New Orleans' Lakeside Center



The Crescent City's first shopping mall opened for business in March 1960. It was anchored by Big Easy-based D.H. Holmes and Godchaux's, along with the J.C. Penney seen here. This is an example of the retailer's 1950s / early '60s "dry goods only" shopping center stores.

In this circa-1957 rendering, the prospective LAKESIDE CENTER mall includes a 5-story office tower.
Drawing from Charles R. Colbert, Architect / Tulane School of Architecture


In the final plan, the office building was omitted.
Drawing from Charles R. Colbert, Architect / Tulane School of Architecture

The original open-air complex, which incorporated 415,000 leasable square feet and contained thirty-two stores and services. Its parking area could accommodate over 4,000 autos. The mall's exterior was illuminated at night by four powerful fluorescent light towers. Each stood 156 feet high.

The Pontchartrain Causeway opened -as a 2-lane structure- in 1956 (which was 4 years before LAKESIDE CENTER was completed). In fact, Causeway Boulevard, leading to the 23.7 mile bridge, passes directly in front of the mall. The Causeway was 4-laned in 1969.
Photo from Wikipedia / Arthur Belala, US Army Corps of Engineers

This rendering, titled "Bird Cage Mall", shows the concourse of the prospective shopping complex. Apparently, the mild climate of New Orleans made it possible to maintain bird aviaries (such as the tall structure seen in the background) as part of the open-air mall.
Drawing from Charles R. Colbert, Architect / Tulane School of Architecture


One of the original shopping center's three anchors, Big Easy-based Godchaux's ["gawd-shows"]. This chain should not be confused with Goudchaux's, of Baton Rouge, which was an entirely different company.
Drawing from Charles R. Colbert, Architect / Tulane School of Architecture

Several additions are visible in a circa-1976 LAKESIDE layout. The D.H. Holmes and Godchaux's stores were expanded in 1966. The Lakeside Cinema I & II opened (as a northwestern outparcel) in 1967. The mall was rededicated, as a fully-enclosed and air-conditioned facility, in 1968. Lastly, J.C. Penney built a new, full-line store, which opened in 1975.

We now zoom up to the 21st century and a circa-2009 LAKESIDE layout. The mall underwent major changes in the 1980s and '90s. An East Mall of stores was built in 1981. After Godchaux's went bust in 1987, its area was reconfigured as Lakeside Market Fair (a.k.a. the Fashion Wing). A Food Court was installed as part of a 1989-1990 face lift. Macy's was added, as a third anchor, in 2008.

The aforementioned Macy's. This 3-level store was built, along with a 4-level parking garage, on the south end of the mall. LAKESIDE CENTER now encompassed 1,295,000 leasable square feet. It had been the fourth-largest shopping center in the state. Now it was third-largest. Btw, the largest is the 1,600,000 square foot CORTANA MALL, in Baton Rouge.
Drawing from www.feil.com (The Feil Organization)

And now, we embark on a Google Maps Street View tour of LAKESIDE CENTER, circa-March 2011. Our excursion begins on the north side of the mall, at the D.H. Holmes / Dillard's store.
Photo from Google Maps 


We swing around to the the back of the shopping center and the J.C. Penney anchor store.
Photo from Google Maps 


A little further and we are at one of the mall's southwest side entries. This one accesses the Food Court.
Photo from Google Maps


Lastly, we have the southwest corner of the complex. Since the late 1990s, several upscale restaurants have opened at the mall, including the P.F. Chang's China Bistro seen here. It welcomed its first diners in April 1997.
Photo from Google Maps

As an unwritten law states, a shopping complex must be renovated every 10 years, else it will loose favor with the buying public. The latest redo at LAKESIDE was a 3-year-long, 10 million dollar endeavor. Above and below, we see results of this face lift.
Drawing from https://sizeler.com (Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects) 


The Food Court, a circa-1990 fixture, was given a thorough refurbishment.
Drawing from https://sizeler.com (Sizeler Thompson Brown Architects) 


LAKESIDE CENTER, circa-2019. Cheesecake Factory, added to the east-facing front of the complex, was dedicated in June 2014. On the northern periphery of the center, Dick's Sporting Goods has replaced a vacant Linen's 'N Things. In late 2018, Spanish fashion retailer Zara opened a store in the mall.
LAKESIDE CENTER
Veterans Memorial and North Causeway Boulevards
Jefferson Parish (Metairie), Louisiana

The first shopping mall in the Bayou State was built on 52 acres, situated 6 miles northwest of the central city of New Orleans. The area, within unincorporated Jefferson Parish, is referred to as Metairie ["met-uh-ree"].

