STATEN ISLAND MALL
Richmond and Platinum Avenues
New York, New York (Borough of Richmond / Staten Island)

Ground was broken for New York's second in-city shopping mall on October 30, 1970. The 2-level retail hub, developed by the Newark-based Feist & Feist Realty Corporation, was built on land originally serving as the Staten Island Airfield.

The STATEN ISLAND MALL site encompassed 105 acres, located 25 miles southwest of Times Square. It was in a section of the Borough of Richmond known as New Springville (the Borough of Richmond would morph into the Borough of Staten Island in 1975).

Macy's, the mall's first operational tenant, opened October 5, 1972. The 3-level (239,500 square foot) store was the chain's seventh location within New York City proper. The mall's second anchor, a 2-level (190,500 square foot) Sears, made its debut in March 1973.

An official dedication for the 899,700 square foot shopping facility was held August 9, 1973. Participating in the festivities were New York State Senator John J. March and Borough President Robert T. Connor.

Charter tenants in the 40 million dollar mall included Waldenbooks, Flagg Brothers Shoes, Lerner Shops, Karmelkorn, Fifth Avenue Cards, Thom Mcan Shoes, Parnassus Boutique, Ann's Nut House, A Touch of Elegance Gifts, Goff Jewelers, Spencer Gifts, Bun 'n Burger and a Roaman's junior department store. The Honeycomb, a 22-unit mall within a mall, was situated in a sub-level beneath Center Court. It was in operation between 1974 and the early 1980s.

The Maryland-based Rouse Company had established an ownership interest in the mall in November 1980. In 1981 and 1982, they performed an interior face lift, which included the installation of the 13-bay PicNic Food Court. The mall's Center Court was also refurbished with new escalators, landscaping, a "Dancing Waters" fountain and skylight.

In July 1992, a 50 million dollar expansion began. The project was conducted in two phases. The first consisted of a renovation of the existing structure. Fountains were removed and replaced with seating areas. Mall entrances were also rebuilt.

Phase Two was comprised of a 310,000 square foot addition, which was built on the east side of the center. It included fifty new stores and was anchored by a 2-level (180,000 square foot) J.C. Penney. This store was officially dedicated March 2, 1994.

STATEN ISLAND MALL now encompassed 1,209,700 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and eighty-five retailers and restaurants. It surpassed Brooklyn's KINGS PLAZA as the largest shopping mall within the physical limits of New York City.

By August of 2003, the Rouse Company had established full ownership of the shopping center. The next year, the entire Rouse portfolio was bought by Chicago-based General Growth Properties.

News of an open-air, lifestyle-type expansion surfaced in January 2008. This 110,000 square foot addition was to include upscale boutiques and casual dining restaurants, along with a relocation of the existing Food Court. However, The Great Recession and General Growth Properties' 2009-2010 bout with bankruptcy caused said renovation plans to be temporarily shelved.

For over 40 years, STATEN ISLAND MALL had enjoyed its enviable position as the borough's preeminent shopping center. By the year 2014, this was being placed in jeopardy. News had surfaced about the prospective EMPIRE OUTLETS {6.5 miles northeast, in the St. George section of the borough}. The first phase of this "category-defining retail destination" was to encompass 470,000 square feet and open for business in November 2017.

As a countermeasure, it was announced that the long-delayed expansion of STATEN ISLAND MALL would, at last, be undertaken. The 2 level project would add 242,000 leasable square feet to the existing complex and include a (40,000 square foot) Dave & Buster's Grand Sports Cafe.

An indoor-outdoor Streetscape along the west-facing front of the mall would house retail and restaurant space. The existing Food Court would be relocated to a 12-bay facility. Moreover, a multilevel parking garage would be constructed and the existing Macy's expanded by 75,000 square feet.

Construction commenced in September 2016 and is expected to be finished in 2018. With its completion, STATEN ISLAND MALL will encompass approximately 1,451,700 leasable square feet.

As construction proceeded, a new junior anchor joined the shopping hub. Dublin, Ireland's Primark, a high fashion men's, women's and children's clothier, leased a section of the STATEN ISLAND MALL Sears. The downsized (49,400 square foot) Sears occupied half of the lower level of the building with the new (73,600 square foot) Primark setting up shop in the Upper. The store made its debut on March 16, 2017.

Sources:

http://www.silive.com (Staten Island Live)
The New York Times
The New York Daily News
"Staten Island Mall" article on Wikipedia
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
http://www.empireoutletsnyc.com
"Staten Island Mall Enlargement Environmental Assessment Statement" / June 2014
www.primark.com