NASHUA MALL & PLAZA
Broad Street and Coliseum Avenue
Nashua, New Hampshire

Plans for the Granite State's first mall-type shopping center were announced in August 1967. GATE CITY MALL, a single level, fully-enclosed facility, would be constructed on a 32.6 acre site, located 1.5 miles northwest of downtown Nashua.

The complex, developed by Lowell, Massachusetts-based Vickerry Realty, was designed by Quincy, Massachusetts-based Edgar H. Wood & Associates and Boston-based Sumner Schein.  It was built north of NASHUA PLAZA, a freestanding strip center that had been completed in March 1966.

A 1-level (80,000 square foot), New York City-based Woolco discount mart was the mall's first operational store. It opened, as the first Woolco in New England, in October 1968. Woolco was joined by a 1-level (75,000 square foot), Salem, Massachusetts-based Almy's department store, which was dedicated February 26, 1969.

The inline store section of the retail venue was dedicated May 14, 1969. By this time, its name had been changed to NASHUA MALL. The center encompassed approximately 225,800 leasable square feet and housed thirty stores and services.

Promoted as "a new experience in shopping", NASHUA MALL featured a sunlit mallway, complete with tropical plantings and shrubs, seating areas and three fountains. Charter tenants included Cherry & Webb ladies' wear, Castro Convertibles, Fanny Farmer Candies and an Anderson-Little Factory Showroom.

Montgomery Ward opened a 1-level (95,800 square foot) "shadow anchor" store, in the southwestern periphery of the mall, on August 23, 1972.

The General Cinema Corporation Nashua Mall Cinema I & II was built, as a freestanding structure, in the northeastern periphery of the shopping center. The theater showed its first features March 31, 1972. It was expanded into the Nashua Mall Cinema I-II-III-IV in 1979, became a Canad Cinemas venue in 1992 and a Hoyts Theatres operation in 1997.

During the early years, the only commercial competitor of NASHUA MALL & PLAZA was the community-class ROYAL RIDGE MALL {4.4 miles southeast, in Nashua}, which was dedicated in May 1974. The superregional PHEASANT LANE MALL (1986) {5 miles southeast, in Nashua and Middlesex County, Massachusetts} held its official grand opening in July 1986.

The NASHUA MALL Woolco closed, along with the entire chain, in January 1983. It re-opened, as a Braintree, Massachusetts-based Bradlees discount mart, on May 5, 1983. Almy's was shuttered in May 1987. The store re-opened, as a Burlington Coat Factory, in October of the same year. Bradlees shut down in December of the year 2000.

NASHUA MALL was substantially dead by this time. A redevelopment, which would take several years to complete, got underway with the demolition of the Woolco / Bradlees structure, in 2001. It was replaced by a 1-level (93,800 square foot) Kohl's, dedicated April 7, 2002.

By this time, inline stores had relocated into the north end of the mall. The southern half, adjacent to Burlington Coat Factory, was razed in March 2002. A 1-level (50,000 square foot) Christmas Tree Shop was constructed, which debuted on August 29th.

A (17,200 square foot) strip center was built on the west side of the remaining north mall structure. When it was finished, mall tenants, such as Hallmark and Radio Shack, relocated. The north section of the old mall was then bulldozed. It was replaced by a (37,000 square foot) Babies "R" Us and (13,700 square foot) L.L. Bean. These opened in September and October of 2004.

Meanwhile, the old NASHUA PLAZA structure had also been demolished and replaced by a 1-level (116,000 square foot) Home Depot. This store held its grand opening on July 25, 2002.

Montgomery Ward, shuttered in 1997, housed a Rocky Hill, Connecticut-based Ames until that chain went bust in 2002. The southern half of the building was refitted with a Chunky's Cinema & Pub, which opened in January 2007.

The freestanding cinema, at the opposite end of the mall site, had closed in March 2003. It was demolished and replaced by Wendy's and Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse restaurants. These opened for business in December 2003.

Sources:

The Nashua Telegraph
www.cinematreasures.org
http://www.movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
http://sites.google.com/site/zayre88/Nashua-mall
www.labelscar.com / "Caldor"
Comment post by Tim Clancy
www.deadmalls.com / Post by Chris S.
Hillsborough County, New Hampshire tax assessor website


FAIR USE OF NASHUA MALL & ROYAL RIDGE MALL IMAGES:

The graphics from The Nashua Telegraph illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.