GENESEE VALLEY CENTER
Miller and South Linden Roads
Genesee County, Michigan

Greater Flint's first enclosed shopping center, DORT MALL, opened for business in 1963. It was followed by another community-class complex, BELLA VISTA MALL (GRAND MALL), in 1965. The regional-class EASTLAND MALL opened in 1968.

By this time, construction was underway at a 120 acre plot, located 4.5 miles southwest of Flint's urban core, in a section of unincorporated Genessee County known as Flint Township. A fully-enclosed, regional-class mall was being developed by Shopping Centers, Incorporated, of Southfield, Michigan.

When completed, GENESEE VALLEY CENTER would encompass 875,200 leasable square feet and be anchored by a 2-level (293,100 square foot) Sears and 2-level (268,000 square foot), Detroit-based Hudson's.

Sears became the first store to open, in May 1970, followed by Hudson's in July. The official grand opening of the mall took place August 8. 1970. Among its fifty-six charter tenants were Cunningham Drug, Schiller's Millinery, B. Dalton Bookseller, Albert's Ladies' Fashions, an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and Hamady supermarket.

There was only one competing regional-class shopping center in the vicinity. The aforementioned EASTLAND MALL {8.6 miles northeast, in Genesee County (City of Burton)} encompassed 472,000 leasable square feet and forty stores and services.

Work commenced on the first expansion of GENESEE VALLEY CENTER in the late 1970s. A 252,200 square foot East Wing was added, which was anchored by a 2-level (151,500 square foot) J.C. Penney. This store held its grand opening January 9, 1980.

GENESEE VALLEY CENTER now encompassed approximately 1,127,400 leasable square feet and housed over seventy stores and services. A 10-bay Food Court was dedicated in 1987. The culinary complex had been built as a second level, which overlooked a reconfigured Center Court area.

In the early 1990s, a second enlargement of the complex got underway. A 2-level (86,000 square foot) Mervyn's was built as part of a ten store West Wing. Moreover, a 2-level (109,900 square foot) Montgomery Ward was added to the East Wing. With the completion of this project in 1993, the GLA of GENESEE VALLEY CENTER was increased to approximately 1,353,300 square feet, with a retail roster of one hundred and sixteen stores and services.

The Woolworth five & dime closed in July 1997. Its space was subdivided into several inline stores. Steve & Barry's University Sportswear (utilizing most of the previous Woolworth's) opened in 2003. It closed for good in January 2009. Meanwhile, Montgomery Ward ceased operation in March 2001. In August, the Hudson's store was rebranded as a Marshall Field's. It became a Macy's in September 2006.

A third mall renovation commenced in the summer of 2005. The vacant Montgomery Ward was knocked down, with an open-air Outdoor Village taking its place. Comprising 65,000 leasable square feet and twelve tenants, the lifestyle-format addition opened in April 2006. The Mervyn's space, vacated in 2006, became a Burlington Coat Factory on August 10, 2007.

With the addition of the Outdoor Village, GENESEE VALLEY CENTER encompassed 1,127,300 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and twenty-seven retail spaces. The complex was firmly established as the preeminent shopping venue in the "Vehicle City".

Ownership of the mall changed in October 2012. A Maryland-based firm acquired the complex and enlisted the Syracuse-based Spinoso Real Estate Group to handle its leasing and management.

Sources:

"Genesee Valley Center" article on Wikipedia
www.flintjournal.com / Rhonda Sanders, staff writer
Comment post by Jeff
Malls of America Blogspot / Keith Milford webmaster
http://www.joneslanglasalle.com