Crossgates Mall; Guilderland, New York

Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY

Awhile back in our roundup of Albany Malls I never got around to discussing the main event, the Crossgates Mall in Guilderland. Part of this is because despite its size, Crossgates is relatively typical of a Pyramid Cos.-developed mall of its vintage. (For an example, look no further than the Silver City Galleria in Taunton, Massachusetts, another Pyramid-developed mall that opened in 1992 and shares almost the exact same interior decor theme as Crossgates). Really, this is just a long-winded way for me to say that it’s kind of boring. And it’s cramped, too, but it is big, and it is the beast that’s responsible for the decline of most other malls within an hour radius of Guilderland.

Crossgates Mall opened in 1984 as a significantly smaller mall than it is today, anchored by Caldor, Jordan Marsh, Filene’s, and JCPenney. The original section of the mall stretches from the JCPenney (which is the only anchor still located in its original location) to the present day Best Buy/H&M anchor. Crossgates was then substantially expanded in size in October 1994 to approximately 1.7 million square feet, with room for 250 stores and restaurants–effectively doubling the size of the mall. During this expansion, Lord & Taylor, Regal Cinemas, and a new Filene’s store opened as anchors, and the old Filene’s space was partially filled by Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Obviously, there were many changes in this roster over the years, with Macy’s replacing Jordan Marsh in 1996 when the entire Jordan Marsh name was retired, and similarly Macy’s replacing Filene’s in 2006 when the same occurred again. Today, the former Jordan Marsh (and original Macy’s) space is vacant while Macy’s occupies the last home of Filene’s in the mall. Similarly, Caldor went out of business in 1999, and their space was carved between Best Buy on the second level and H&M on the first. Interestingly, this anchor has a third level located above it, and this space was until 2005 home of a second movie theatre within the mall, and which shut due to declining popularity. You can still trek up to the third floor, however, since the restrooms and security office are there, and it’s worth the trip simply because it seems to be the only part of the mall that has retained its original 1984 decor. Unfortunately, because the security office is RIGHT THERE and Pyramid tends to be big on rule enforcement, it’s pretty tough to get any good pictures up there.

Lord & Taylor closed their store here (along with so many others) in 2005. There were also other chains that came and went during the mall’s existence, ranging from ones that are long gone (Nobody Beats the Wiz, Klein’s All Sports) to ones that just shuffled around or closed these particular locations (DSW Shoe Warehouse, TJMaxx).

Cohoes Fashions also relocated their store from its historic location in downtown Cohoes, NY to the mall in 1999, but in 2007 their parent company, Burlington Coat Factory, closed many of the Cohoes locations and renamed most of the rest Burlington Coat Factory, including this one. I got these pictures just in time, apparently, but it’s sort of sad to see Cohoes go since they were one of the last small regional department stores in the New York and New England area.

Cohoes at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY

crossgates-mall-2001-01.jpg crossgates-mall-2001-02.jpg crossgates-mall-2001-03.jpg

crossgates-mall-2001-05.jpg crossgates-mall-2001-04.jpg Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY

Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY

Escalator to former third floor theatre above former Caldor at Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY

Crossgates Mall in Guilderland, NY

37 Responses to “Crossgates Mall; Guilderland, New York”

  1. Way to go on grabbing those Cohoes pictures. There was some estranged Cohoes plaza on I-91 in Ellington for the longest time before they recently took the sign down (was it half-vacant?). I never went because but it’s quite a pain to get to…

    Crossgates might be boring, but that entrance is somewhat intruging and it seems to employ a bond with arrows (like Holyoke Mall). It must be leftover from the 1984, no? The bland decor reminds me of Latham Circle Mall not too far away. Many I’ve heard regarding Crossgates have nice things to have said about it (likely because of Lechmere and Caldor), leaving not too much today. Also note, many anchors who’ve saved this mall here today are almost mirrored at Holyoke Mall.

    About Pyramid’s rule enforcement, I recently took many pictures at their malls (Hampshire Mall and Holyoke Mall) and I’ve throughly read their Code — no where does it mention anti-photography so if they catch you, you’ve got something of a defense even if we all know how its best to avoid authority. During both times, I took pictures in the afternoon and was largely successful (almost got snagged in the parking lot on foot and developed a bit of paranoia after a few cycles around the mall) and will warn at Holyoke, they’ve got relatively basic looking security guards who are dressed like regular office-type folk. The parking lots are, in fact, heavily patrolled.

