RALEIGH MALL
Robert C. Byrd Drive / US 19 and Dunn Drive
Beckley, West Virginia

West Virginia's third mall-type shopping complex was developed by the Johnstown, Pennsylvania-based George D. Zamias Real Estate Company. The single-level RALEIGH MALL occupied a 40 acre site, located 1.7 miles north of center city Beckley.

Ground was broken for the 353,300 square foot, fully-enclosed complex on August 19, 1973. The first stores to open in Phase One of the project were SupeRx Drugs, Kroger and Murphy's Mart. These began business between June and October of 1974.

Kroger and SupeRx occupied a (36,700 square foot) freestanding structure on the southern end of the mall site. The 1-level (88,900 square foot) Murphy's Mart, situated north of Kroger-SupeRx, would become the south anchor of the Phase Two mall.

A grand opening was held October 9, 1975 for stores in the second construction phase. Included were a 1-level (95,400 square foot) Montgomery Ward and 1-level (50,200 square foot), Wheeling-based Stone & Thomas.

Among the thirty-nine charter inline stores were Kinney Shoes, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Photo Corral, Henry's Men's Shop and Friar Tuck's Pub.

BECKLEY PLAZA, a small strip center, was located across Robert C. Byrd Drive from the mall. The first bona fide retail rival, CROSSROADS MALL {2.3 miles northwest, in unincorporated Raleigh County} was dedicated in April 1981.

Murphy's Mart at RALEIGH MALL was shuttered in 1985, with Rocky Hill, Connecticut-based Ames taking the store space. Ames closed when its operations were consolidated with another location in the city.

The store space sat vacant until Morgantown, West Virginia-based Gabriel Brothers Discount Family Fashions opened, in 2002. This (62,200 square foot) store shared the former Murphy's Mart space with a (26,700 square foot) Goody's Family Clothing. Stone & Thomas became a Dayton, Ohio-based Elder-Beerman in late 1998.

Montgomery Ward folded in March 2001. Its anchor spot sat vacant until it was sectioned into smaller tenant spaces. A Brentwood, Tennessee-based Tractor Supply Company opened, utilizing a 31,000 square foot section on the north end, March 22, 2006.

RALEIGH MALL encountered a new commercial competitor in the early 2000s. CRANBERRY CREEK & BECKLEY GALLERIA{1.3 miles southeast, in Beckley} were dedicated in 2005

Goody's Family Clothing in RALEIGH MALL relocated to a larger location, in the CRANBERRY CREEK-BECKLEY GALLERIA complex, in April 2005. 3 years later, a Dayton, Ohio-based Rex Electronics outlet at RALEIGH MALL closed.

The center struggled with a 70 percent vacancy rate. It was acquired by the Warrendale, Pennsylvania-based H.L. Libby Corporation in September 2010. They initiated a demalling in July 2011. The inline store portion of the mall was razed, leaving the three anchor structures, and two outparcels, standing.

The demolished mall section was replaced by an expanded parking area. Elder-Beerman was given a new facade. A (62,200 square foot) Dunham's Sports was situated in the southern section of the old Montgomery Ward building. The new store held its grand opening November 18, 2011.

Two freestanding restaurants, Olive Garden and Cheddar's Casual Cafe, were also built in the east parking area. The adjusted GLA of the new -open-air- RALEIGH MALL now stood at 275,600 square feet. The complex housed ten stores and services.

Sources:

http://Jeff560.tripod.com / "History of Beckley and Raleigh County"
www.wvdo.org
Comment posts by Ken and "Geek Stallion"
www.register-herald.com
www.paramountdevelopment.com
http://www.hllibbycorp.com/