28th Street / US 36 and Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, Colorado

On March 14, 1963, CROSSROADS MALL opened as the first fully-enclosed shopping center in the Centennial State. The complex was developer Gerri Von Frellick's second Denver area retail hub; the first being LAKEWOOD SHOPPING CITY, in Lakewood. Encompassing 394,000 leasable square feet, the 10 million dollar CROSSROADS complex was designed by Gene Shrewsury. It occupied a 62 acre parcel, 27.7 miles northwest of the Colorado Capitol, in suburban Boulder.

The original anchors were 2-level (48,000 square foot) Denver Dry Goods Company (a.k.a. "The Denver"), 2-level (83,800 square foot) Montgomery Ward and 2-level (95,000 square foot) J.C. Penney. There were also Furr's Cafeteria, Walgreen Drug and a King Soopers grocery; in all, twenty-six stores and services.

In the original site plan, 14 acres of land at the north end of the parcel had been set aside for a kiddie park and recreation area. This land was soon engulfed by peripheral development of the shopping center.

Denver Dry Goods added new store space in 1976. This had been the only expansion of the existing mall up to that time. During the 1970s, the potential enlargement of the mall had been a hotly-contested issue in sprawl-busting Boulder. The stalemate was resolved in early 1979, by the formation of the Boulder Urban Renewal Authority (BURA). They were empowered to supervise any additions.

Ground was broken soon after for a 2-level (114,000 square foot), Denver-based May D & F. This was to be situated at the north end of a 2-level (194,000 square foot) wing, which was to include a large Food Court, Abo's Pizza and Aladdin's Castle video arcade. The 20 million dollar addition -which practically doubled the GLA of the mall- was officially dedicated August 11, 1983. In February 1986, a 2-level (82,400 square foot) Mervyn's opened for business.

The mall was expanded again in 1990. May D & F increased its area to 148,800 square feet and a multilevel parking garage was constructed. This was adjacent to May D & F, at the northeast corner of the site. CROSSROADS MALL now encompassed 830,000 leasable square feet.

However, PEARL STREET MALL (1977) {in downtown Boulder} and WESTMINSTER MALL (1977) {14.9 miles southeast, in Westminster} had begun to put the hurt on CROSSROADS. An anchor store exodus ensued. Denver Dry Goods became the first to go, in October 1987. Their spot was soon occupied by Sears. Then went May D & F, absorbed (and rebranded) by Houston-based Foley's in 1993.

Montgomery Ward was shuttered in September 1997, with its space briefly retenanted by Gart Sports. Mervyn's pulled out of CROSSROADS MALL in January 1998. Sears moved from its older -and smaller- Denver Dry Goods space, opening in the former Mervyn's in October 1998.

The mall now had two large, empty anchor spots, in addition to too many vacant inline stores. Santa Monica-based Macerich (which had owned the venue since August 1979) announced the 150 million dollar BOULDER CROSSROADS project in June 1998.

The South Wing of the mall would be demolished, making way for an open-air, "urban village"...complete with ice rink, hotel and multiplex cinema. Demolition got underway in October 1999, but was halted in July 2000. The existing mall, it was decided, would be too expensive to retrofit. Parts of the building, reduced to rubble, sat for over 4 years while the fate of the shopping center was decided.

Meanwhile, a major commercial competitor came on the Denver retail scene in the year 2000. FLATIRON CROSSING / THE VILLAGE {8.4 miles southeast, in Broomfield} was a hybrid enclosed mall-lifestyle center combination.

Back at CROSSROADS MALL, two more anchor stores were shuttered; Penney's on January 27, 2001, Sears in January 2003. Macerich, which had merged with Phoenix-based Westcor in June 2002, submitted a new redevelopment plan to the Boulder City Council. The Council agreed and the mall officially closed January 8, 2004. The wrecking ball hit for good the following September.

The old May D & F / Foley's was left standing, as was its parking structure. The Mervyn's / Sears building was retained, as well. These were retrofitted into an open-air center to be known as TWENTY NINTH STREET. Construction on the 130 million dollar project was underway by October 2004.

Forty-eight stores and services were dedicated October 13, 2006. When fully completed, the retail venue encompassed 824,800 leasable square feet and eighty-seven store spaces. In addition to the former Foley's (rebranded by Macy's September 9, 2006), there was a 1-level (141,300 square foot) Home Depot as well as Staples, Borders Books and the 16-screen Century Boulder Theatres megaplex.

Boulder-based Wild Oats Natural Marketplace moved its corporate offices into the upper level of the old Mervyn's / Sears building. The plan was to install a 34,900 square foot Wild Oats grocery, the chain's new flagship, in a space at the southwest corner of the complex. This never came to pass. Wild Oats was acquired by Austin-based Whole Foods Market in August 2007. They established a regional HQ in the space previously occupied by the Whole Foods office. The lower level space in the building eventually opened as a Colorado Athletic Club.

The space originally slotted for the Wild Oats store was leased as a Nordstrom Rack, which came inline April 28, 2011. An Applebee's restaurant at TWENTY-NINTH STREET closed and was demolished. California's Trader Joe's built a 14,000 square foot store on the site, which opened for business February 14, 2014.

Urban Exploration Recource / "Duluoz"
Macerich / Westcor


Anonymous said...

Anyone have an old photo of the Crossroads Mall - especially from the early 1970's or so? It would just bring back a lot of memories. Anyone remember the Christmas decorations on top of the JCPenneys that always blew off in windstorms until they quit trying to put them up? (Or maybe the were not PC enough for Boulder.)

The Curator said...


I'd love to see any vintage photos of CROSSROADS too......

Thanks for perusing and posting.

Anonymous said...

You can see what it looked like inside after closing here:

The Curator said...


Looks pretty rough in those pictures. Thanks much for posting.