LAKESIDE CENTER was designed by Charles R. Colbert and developed by New Orleans real estate entrepreneur Paul Kapelow. The single-level, 415,000 square foot complex opened for business March 24, 1960. It was anchored by a 2-level (113,700 square foot), New Orleans-based D.H. Holmes, 1-level (46,000 square foot), New Orleans-based Godchaux's and 1-level (43,200 square foot) J.C. Penney.

Charter inline stores included Paris Hats, Hausmann's Jewelers, Turntable Records, Jean's Hosiery, Werlein's For Music, Lakeside Toys, Ad Lib Gifts, The Cove Cocktail Lounge, Walgreen Drug, S.S. Kresge and T G & Y 5 & 10's, a Winn-Dixie supermarket and freestanding Holloway House Cafeteria.

The General Cinema Corporation Lakeside Cinema I & II was built in the mall's northwest parking area and showed its first features August 4, 1967. The venue was reconfigured as a 4-screen operation in 1974 and as a "5-screener" in 1978.

Several major shopping centers were built in the LAKESIDE CENTER trade area over the ensuing years. OAKWOOD CENTER {8.9 miles southeast, in Jefferson Parish / Terrytown} opened in August 1966. CLEARVIEW MALL {1.3 miles southwest, in Jefferson Parish / Metairie} was dedicated in August 1969.

With two fully-enclosed shopping centers in its vicinity, it was imperative that LAKESIDE CENTER be rebuilt into a fully-enclosed mall. A roofing renovation was done, with the newly-air-conditioned complex rededicated on June 3, 1968. 2 years before, D.H. Holmes had been enlarged with a third level and westward addition, for a total of 270,000 square feet. Godchaux's also built a 9,000 square foot addition onto their store

A fourth Greater New Orleans mall, LAKE FOREST PLAZA {10.7 miles northeast, in New Orleans}, held its grand opening in September 1974. The 1980s brought two more. BELLE PROMENADE MALL {9 miles southeast, in Jefferson Parish / Marrero}, was completed in October 1983. THE ESPLANADE {5.3 miles west, in Kenner} began business in October 1985.

An expansion of the mall proper of LAKESIDE CENTER was underway by mid-1973. A West Mall was created, which would eventually be anchored by a 2-level (154,700 square foot) J.C. Penney. This full-line location, which replaced the mall's existing Penney's store, was dedicated on November 5, 1975.

The next mall modification involved the construction of a (51,000 square foot) East Mall. Built on the east-facing facade of LAKESIDE CENTER, this twenty-store addition was dedicated on October 15, 1981.

Godchaux's was shuttered in March 1987. Its space was divided into ten tenant spaces. The new mall within a mall, known as Lakeside Market Fair, opened in December 1987. Some of its stores were Bergeron's, Contempo Casuals, Joel Parker, The Limited, Express and Vision Plaza. D.H. Holmes was rebranded by Dillard's in May 1989.

The next major remodeling was in progress by August 1989. The 20 million dollar project refurbished all common area, added a northeast parking garage (which connected into the west entrance of Dillard's) and installed a 12-bay Food Court in existing space. When construction dust settled, LAKESIDE CENTER encompassed approximately 742,700 leasable square feet and had assumed the position of number one shopping venue in the region.

LAKESIDE CENTER suffered major exterior damage in August 2005, as a result of Hurricane Katrina. Fortunately, the mall's interior was left intact. Within 2 months, half of its stores were -again- open for business.

Construction commenced on another mall expansion in 2006. A new southwest parking garage was completed in October 2007. Work got underway on a 3-level (228,000 square foot) Macy's and adjacent parking structure in November 2007. The south garage was dedicated in September 2008, with Macy's holding its grand opening October 25 of the same year.