    [Reply]

  2. That’s the Pyramid way — develop a mall with 45 anchors, and then when one closes, split it into five more sub-anchors.

    [Reply]

  3. What, no gym (A feature of Carousel Center and several of the Wilmorite Malls in Rochester…. This mall has just about everything else, though.

    [Reply]

  4. They do have a Bally Total Fitness…

    [Reply]

  5. My bad.

    [Reply]

  6. Although this is a nice mall, I prefer the Colonie Center because (1) it has two of my favorite department stores–Boscov’s and Sears–neither of which can be found at the Crossgates Mall, (2) its interior looks more elegant, (3) that mall currently has no vacant anchor spaces, and (4) Colonie Center is currently undergoing an exciting expansion.

    Now that Crossgates Mall has two vacant anchors, I’m surprised that at least one vacancy is not being filled by The Bon-Ton (although that chain does have locations at both the Aviation Mall and the Wilton Mall), Bloomingdale’s (although that chain tends to be extraordinarily selective as to where it opens new stores), or Nordstrom.

    According to wikipedia, the size of each anchor at Crossgates Mall is as follows (note that I was unable to ascertain the size of the vacant Lord & Taylor building):

    *Macy’s: 200,000 sq. ft.
    *JCPenney: 180,000 sq. ft.
    *Vacant Jordan Marsh/first Macy’s: 170,000 sq. ft.
    *Burlington Coat Factory: 63,000 sq. ft.
    *Dick’s Sporting Good’s: 62,500 sq. ft.
    *H&M: 53,000 sq. ft.
    *Best Buy: 50,000 sq. ft.

    [Reply]

  7. I’d sure like to know what this wormhole third level looks like (you couldnt nab some shots with the cell phone camera?). Was it that picture with the slight of wood-trimming in it? Perhaps you can explain it…

    [Reply]

    Ron Reply:

    @XISMZERO, I snapped a picture of the third floor with my cell phone. It still has the original décor with the pine paneling and mirrors on the walls.

    [Reply]

  8. Finally! I was looking for this post. I could have sworn it was Security Square that had the closed second theater, but it was this one! The 2nd floor “anchors” seem awkward to me.

    [Reply]

  9. Palisades center is like an SUV Crossgates 3 department stores & 74 junior ones. Now i get it.

    [Reply]

  10. The third level of the mall, a mezzanine of sorts, features the original brick flooring and wood trim of the mall from 1984.That’s what makes it unique and “special”.

    [Reply]

    Neil O'Brien Reply:

    @Jack Thomas, I agree, makes me think of when crossgates wasn’t a wanna-be carousel..it had the cool Filene’s, Jordan Marsh, the massive Caldor, Au bon pain, back-trackz (where you could record your own albums) the cool glass elevator that would bring you to the movies..those were the days

    [Reply]

  11. HOLY BISCUITS! Look at this old news article:

    http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/stories/1998/05/04/story8.html

    What would’ve happened if they followed up on that! (shudder)

    [Reply]

  12. The second movie theater was a 12-screen Regal Cinemas. Also, apparently, Bally has moved/cut floor space to allow an upper level area to the Regal Cinemaplex. It was 18 screens before, and still 18.

    [Reply]

  13. The other “neat fact” is that Crossgates Mall once had one of the earliest, 2001-era Apple stores in the country…right near Cohoes. Before February 2002, Apple stores offered free Evian water! Yum yum!

    [Reply]

  14. And…they’re adding IMAX!

    http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=729561&category=BUSINESS

    [Reply]

  15. Responding to Jonah’s June 15 note:

    Local opposition killed the 1998 Crossgates expansion, thank goodness.
    http://www.savethepinebush.org/Current/NewsSub.html

    Pyramid illegally bulldozed environmentally sensitive land to make way for part of the expansion, and police, environmentalists, and the Altamont mayor (among others) became fed up with Pyramid’s broken promises regarding mall crime, commercial overdevelopment, and hostility to the local environment. So Pyramid Crossgates sold land, and now another developer apparently continues to attempt to build a hotel on the illegally cleared land.

