingly become so developed and built up, since when I used to go more often to that area when I was younger(not to mention ironically, my elementary school wasn’t too far east from here).

    1800 N. Clybourn basically reminds me also of another indoor mall that became dead after Navy Pier opened up that was similar to this one, North Pier(on I believe, Illinois St., but correct me if I’m wrong). The building has since been renamed to River East, and it mostly(I believe) has offices located inside nowadays, though it’s become heavily vacant in recent years(and much of that place is sadly now sealed up and closed to the public today). I think the only place that is still open in this former mall is Dick’s Last Resort(a restaurant). It’s sad, since I remember going to the former arcade here all the time when I was young. Not to mention it had a really awesome lasertag room that I miss. 🙁

    And if I remember correctly, both these malls were more entertainment and touristy-functioning, than it was a place for retailers(though both did have a small number of retailers in them, and both did have a food court). They were malls that were slightly different than the sense of the regular indoor malls that are talked about on this blog(basically say, minus having some sort of traditional mall anchor department store to draw in customers).

    Sorry if that post was kinda long, but I hope this better explains 1800 N. Clybourn for you.

  17. And of course, the fact that in a strange way, seeing pics of Cohoes Commons reminded me of 1800 N. Clybourn(since it was an indoor mall that was put into an older, existing building).

  18. I’m curious…what used to be in that Cohoes Commons mini-mall? From the (quite hilarious) writeup gave, there only was an antique store and a snack bar. Doing research on Google, I found there may have been an arcade at one point…anyone else know?

  19. Cohoes Commons had a few more stores. It was originally billed as an outlet type mall. I remember the mall having Cohoes (Obviously), Cohoes Kids, American Tourister, Ralph Lauren, Anderson Little, Everything’s A $1.00, Leggs-Hanes-Bali, and about a dozen others. Anyone recall anything else?

  20. I was reading the Town of Colonie planning board agenda for Jan. 30 and it mentioned that the entrance to Northway Mall (which really should be changed to Northway Commons or something similar) is FINALLY going to be updated with new signage. They are going to improve the overall entrance to the strip mall, at least thats what I hope anyway. Does anyone know what the problem was with removing the original Northway Mall sign with the Town of Colonie? I mean is it historic or something? C’mon! Anyway, I never could understand why the developer never took down the old sign and put a new one up but I guess the Town was the problem. Anyone know more? Oh, and here is the link to the meeting agenda with all the details:

  21. Someone asked about the Champlain Centers in Plattsburgh, I got to school in Plattsburgh, they both exist to some extent. Champlain Center is now the only mall though, its anchors are Sears, Best Buy, Gander Mountain, JCPenny, and Dick’s with rumors of a Target coming in. They also house stores such as American Eagle, Old Navy, A Gap Outlet, Victoria Secrets and a very small food court. Champlain Center South is now an outdoor shopping plaza with Price Chopper, Lowes, K-Mart, Applebee’s, Bed, Bath and Beyond as well as a few other smaller stores.

  22. Just FYI….

    The original anchors at Mohawk Mall were J.M. Field (replaced by Bradlee’s), a Pantry Pride grocery-store annex to J.M. Field (replaced by Price Chopper), Woolworth’s (replaced by Marshall’s), The Boston Store (replaced by Media Play), and Montgomery Ward. There was originally a two-screen cinema at the mall, which eventually expanded to three and then seven screens.

    At Northway Mall, the warehouse in back was a furniture superstore in the 1970s long before it became Lechmere. I don’t remember the furniture store’s name.

  23. Re Northway Mall, I worked there at two times in my life…when i was a very young man I became manager of the record department at EJ Korvette. It was a fabulous record department. Korvette’s also sold their own brand of hifi gear: XAM. 15 years later I worked in the Lechmere’s music department. I’m not old enough to remember the glory days of shopping on North Pearl St., but in my lifetime there’s never been a nicer department store than Lechmere. What’s funny is I would mention that to friends from new England and they thought I was nuts…in their area, Lechmeres were known to be dirty and dumpy. Don’t know if it was local management or what, but our Lechmere was bright and clean, knowledgeably staffed, with a great selection of mid- to better-quality goods. And it wasn’t physically connected to Northway Mall, which was a dispirited, ugly joint from day one. Good riddance to it, and R.I.P Lechmere’s.

    PS: Someone should update the Colonie Center story…just underwent a huge expansion, bringing in L.L. Bean, Barnes & Noble, a huge, stadium movie house, Cheesecake Factory and PF Chang’s. Maybe if I get ambitious I’ll snap some shots myself and send them your way.

  24. One other thing: you’ve completely overlooked Stuyvesant Plaza in Albany. Originally anchored by Denby’s and (I think) The Boston Store, now it’s mostly a collection of locally-owned boutique-type shops, and doing quite well for itself.

