Cincinnati's Swifton Center  


A circa-1951 rendering of -what would become- the Queen City's first shopping mall.           
Drawing from the Jonathan Woodner Company Proposal, 1951 / Varady's Research Archive


A circa-1951 site plan of the shopping center and neighboring Swifton Village Apartments. The residential complex (but not the shopping center) was once owned by Donald Trump.
Drawing from the Jonathan Woodner Company Proposal, 1951 / Varady's Research Archive


Another circa-1951 plan; this for the Upper / Mall Level of the prospective retail center. This layout was substantially altered for the project that was eventually constructed. 
Drawing from the Jonathan Woodner Company Proposal, 1951 / Varady's Research Archive


The original SWIFTON CENTER plan included an 11-story office tower, to be built on a site south of the mall proper, on Langdon Farm Road. The building and shopping complex were to be connected via the elevated walkway seen here.
Drawing from the Jonathan Woodner Company Proposal, 1951 / Varady's Research Archive



A storefront in the shopping center-to-be.
Drawing from the Jonathan Woodner Company Proposal, 1951 / Varady's Research Archive

A physical layout of SWIFTON CENTER, which opened for business in October 1956. The open-air complex, hailed as a "shopper's dream world", was situated on 2 levels, with 486,000 leasable square feet and a solitary department store -Rollman's- as its anchor.
SWIFTON CENTER TENANTS 1956-1976:

MALL LEVEL

ROLLMAN'S (1956-1960), MABLEY AND CAREW (1960-1975), ELDER BEERMAN (1975-1990) / S.S. KRESGE / G.C. MURPHY (with Lunch counter) / KROGER / LIBERAL / WALGREEN DRUG (with lunch counter) / The Colony Restaurant-Dragon Inn Chinese Restaurant / The Manor Cafeteria / Graeter's Bakery & Ice Cream Shoppe / The Honeycomb / Orange Julius / Maud Miller Candies / Franklin Simon apparel / Lerner Shops / Lillian's ladies apparel / Casual Corner ladies apparel / Max's Gentry Shop mens apparel / Squire mens apparel / National Shirt Shop / Richman Brothers mens apparel / Garson's childrens apparel / Schiff Shoes / Florsheim Shoes / Thom McAn Shoes / Ludwig's Shoes / Baker's Shoes / Eppy's Jewelry / Singer Sewing Center / Fifth Third Bank / Carlson's Hardware / Wilson's Paints / Top Value Trading Stamps Redemption Center / Numark Melody Shop / Marlboro Books / Marx Toys / Radio Shack

LOWER LEVEL

Pasquale's Pizza / Hill's Barber Shop / State Liquor Store / Social Security Administration offices / Electrolux offices / Professional offices

Zooming up to 2009, we have a site plan of the final incarnation of SWIFTON. Now known as JORDAN CROSSING CENTER, it had become a religious-oriented complex, with a newly-built sanctuary, offices for several non-profit organizations and various retail tenants. A large-scale remodeling was proposed but never carried out.


The Allen Temple AME Church, dedicated in May 2004.
Photo from http://www.moodynolan.com


A view of a Courtyard concourse at JORDAN CROSSING CENTER.
Photo from http://www.building-cincinnati.com / Kevin LeMaster

On Thursdays in August, a series of shows -Jazz At Jordan Crossing- were held in the mall's Courtyard. These were discontinued just before the mall was demolished, in August 2013.
Photo from www.jordancrossingcenter.com


SWIFTON CENTER
Reading Road / US 42 and Seymour Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio

Planning for Cincinnati's first shopping mall was underway in 1950, with a prospectus being completed in April, 1951. In this proposal, a regional shopping center was to be built on a 34 acre site in the Bond Hill district, at what was then the geographic center of Cincinnati and its suburbs.

There was a 5-story office building incorporated into the proposed structure and another 11-story office tower to be built to the south, connected to the main shopping center by elevated walkway. In keeping with the times, a 10,000 person capacity bomb shelter was to be included on the Lower Level of the complex.