    When I visit Albany during the holidays each year, my main reason for visiting Crossgates has been one store that doesn’t have other Albany locations. But the mall is inconveniently located, sterile, and simply too big to waste time driving and walking around. Colonie Center is much more accessible, reasonably sized, close to Wolf Road’s restaurant row, nicely renovated — and less guilty of conduct that violates community welfare. So I don’t feel motivated to shop at Crossgates anymore.

    As for Max’s suggestion about Nordstrom, that won’t happen because Crossgates is way too down-market for the retailer. With its latest renovation, Colonie Center now has a chance to get Nordstrom after the recession ends; Nordstrom has a store at Westfarms, a similar mall in Hartford (two hours east of Albany).

    [Reply]

  16. Here some more news, The mall converting the former Lord & Taylor into Dick’s Sporting Goods Store. The Pyramid Cos. bought two empty anchor stores at the mall — the former Lord & Taylor and former Macy’s — for $9.5 million, according to deeds filed in the Albany County Clerk’s office on Dec. 23.
    http://www.bizjournals.com/albany/stories/2009/01/12/daily33.html

    [Reply]

  17. Dick’s Sporting Goods does not need to be a 2 level store. Although I have seen this before (Buffalo). So now the current Dick’s location will be empty along with the still empty former Macy’s.

    [Reply]

  18. I have noticed that they are starting to paint the ceiling in the 94 wing, replacing the tan and pink pastel with an light olive green and dark blue pattern.

    [Reply]

  19. Forever 21 and heritage are supposed to move into the dicks that is relocating

    [Reply]

    Neil O'Brien Reply:

    @Sadie, you’re right, F21/H81 will begin to occupy the [original filene’s/old dicks] quarter 1 2010

    [Reply]

  20. They should put an Urban Outfitters where the old Dicks location is going to be. That would be smart.

    [Reply]

  21. Urban Outfitters…no, the problem with Crossgates is that is now wants to cater to people between the ages of 15 & 25. Very few dollars here. The mall already has several Journeys stores, Lids, Hollister, Torrid to name a few, that bring the mall down. Nothing against people in this age group, I was once there, but you can’t build a mall around them. The more “Urban” stores you have in the mall will mean fewer stores that cater to the 35-55 year old woman (who carries the wompum!)

    [Reply]

  22. Update time.

    Dick’s Sporting Goods has moved into the former Lord and Taylor space with a new two level store. A new anchor sized Forever 21 store will move into their old space.

    The Dick’s store only occupies the back half of the Lord and Taylor space. The front half has been carved into more mall space for what I believe will be more restaurants to further capitalize on Pyramid’s ThEATery concept. There is also a new mall entrance being constructed.

    Other news for the mall is that it is slowly getting a new paint job. The pink and white colors are being replaced with blue and an olive green. Also, new escalators are being installed in front of the former third level theater/Best Buy/H&M.

    And the former Jordan Marsh/Macy’s is still vacant.

    [Reply]

  23. anybody got a map of the stores? I want to map the mall in wikitude.me so people can use thier phones to find stores. wallmjunk at hotmail dot com

    [Reply]

  24. No comments in a long while! Wow. I only ever go here because it houses the ONLY remaining Orange Julius within hundreds of miles. Hidden right next to the vacant building I will discuss in a moment. Literally hidden, you can barely see it from upstairs, and can’t see it at all walking west. What intrigues me about this chain is that in nearly every other mall in this area, you will see a storefront in the food court that used to be an OJ. Wilton mall had one just left of the Sbarro (thankfully covered). Latham Circle Mall has one on the far right of the food court, not actually in the court.

    It’s most certainly a thriving mall overall. Still, I can’t shake the feeling of emptiness. Because all the halls are so wide, and I went in the mid-afternoon. There’s still a massive empty building just left of the outdoor Best buy entrance. From what I gather this was the old Macy’s. Why can’t they fill it? It’s creepy.

    Also now empty is the Border’s, smack dab in the middle of the mall. It was about a month after it closed that I last went… They have made no effort to cover it, you can see right into the empty store.

    There’s a few other small vacancies that aren’t really memorable, but these LARGE ones really need to be filled or they will start to lose business.

