Part of the purpose of Labelscar is to unearth and share retail oddities that we find in our travels. I’d think that the dice-like cubes that sit atop the mall entrances at the Springfield Mall qualify, wouldn’t you?
The Springfield Mall is a 1.4 million square foot enclosed shopping mall with over 230 stores in the southern suburbs of Washington, DC, near the junction of the Capital Beltway and I-95. Apart from its size, its most notable feature seems to be that it is several years past due for a renovation. This is the kind of stuff we live for.
When we (and, in this case, I don’t mean the royal “we,” because I was with my oft-sidekick, who took many of the exterior photos here and who generally dislikes being referred to as a “sidekick”) visited the Springfield Mall, I was expecting to find something a bit different. Given that the nearby Landmark Mall in Alexandria has emptied out dramatically and is slated to be demolished, I assumed that the larger Springfield Mall was the culprit. Apparently not, because Springfield Mall is pretty blandly mid-tier in its tenanting, and despite its elephantine size doesn’t seem to be dominating much of anything. It’s far from a dead mall, but it’s not the kind of regional powerhouse I thought I’d find either.
What made Springfield Mall cool–at least for me–was the notoriously dated decor. The pictures speak for themselves on this, but the cube-y entranceways and distinctly 1980s ceilings, along with the “9″ shaped floorplan, certainly made this mall stand out.
This post is more of a photo essay because I honestly don’t know much about the history of the Springfield Mall, other than that it has something of a (minor) reputation for crime, due in part to a pair of gang-related stabbings in 2005. I certainly didn’t feel unsafe in the very archetypal suburban environment of Springfield, however, and the mall was pretty sparsely attended when we swung by early in the day. In addition, I discovered that Vornado purchased the mall recently and is devising a plan to replace the mall with an outward-facing, town-center-styled transit-oriented development. I question the feasibility of this to some extent because of the Springfield Mall’s extremely suburban location, but I’ll let the developers do the developing. For now, I’ll rest on my laurels and let you, dear readers, use the comment feature to fill us in on the history/past anchor stores/etc. of the Springfield Mall. The current anchors include Macy’s, JCPenney, Target, Sports Authority, and AMC Theatres.