The 2-level, open-air shopping center, designed by Knoxville, Tennessee's David Liebman Associates, was developed by the Jonathan Woodner Company. A groundbreaking took place June 10, 1955. SWIFTON CENTER opened October 24, 1956, with 486,000 leasable square feet and a three thousand car parking area. The two office buildings had been eliminated from the final plan.

Sixty-six retailers operated at the retail hub which was anchored by a 3-level (140,000 square foot), Cincinnati-based Rollman's. This store was rebranded by Cincinnati-based Mabley & Carew in late 1960 and Dayton-based Elder-Beerman in 1978.

The Upper / Mall Level featured G.C. Murphy and S.S. Kresge 5 & 10's, Walgreen Drug, Gentry Shop For Men, Franklin Simon and Lillian's ladies apparel. A 19,300 square foot Kroger supermarket was the largest store in the chain at the time of its opening. There was also a Dayton-based Liberal supermarket, the chain's first foray into the Greater Cincinnati market.

The northern section of the Upper Level included the Pee Wee Valley kiddieland amusement area, which had a mini-merry-go-round, mini ferris wheel, boat ride and teeter-copter. On the Lower Level of the mall were a Pasquale's Pizza, State (liquor) Store, Social Security Administration office, Electrolux office and practices for several dentists and physicians.

By the 10th anniversary of SWIFTON CENTER, there were three other shopping malls in Greater Cincinnati; TRI-COUNTY CENTER (1960) {6.9 miles north, in Springdale}, WESTERN WOODS MALL (1964) {9 miles west, in Hamilton County / Green Township} and KENWOOD MALL (1966) {4.5 miles northeast, in Hamilton County / Sycamore Township}.

These had been built farther out from the central city and drew a great deal of commerce away from the older retail center. By the late 1970s, SWIFTON had become obsolete....a dead mall. At one time, there were only five tenants in business in a shopping center that had space for nearly seventy.

The center sat practically vacant for several years. Then, a 12 million dollar renovation was undertaken by the Youngstown-based Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation and New Orleans-based Jerome Glazer. A newly-remodeled, and renamed, SWIFTON COMMONS opened in August 1985. An enclosed food court had been installed and the interior mallway was given a facelift. New stores were also recruited, such as Lane Bryant, Kinney Shoes, Waldenbooks and Gold Star Chili.

This effort to revitalize the shopping venue was a complete failure. By the mid-1990s, it was in foreclosure. Elder-Beerman closed its store in late 1995. The complex was sold in 1996, again in 1997, and -for a third time- in 2001.

The final purchase was made by the Allen Temple African Methodist Episcopal Church, who attempted to remarket the former SWIFTON COMMONS as an "informational and community service mall of the 21st century".

The complex, which was renamed JORDAN CROSSING CENTER, included a branch of Wilberforce University. Moreover, there were offices for the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency. These occupied the extensively-renovated shell of the old Rollman's / Mabley & Carew / Elder-Beerman anchor store.

A 23,630 square foot sanctuary, the Allen Temple AME Church, was also built on a 4.5 acre section, at the northwest corner of the mall's parking lot. The 9 million dollar structure was dedicated in May 2004. Further renovations to the circa-1956 open-air mall were proposed but never carried out.

In its final years, JORDAN CROSSING CENTER housed retail tenants such as Derrick Allen's Beauty Salon, Deveroes Clothing, Family Printing and Design Center, Image Makers Barber Shop and Ike's BarBQue. There were also offices for three non-profit organizations and five church sanctuaries.

By early 2010, there were redevelopment rumblings concerning the partially vacant -and rapidly deteriorating- shopping mall. The plan was to demolish it and re-utilize the property in some fashion. This plan got a shot in the arm when 23 acres of the mall site were acquired by The Port of Cincinnati in February 2013. The MKSK firm was enlisted to design a mixed-use facility that would cost upward of 75 million dollars.