LAKESIDE CENTER has been owned and operated by the New York City-based Feil Organization for a number of years. The mall proper currently encompasses 1,295,000 leasable square feet. There are one hundred and twelve retail spaces and fifteen outparcel stores and services.

The complex maintains its position as the top shopping mall in Greater New Orleans. It eclipsed former retail rivals, such as BELLE PROMENADE MALL (1983-1999) and LAKE FOREST PLAZA (1974-2005).

To keep LAKESIDE CENTER in the top spot, a 10 million dollar refurbishment was done between 2017 and 2019. The project included a Food Court and common area face lift, plus the installation of new skylights, lighting, decorative columns and soft seating. A Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar was added to the mall's northeast parking lot. Spanish fashion retailer Zara also opened a (34,700 square foot) store inside the mall.

Sources:

The New Orleans Advocate
The Times-Picayune
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
Tulane School of Architecture / Francine Stock
www.feil.com
https://neworleanscitybusiness.com
http://www.roofline.com (Hayden Building Maintenance Corporation)
www.labelscar.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
"Lakeside Center" article on Wikipedia
New Orleans' Oakwood Center


The second mall in Greater New Orleans was also the region's first fully-enclosed shopping complex. The first stores in OAKWOOD CENTER opened for business between April and October of 1966. The trademark seen above was used to promote the original facility.
Graphic from http://southernretail.blogspot.com

OAKWOOD CENTER was anchored by locally-owned D.H. Holmes. The store, the fifth branch in the chain, encompassed 143,000 square feet and included an in-store Public Auditorium and freestanding cafeteria.
Drawing from http://departmentstoremuseum.blogspot.com


In our first OAKWOOD CENTER layout, we have a depiction of the mall as it stood in 1966 (the "butterfly twin" cinema shown in gray would be completed in August 1967). At this time, the mall proper of OAKWOOD encompassed approximately 690,000 leasable square feet. There was space for fifty-six stores and services under its roof.


OAKWOOD CENTER TENANTS, OCTOBER 1966:

D.H. HOLMES (with freestanding Hollway House Cafeteria and Car Care Center) / SEARS (with Coffee Shop, Beauty Salon and freestanding Auto Center) / S.H. KRESS 5 & 10 (with luncheonette) / WINN-DIXIE supermarket / Allen Shoes / Bank of the South / Barricini Candy / Barnett's Furniture / Florsheim Shoes / Goldring's / Gus Mayer ladies' & childrens ready-to-wear / Hardy Shoes / Hausmann's / K & B Drug (with luncheonette) / Kinney Shoes / Magi Gift Shop / Miller-Wohl / National Shirt Shops / Oakwood Barber Shop / Paris Hats / Steins / Steven's / Werlein's For Music / Zales Jewelers

The name of the complex morphed into OAKWOOD MALL in the 1970s. The physical structure remained unchanged until the mid-1980s, when a Food Court was installed in the northeast corner. A shiny new Mervyn's joined the tenant list in November 1986. By 1989, a new K & B Drug had replaced an existing mall store. With these modifications, the shopping facility spanned approximately 793,000 leasable square feet.


A major renovation and expansion was done between August 1990 and March 1994. A new Dillard's (replacing a rebranded Holmes location) was built, which was eventually joined by a new Maison Blanche and South Wing of stores. Known -once more- as OAKWOOD CENTER, the mall encompassed approximately 1.1 million leasable square feet and housed over one hundred and twenty stores and services.

In August 2005, the mall was severely damaged and vandalized as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The common area section was closed for nearly 2 years. This rendering, and the one that follows, depict the interior of OAKWOOD CENTER after it was rebuilt.
Drawing from www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)


Here we see the 10-bay Food Court, post-renovation. Most of the pre-Katrina tenants did not return to the reconstructed food facility. Only New Orleans Original Daiquiris, Philly's Steakhouse and Chick-Fil-A weathered the storm.
Drawing from www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)


The west end of OAKWOOD CENTER remained closed long after the rest of the mall had re-opened. Mervyn's, who had been in a store-closing downward spiral for some time, never resumed operation. This open-air Streetscape section was proposed as a replacement for the idle West Wing and vacant Mervyn's. It was never built.
Drawing from www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)

A circa-2009 site plan. The central section of the mall (in light gray) had been decimated by Hurricane Katrina and subsequent vandalism. It was totally rebuilt and retenanted. The abandoned West Wing and Mervyn's store would be idle for over 8 years.


