MAJOR ST. LOUIS MALLS & SHOPPING CENTERS

1. NORTHLAND CENTER 1955-2005 / open-air strip complex / BUZZ WESTFALL PLAZA ON THE BOULEVARD -2006 / open-air strip complex / City of Jennings

2. WESTROADS CENTER -1955 open-air strip complex / ST. LOUIS GALLERIA -1986 / enclosed mall complex / St. Louis County

3. CRESTWOOD PLAZA -1957 / open-air strip complex, enclosed 1967 & 1984 / WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN CRESTWOOD -1998 / WESTFIELD CRESTWOOD -2005 / CRESTWOOD COURT 2008-2012 /  open-air, mixed-use complex / City of Crestwood

4. RIVER ROADS CENTER 1962-2006 / RIVER ROADS MALL / Greater St. Louis' first enclosed mall / City of Jennings

5. TOWN & COUNTRY MALL 1962?-1992? / enclosed community-class mall / OVERLAND PLAZA -1993? / open-air strip complex / City of Overland

6. SOUTH COUNTY CENTER -1963 / enclosed mall / WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN SOUTH COUNTY -1998 / WESTFIELD SOUTH COUNTY -2005 / SOUTH COUNTY CENTER -2007 / St. Louis County

7. NORTHWEST PLAZA -1966 / open-air complex, enclosed 1989 / WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN NORTHWEST -1998 / WESTFIELD NORTHWEST -2005 / NORTHWEST PLAZA -2007-2011 / THE CROSSINGS AT NORTHWEST -2015 / open-air / City of St. Ann

8. MARK TWAIN MALL -1967 / enclosed community-class mall / ST. CHARLES CENTER -1995 / MARK TWAIN MALL -2001 / City of St. Charles

9. WEST COUNTY CENTER -1969 / enclosed mall / WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN WEST COUNTY -1998-2001 / WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN WEST COUNTY -2002 (rebuilt mall) / WESTFIELD WEST COUNTY -2005 / WEST COUNTY CENTER -2007 / enclosed / St. Louis County

10. CROSS KEYS CENTER 1969-2003 / open-air & enclosed community-class mall / SHOPPES AT CROSS KEYS -2004 / City of Florissant

11. WESTPORT PLAZA -1971 / open-air & enclosed entertainment, office & retail complex / City of St. Louis

12. JAMESTOWN MALL 1973-2014 / enclosed mall / St. Louis County

13. ST. CLAIR SQUARE -1974 / enclosed mall / City of Fairview Heights [Illinois]

14. PLAZA FRONTENAC - 1974 / enclosed specialty mall / City of Frontenac

15. CHESTERFIELD MALL -1976 / enclosed mall / WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN CHESTERFIELD -2002 / WESTFIELD CHESTERFIELD -2005 / CHESTERFIELD MALL -2007 / City of Chesterfield

16. ALTON SQUARE MALL -1978 / enclosed mall / City of Alton [Illinois]

17. ONE CITY CENTER 1985-2009 / enclosed center city complex / City of St. Louis

18. MID RIVERS MALL -1987 / WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN MID RIVERS -1998 / WESTFIELD MID RIVERS -2005 / MID RIVERS MALL -2007 / enclosed mall / City of St. Peters

19. SAINT LOUIS MILLS -2003 / enclosed mall / City of Hazelwood


[Structures indicated in bold italic have been completely demolished. Those in green have full articles on the MALL HALL OF FAME site]
St. Louis' Northland Center


Ground was broken in February 1954 for the Gateway City's first suburban shopping hub. The first stores opened in August 1955, with dedications continuing into 1956. The South Mall store block at NORTHLAND CENTER is depicted above. Famous-Barr (seen in the background) anchored this ultra-modern mercantile.


A court between the North Mall block and Famous-Barr, which is on the left. This rendering shows some of the intriguing angularity of the "space age" structure; an aspect that was obviously given much thought by its designers. This is something sadly lacking in the conception of today's slew of cookie-cutter-concocted, "post-modern" retail venues, which all look essentially the same.

The gigantic NORTHLAND Famous-Barr was the St. Louis chain's third suburban branch. It encompassed 4 levels and 337,000 square feet.
Drawing from http://www.tobyweiss.com/northland-shopping-center


A circa-1957 NORTHLAND CENTER layout. Its North Mall and South Mall store blocks extend from two sides of Famous-Barr. Open-air storefronts along the east side of the complex are accessed from an upper parking level. Those along the west facade open onto lower level parking.


A vintage view of upper level storefronts along the South Mall. The store in the middle, Sonnenfeld's, was a popular St. Louis retailer who sold women's, children's and teen's apparel. Their NORTHLAND operation was one of two 2-level stores in the complex (an S.S. Kresge 5 & dime being the other).
Photo from http://northlandshoppingcenterjenningsmo.blogspot.com / Dwayne Pounds


Here we see the lower level of storefronts, which face onto the west parking area. Nameplates going from right-to-left include Staten Island Cleaners, Brod-Dugan Paints & Wallpaper (the original in-mall store), Richman's and Sonnenfeld's (the store's lower sales floor).
Photo from http://northlandshoppingcenterjenningsmo.blogspot.com / Dwayne 


In our final vintage view, we have a vista of the shopping center's entire lower level. This extends from Pope's Cafeteria (on the left), all the way over to Staten Island Cleaners (on the right). 
Photo from http://www.losttables.com

The plan above depicts NORTHLAND CENTER as it stood 20 years after the 1957 layout. By the late 1970s, the complex had been expanded to the west, north and south. Moreover, there are now several freestanding buildings in its periphery. These include the Northland Office Building, Famous-Barr Tire Center, Brod-Dugan Paints (a relocation of the in-mall store) and Northland Cinema.