Demolition of a vacant Burger King, on the north end of the property, got underway in April 2013. Razing of the mall proper, excluding the Allen Temple Church and Rollman's / Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action Agency structures, began in August 2013. The bulk of the mall -and most of its outparcels- were knocked down.

The once-historic shopping center is being replaced by a development known as MIDPOINTE CROSSING. It will include 141,000 square feet of office spaces, 69,500 square feet of retail and a 30,000 square foot supermarket. It is also possible that a 100-room hotel and residential structures will also be built.

Sources:

Varady's Research Archive, Bond Hill / Album: Swifton Commons / Jonathan Woodner Company Proposal (1951)
"Bud03", "Margi" and "LH Wildcat" Comments / City-Data Forum, Cincinnati
http://www.best-of-cincinnati.com/ / Bond, Best Of Bond Hill / By TT Clinkscales and Jessica Turner
"Swifton Mall Orphaned Giant Searching For Market, Future" / Cincinnati Post / Cliff Peale, staff reporter
"Allen Temple To Build Impressive New Church At Swifton Mall, Evolves As Community Focus" / Cincinnati Inquirer / Allen Howard, staff reporter
http://www.pfbarchitects.com/ / "Swifton Commons - 1994 Renovation, Cincinnati, Ohio" / PFB Architects, Incorporated
The Cincinnati Post
http://jordancrossingcenter.com/
http://www.multihousingnews.com
http://www.bizjournals.com
Cincinnati's Tri-County Center



The original Space-Age shopopolis. As one can see, in 1960, it was the only development in the surrounding area.
Photo From http://www.cincinnativiews.com

Cincinnati's second shopping mall was named for its proximity to three southwestern Ohio counties; Hamilton, Butler and Warren. The center was adjacent to a newly-opened stretch of the Interstate 275 / "Circle Freeway" and was officially dedicated in September 1960


In 1966-1967, the existing mall (in black) was enclosed and expanded with a new Southeast Wing (in dark gray). A 285,400 square foot Sears had also been built. Now officially known as TRI-COUNTY MALL, it was the Queen City's third enclosed shopping center.


The mall's new Sears store decked out for its first Christmas season, in December 1967.
Photo from http://pleasantfamilyshopping.blogspot.com

Major reworking of the shopping hub took place between 1989 and 1992 (shown in dark gray). The entirety of the mall was double-decked, Shillito's (now Lazarus) was expanded, two parking garages were built and a new McAlpin's added. TRI-COUNTY MALL now encompassed 1.3 million leasable square feet.


The shuttering of J.C. Penney (in the old Pogue's place) in 2005 created a vacancy that was filled by a rebuild of the store structure. This included Ethan Allen, Krazy City and seven inline store spaces.

Dillard's acquired Mercantile Stores, based in nearby Fairfield, Ohio, in 1998. In 1999, the Arkansas-based chain rebranded the TRI-COUNTY McAlpin's.
Photo from www.ddr.com (Developers Diversified Realty)



Two shots of the Center Court Atrium and its fountain. These features were installed during the 1989-1992 renovation and expansion.
Photos from "FTN 65"

The mall's Krazy City indoor theme park opened in December 2007...but closed in late 2009.
Photo from Kings Island Central Forums / "CoasterRZ"



TRI-COUNTY CENTER
Princeton Pike and Kemper Road
Springdale, Ohio

Greater Cincinnati's second shopping mall, TRI-COUNTY CENTER, was built on 72 acres located at the interchange of Ohio Route 747 / Princeton Pike and Interstate 275. The land parcel, in suburban Springdale, was 13 miles north of the center city.

The complex was originally proposed in 1956 by Jeffrey Lazarus, who headed the Cincinnati-based Shillito's ["shil-uh-towz"] chain (a subsidiary of Cincinnati-based Federated Stores). Ground was broken for the 25 million dollar project in July 1959. The grand opening took place September 26, 1960.