OAKWOOD CENTER TENANTS 2009:

SEARS (with freestanding Auto Center) / J.C. PENNEY / DILLARD'S / 1000 tc. / Accessories 2 Go / Aeropostale / Aldo / American Eagle Outfitters / AT&T Mobility / The Avenue / Bag It / Baker's Shoes / Bank of Louisiana / Bath & Body Works / Best Image / Bico Australia / Blush / Browz 'N Lashez / Cafe' du Monde / Candles Connection / Champs Sports / Charlotte Russe / Chick-Fil-A / Claire's / Discount Connections / Ebony's Lace Wigs / Elite Too / Eyemasters / Fame / Famous Wok / Finish Line / Foot Action / Foot Locker / XXI Forever / Game Stop / GNC / Gold Factory / Good Deal Wireless / Gordon's Jewelers / Great American Cookie Company / iSupply / It's A Wrap / iWrapz / Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office / Journeys Shoes / Kay Jewelers / Kids Foot Locker / Lady Foot Locker / Lids / Luciano's Pizzeria / Men's Wearhouse & Tux / Motherhood Maternity / Mr. Goldman / New York & Company / New In Style / New Orleans Original Daiquiris / New Pro Cell / Nouveau / NYS / Oakwood Nails & Spa / Old Navy / Om Smoke / Payless ShoeSource / Perfume Outlet / Philly's Steakhouse / Popcorn Parlor / Premier Dead Sea / Radio Shack / Regis Salons / Shoe MGK / Silver Connection / Smoothie King / Solar Whitening / Sprint-Nextel / Strausie's CZ Jewelry / Subway / The 6 Scents / The Children's Place / The Ice Age / The Shoe Department / T-Mobile / Torrid / Treasures / Trendz (Coming Soon) / Underground Station / Verizon / Victoria's Secret / Wet Seal / Zales Jewelers

The moribund Mervyn's was finally rebuilt. It re-opened, as a Dick's Sporting Goods, in October 2013.
Photo from https://stores.dickssportinggoods.com


A panoramic interior view of OAKWOOD CENTER, provided by the proprietor.
Photo from www.ggp.com (GGP Inc-General Growth Properties)


In a circa-2014 layout, we see the renovated West Wing in light gray. It houses the aforementioned Dick's Sporting Goods, a relocated -and downsized- Old Navy, and Rue 21, Dress Barn, Carters and Ulta Beauty. With all recent modifications, the GLA of OAKWOOD CENTER now stands at 907,100 square feet, with a retail roster of eighty-one stores and services.

OAKWOOD CENTER
West Bank Expressway / US 90 and Terry Parkway
Jefferson Parish (Terrytown), Louisiana

The second shopping mall in -or around- "The Big Easy" was designed by New Orleans-based Curtis & Davis Architects & Engineers. OAKWOOD CENTER was built on a 68.5 acre tract, located 4 miles southeast of central New Orleans. The site, on the West Bank of the Mississippi, was in an unincorporated section of Jefferson Parish known as Terrytown.

The single-level, fully-enclosed complex encompassed approximately 691,600 leasable square feet. Its first operational store, a 2-level (189,600 square foot) Sears, opened for business April 13, 1966. The second anchor, a 3-level (143,000 square foot), New Orleans-based D.H. Holmes, was dedicated August 1, 1966. By October of the same year, twenty-five stores were in operation.

Charter OAKWOOD CENTER tenants included Allens Shoes, Goldring's, Katz & Besthoff (K & B) Drug, Gus Mayer, Steins, McKenzie Pastry Shoppe, a Winn-Dixie supermarket and (26,000 square foot) S.H. Kress 5 & 10.

The General Cinema Corporation Oakwood Cinema I & II showed its first features on August 4, 1967. Built in the southeastern periphery of the mall, it opened in conjunction with an identical theater at LAKESIDE CENTER.