  25. Ha, I go to the Amsterdam Mall with my freinds every once in a while for a laugh. There is nothing left there but a chinese take-out restaurant, a few law offices and some local politicians’ offices. There used to be a Carl Company(now a jewelry repair store), a Present Company, a CVS, and a McCrory’s.

    Just a few miles north is the Johnstown Mall, which is tiny. Its main anchor is a Price Chopper and it has a small hallway that runs south off of it that includes a Peebles, a Radio Shack, a hair salon, a dollar store, a camera store and a small cinema. There is also a small arcade room. There was a Rite Aid there, but it moved accross the street to a self-contained location.

    Another howler of a mall is the Malta Mall in Malta, which is about 10 miles south of the Wilton Mall. The mall once housed a Grand Union, a Rite Aid, and a Hallmark but now included nothing but a Karate studio, church!!, and some mailboxes for people in the apartment complex next door.

  26. the original anchor stores at the northway mall when built were “korvettes” and at the other end of the mall “allmarts”

  27. I honestly believe that Colonie Center–and not Crossgates Mall–is now the premier mall in the Capital Region. There are two reasons why I feel this way: First, the new lifestyle stores recently added to Colonie Center (and the recent revonation) have given that mall a feeling of contemporary freshness. Second, Colonie Center has zero anchor vacancies, while Crossgates Mall has two of them.

    Now, I believe that Crossgates Mall could regain its place as #1 if either Boscov’s closes its store at Colonie Center (which probably is likely to happen) or if Crossgates Mall could attract either a Lord & Taylor or Nordstrom to fill one of the vacancies. (Of course, I know that Lord & Taylor itself pulled out of Crossgates Mall. However, now that the chain has made a remarkable turnaround, it may want to consider going back to that mall.)

  28. If Boscov’s does close at Colonie Center, I would not be surprised to see Nordstrom try to open in that space. It would be a great addition to the mall!

  29. That’s a great idea you had, Mallguy. Also, I think that Nordstrom would much prefer Colonie Center over Crossgates Mall.

  30. I doubt that Nordstrom would be interested in having a store in the Capital Region. Nordstorm is very high-end and expensive. I just don’t see a store like that moving to this area. I think sales wouldn’t be as good as what most people think. The market is just not here for it. I would have to say though that if they were ever interested, Colonie Center would probably be their first option over Crossgates Mall.

  31. Remember, it’s not a Pyramid property unless it has at least 10 anchors. 😛

  32. Derek,

    In this type of economy, you may be right (remember in the last econ slowdown, Nordstrom backed out on a lot of its planned openings), but think about it…there is no Nordstrom along the Thruway between Buffalo and Paramus, NJ (10 miles south of the Thruway). Opening in Colonie Center would attract from a rather large area (don’t forget north of Albany, too). I know of Dutchess Co folks who drive all the way to GS Plaza for a Nordstrom and the ride to Colonie would be a little easier.

  33. Nordstrom will never open in Albany. Paramus is 147 mi away & 2h:10 min time assuming no traffic. Thats a joke.

    To save time get off RT 17 at Century Road West or a similar street before reaching RT 4, make left or if nessessary go right then U turn, this WILL BE Paramus Road, you can enter GSP through the back instead of dealing with IKEA & the RT 4 intersection. The corner of Century Road & Paramus Road has a Commerce Bank & a Tocco Bell.

  34. I think if any different anchor store would come in, the only one to me that would make sense would be Bloomingdales. I think they would fare better than Nordstrom or a Neiman Marcus. Colonie Center doesn’t have room for that. Crossgates probably does.

  35. Nordstrom has a store at Westfarms, an upscale mall located 2 hours east in Hartford. Westfarms is similar to Colonie Center in terms of customer base, accessibility and surrounding development.

    I agree with Derek that Nordstrom might view Albany as just a bit too down-market.

    However, with its latest renovation, I believe Colonie Center is the only realistic local candidate for such an upscale retailer. What other area mall can boast of stores such as P.F. Chang’s, L.L. Bean, and Cheesecake Factory, which are pre-requisites for a Nordstrom?

    Crossgates, on the other hand, is far too downmarket for Nordstrom — sterile, lower middle class, and increasingly dominated by big-box stores.

    If Nordstrom were interested, Colonie Center might find a way to push out Boscov’s or (less likely) Sears. Sears would be a decent candidate to move to Crossgates.

    Bloomingdale’s is owned by Macy’s. Since Bloomingdale’s hasn’t already opened in Crossgates, it seems likely that Macy’s decided long ago not to create competition anywhere near its existing Macy’s store at Colonie Center.

  36. awesome! i’m a toy collector interested in pics/info re: present co (i think i know where the bldg. is) tru, duane’s toyland and service merch. anyone know when tru was built on wolf rd. anyone have any 70’s 80’s pics of any cap region commerce?

  37. Go to the city of amsterdam website and look at the historic photos to actually get a sense of the historical monstrosity of a mistake that the mall was. Amsterdam ‘s downtown was bigger and just as architecturally distinct as Saratoga. Amsterdam was bigger than saratoga up into the late 70s. And as far as not being part of the capital district how is that, they were in sports leagues with albany and other cities, people commute and it is no further from albany than saratoga.