TRI-COUNTY, developed by Federated Stores and Baltimore's Joseph Meyerhoff, was designed by Kenneth Cameron Mitchell. It encompassed 500,000 leasable square feet and was an ultra-modern, open-air mall anchored by two Cincinnati-based department stores. A 4-level (170,000 square foot) Shillito's stood on the north end of the complex, with a 3-level (106,300 square foot) H & S Pogue on the south. There were also an S.S. Kresge 5 & 10, Kroger supermarket and forty-eight inline stores.

In 1966-1967, the center was given its first renovation, which involved enclosing the mall concourse between Shillito's and Pogue's. This was done with a structure supported by a system of red, upside down V's. A second, fully-enclosed concourse was also added, with a 2-level (285,000 square foot) Sears at its end. With this remodeling, the official name of the shopping center became TRI-COUNTY MALL.

Major retail hubs in the TRI-COUNTY trade area included KENWOOD PLAZA (1956) and KENWOOD MALL (1966) {7.3 miles southeast, in Hamilton County (Sycamore Township)} and NORTHGATE MALL (1972) {7.6 miles southwest, in Hamilton County (Colerain Township)}. 

Shillito's morphed into "Shillito Rikes" (originally "Shillito/Rike's") in June 1982 and became a Lazarus in March 1986. The store was rebranded as Lazarus-Macy's in August 2003 and fully "Macy-ated" in March 2005.

A second renovation was done to TRI-COUNTY MALL between June 1989 and August 1992; this in reaction to the opening of FOREST FAIR MALL (1988) {2.8 miles northwest, in Forest Park and Fairfield}. At this time, the remaining, early-'60s "Space Age" architecture at TRI-COUNTY was torn out and a second mall concourse added on top of the first.

This renovation included a new Food Court and a Central Atrium, with a 2-tiered, waterfall fountain. Two multilevel parking garages were also built, along with a 3-level (236,000 square foot), Cincinnati-based McAlpin's. This location came inline in the summer of 1992 and re-opened, under the Little Rock-based Dillard's nameplate, in 1998. By this time, the Shillito's / Lazarus had been expanded to 219,000 square feet.

Pogue's had been absorbed into the Indianapolis-based L.S. Ayres chain in 1983, became a J.C. Penney in 1988, and was shuttered in July 2005. The vacant store structure was gutted in 2006. Its lower level was subdivided into a multistory glass atrium, with an Ethan Allen Furniture, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse and seven inline stores. The upper levels were renovated into a (50,000 square foot) Krazy City indoor theme park, including carnival rides, a mini-golf driving range and go-kart track. These additions to the mall opened in late 2007 and early 2008.

With all renovations completed, TRI-COUNTY MALL encompased 1,349,000 leasable square feet and featured one hundred and forty-eight stores and services. It was acquired by the New York City-based Thor Equities Corporation in January 2005.

In May 2006, a majority interest in the shopping center had been established by a joint venture of Beachwood, Ohio-based Developers Diversified Realty and New York City-based Coventry Real Estate Advisors. Thor Equities retained a small percentage of ownership in the shopping venue. Management of TRI-COUNTY MALL was entrusted to Chicago-based Urban Retail Properties in January 2010.

Unfortunately, the proliferation of shopping malls and open-air complexes in the northern environs of Cincinnati took their toll on TRI-COUNTY. By 2012, the mall was in receivership and was in a very depressed state, with several vacant store fronts lining its corridors. 

A foreclosure sale was ordered by a Hamilton County Judge in May 2013. The mall was sold at a sheriff's auction in July, with the buyer being Portland, Oregon-based American Pacific International Capital. This Chinese-backed group plans to bring TRI-COUNTY "back to its former glory", with a renovation and repositioning of the property.

This may be stymied, somewhat, by the conversion of the TRI-COUNTY Dillard's into a Clearance Center store. This change was announced in September 2013. 