    Here’s an billboard promoting the new Dick’s in 2009! XD http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_AjSh8v2UOD4/SwbM590OqRI/AAAAAAAAANo/MDFcC6xxsVs/s1600/BDicks.jpg

    But back to that feeling of emptiness, every side hallway has very few stores. One of them has a very long trek down to a “Fresh” smoothie place. The only thing on one of these hallways is a small doorway open, and arrows pointing down a narrow long hallway. Who in their right mind would go in that? What is it??

    Seemingly the only bathroom in the mall that’s not in an anchor store or theater is towards the JC Penny. Buy some hiking shoes if you want to use this bathroom, it’s a LONG walk down a narrow hallway only to find out there’s 2 toilets and one sink.

    The Dick’s floor one hallway is especially creepy. I understand it used to be part of a Filene’s building. There’s nothing in this hallway but a broken escalator to the right of the dick’s entrance.

    If I do go back, I’ll try and take pictures of these things I’ve mentioned, as well as the third floor. I remember going in that theater and I miss it. But there’s lots of security in and around this mall, and you know how that goes. Why don’t they want us to take pictures of malls??

    [Reply]

    Jutty Reply:

    @E, There are rest rooms by the food court. Most malls have rest rooms someplace around the food court, it must be a a law.

    [Reply]

  25. Been to this mall quite a few times, there is something unsettling and creepy about the arcitecture and “feel” of this place. It is easy to shake off, I mean it’s just a mall right? What make it strange is that it was purposefully built like this, with many rules of proportion asthetics subverted or ignored. I know it sounds ridiculous, but there is something dark about the geometry of this place.

    [Reply]

    David Reply:

    @John,

    I helped open the original Filene’s in 1985, when I graduated high school. Jordan Marsh opened at the same time.

    Those were special times indeed!

    [Reply]

  26. Do you know what ever happened to those triangular lights? I went in the mall this year and the lights on the poles/walls look different.

    [Reply]

  27. Another update here. Crossgates is one of the first malls I remember at all (seeing Disney movies in the “upstairs theater” and shopping for elementary school) so it’s really interesting to see its changes over time.

    Can confirm that the mall still has the “catering to the young” aspect, with at least FOUR variations on Bubble Tea or Froyo joints right now, one including crepes. But it’s still one of the only malls I’ve ever seen that manages to maintain a new Apple store and a dollar store or two on the same section of the mall; even if it’s less profitable for the developers, it’s probably one of the last true “one-size-fits-all” malls in terms of price ranges, especially in the Northeast, where malls seem to be separating into “upper,” “middle,” and “local” ranges more and more. Crossgates manages to serve as the default shopping mall for Albany, but also as a destination for a fair chunk of southern VT, anywhere in MA or CT that’s closer to Albany than the Springfield-Hartford area, and Quebecois tourists on their way to the rest of the country.

    Which brings me to a second point — at some point this spring, Lord & Taylor will open an entirely new location in the old Macy’s space, apparently while doing relatively little exterior renovation except for the entrances, but gutting the interior. Considering that Macy’s in Colonie Center has been the most “upscale” store in the region for a while now, it’ll be interesting to see how well the new location does.

    [Reply]

    DC Reply:

    @Mic, Lord & Taylor will probably thrive considering the amount of other new stores Crossgates has that serve a similar clientele. With every time I’ve been there in the past year it seems there is yet another inaccessibly expensive “trendy” store that has appeared, but hey, that’s what people like around here. The corridor spaces are in the process of being remodeled to match this too – it looks a lot like Colonie Center now.

    [Reply]

  28. A neat promotional video from 1984 was recently posted on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Nm9WHBp3Lg

    Of note is the fact that the narrator mispronounced the name of Caldor.

    [Reply]

  29. I worked at Crossgates, as an employee of the new (first) Filene’s. Here is a promo video for the “new” Crossgates Mall:

    [Reply]

  30. More on Crossgates:

    http://www.uhls.org/PastProjects/iSpy/guil/guil-cross.html

    [Reply]

  31. In 2014 Lord and Taylor opened up again unfortunately the huge Jordan Marsh store is still vacant!

    [Reply]

Leave a Reply


+ four = 7