  38. I think you may have missed some minor malls in the Capital District.

    Off Wolf Road in Colonie was the single store of the Present Company. The store was rather spacious and weirdly built so you felt like you were going into an earth-supported structure. The store was more like a mini-mall than a single store.

    At the NE corner of the fly-by of Rt 7 and Rt 9 was a mini-outlet store with an enclosed mallette built about 1987. I think Royal Doultan and some shoe store were there. I recall there were stairs going up but nothing more than a vending machine was there.

    Cohoes had the Cohoes store in its own mini mall. I think Deadmalls has a pic.

    Off Exit 21 of I 87 were outlet shopping centers lined up one after the other. One of them had an enclosed mall space and even a restaurant. The parking lots were unending, but the air still stayed fresh and crisp.

    Off Exit 15 or 16 of I 87 was an outlet shopping center that at one time had been quite viable. However, eventually it faltered and part of it was enclosed about 1990. The whole thing was to be turned into an Office complex, but in 1998 the outlets hung on.

    There was Malta Mall, which was a nice attempt at doing something dirt cheap.

  39. Korvette’s was one of the original anchor stores at the Northway Mall. It was on the farthest east side of the mall.

  40. @dave, I don’t know if Duanes is still open but I remember going there as a kid…totally unique! The TRU was remodeled a while ago but looks the same on the outside. It has to have been there from the early 80’s tho at least. I dont know if you’re local or not, but the best bet is to contact the Times Union newspaper to see if they can offer you any info. There is a Blog in their online site called places and spaces… The blog author for that is another source to try. Duane’s Toyland was in Westgate plaza on Central Ave. If you google that, I seem to remember seeing a feature in the Times Union a while ago featuring pics of the plaza before Price Chopper was updated in the early 90’s.

  41. regarding Dan’s and JBlakewood’s mention of Malta Mall:

    I went to the elementary school next to it in the late 80’s/early 90’s. In addition to the Grand Union and pharmacy, it had a True Value (hardware store), a pizza place, a wine/alcohol store, and a video rental store. Just the basics!

    It was *really* one of those mini shopping plazas that are everywhere in the suburbs. (The “grocery store and four smaller stores in a line that share a parking lot” thingies.) It just happened to have an enclosed walkway and “Mall” in its name.

  42. @Jblakewood,

    the 15-16 mall of I87 was actually at Exit 12 and was called “Saratoga Village”. Its now all office space.

  43. Northway Mall’s original anchors were Korvettes (listed above) and Almart. Little history out there. Premier attraction in N. Mall was Time Out arcade. And the McDonalds in the mall failed TWICE. Finally, there was a small chapel run by Friars from the local college, Siena. Many a 28-minute Mass attended there.

  44. @Max, And here we are 6 years later and guess who just opened in Crossgates – Lord & Taylor!

  45. @Mike Airhart, Alpert’s was the furniture store.

  46. @Steph, Duane’s has been gone for quite a while – they had both the Westgate store and one on Rt 5 just a short way before Mohawk Mall.

  47. @Long time ago resident, The chapel still exists on Wolf Road, in the plaza where Service Merchandise used to be, just down from Outback.

    Also, I read somewhere that Almart started out on Central Ave where Taft Furniture is now before moving into the mall when that was built.

  48. @tony, Also recently read that Almarts had previously been at the site that is now Taft furniture before moving to the then new mall.

  49. @Mike Airhart, 2nd Note – I remember Woolworth being just “above” the center (where the ramps were) while Marshalls was “in” the center (the store on the “back” if looking from Balltown with Media Play being the “front” store).

    Also the Price Chopper was eventually replaced by Fays and Paper Cutter stores as they closed this spot when they opened the then “Superstore” at Central & 155. They only returned after the de-malling of the site to their current store.

  50. @Billy, Yep, I remember going into the old Almart store on Central Ave. as a little kid in the late 1960’s, as well as when it moved to Northgate Mall as an original anchor with Korvettes in 1970.

  51. @Steph, Thanks, I’ll try those contacts. I have present co catalogs from the early 80’s that have the address – 110 wolf printed on them. That’s fed ex kinkos now. I wonder if it’s the same building or if addresses change. Earliest TRU flyer I have from wolf rd is 82.

  52. @Billy, and one in a strip mall near Albany memorial I just found out by looking at dt flyers online!

  53. @Jblakewood, my catalogs say 110 wolf for present co which is now kinkos. But ppl tell me it was in a building behind that with gradually rising concrete walls which suggests what you say about feeling like you were going into an earth supported structure. I just can’t get any clear info on this. Retail archeology!

  54. @Dave, I actually have a Present co catalog from 91 that said Wolf Rd(behind McDonalds) for the Colonie location. Unfortunately, my 88-90 catalogs got thrown out. I’d love to find copies of those again.

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