To finish out the northern stretch of Albany malls, I offer to you the Wilton Mall at Saratoga (commonly referred to simply as the Wilton Mall), the largest and newest of the malls stretching along the Northway from Albany.
Of course, as you’ll see from these photos, I encountered the worst enemy of every mall photographer: an RV show. As a result, my pictures completely stink. At least you can see the fountains.
Of course, Wilton Mall isn’t terribly entertaining, due to its recent vintage. Wilton Mall opened in 1990 on route 50, off I-87, with Addis & Dey’s, JCPenney, and Sears as anchors, and Steinbach would join not long thereafter. Today’s roster includes JCPenney and Sears, but The Bon-Ton has replaced Addis & Dey’s and Steinbach was replaced by Dick’s Sporting Goods. The mall is a large, bright, sprawling one-level center, highlighted by a large fountain in the center court–a relatively unique feature for a mall built as late as this one. Original plans for the mall originally called for a fifth anchor, rumored to be Montgomery Ward, who had an existing store at the adjacent (and smaller) Saratoga Mall. That store was never built, though, leaving a “ghost anchor” space at the Wilton Mall that still exists today, although rumor has it that JCPenney will relocate their store to that vacant space on the mall’s south side soon.
Of course, even if Wilton Mall didn’t rob the tinier Saratoga Mall of its Montgomery Ward, it did seem to rob it of its soul. The Saratoga Mall, which featured Jamesway and Service Merchandise (in addition to Montgomery Ward) as anchors in its lifetime, was squashed in the late 1990s by this behemoth, as I have illustrated in this intuitive diagram:
Now it’s a big box center, of course. According to the website of the contractor who built the current center, the ol’ Saratoga Mall was ground up and turned into fill on which the new center was built. Ouch.
Today’s Macerich Company-managed Wilton Mall isn’t anything monumental, in part because scenic downtown Saratoga Springs–a tourist town, and one of the most desirable cities in the area–hosts many of the more upscale national chains, including Borders, The Gap, and Banana Republic. The Gap, as a result of their recent financial troubles, chose to close the store at the Wilton Mall rather than their store in downtown Saratoga Springs, which is saying a lot. As a result, the mall feels strangely lesser than it should, given that it’s clearly the major shopping destination for the entire populous (and relatively affluent) stretch of towns along the Northway from Albany.