Major shopping venues in the vicinity of OAKWOOD included the aforementioned LAKESIDE CENTER (1960) {8.9 miles northwest, in Jefferson Parish / Metairie} and CLEARVIEW MALL (1969) {10.1 miles northwest, also in Jefferson Parish / Metairie}. A second shopping hub on the West Bank, BELLE PROMENADE MALL {4.2 miles southwest, in Jefferson Parish / Marrero} was dedicated in 1983.

By this time, the Terrytown shopping facility was officially being promoted as OAKWOOD MALL. Maryland's James Rouse Company acquired the complex in August 1982. They performed a 1 million dollar interior face lift in the following year. It appears likely that the mall's S.H. Kress variety store closed around this time. Its space was reconfigured as a Food Court, which was in operation by 1984.

The first physical addition to OAKWOOD MALL, a 2-level (82,000 square foot) Mervyn's, welcomed its first shoppers on November 28, 1986. An official name change, from OAKWOOD MALL back to OAKWOOD CENTER, was adopted in August 1991.

Meanwhile, the D.H. Holmes store had been rebranded by Dillard's in May 1989. A major mall renovation and expansion was being plotted that would extend the existing East and South Wings. This project would be completed in two stages and enlarge the shopping facility from 793,000 square feet to over 1 million.

The first phase, consisting of a 2-level (175,000 square foot) Dillard's, was dedicated on October 9, 1991. The vacant Holmes / Dillard's building was sectioned into several inline stores. The Lower Level accommodated American Eagle Outfitters, Express, Kirkland's and Sam Goody Music. A (35,000 square foot) Marshalls set up shop in the Upper Level.

The second phase (South Wing) mall expansion was delayed by litigation between The Rouse Company and D.H. Holmes. Rouse wanted to add a Baton Rouge-based Maison Blanche department store to the mall; an action bitterly contested by the Holmes parent company. The impasse was eventually worked out...probably due to the Holmes enterprise being sold to Arkansas' Dillard's chain.

Ground was broken for the second stage addition in March 1993. A 2-level (157,000 square foot) Maison Blanche, and twenty-five new inline stores, were dedicated on March 10, 1994. With the 1998 acquisition of Mercantile Stores by Dillard's, the Maison Blanche at OAKWOOD CENTER was shuttered. It re-opened, as a J.C. Penney, on February 18, 1999.

Chicago's General Growth Properties absorbed the holdings of The Rouse Company in November 2004. As a result, the shopping hub was added to the GGP portfolio. Housing one hundred twenty-four stores and services, OAKWOOD CENTER had become one of the most upscale shopping venues in the Crescent City.

Unfortunately, the shopping center was devastated as a result of Hurricane Katrina, in August 2005. The structure was not damaged so much by the storm and flooding but was looted and set on fire in the aftermath. Eighty percent of the stores were damaged by smoke and water.

One third of the mall was demolished, with 95 million dollars expended in its reconstruction. Sears became the first store to re-open, in early 2006, with Dillard's returning in late 2006 and Penney's in late 2007. Mervyn's did not resume operations. A mall-wide grand re-opening celebration was held October 19, 2007.

The West Wing of the mall, vacant and closed to the public since 2005, was finally rebuilt in 2012. New stores, such as Rue 21, Ulta Beauty and Dress Barn, opened, along with a relocated Old Navy. Three of these stores had exterior entrances, which formed a small Streetscape on the mall's southwest facade.

Mervyn's, which had been sitting empty since being closed by Hurricane Katrina, was renovated. It opened, as a Dick's Sporting Goods, October 13, 2013. Sears shuttered their OAKWOOD CENTER store on March 26, 2017, ending over 50 years of business at the shopping hub.

Sources:

The Times- Picayune
http://southernretail.blogspot.com
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org/theatre.html
"Oakwood Center" article on Wikipedia
"Mercantile Stores" article on Wikipedia
Central Louisiana's Alexandria Mall



J.C. Penney anchored the original shopping hub with a 132,000 square foot location. At the time, the store included a freestanding -14,000 square foot- Penney's Auto Center. The ALEXANDRIA MALL Penney's was (and is) the largest store in the complex.

ALEXANDRIA MALL, circa-1973. The 545,000 square foot facility was anchored by Sears and the aforementioned Penney's, with Wellan's, Weiss & Goldring and Bealls as its junior anchors. An in-mall twin cinema was housed in its South Wing.


