Eastview Mall; Victor (Rochester), New York

Metro Rochester’s fourth mall opened in 1971 near the intersection of Interstate 90 / NY Thruway and NY Route 96. Located 15 miles southeast of downtown in suburban Victor, Eastview Mall was developed by Rochester-based mall- maker Wilmorite, the same firm responsible for developing many of the region’s other centers.  Eastview Mall was much smaller than the behemoth that stands today, and was originally anchored by Rochester-based Sibley’s department store and Sears, in a simple dumbbell configuration connecting the two anchors containing 80 in-line stores.

The first of several expansions at Eastview took place in 1973 as Rochester-based McCurdy’s department store was added as a third anchor, along with a 15-store expansion and a new west wing.  With 95 stores, Eastview was the Rochester area’s largest mall until 1982, when The Marketplace Mall opened in south-suburban Henrietta.  Eastview was also larger than Rochester’s other extant malls: Midtown Plaza, which opened in 1962, Greece Towne Mall, which opened in 1967, and Long Ridge Mall, which opened in 1972.

During the 1990s, anchor changes as well as major renovations and expansions changed the face of retailing in greater Rochester.  In 1990, Wilmorite constructed a fifth mall in the region, Irondequoit Mall, located in northeast-suburban Irondequoit, about 2 miles from downtown Rochester.  Irondequoit enjoyed a modicum of success during the 1990s, but quickly fell out of favor due to increased competition, an unfavorable location, and a perception of crime.  By the year 2000, Irondequoit Mall was not a threat to the remaining retail centers, and the center closed in 2009.

Also in 1990, an anchor change took place at Eastview.  Sibley’s became Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann’s after May Company, Kaufmann’s parent, purchased Sibley’s in 1986 and decided to consolidate nameplates.

In 1994, another anchor change took place at Eastview, as May Company also acquired McCurdy’s.  However, due to an antitrust settlement, May could not convert the McCurdy’s stores to Kaufmann’s as they had done with Sibley’s, and instead divested them to Bon Ton.  The store remains Bon Ton today.

Also in 1994, adjacent crosstown rival malls Greece Towne Mall and Long Ridge Mall combined, creating a massive mall called The Mall at Greece Ridge Center with 1.6 million square feet of retail space, and Eastview embarked upon a massive expansion and renovation of its own. Eastview added 62 additional stores and a food court, along with two new anchors: a 147,000 square-foot 2 story JCPenney, and Lord and Taylor.  This expansion, which was complete in 1995, gave Eastview Mall over 1 million square feet of retail space, and, although Greece Ridge became the largest mall in Rochester following its expansion, Eastview cornered an upscale niche and became the area’s most popular mall.

The expansion also gave Eastview a unique and interesting layout, giving shoppers the option of completing an indoor square rather than traversing a linear route.  Also, Bon Ton opened a second mall entrance right next to the first one, due to being located at the crux of two hallways after the expansion.  In addition, ancillary strip began popping up near Eastview, with several plazas popping up nearby.

In 2003, Wilmorite expanded Eastview again, adding a 62,000-foot outdoor ‘lifestyle’ expansion to the mall’s main entrance along NY 96, containing 8-10 additional stores and restaurants.  Like many ‘lifestyle’ expansions, this addition to the mall was stocked with upscale womens clothing retailers and ‘destinational’ restaurants, like PF Chang and Biaggi’s, as well as upscale home outfitter Pottery Barn.

After the most recent expansion, Eastview Mall has over 1.3 million square feet of retail space, 5 department stores, and over 180 specialty stores and restaurants.   More than 30 stores at Eastview are unique to the Rochester market, such as Apple, giving Eastview the best and most upscale store selection of any mall in the Rochester area.

The current incarnation of Eastview Mall proves the Field of Dreams theory on retail development, which I just invented:  If you build it, shoppers will come.  Eastview is, by far, the most distant mall in the Rochester area to the center of population; yet in contrast, it is the most popular mall in terms of selection.  Also, according to Eastview’s Wikipedia entry, people frequently go to Eastview when visiting the nearby Finger Lakes region, a tourist region of upstate New York located a short distance south of the mall.  Because of its wide draw, Eastview is the Rochester area’s only true super-regional mall.

