WEST ACRES MALL
13th Avenue South and 42nd Street Southwest
Fargo, North Dakota

Fargo's first -and only- regional shopping center was constructed on 72.6 acres, located 4 miles southwest of the downtown area. Developed by a joint venture headed by Fargo's Bill Schlossman, WEST ACRES MALL was designed by the Foss, Engelstad & Foss firm.

The original mall fronted on a gravel county road that accessed Interstate 29. The expressway, which had opened to traffic in 1960, ran along the eastern boundary of the shopping center site. At the time, the surrounding area was largely undeveloped.

Ground was broken on April 21, 1971. The first operational WEST ACRES store, 1-level (79,400 square foot) Sears, began business in April 1972. The single-level, fully-enclosed complex was officially dedicated, with fifty-two stores and services, August 2nd of the same year. North Dakota Governor William L. Guy (D) officiated at the grand opening celebration.

Also anchoring the center was a 2-level, Fargo-based O.J. deLendrecie's ["duh-LAWN-dree-sees"]. Although the store structure housed 188,000 square feet, it was utilizing only 110,000 at this time. The third anchor, a 1-level (115,000 square foot), Minneapolis-based Dayton's, was completed in August 1973. It was the first Dayton's built outside Minnesota.

At this time, WEST ACRES MALL encompassed approximately 534,400 leaseable square feet. A list of charter tenants would include Straus Clothing For Men, Flagg Brothers Shoes, Scheels Sporting Goods, R & G Shoes, B. Dalton Bookseller, Lane Bryant, Walgreen Drug and a Fargo-based Herbst junior department store.

The mall began to encounter retail rivalry in March 1973, with the completion of the first phase of MOOREHEAD CENTER MALL {3.3 miles northeast}. This was an urban renewal redevelopment in the center city of neighboring Moorehead, Minnesota. As a competitive measure, WEST ACRES was expanded in the late 1970s.

In March 1978, Sears completed a 20,000 square foot expansion. In March 1979, a new Southwest Wing was completed, which encompassed 200,000 square feet and twenty inline stores. It was anchored by a 2-level (149,900 square foot) J.C. Penney, which was dedicated August 1, 1979. WEST ACRES MALL now spanned approximately 754,300 leasable square feet.

The owners of the mall, Schlossman / West Acres Development, entered into a joint venture with the Santa Monica-based Macerich Company in 1986, with the latter establishing a 19 percent interest in the property.

A mall-wide face lift was completed in March 1993. Anchor store rebrandings commenced in 1998, when Mercantile Stores, the parent company of deLendrecie's, was acquired by Dillard's. Instead of rebranding the store, Dillard's flipped the property, which ended up in the hands of Proffitt's, Incorporated.

The company morphed into Saks, Incorporated in September 1998. Saks rebranded deLendrecie's as one of their Northern Department Store Group divisions; St. Cloud, Minnesota-based Herberger's. By this time, the store was utilizing its total 188,000 square feet.

In March 2006, the Herberger's chain became a holding of York, Pennsylvania-based The Bon Ton Stores. Meanwhile back at the mall, another new nameplate appeared in August 2001. Dayton's was rebranded as a Marshall Field's, which was a division of the Minneapolis-based Dayton-Hudson Corporation. In essence, the parent company remained the same...only the name of the store changed. The store was "Macy-ated" September 9, 2006.

In June 2001, the second face lift of WEST ACRES MALL commenced. The 19 million dollar project added an 11-bay Food Court and new Main Entrance. With completion of the refurbishment in the spring of 2002, the shopping center encompassed approximately 950,000 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and thirty stores and services.

Sears shuttered their WEST ACRES store on March 26, 2017. Best Buy had opened a freestanding (46,000 square foot) store, on the southeastern periphery of the mall, in 1994. They renovated a (51,000 square foot) section of the vacant Sears and opened for business on June 8, 2018. The Herberger's chain crashed and burned, along with The Bon Ton Stores conglomerate, in July 2018.

Sources:

www.fargohistory.com
www.westacres.com
http://www.saksfifthavenue.com
Comment post by "Anonymous"
"Marshall Field's" article on Wikipedia
Cass County, North Dakota tax assessor website
http://www.fargomonthly.com
http://www.inforum.com