The mall was enlarged between May 1985 and October 1986. A 328,000 square foot Southeast Wing added Dillards, Mervyn's and over fifty inline stores. In 1987, ALEXANDRIA MALL houses approximately 873,000 leasable square feet. Its in-mall twin cinema has been replaced by the new Alexandria 6 megaplex. This freestanding venue is situated on a pad southeast of the mall proper.

By 1987, Alexandria's MACARTHUR VILLAGE was celebrating its 30th anniversary. Opening, in November 1957, as the first suburban retail complex in Central Louisiana, it housed stores such as Woolworth's and a Child's supermarket. The strip center was converted into an enclosed mall in 1978 and demalled in the early 2000s. Today's tenants include Kroger and Petco.
Photo from http://stirlingprop.catylist.com (Sterling Properties)  


SOUTHGATE MALL held its grand opening in August 1972...a year before business began at the nearby ALEXANDRIA MALL. SOUTHGATE was originally anchored by Woolco and Montgomery Ward. The complex was reconfigured as an open-air venue in 2002 and renamed ALEXANDRIA POWER CENTER. Current stores include Jo-Ann Fabrics and Harbor Freight & Tools.
Photo from https://www.crexi.com


Getting back to our focus on ALEXANDRIA MALL, we post a snapshot of Dillard's. This store was one of two anchors in the Southeast Wing expansion. It opened, as part of the grand opening of the addition, in August 1986.
Photo from https://www.dillards.com


The Limited was a Southeast Wing tenant for several years. The store was shuttered in January 2017.
Photo from www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties) 


American Eagle Outfitters still operates a store in the connecting corridor between the original (circa-1973) mall and Southeast Wing.
Photo from www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties) 

Kirkland's, a home decor store, opened an ALEXANDRIA MALL location in October 2015. It assumed a (7,000 square foot) space previously occupied by a Piccadilly Cafeteria.
Photo from www.kirklands.com


In a circa-2016 site plan, we see modifications done over the past 20 years. Anchor-wise, only one of the mall's four department stores has been rebranded. A vacant Mervyn's morphed into a Burlington (Coat Factory) in March 2007. On the other hand, all three of the junior anchors are sporting different nameplates.


Conn's HomePlus, a furniture and appliance emporium, opened in February 2016. Conn's was installed in space leased by a Wellan's junior department store between 1973 and 1989. Over the ensuing years, Stein Mart / Sam Goody and a Slinkee's Family Fun Center also operated out of the (50,000 square foot) storefront.
Photo from https://www.conns.com
ALEXANDRIA MALL
Memorial and Masonic Drives
Alexandria, Louisiana

Located near the geographic center of the state, ALEXANDRIA MALL was developed by the Pineville, Louisiana-based Tudor Construction Company. It was situated on one hundred and five acres, located 1.5 miles southwest of downtown Alexandria. Ground was broken for the project in March 1972.

Encompassing 545,000 leasable square feet, the retail hub was entirely a single-level structure. It was anchored by a 1-level (109,000 square foot) Sears and 1-level (132,000 square foot) J.C. Penney. Three Bayou State retailers served as junior anchors; a (30,000 square foot), Alexandria-based Weiss & Goldring, (32,000 square foot), Alexandria-based Wellan's and (19,100 square foot), Shreveport-based W.F. Beall.

The mall was officially dedicated, with thirty operational stores, on August 1, 1973. Sears and J.C. Penney opened for business at this time. When fully-leased, ALEXANDRIA MALL housed sixty-three retail spaces.

Charter tenants included Peoples Shoes, Walden Books & Hallmark, Newson Music, J. Howard Limited men's wear, Lerner Shops, Gordon's Jewelers, Tie Castle, Wicks 'n Sticks, Musicland, K & B Drug and a Piccadilly Cafeteria. A (59,400 square foot), Baton Rouge-based H.J. Wilson Catalog Showroom was a northeast outparcel. The General Cinema Corporation Alexandria Mall Cinema I & II (an in-mall venue) showed its first features December 25, 1973.

Two major shopping hubs were located in close proximity to ALEXANDRIA MALL. MACARTHUR VILLAGE {.7 mile northwest, in Alexandria} had opened for business in November 1957. SOUTHGATE MALL {.5 mile west, also in Alexandria} held its grand opening in August 1972.