We visited Eastview Mall in December 2007 and took the pictures featured here.  Leave comments regarding your own experiences and stories.

 

 

 

21 Responses to “Eastview Mall; Victor (Rochester), New York”

  1. I love the pink Bon-Ton entrance! That’s so outdated! I love it!

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  2. “The current incarnation of Eastview Mall proves the Field of Dreams theory on retail development, which I just invented: If you build it, shoppers will come. ”

    Really? Forest Fair Mall didn’t.

    With all this talk of Rochester, I don’t suppose you have Irondequoit Mall in the pipeline, do you?

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    alpha Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, HA!

    +1 on the Irondequoit Mall request- that was really an incredible mall.

    And not to get too far off topic, but the days of Forest Fair Mall / Cincinnati Mills / Cincinnati Mall are waning. To PrangeWay and Caldor, I hope y’all are able to visit the behemoth (its two neighboring behemoth malls, Northgate and TriCounty are following suit, so you’ll get 3 terrific entries from one visit)

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    Prange Way Reply:

    @alpha, I was in Cincinnati very recently, and got to see all of the malls. Spoiler alert, but parts of Cincinnati Mall didn’t even turn the lights on after dark, despite the fact that a few stores were open. Really, really creepy, never seen anything like that before…

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    Loves Retail Reply:

    @Prange Way, Cincinnati Mall is never going to come back as retail center, Last week, it was announced that other uses are planned for the property. We’ll see if they ever come to fruition. In the summer of 2010, it was reported that “Liberty Towne Place” lifestyle center is being planned along I-75 at the Rt. 129 interchange…about 8 miles away in a very nice and upscale location. Bass Pro Shops as well as Macy’s and other unnamed “major” department stores are in talks to locate there. That will be the final nail in Cincinnati Mall’s coffin, and in Macy’s case……the virtual end of Tri-County Mall, whose interior is half empty. Especially if Dillard’s makes the move too……which I am hoping they do. That leaves Northgate Mall. I really believe it can be revitalized. If Bass Pro leaves Cincinnati Mall, Northgate should try to grab Kohl’s and Burlington Coat Factory from there. They would help re-establish that mall as the go to place on the west side of Cincinnati.

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    Prange Way Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, Forest Fair/Cincinnati Mills/Mall was all kinds of wrong. Way too upscale for the market, and way too close to competition. With this one, the nearest mall is 15 miles away. Eastview is, at least, not delusional, and knows it’s in Rochester and not Palm Beach.

    Irondequoit? You never know…

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    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @Prange Way,

    In regards to Forest Fair (which I would like to see here), I always thought having a hypermarket like bigg’s would be a good, solid anchor (and initially, it was). Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like it was very accessible (unlike the Meijer across the street).

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    alpha Reply:

    @Pseudo3D, As I remember, The Biggs wing of Forest Fair was always pretty well tenanted, and was always the bright spot in the mall. It was probably way more beneficial to the mall than to Biggs, though Biggs seemed to set up a lot of their stores with forced-mall access (the Biggs Place in Eastgate was the same)

    Biggs leaving was the final nail in the Forest Fair coffin- that entire wing is so dead I believe (as Prange Way mentioned) they have shut off all utilities to it.

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    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @alpha,
    I think there was an exterior exit that wasn’t as well used (I saw it on Bing, before they updated the images).

    When the Curator (of Mall Hall of Fame) visited the bigg’s wing in 1989, apparently you could take shopping carts from store to store. It must have really been something.

    Cincinnati Mall, when the site (briefly) had a floorplan, they left the bigg’s wing out. Huh.

    Finally, there were a few other “bigg’s malls”, like Thornton Town Center or Middletown Station. They were eventually both de-malled for power centers anchored by Wal-Mart Supercenter.

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    Alpha Reply:

    @Pseudo3D,

    Well they have ‘shuttered’ that wing now so to speak, so I guess that’s why.

    Thornton Town Center I believe was one of LJ Hooker’s mistakes along with Forest Fair and Richland Fashion Mall (which very very much resembles Forest Fair’s original decor)

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    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @Alpha, Thornton Town Center was developed by Hyper Shoppes (bigg’s corporate parent) with Hooker, hence, it had a really bland look (City of Thornton used to have pictures, I think I have a copy somewhere, I’ll upload it sometime).