NORTHLAND CENTER TENANTS 1977:

FAMOUS-BARR (with The Jade Room, Dining Deck and Pick-Quick Room restaurants, Beauty Salon and freestanding Tire Center ) / S.S. KRESGE 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / WALGREEN DRUG (with luncheonette) / SCHNUCKS supermarket (outparcel) / Artiste Hair Stylists / Baker's Shoes / Brod-Dugan Paints (outparcel) / Coats & Things / Cove Lounge / Fotomat / Goodyear Tire & Auto / Grove Jewelers / Hickory Farms of Ohio / Kinney Shoes / Lerner Shops / Libson Shops / Maico Hearing Aids / Mavrakos Candy Company / Music Center / Musicland / National Shirts Shops / Northland Barber Shop / Northland Bowl / Northland Cinema (outparcel) / Northland Key Shop / Northland Mark Twain Bank / Northland Shoe Repair / Northland Shell (outparcel) / Northland Texaco (outparcel) / Parklane Hosiery / Pope's Cafeteria / Radio Shack / Rafferty's Card Shop / Robin's Shoes / Service Travel / Singer Sewing Center / Slack Shack / So-Fro Fabrics / Specialty Shops / St. Louis Federal Savings / Star of India / Staten Island Cleaners / US Post Office / Venus / Vincent Price Studios / Waldenbooks / Waterway Gas & Wash (outparcel) / Wehmueller's Jewelers / Worths 


NORTHLAND began to falter in the 1980s. By the mid-1990s, most major stores had closed. By the late '90s, a bulldozer brigade was advocating demolition of the "obsolete" -but historically significant- structure. It was razed in 2005 and replaced by BUZZ WESTFALL PLAZA (seen above). As they say, what goes around comes around. The Target, anchoring this "new & improved" shopping hub, closed for good in August 2016.
Photo from www.showcase.com
NORTHLAND CENTER
West Florissant Avenue and Lucas & Hunt Road
City of Jennings, Missouri

The first major suburban shopping center in eastern Missouri was developed by G.F. Nooney & Company, of St. Louis. The firm of Russell Mullgardt, Schwartz & Van Hoef were its designers. NORTHLAND CENTER was not a shopping mall, per se, but is being inducted into the Mall Hall Of Fame due to its stature as an early "regional-class" shopping complex.

Open-air in format, NORTHLAND CENTER was built on a 67 acre plot, located 7 miles northwest of the downtown area, in the "North County" suburb of Jennings. Originally encompassing 525,100 leasable square feet, the facility opened for business on August 19, 1955.

It was, in essence, a strip shopping center...but an elaborate and unique one. It was anchored by a 4-level (337,000 square foot), St. Louis-based Famous-Barr, from which its North Mall and South Mall store blocks extended.

The NORTHLAND Famous-Barr was the department store chain's first shopping center location and its third branch store. It was almost as large as the downtown flagship and was substantially larger than any of the suburban stores that followed. Its interior was done in grand style, with fine wood paneling and floors of marble.

Offering "everything from shoes to shaves", NORTHLAND CENTER would eventually house forty-three stores and services. These included Heitman's Barber Shop, Mode O'Day Frock Shop, Duane's Shoes, Harper's Smart Shops, Western Auto, Darling Shops, Edith's Tots To Teens, Worths, a Slenderella Figure Salon and Pope's Cafeteria.

There were two 2-level inline stores; Sonnenfeld's apparel and an S.S. Kresge 5 & 10. All retail space in the original shopping hub was air-conditioned. In 1955, this was still considered quite a luxury. There was also ample parking provided on upper and lower level lots.

A (21,500 square foot) Rapp's supermarket was a western outparcel. It was later rebranded as a Bettendorff-Rapp and then as a Schnucks. Between the late 1950s and early 1970s, the mall site was developed further with various structures. The 3-level Northland Office Building and 32-lane Northland Bowl were completed in 1959. Famous-Barr also built a freestanding Tire Center.

Brod-Dugan Paints & Wallpaper relocated from an in-mall store to a northeast outparcel structure. Adjacent to this was the General Cinema Corporation Northland Cinema, which was dedicated on November 23, 1966. With these additions, NORTHLAND CENTER housed approximately 568,700 leasable square feet and contained fifty stores and services.

The first competitor in the area was RIVER ROADS CENTER (1962) {1.5 miles east, also in Jennings}. Next, came NORTHWEST PLAZA (1966) {6 miles west, in St. Ann} and JAMESTOWN MALL (1973) {6 miles north, in St. Louis County}.

Even with so many retail rivals, NORTHLAND prospered. The situation began to change by the late 1980s. By the early 1990s, the once-fabulous Famous-Barr was a derelict, dilapidated shadow of its former self.