Sources:

http://www.preservenet.cornell.edu/
Personal Recollection Of The Author
Tom Allen / Tri-County Mall Blog Comment
http://www.tricounty.com/
http://www.thorequities.com/
City Of Springdale "History On-Line" website
http://www.ddr.com/
http://www.apicincus.com (American Pacific International Capital)
Dallas' Big Town Mall  
 


A vintage view of the first enclosed and air-conditioned shopping mall in the Texas Metroplex.
Photo From Malls Of America Blogspot.

A circa-1959 aerial view of BIG TOWN MALL, looking southward. The Sanger's anchor store is in the foreground with Montgomery Ward off in the distance.
Photo from Oscar Slotboom / www.dfwfreeways.info


Dallas' BIG TOWN opened in 1959 with much media fanfare. Actually, a the time, a fully-enclosed shopping mall was a big deal.

The single-screen Big Town Mall Theatre was added as an outparcel to the shopping center. It opened for business February 27, 1964.


The mall's northwest corner, in the mid-1980s. The Sanger-Harris anchor store is seen in the background, with the small-format J.C. Penney at right front.


A late '80s physical layout. The mall's only expansion, a 39,000 square foot addition to Montgomery Ward, had completed in 1975. Other than this, the basic footprint of the mall remained unchanged for all of its years in business.
BIG TOWN MALL
US 80 East and Big Town Boulevard
Mesquite, Texas

Ground was broken for the first fully-enclosed shopping mall in the Southwest in August 1957. The complex-to-be was built on an 80 acre tract, located 7 miles east of downtown Dallas, in the suburb of Mesquite.

Known as BIG TOWN MALL, it was developed by Denver's Gerri Von Frellick and designed by the Tatum and Quade firm. A grand opening was held February 26, 1959, with the shopping venue enveloping 581,500 leasable square feet and seven thousand parking spaces.

BIG TOWN MALL featured over sixty-five retailers and was anchored by a 3-level (104,000 square foot), Dallas-based Sanger Brothers. There was a 2-level (124,500 square foot) Montgomery Ward at the south end and 1-level (38,000 square foot) J.C. Penney on the northwest corner.

In addition, there were a Wyatt's Cafeteria, Giggle Box Cartoon Theater, F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10, Wrigley's supermarket and six hundred seat Town Hall Auditorium. Lollipop Park, an enclosed children's amusement area, featured rides such as a mini-train, mini ferris wheel, Sky Fighter, roadway, Brownie tractors and helicopters. There was also the Magic Mountain Indian Village.
 
A nine hundred seat, single-screen cinema and a bowling alley were added as outparcels to the main mall structure in the early 1960s, accompanied by a freestanding Woolco discount mart. This single-level (101,000 square foot) store was built east of the mall proper and opened for business in the spring of 1967.

The malling of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex intensified after the completion of NORTHPARK CENTER {8 miles northwest, in Dallas}, in 1965. In 1971, TOWN EAST MALL {4 miles east, also in Mesquite} opened for business..

In order to compete with the malls that were springing up all over the region, BIG TOWN underwent a renovation in 1975. Ward's was expanded, into a 164,200 square foot location, with additions on the east and west. A facelift-type remodel was also done to the mall proper in 1988.

Unfortunately, BIG TOWN was soon in decline. The Sanger Brothers store, now operating under the Sanger-Harris nameplate, was merged into the Houston-based Foley's chain in 1987. The store closed for good in 1989. Woolworth folded in 1993, with Montgomery Ward following in 2001.

By the turn of the century, BIG TOWN was a dilapidated, virtually vacant, shopping center. Demolition plans were finalized in early 2006. By September of the year, BIG TOWN and some of its outparcels were a pile of rubble.

A redevelopment scenario, put forth by Dallas' Kent Jones, consisted of building a sports and entertainment complex on the site. This would have encompassed baseball fields, soccer fields, an amphitheater and an indoor training facility, with additional space for lodging, restaurants and retail. Unfortunately, the economic crash of the early 21st century resulted in the redevelopment project being abandoned.