    Middletown Station was developed without Hooker entirely, and Richland Fashion Mall was done without bigg’s.

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    Boyd S. Reply:

    @Pseudo3D,

    I remember that Biggs in Thornton, CO actually my class at the University of Denver, we took a field trip there. This would be around 1990.

    What killed Biggs in Denver I have been told over the years was due to those attack ads that start appearing on local Denver TV because Biggs wasn’t a union shop. The ads were paid for by King Soopers even though at first Safeway and Albertsons paid for some of the ads as well but later on it was totally Kroger/King Soopers such as the one ad I can remember seeing on KWGN-TV 2 showing the face of little girl”…my daddy is a union man…a proud union man..support our family..please I beg of you..don’t shop at Biggs”. The same type of ads were used against Cub Foods when they were in Denver.

    Funny how Biggs is so well known in Cincinatti, while in Denver it was King Soopers who helped chase them out of town..and who owns King Soopers? KROGER !!!!!!

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  3. The early-to-mid 1990’s…the last time that mall renovations resulted in showpieces instead of stripped down glorified middle schools.

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  4. Ah, Christmas 2007, the last Christmas for The Sharper Image, at Eastview and everywhere else. I worked for Sharper Image in IT and got to visit most every store in the 200-store chain. No real distinct memories of Eastview, except they had the only 1-story Lord & Taylor I’d ever been to. Keep up the good work

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    marge Reply:

    @Paul, I always enjoyed the Sharper Image stores what went on with them?

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    Pseudo3D Reply:

    They closed in 2008, a victim of the recession.

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    Paul Reply:

    @marge, yes, all the Sharper Image stores closed in mid-2008. I’m not so sure we were the victim of the recession as we were to internal management strife. After all, Brookstone is still in business, right? I’m certainly no expert, but IMHO, if upper management had been more concerned about putting unique products into the stores and less concerned with gimmicks such as Sharper Image credit cards and silly things like Trump Steaks, and Zero Gravity plane rides, we may still be around. I’ve been in hundreds of malls around the country and they’re pretty much the same: lots of clothing stores, not much there for ‘the guy’. We took our eye off the target and lost sight of what made us unique. As with any retailer, if a customer walks in more than twice and doesn’t see anything exciting, the next time they’ll just walk on by. Just my 2 cents, FWIW.

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    Rich Reply:

    @Paul, In the May era, Lord & Taylor expanded into a many new markets and had a number of single story stores. i remember on in Memphis.

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  5. The Eastview Mall (and its parking lots) had a couple of other cool things in there at one point.

    1) TWE opened one of their first stores as an FYE in a space that was open to both the original mall and the expansion. While the store is still there, it pales in comparison to the Media Play competitor (complete with arcade) that was there originally.

    2) The mall was also one of the locations of the failed Funscape concept (along with the former Penn Can Mall, combining a movie theater with a large arcade/mini golf/lazer tag. While the movie theater is still there, the remainder of the space is still empty.

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  6. The old Bon-Ton department store was torn down in spring 2012. Rising in it’s former site- the brand new luxe and upscale “Von Maur”, a store often compared to nordstrom,yet Older than nordstrom and has Better Service than nordstrom. Von Maur also charges ZERO percent o it’s store charges, offers FREE shipping throughout the U.S. and FREE deluxe giftwrapping yearround. Von Maur also has the largest most plush restrooms of any retailer. Von Mur stores are elegant with marble,wood panelling and trimwork,fworking fireplaces, grand pianos with professional pianists playing them, huge “fresh” floral displays weekly, amongst many other amenities. Their salespeople are always cordial, knowledgeable,courteous and never pushy. Von Maur is a “Class Act” that carries ONLY currently fashionable High-End Designer Nationally and Internationally Recognized Goods.
    http://www.vonmaur.com/Brands.aspx

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  7. This is probably old news now but in 2012 Bon Ton closed its store at Eastview and was redeveloped as a Von Maur They are a high End luxurydepartment store i think there far more luxurious than Bon Ton Wikipedia says this:”Eastview Mall is the first mall in the Northeast to feature luxury retailers Von Maur and Lord and Taylor as anchor stores

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