Nearly all of the original tenants had long since vacated the shopping center. A great deal of space was now leased by mom & pop-type retailers, but national chains, such as Foxmoor Casuals, General Nutrition Center and J.G. McCrory, were operating NORTHLAND stores.

Once a regional-class shopping venue, NORTHLAND CENTER was now more on the level of an over-sized, community-class shopping hub. Its nearest interstate highway connection, over 1 mile south, left it fairly inaccessible by the local populace.

On June 11, 1994, Famous-Barr pulled up stakes; a blow from which the 39-year-old facility could not recover. In January 2000, a joint venture was formed between the St. Louis Economic Group, City of Jennings and St. Louis-based Sansone Group. The ailing complex was now being viewed as obsolete. No consideration was given to its importance as an historic structure, well worthy of restoration.

So, another of America's unique, architecturally-significant, mid-20th century retail centers had outlived its (perceived) usefulness. It was old enough to be historically significant but not old enough to benefit from any mandated preservation effort.

The Northland Cinema, which had closed in 1999, became the first structure to fall to a wrecking ball, in June 2002. In April 2005, demolition commenced on the main NORTHLAND CENTER structure. The job was complete by October of the same year.

Replacing the 1950s shopping hub would be a 270,000 square foot power center. Known as BUZZ WESTFALL PLAZA ON THE BOULEVARD, it would be anchored by a 1-level (126,900 square foot) Target and (63,500 square foot) Schnucks supermarket.

Target opened its doors October 3, 2006, followed by Schnucks, on October 10 of the same year. As an interesting turn of events, the BUZZ WESTFALL PLAZA Target pulled up stakes and closed for good August 20, 2016.

Sources:

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
www.builtstlouis.net/northland
www.tobyweiss.com
www.jenningshistory.org
www.cinematreasures.org
"The Final Sale - The decision to Close the Famous-Barr Northland Store" / Saint Louis University John Cook School Of Business, Emerson Center for Business Ethics / International Journal of Case Studies and Research / Volume 5, Number 1, 1997 / Jim Fisher, Dr. Mark J. Arnold and John T. Rueue
www.stltoday.com
St. Louis' Crestwood Plaza


An aerial view of the original strip-type shopping hub. This snapshot was taken in 1957, before a second anchor store opened on the west end. The 66 Park In Theater is seen in the foreground.
Photo http://www.66postcards.com / Missouri Postcards & Photos

An ultra-modern Sears anchored the east end of CRESTWOOD PLAZA. The store, which originally had 2 levels, was one of the first operational tenants. It welcomed its first shoppers in March 1957.
Photo http://www.66postcards.com / Missouri Postcards & Photos


The shopping hub was completed in four stages. The first section (indicated in black) opened between March and May 1957. The second section (in medium gray) was dedicated in August 1957. The final phase (in light gray) was completed in August 1958. The strip center now housed thirty-seven stores. Its tri-level parking area could accommodate three thousand autos.

St. Louis' Stix, Baer & Fuller added a third anchor store to CRESTWOOD PLAZA in the mid-1960s. The Stix store was built as part of a new East Wing, which covered a lower level parking deck.
Drawing from http://www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org


In 1969, CRESTWOOD PLAZA is an enclosed mall...well, partially, anyway. The aforementioned East Wing (in dark gray) houses a climate-controlled shopping concourse. On the west end of the facility, the Vandervoort's store has just been bought -and rebranded- by Famous-Barr.

Between 1983 and '84, the open-air strip center was given a 25 million dollar overhaul. It reemerged as a so-called "Ultra Mall". A 5-plex cinema eventually opened in lower level space. By 1986, the one hundred and forty-store CRESTWOOD PLAZA was one of -if not- the largest enclosed malls in Greater St. Louis.


An aerial view of the newly-refurbished CRESTWOOD PLAZA. The complex now spanned over 900,000 leasable square feet.
Photo http://www.66postcards.com / Missouri Postcards & Photos

In 1999, the mall is owned by Australia's Westfield and things look really rosy. All three anchor stores are occupied and 143 tenants line the shopping concourse. WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN CRESTWOOD encompasses 1,017,000 leasable square feet. Its parking lots and garage have room for over 4,300 autos.


An early 2000s view of the main mallway. By this time, competition from the too-close-for-comfort ST. LOUIS GALLERIA has begun to take its toll, leaving the CRESTWOOD property in a downward spiral. Dillard's shuttered their store in October 2007. Helzberg Diamonds, Forever 21, Aeropostale and Macy's (nee' Famous-Barr) will pull up stakes in 2009.
Photo from www.joneslanglasalle.com

Meanwhile, Westfield sold the struggling shopping hub in March 2008. The new owners renamed the facility CRESTWOOD COURT and commissioned this logo to help reposition and revitalize the complex.
Graphic from http://www.crestwoodcourt.com


Alas, this campaign was not successful. The 56-year-old facility was shuttered in early 2012, becoming the fourth major St. Louis mall to go under. Demolition got underway in May 2016.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Khazar2Commons"


Above, we see a tentative plan for a new & improved CRESTWOOD COURT. A 99 million dollar mixed-use complex is proposed, which could be anchored by a state-of-the-art megaplex cinema.
Original drawing from Urban Street Group, Limited Liability Company
CRESTWOOD PLAZA
Watson Road / US 66 and Sappington Road
City of Crestwood, Missouri

Among the earliest regional-class shopping centers in Greater St. Louis, CRESTWOOD PLAZA was built on 48 acres, located 12 miles southwest of the center city, in the bedroom community of Crestwood.

