The city of Glens Falls, New York is only arguably within the Capital Region metropolitan area at all, given that its 40 minutes or so to the north of Albany. However, something about the entire area has always felt contiguous to me, which is why I included the Aviation Mall within the Albany malls case study a few weeks back.
The Aviation Mall is the lone mall serving the Glens Falls-Lake George area. The mid-sized metropolitan area is somewhat unique, in that it includes a traditional, older northern industrial city (Glens Falls) as well as a large tourist area (Lake George, which also serves as the gateway to the Adirondack Mountains) and is located on the same commercial strip as some major tourist attractions (Six Flags is just a few miles away). Developed by the Pyramid Cos. in 1976, the mid-sized mall is relatively standard for what Pyramid was setting forth at the time: straight-forward, linear one-level malls with a slight bend in the middle, giving them a subtle “V” shape. Nothing about the decor is terribly exciting, and the 50-store mall is basically what you’d expect to find in a smaller, more isolated metropolitan area. The current anchors are Sears, JCPenney, The Bon-Ton, Target, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
A few interesting facts:
- In the mid-1990s, JCPenney decided to expand into a larger store than what they’d been occupying, which was originally a Denby’s location. They built a new store on the outside of their original store, and turned the old store into new mall space (and today, part of this space is occupied by Dick’s Sporting Goods). Most of the former JCPenney/Denby’s that was turned into mall space has not done well, for the most part, and despite being the newest and cleanest part of the mall also seems to host most of its vacancy.
- The Target store was added in 2004, and did not replace an existing anchor.
- In 1998, Pyramid unveiled a plan to expand Aviation Mall to bring its size to be comparable with Albany’s Crossgates Mall (which is a whopping 1.7 million square feet). Pyramid even went so far as to buy some adjacent properties to accommodate the expansion, but ultimately abandoned much of the project.
- The Bon Ton occupies a space occupied from the early ’80s to 1999 by Caldor. The court in front of The Bon Ton, which is set off to the side of the main mallway, has not been renovated, and is a massive treat (and truly, the only reason to make a special trek to see this mall):
You can also check out a picture of the court back in its Caldor days at DeadMalls. You may notice that this particular Caldor appears to have never received the jazzy, red ’90s vintage logo, and lived out its days with the blocky, orange logo instead.