The latest news indicates that the vacant mall site was sold to an operative of the Dallas-based SLJ Company in August of 2012.

Sources:

"Big Town" article on Wikipedia
"Sanger Brothers" article on Wikipedia
Dallas History Message Board / "Big Town Shopping Center" comment / September 28, 2003 / Posted By Don Davis
http://www.city-data.com/ / Dallas Forum / "Mesquite's Big Town Mall" thread/ Mike Cochran comment
Dallas Morning News / Friday July 28, 2006 / "Mall Was The Place To Be" / Karin Shaw Anderson
Dead Malls.com / "Big Town Mall" Commentary / David Avery
http://www.msnbc.com/
Phoenix's Chris-Town Center


The Googie-style Court Of Fountains, a stunning example of early '60s space-age design. The area was at the center of the one thousand foot long shopping complex.
Photo by Kind Permission Of John Bueker

A circa-1961 site plan of Arizona's first "refrigerated mall". It was a single-level shopping hub with a small Upper Level Mezzanine at the center of the center.


The Court of Birds, at the west end of the mall. The ceiling-suspended cages contained a variety of feathered creatures.
Photo By Kind Permission Of John Bueker



The Court Of Flowers, focal point of the mall's east end. The area featured lush tropical vegetation, and a papier mache' bull, known as Ferdinand.
Photo By Kind Permission Of John Bueker



The 90,000 square foot Korrick's anchor store, in the original CHRISTOWN. The location was re-opened under the Los Angeles-based The Broadway nameplate in 1966.
Photo By Kind Permission of John Bueker

The complex was expanded in the mid-1970s (indicated in gray). This 1979 plan shows the two new mall wings. On the southwest was a new Los Angeles-based Bullock's. The Southeast Wing included a 6-screen multiplex.

A contemporary site plan of the re-renovated mall. Original -circa-1961- sections (what few that remain) are indicated in black. Validating the adage that everything old is new again, the shopping center has assumed its original name, "CHRIS-TOWN". Moreover, one of its newer anchors is none other than J.C. Penney, who vacated the mall for a space at Phoenix's METROCENTER in 1997.


A July 2006 view of the Main Entrance at PHOENIX SPECTRUM MALL.
Photo from www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"



What was the CHRIS-TOWN MALL Court Of Fountains; in this 2006 photo, it was the PHOENIX SPECTRUM Central Court.
Photo from www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"


Phoenix finally opened a light rail system in December 2008. The 19.7 route mile, Metro starter line connected the southeastern and northern environs of the city, with the station stop seen above (Montebello / 19th Avenue) accessing the CHRIS-TOWN SPECTRUM center.
Photo from Wikipedia / Lxnayonthetimmay"


CHRIS-TOWN CENTER
West Bethany Home Road and North 19th Avenue
Phoenix, Arizona

Arizona's first fully-enclosed shopping center -the tenth regional-class, interior mall in the nation- was built on an 86 acre tract, located 3 miles north of downtown Phoenix. Originally known as CHRIS-TOWN CENTER, the complex was so named because the land had been previously owned by Chris Harri, a Swiss-born farmer.

The mall, designed by Welton Becket and Associates and developed by the Phoenix-based Del Webb Construction Company, was situated on a single level, with a small mezzanine at its center. The parking area had space for over five thousand three hundred cars.

CHRIS-TOWN opened August 24, 1961, with fifty-five inline stores. It was originally anchored by a 1-level (53,800 square foot) J.C. Penney, 2-level (146,100 square foot) Montgomery Ward and 2-level (103,100 square foot), Phoenix-based Korrick's. There were also F.W. Woolworth and S.S. Kresge 5 & 10s, a Walgreen Drug, Hanny's men's, Guggy's Coffee Shop and five shoe stores.

The mall proper was based around three attractively-appointed areas. J.C. Penney faced onto the Court Of Fountains, at the center of the complex. Montgomery Ward, at the mall's west end, opened onto the Court Of Birds, which featured several brightly-colored cages, suspended over an area of tropical foliage. On the east end, spanning Korrick's main entrance, was the lush, Court Of Flowers, with its sidewalk cafe.