Open-air in configuration, CRESTWOOD PLAZA was developed by Milton and Lewis Zorensky under the auspices of Hycel Properties. The strip center was designed by Richard Hafner and the Millstone Construction Company.

The complex originally encompassed approximately 550,000 leasable square feet on a single retail level. There was also a service basement, with lower level Arcade of stores. CRESTWOOD PLAZA was anchored by a 2-level (156,000 square foot) Sears. This store was dedicated, along with National Shirt Shops, Baker's Shoes, The Children's Shop and a (23,000 square foot) Kroger supermarket, on March 21, 1957.

Walgreen Drug, Lerner Shops, Thom McAn Shoes and a 2-level (36,000 square foot) F.W. Woolworth opened on May 19, 1957. A third group of tenants began business in August 1957. The center's second anchor, a 3-level (156,600 square foot), St. Louis-based Scruggs, Vandervoort & Barney (a.k.a. Vandervoort's) welcomed its first shoppers on August 14, 1958.

There was no on-site cinema. However, the 66 Park-In Theater had opened in 1948. It was located directly across from the shopping center and was in business until 1994. A sit-down venue, the Crestwood Theatre, operated between 1964 and 1986. It was located one half mile west of CRESTWOOD PLAZA, on Watson Road.

Commercial competitors of CRESTWOOD PLAZA included WESTROADS CENTER (1955) {5.2 miles northeast, in St. Louis County}, SOUTH COUNTY CENTER (1963) {4.3 miles southeast, in St. Louis County} and WEST COUNTY CENTER (1969) {4.5 miles northwest, also in St. Louis County}.

A fully-enclosed wing was added to the east end CRESTWOOD PLAZA in the mid-1960s. It was built over a 2-level parking garage and included a 3-level (200,000 square foot), St. Louis-based Stix, Baer & Fuller. This store, the third branch in the chain, opened its doors January 23, 1967. Sears expanded its store with a third floor and enlarged Auto Center around this time. The building now encompassed 221,400 square feet.

Anchor rebrandings commenced on September 15, 1969, when St. Louis-based Famous-Barr rebranded the Vandervoort's store. The Stix nameplate remained in place until the spring of 1985, when stores were rebranded by Dillard's.

Meanwhile, a second expansion of CRESTWOOD PLAZA had got underway in October 1983. The original strip center was rebuilt as an enclosed mall, with store blocks added to its south side. The 10-bay Cornucopia Food Court & Market was installed in the basement. An official dedication was held October 3, 1984. The American Multi-Cinema Crestwood Plaza 5 megaplex (adjacent to Cornucopia) showed its first features on March 21, 1986.

During a renovation completed in May 1992, a second cinema was built onto the northeast corner of the mall's main level, in back of Dillard's. These two cinemas operated together for approximately 1 year. Then, the basement venue was shuttered and made into a video arcade. The cinema behind Dillard's was expanded into a 10-screen venue, which was known as the AMC Crestwood Plaza 10.

CRESTWOOD PLAZA now spanned 1,017,000 leasable square feet and housed over one hundred and forty stores and services under its roof. Australia-based Westfield acquired the mall in January 1998. In November of the same year, they renamed it WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN CRESTWOOD. This was shortened to WESTFIELD CRESTWOOD in June 2005.

By the early 21st century, the mall was in a downward spiral. ST. LOUIS GALLERIA (1986) {5.8 miles northeast, in St. Louis County} had proven to be too close for comfort. GRAVOIS BLUFFS (2000) {4.7 miles southwest, in Fenton} also contributed to the decline of the CRESTWOOD complex.

Famous-Barr considered closing their CRESTWOOD location in September 2005. However, the store remained open up to -and after- its "Macy-ation", which transpired in September 2006. Dillard's did pull the plug on their store in October 2007, leaving approximately sixty retailers in business.

The struggling shopping center was sold to a joint venture of Chicago-based Centrum Properties and New York City-based Angelo, Gordon & Company in March 2008. The official name of the retail hub was changed to CRESTWOOD COURT.

The new owners instituted the Art Space project, which was a novel method of filling vacancies. Sixty spaces were leased, for a mere 50 to 100 dollars per month, to art gallery, dance studio and theater tenants.

Meanwhile, an ambitious redevelopment was announced, with most of the existing structure to be razed and replaced ny an open-air, lifestyle venue. Progress was delayed by the shuttering of the mall's Macy's, which took place April 1, 2009. By late 2011, the long-delayed redevelopment was gaining momentum once again.

The mall was shuttered March 1, 2012, with Sears (the final operational anchor) going dark in April. The CRESTWOOD COURT renovation project fell through when the owner defaulted on their loan. Another stumbling block presented itself when Crestwood city fathers rejected a 34 million dollar tax abatement-based overhaul.

An "abandoned property" was to be sold in an online auction, which was to commence May 15, 2013. This event was delayed until April 2014. Chicago's Urban Street Group, Limited Liability Company purchased the mall and indicated that the site would be redeveloped in a residential and retail capacity.

