Harrison Avenue and Perryville Road
Village of Cherry Valley, Illinois

Rockford, Illinois' mall metamorphosis began in 1954 with the completion of the MEADOW MART strip center. NORTH TOWNE CENTER, another strip complex, opened in 1956. It was eventually made into a partially-enclosed mall. COLONIAL VILLAGE CENTER made its debut in 1962. Like NORTH TOWNE, it was remodeled into a partially-enclosed facility.

The first regional-class, fully-enclosed shopping center in Greater Rockford was developed by Cleveland's Richard E. Jacobs Group and built on 75 acres, which were part of a 233 acre parcel. This site was located 5.8 miles southeast of center city Rockford, in the suburban Village of Cherry Valley.

Work got underway on MALL AT CHERRYVALE in January 1972. A 2-level (121,900 square foot) Sears began business September 26, 1973. A 3-level (154,000 square foot), Chicago-based Marshall Field & Company opened for business, along with twenty-three inline stores, October 1st.

The 2-level, shopping hub, which encompassed approximately 713,900 square feet, was officially dedicated at this time. Coleen Ann Meternich, "Miss Illinois 1973", released one thousand balloons. U.S. Representative John B. Anderson (R) was also on hand for the festivities. Music was provided by the East High School and Harlem High School Bands.

Charter CHERRYVALE stores included Lane Bryant, Brentano's & Kroch's Booksellers, Casual Corner, Chess King and Disc Records. A 2-level (129,000 square foot), Sheboygan-based H.C. Prange (a.k.a. "Prange's") opened, as the mall's third anchor, in September 1974. It was accompanied by a Prange Way discount mart.

A freestanding movie house, the Plitt Theatres CherryVale 1-2-3, was built adjacent to the northeast parking area. Its first features were shown August 29, 1975. The Plitt CherryVale Mall 4 opened, inside the mall proper, on February 11, 1983. The CherryVale 1-2-3 was in business until 1999. The inside 4-plex closed in early 2000.

Rockford's DOWNTOWN MALL (1975-2009) never provided any kind of commercial competition for MALL AT CHERRYVALE. The only other rival, MACHESNEY PARK MALL {8 miles northwest, in Machesney Park} was completed in 1978. It eventually fell on hard times and was gutted and rebuilt as MACHESNEY PARK TOWNE CENTRE, a big box-based power plaza.

Eventually, MALL AT CHERRYVALE was renamed CHERRYVALE MALL. The first renovation of the complex was done in the late-1980s, when its early '70s decor was updated and a 9-bay Food Court was installed in vacated Prange Way space on the shopping hub's Lower Level.

Anchor rebrandings commenced in November 1992, when Prange's stores were rebranded by Des Moines-based Younkers. A Peoria-based Bergner's nameplate was installed on the CHERRYVALE MALL Younkers in June 1996.

Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates acquired the shopping complex in January 2001. They conducted a second major renovation of the property between March and November 2004. New lighting, ceilings and an additional escalator were installed, along with a glass elevator in Center Court. New inline stores were also brought in, such as Ann Taylor Loft, Hollister Company, Charlotte Russe and Dress Barn.

The highlight of this project was the construction of a 1-level (93,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, at the old Main Entrance. This store held its grand opening August 1, 2004. The GLA of the complex now stood at 806,900 leasable square feet. On September 9, 2006, the third anchor rebranding to take place at the mall converted Marshall Field's into a Macy's.

A third major mall renovation got underway in 2007. A "lifestyle component", known as THE DISTRICT AT CHERRYVALE, was constructed in the southwest parking area. Encompassing 75,000 square feet, it included upscale tenants such as Coldwater Creek, Barnes & Noble, Jos. A. Bank, Chico's, Talbots and Granite City Food & Brewery. An official dedication was held in November 2007.

Today, CHERRYVALE MALL and its DISTRICT AT CHERRYVALE encompass 881,900 leasable square feet and one hundred and twenty store spaces.

Sources: / Mike Rivest
Comment posts by Brandon and Randy (CBL & Associates Properties)