A convenience center was situated in the southeast parking area that included an El Rancho supermarket. An outparcel Piccadilly Cafeteria was added to the northeast corner of the mall site in the early 1960s. It was joined by the single-screen Chris-Town Theatre, a southwest parking area outparcel, which showed its first feature February 8, 1967. The venue was twinned in 1971, becoming the Chris-Town 2 Theatre in the process.It would eventually house eleven auditoriums.

In the late 1960s, the existing Penney's was expanded by some 117,100 square feet. The store now encompassed 2-levels and 170,900 square feet. Korrick's, which had been rebranded as a Los Angles-based The Broadway in 1966, increased its floor space to 140,100 square feet.

The second enlargement of mall space was done as a reaction to the completion of a new megamall in the area. METROCENTER {4 miles northwest} opened in October 1973. In 1974, the Woolworth at CHRIS-TOWN closed. A mall corridor was built through its space which connected to a 2-level (149,800 square foot), Los Angeles-based Bullock's. The store held its grand opening November 14, 1977.

A second mall wing connected into a corridor built east of the existing S.S. Kresge. It featured a second theatrical venue, the United Artists Chris-Town Cinema 6, on an Upper Level. The 1979 completion of PARADISE VALLEY MALL {8 miles northeast, in Phoenix} caused a loss of sales at CHRIS-TOWN. This resulted in a general decline of at the mall during the 1980s and '90s, with several long-time tenants vacating the center.

Bullock's closed in 1985, with its space being occupied by Dillard's (eventually made into a Clearance Center). The Broadway, which had come under the Phoenix-based Broadway Southwest banner in 1979, was vacated in August 1992 and torn down in 1994. A 1-level (125,000 square foot) Wal-Mart was built in its space, which opened in 1995.

J.C. Penney moved on in 1997. Its former store sat vacant until it was bulldozed and replaced by a 1-level (149,000 square foot) Costco in November 2002. Montgomery Ward went bust in March 2001. Its space was divided into four individual stores, one of which, Ross Dress For Less, opened in 2002.

In the early 2000s, the 40 year-old shopping center was given a 10 million dollar renovation. It was renamed PHOENIX SPECTRUM on November 19, 2001. Still, it was in a downward spiral. The floor area of the existing Wal-Mart was doubled (making the store into a 251,300 square foot SuperCenter) during a 2003 expansion. The Dillard's Clearance Center moved out in 2004.

In 2004, the 1,145,000 square foot mall complex was sold to a joint venture of Beachwood, Ohio-based Developers Diversified Realty and New York City-based Coventry Real Estate Advisors. The former owner, Phoenix-based Grossman Company Properties, retained a small share.

Plans to renovate the shopping venue -once again- were announced in 2006, with nearly half of the remaining, original mall structure being razed. The refurbished shopping center, christened CHRISTOWN SPECTRUM MALL, debuted in the summer of 2007.

New tenants included a 1-level (98,000 square foot) J.C. Penney and Harkins 14 multiplex, which showed its first features July 13, 2007. A 1-level (173,900 square foot) SuperTarget opened for business October 10, 2007. The very latest thing at CHRIS-TOWN these days is the Valley Metro 19TH AVENUE and MONTEBELLO light rail station, adjacent to the southwest parking area. It opened for revenue service December 27, 2008.

Sources:

"Chris-Town / Phoenix Spectrum" article on Wikipedia
"Chris-Town Retrospective" website / John Bueker, webmaster
"Phoenix Spectrum Mall" article on Labelscar: The Retail History Blog
"Bullock's" article on Wikipedia
www.cinematreasures.org
"Metrocenter Mall" article on Wikipedia
"Paradise Valley Mall" article on Wikipedia
http://www.valleymetro.org/
Comment post by "Anonymous"