Demolition commenced in May 2016, with the entirety of the shopping hub being razed. A mixed-use complex, tentatively known as CRESTWOOD COURT, was supposed to be built. The 99 million dollar project, which was to include an upscale bowling alley, megaplex cinema and several high-end restaurants, was scheduled for a fall 2018 grand opening.

Unfortunately, construction never got underway. In February 2018, a city official was quoted, saying that the long-awaited redevelopment was in a "holding pattern".

Sources:

preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
http://www.westfield.com
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
http://www.66postcards.com / Missouri Postcards & Photos
http://westfieldamerica.com (website on Internet Archive Wayback Machine)
http://crestwoodcourt.com (website on Internet Archive Wayback Machine)
http://www.joneslanglasalle.com
http://www.city-data.com
www.cinematreasures.org
www.bizjournals.com
St. Louis' River Roads Center


The original logo of the Gateway City's RIVER ROADS complex. As was the case with most of America's early malls, the shopping hub was initially promoted as a CENTER, with its official moniker morphing into RIVER ROADS MALL in the 1970s.    

A frontal view of RIVER ROADS CENTER, which was one of the first fully-enclosed retail complexes in the Show Me State. It vies for this honor with Kansas City's WARD PARKWAY CENTER. The enclosed shopping concourses of both facilities were officially dedicated on August 16, 1962.
Photo from http://riverroadsmalljenningsmo.blogspot.com / "The History of River Roads Mall"


A circa-1962 site plan. The mall had been built as a showcase for a Stix store, which anchored the west end. The RIVER ROADS Stix was the retailer's second suburban branch. Its posh Pavilion Restaurant included a sunken outdoor garden. The mall's parking area had space for 3,200 autos.

Here we see the main shopping concourse, which was promoted as a "breathtaking quarter mile arcade". The storefront of the "J.C. Penney Co." is seen on the left. It was a so-called "dry goods only" operation, that was later expanded to a full-line store.
Photo from http://riverroadsmalljenningsmo.blogspot.com / "The History of River Roads Mall"


An interior view of the posh Pavilion. This formal, sit-down restaurant was part of the Stix Baer & Fuller anchor store.
Photo from Flickr / Dwayne Pounds


Another vintage photo shows the mall's Woolworth 5 & 10. In 1962, this 2-level store, which encompassed 62,000 square feet, was reputed to be the 5 & dime chain's largest shopping center location. It included a Harvest House Cafeteria.
Photo from Michael Allen

The complex, known as RIVER ROADS MALL since the 1970s, was given a floor-to-skylight renovation in the mid-1980s. J.C. Penney had been expanded into a full-line store in 1972, but closed in 1983. It was revived, as a J.C. Penney Outlet, as part of the mall's 1980s revitalization. Dillard's, who rebranded the Stix chain in April 1985, stayed in business at this location for less than 2 years.


RIVER ROADS MALL TENANTS 1985:

DILLARD'S / J.C. PENNEY OUTLET STORE /  FOOD FOR LESS supermarket / WALGREEN DRUG / F.W. WOOLWORTH 5 & 10 (with Harvest House Cafeteria and Steamboat Room restaurant) / Action Track / Arthur's / Artiste Hair Stylists / Baker's Shoes / California Shirt Works / Casual Corner / Chandler's Shoes / Charter Bank / East Wind / Farmer's Insurance / Firestone Car Care (outparcel) / Funway Freeway / Grace Wigs / Hardy Shoes / Hartig Jewelers / Jeans West / Jennings North Precinct / Landers / Lane Bryant / Lauer Enloe / Leading Man / Life Uniform / Ludwig Music House / Thom McAn Shoes / Marketeam Associates / Music Vision / North County, Incorporated / Personal Service / Plattner's / Radio Shack / Rafferty's Cards / Regal Shoes / River Roads Bowl / Roosevelt Federal / Size 5-7-9 Shops / Slack Shack / Taxman's / The Gap / Tip Top Cleaners / Toby's Shoes / US Post Office / Vicki's Cards & Gifts / Vincent's Jewelers / Waldenbooks / Wetherby-Kayser Shoes / Wild Pair / Worths

Now we get down to the real nitty gritty. RIVER ROADS MALL was on the skids by the late 1980s. The Penney's Outlet went dark in May 1994, with the interior mallway closing for good in June 1995.  Above is a circa-2004 snapshot of the portal of the mall's service tunnel. A long-abandoned Stix / Dillard's store is seen in the background.
Photo from Michael Allen


The severely-deteriorated mallway, looking toward the northeast. After sitting vacant and decaying for over 11 years, the bulk of the mall was demolished between 2006 and 2007. The supermarket, still in operation, was left standing, but was eventually demolished, as well. Only the old Stix Car Care Center (now a Firestone Auto Care) remained.
Photo from Michael Allen


Sections of the vacant mall site were redeveloped between 2008 and 2018. The first new structure was the River Roads Manor Senior Apartments, seen above. This complex was followed by a Neighbors Credit Union branch, McDonald's, O'Reilly Auto Parts and Dollar Tree. All of these are freestanding structures.
Photo from http://www.river-roadsmanor.com
RIVER ROADS CENTER
Jennings Station and Halls Ferry Roads
City of Jennings, Missouri

The first fully-enclosed shopping complex in Greater St. Louis was built on a 55 acre site, located 8 miles northwest of the St. Louis Central Business District, in the bedroom community of Jennings. Developed by St. Louis-based Stix, Baer & Fuller, RIVER ROADS CENTER was anchored by a 4-level (280,000 square foot) Stix store, which opened for business August 7, 1961. It was the second suburban branch in the chain.

A 3-day, mall-wide grand opening was held between August 16th and 18th, 1962. The 580,000 square foot shopping complex consisted of a main level of retail and service basement. At the time of its completion, the center's 2-level (62,000 square foot) F.W. Woolworth was the largest shopping center location in the two-thousand-two-hundred-unit chain.

Forty stores and services were in operation at the original RIVER ROADS CENTER. These included J.C. Penney, Bond Clothes, Lane Bryant, Thom McAn Shoes, Wolff's men's wear, Singer Sewing Center, Hardy Shoes, Dandy's Men's Store, Walgreen Drug, a Top Value Stamps Redemption Center and Kroger supermarket.

There were also several restaurants. Woolworth operated a Harvest House. Walgreen Drug had a luncheonette. Stix, Baer & Fuller included The Pavilion, which overlooked a lavish sunken garden. There were also dining options at the restaurant and cocktail lounge in a basement bowling alley.

An expansion and renovation of the shopping hub was done in the early 1970s. A 3-level addition to the original "dry goods" J.C. Penney was built. When completed in April 1972, the full-line store encompassed 200,000 square feet. The mall's interior was also redecorated in a Mediterranean motif.

The primary retail rival of RIVER ROADS CENTER was NORTHLAND CENTER (1955) {1.5 miles west, also in Jennings}. In addition, there were NORTHWEST PLAZA (1966) {8 miles west, in St. Ann}, CROSS KEYS CENTER (1969) {5.8 miles northwest, in Florissant} and JAMESTOWN MALL (1973) {6 miles north, in St. Louis County}.

Anchor nameplate changes at RIVER ROADS MALL began in the early 1980s. J.C. Penney closed down their full-line operation in July 1983 and re-opened it, as an Outlet Store, in 1985. Stix, Baer & Fuller became a Dillard's in April of the same year. A shuttered Kroger re-opened as Food For Less.

Dillard's shuttered their store in 1986. Soon,  the mall was in a downward spiral that was exacerbated by the decline of the area surrounding it. Buffalo-based Benderson Development bought the mall in July 1988. They attempted to reposition it as a regional discount outlet center, with varying degrees of success.

A redevelopment / demolition plan was proposed in 1990, which was approved by the Jennings City Council in 1992. However, no progress was made beyond that point. The mall, experiencing more and more vacancies, began to deteriorate.

Woolworth was shuttered in 1991, with the J.C. Penney Outlet Store closing in May 1994. A proposed acquisition by the British-based Midland Group fell through. The interior of the "vacant shell of a shopping center" shut down in June 1995, leaving only a few exterior-entranced stores in operation.

The virtually vacant complex was purchased by Raleigh, North Carolina-based Whichard Real Estate in 2000. It was quickly "flipped", with St Louis-based Taylor-Morley Homes becoming its new owner. Their redevelopment plan came to light in January 2001.

This deal fell through when the two families owning the Taylor-Morley organization split-up. St. Louis-based Pyramid development entered the picture. They proposed a 66 million dollar redevelopment, which was to include office space, residential units, retail stores and a new city hall for Jennings.

Demolition of RIVER ROADS MALL got underway in late 2006 and was completed in the summer of 2007. Only a Firestone Auto Care Center (nee' Stix Car Care) was left standing. Pyramid Development shut down in May 2008. Before the company crashed, they completed the River Roads Manor Senior Apartments complex. Over the following years, other freestanding retail, restaurant and financial structures were built.

Sources:

preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
www.umsl.edu
www.builtstlouis.net
Information from "Dan A2k"
www.slfp.com
www.undergroundozarks.com
www.cityofjennings.com
www.bizjournals.com
St. Louis' South County Center


Greater St. Louis' first enclosed mall, RIVER ROADS CENTER, opened for business in August 1962. In the following October,  the region's second interior mall was officially dedicated. As its name implied, SOUTH COUNTY CENTER was located in the southern environs of St. Louis County.

The original SOUTH COUNTY CENTER was anchored by Famous-Barr. Designed with input from Raymond Loewy, it was the retailer's first "rotunda store". Three more would be built in Greater St. Louis. These were located at NORTHWEST PLAZA, WEST COUNTY CENTER and ST. CLAIR SQUARE {in Illinois}.


The SOUTH COUNTY Famous-Barr opened, in August 1963, 2 months before the mall's official dedication. In a circa-1967 site plan, we see a "New Look" Penney's, which was added to the east end of the shopping facility. This store (shown in light gray) was dedicated in September 1966.

The SOUTH COUNTY J.C. Penney encompasses 178,000 square feet on 2 levels. 
Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/katherineofchicago


The mall, following a late '70s renovation. The original structure was expanded into a tri-level format, with a third anchor -Stix, Baer & Fuller- added. The original Upper Level (in black) became a Middle Level. A new South Wing (in medium gray) had Upper and Lower levels. The basement underneath the circa-1963 mall was, by this time, being used only for storage.

Oz-based Westfield acquired the shopping hub in 1994 and renamed it WESTFIELD SOUTH COUNTY in 2005. By the time of this circa-2006 layout, there was a Southwest Wing (in light gray), which had been added in 2000-2001. The north-facing front of the mall was later extended, with a group of Streetscape stores and restaurants opening in 2004-2005.

A contemporary view of the complex, which has been officially known as SOUTH COUNTY CENTER since being sold in late 2007. Qdoba Mexican Grill, on the left, was built as part of the early 2000s Streetscape addition.
Photo from https://plus.google.com


Here we see the mall's Southeast Entrance, which lies between Dillard's and J.C. Penney.
Photo from Wikipedia / Mike Kalasnik


That iconic Illinois-based mega retailer maintained a presence at SOUTH COUNTY CENTER for nearly 16 years. Their 3-level store went dark in September 2018.
Graphic from www.sears.com
SOUTH COUNTY CENTER
Lindbergh Boulevard / US 50, 61 & 67 and Lemay Ferry Road / US 61 & 67
Saint Louis County (Mehlville), Missouri

Greater St. Louis' second regional shopping mall was built by May Centers, the city's hometown retail development company. The 10 million dollar SOUTH COUNTY CENTER was designed by Raymond Loewy & Associates and Victor Gruen Associates.

Fully-enclosed and air-conditioned, the complex was constructed on a 69 acre site. This was located 11 miles southwest of the St. Louis Central Business District, in an unincorporated section of St. Louis County known as Mehlville.

SOUTH COUNTY CENTER was originally anchored by a 3-level (208,000 square foot), St. Louis-based Famous-Barr, which held its grand opening August 2, 1963. An official mall-wide dedication began on October 17, 1963.

Charter tenants included Zale's Jewelers, Ludwig Music House, Pam's Children's Shoes, Shirley's Maternity Fashions, Bond Clothes, Benson's Village Shop, Thom McAn Shoes, Werner Hilton Clothing, Rainbow Drapery Shop, Edith's Tots to Teens Shop, Tronic Hi-Fi, Pope's Cafeteria and Flagg Brothers Shoes. A National Food Stores supermarket occupied a portion of the mall's basement.

Promoted for its climate-controlled "perpetual springtime", the Upper Level mallway at SOUTH COUNTY CENTER included three Rain Curtain Fountains. These were similar to other water-less "Wonderfall" installations used in many 1960s-vintage enclosed shopping centers. The concourse was lighted by a series of antique copper and brass gas streetlamps, which had been used to illuminate London's Piccadilly Circus.

A 2-level (178,000 square foot) J.C. Penney was added to the existing mall and opened for business September 14, 1966. The next expansion of SOUTH COUNTY CENTER was completed in 1979. St. Louis-based Stix, Baer & Fuller built a 2-level (133,100 square foot) branch store; this part of a wing of Upper and Lower Level stores.

This new South Wing was built in a tri-level configuration, with the mall's original Upper Level becoming a Middle Level. With this addition, the shopping center encompassed 762,000 leasable square feet and housed ninety-nine stores and services. The Stix store became the first SOUTH COUNTY anchor to receive a new nameplate. It was rebannered by Dillard's in 1985.

A mall expansion, proposed in July 1990, would have added a new Dillard's and enlarged the mall to over 1 million leasable square feet. However, May Centers balked at a new 225,000 square foot Dillard's that would have been 17,000 square feet larger than their Famous-Barr store. As a result, this expansion was never carried out. 

Australia's Westfield acquired SOUTH COUNTY CENTER in 1994. They renamed the venue WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN SOUTH COUNTY in late 1998, shortening this to WESTFIELD SOUTH COUNTY in mid-2005.

Meanwhile, a 200 million dollar makeover of the "functionally obsolete" mall had been proposed in October 1996. This project, which was to take advantage of 40 million dollars in tax increment financing, was halted by public opposition.

A less ambitious (and expensive) redevelopment plan was devised, with its construction beginning in July 2000. The 54 million dollar project added a 2-level (117,500 square foot) Southwest Wing; this anchored by a 3-level (158,800 square foot) Sears. A 12-bay Food Court was also installed in existing space adjacent to J.C. Penney.

Inline stores in the Southwest Wing included Petite Sophistocate, August Max Woman, Pacific Sunwear and Rave Girl. Grand openings started in October 2001. WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN SOUTH COUNTY now spanned 1,038,300 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and twenty stores and services.

The renovation-expansion continued into 2004 and 2005, as the north-facing front of the complex was expanded and reworked into an exterior-entranced Streetscape. A (17,200 square foot) Borders Books opened in April 2004, followed by Lacefield Music, Noodles & Company and Qdoba Mexican Grill.

The mall changed hands in August 2007. It became a property of a joint venture between Westfield and Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Properties, with CBL controlling the "investment vehicle". With this transaction, the official name of the shopping center reverted back to its original moniker, SOUTH COUNTY CENTER.

Sources:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
www.westfield.com
www.cblproperties.com (CBL & Associates Properties)
www.shopsouthcounty.com
www.urbanstl.com
St. Louis' Northwest Plaza


An aerial view of Greater St. Louis' fourth shopping mall. This photo was taken in early 1966, when it was still under construction. Three anchor stores -Famous-Barr, Vandervoort's and Sears- are already open for business. 
Photo from www.pinterest.com


The original open-air mall, as it was configured in 1969. It was one of the first in the nation to feature four full-size anchor department stores. Although promoted today as having been the largest mall in the United States, it may have actually been in the number two position, following New Jersey's GARDEN STATE PLAZA.


NORTHWEST PLAZA TENANTS 1969:

FAMOUS-BARR (with Beauty Salon, Snack Bar, Pilot House Coffee Shop and Golden Eagle restaurant) / SEARS (with Coffee Shop and freestanding Auto Center) / J.C. PENNEY (with Beauty Salon, Coffee Shop and freestanding Auto Center) / F.W. WOOLWORTH (with luncheonette) / A-MART A & P supermarket (outparcel) / SCHNUCKS supermarket (outparcel) / NORTHWEST PLAZA CINEMA / WALGREEN DRUG (with luncheonette) / Allied Radio Shack / Artiste Hairstylists / Babor Sausage / Baker's Shoes / Barricini Candy / Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream / Benson's Village Store / Big Men's Shop / Bond Cleaners / Boyd's Men's & Women's Apparel / Broadstreet's Men's & Women's Apparel / Burt's Shoes / Buster Brown Shoes / Cameo Drapery Shop / Chandler's Shoes / Chess King / B. Dalton Bookseller / Dixie Cream Donut Shop / Docktor Pet Center / A.G. Edwards & Sons / Fatted Calf Restaurant / First Northwest Bank / Flagg Brothers Shoes / Flaming Jewel Originals / Florsheim Shoes / Franklin-Simon Women's Wear / Gay Gift Box / Gingiss Formal Wear / Golden Razor Barber Shop / The Grapevine, Limited Women's Wear / Hamilton Music Company / Hess & Culbertson Jewelers / Holloway House Cafeteria / Honeybee Women's Wear / House of Nine / Household Finance Corporation / Interior Systems / Jaccard's Jewelers / Joan Bari Bag & Gem Shop / John Henry's Railroad Cafe / Julie Ann Fabrics / Kline's Shoes / Korn Kettle / LaMerite Bridal Shop / Lane Bryant / Lauer-Enloe Optometrists / Libson Shop Women's Wear / Life Uniform Shop / Ludwig-Aeolian Music / Martin Coin Shop / Mertyn's Women's Wear / Mavrakos Candies / Morris Paint Store / Motherhood Maternity / National Shirt Shop / Nature Food Center / 9-0-5 Liquors / Orange Julius / Ostertag Optical / Pam's Children's Shoes / Parklane Hosiery / Piccadilly Women's Wear / Puppy Palace Pets / Regal Shoes / Richman Brothers Men's & Women's Wear / Roosevelt Federal Savings & Loan / Russell Stover Candies / S.G. Adams Printing & Stationery / Shirt Gallery / Singer Sewing Center / Spencer Gifts / Swope's Shoes / Tall Fashions Women's Wear / Thayer McNeil Shoe Salon / The Tie Shop / Thom McAn Shoes / Tobaccoland / Travel Designs / TWA Ticket Office / Two Cents Plain Restaurant / Union Jack Apparel / U.S. Post Office / Viscount Records / Way In Shop Junior Wear / Wolff's Men's Wear / World Bazaar / Worth's Women's Wear / Zales Jewelers

Our first water feature photo shows the mall's Genesis Fountain. The Famous-Barr store's rotunda looms in the background.
Photo from Malls of America Blogspot


The Brogues, a Missouri-based rock quintet, pose for a photo at the Horseheads Fountain. Left to right are Gene Dauster, Tom Mowry, Howie Schmitt, Jim Metcalf and Jim Burke. All water features and landscaping at NORTHWEST PLAZA were designed by Lawrence Halprin and Aristides Demetrious. Demetrious' other works include the Skydivers Statue, at Orange County, California's NEWPORT FASHION ISLAND.
Photo www.homeatt.net~nostalgia1966

The NORTHWEST PLAZA "Penneys", with its original 1960s nameplate.
Photo from Adam Godfrey


The First Northwest Building, a 12-story office tower, was built as a part of the original shopping hub. Here we see the building as it was branded during the mall's Westfield years.
Photo from www.loopnet.com

1989 and NORTHWEST PLAZA becomes an enclosed mall. Newly-created retail area is indicated in medium gray. The complex now encompassed an astounding 1,768,500 leasable square feet.

At the time of a 1998 plan, the super-sized shopopolis is officially known as WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN NORTHWEST.  It houses 173 stores and services and is surrounded by an 8,900 car-capacity parking lot. Its Australian owner went on a rebranding blitz in November of the year, adding the "Westfield Shoppingtown" name to all of their malls in Australia, New Zealand and the United States. 

By the dawn of the 21st century, NORTHWEST PLAZA had been in a downward spiral for several years. J.C. Penney became the first major store to bolt from the mall in 2002, followed by Dillard's, who departed in 2009. The Famous-Barr seen here was "Macy-ated" in early 2006. The store went dark in March 2010.
Photo from www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"


The mall's gigantic Sears was given a 7 million dollar rehab in 1997. It would be the final operational anchor at NORTHWEST PLAZA, with its shuttering taking place in July 2010.
Photo from www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"