A major expansion of ALEXANDRIA MALL got underway in May 1985. This project added 328,000 square feet in a single-level Southeast Wing. The addition was officially dedicated August 13, 1986. A 1-level (102,000 square foot), Little Rock-based Dillard's and 17-bay The Market Place Food Court opened at this time. A 1-level (63,000 square foot), Hayward, California-based Mervyn's began business October 17 of the same year.

The freestanding General Cinema Corporation Alexandria 6 megaplex replaced the in-mall twin cinema, which had been shuttered as part of the expansion of the shopping complex. The Alexandria 6 was located on a pad southeast of the mall proper and showed its first features September 19, 1986.

As part of the renovation, the existing structure was refurbished with new skylights and flooring. With all modifications completed, ALEXANDRIA MALL encompassed approximately 873,000 leasable square feet and housed ninety-seven stores and services.

The Wellan's store was shuttered on July 25, 1989. It was expanded into adjacent area and retenanted by a (38,000 square foot), Jacksonville, Florida-based Stein Mart and (12,000 square foot) Sam Goody. Stein Mart opened for business in October 1995. W.F. Beall (a.k.a. Bealls) had been rebranded as Beall-Ladymon in the mid-1980s. In April 1995, the store morphed into a Houston-based Stage.

Mervyn's closed in February 2006. Soon after, Weiss-Goldring, a 1973 charter tenant, moved to a substantially downsized store, in a portion of the old J.C. Penney Auto Center. In mid-2006, the mall was given a interior face lift. This was followed by the opening of a new Burlington Coat Factory, in the vacant Mervyn's, in March 2007.

J.C. Penney took a major hit from Hurricane Gustav in September 2008 and was closed for repairs for several months. The refurbished store resumed business in July 2009. It was joined by new tenants The Children's Place, The Buckle, McAlister's Deli and a Slinkee's Family Fun Center (in a vacated Stein Mart space). The old Weiss-Goldring spot was sectioned into three stores, with the largest being a (24,300 square foot) Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Today, ALEXANDRIA MALL is owned by the New York City-based Radiant Partners, Limited Liability Company and managed by Chicago's Jones Lang LaSalle. Among the shopping center's fifty operational stores are Ulta Beauty, Versona, Shoe Department Encore and It's Fashion Metro.

Sources:

The Alexandria Daily Town Talk
www.alexandria-louisiana.com / "Alexandria Retrospective"
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
www.cinematreasures.org
www.alexandriamall.com
"Alexandria Mall" article on Wikipedia
"Dillard's" article on Wikipedia
Baton Rouge's Cortana Mall



One of five original "anchor boxes" at CORTANA MALL, this store opened, as a Dillard's, in September 1976. It became a Birmingham-based Parisian in December 1998, Jackson-based McRae's in September 1999 and Houston-based Foley's in March 2001. The store operated under a Macy's nameplate between September 2006 and March 2016.

A vintage view of the Woolworth 5 & 10 at BON MARCHE REGIONAL CENTER. Dedicated in November 1960, the open-air shopping hub was the first mall in the Capital City region. It was shuttered in 1990 and converted into BON CARRE TECHNOLOGY CENTER, a "hub for technology, research and business".
Photo from http://boncarrecenter.com


The mid-1970s brought a major competitor for BON MARCHE REGIONAL CENTER. CORTANA MALL opened as the state's largest shopping center. At the time of this 1978 depiction, the mammoth mall spanned approximately 1,386,300 leasable square feet and housed over one hundred stores and services.

A circa-1988 physical layout, showing the new North (Mervyn's) Wing in light gray. With this addition, CORTANA MALL incorporates 1.6 million square feet of selling space, with a whopping tenant list of one hundred and forty-nine stores. Peripheral development includes the CORTANA SQUARE strip center, with its standard issue Wal-Mart "Region One" store.

One of the mall's five entrances; this one connecting into the Southeast (Sears) Wing. Looming in the distance is the northeast anchor of the complex. Originally the Dillard's depicted above, it received its Macy's nameplate in September 2006.
Photo from "Jamie"


Exterior signage promoting CORTANA MALL.
Photo from "Jamie"


A late 1990s aerial view of the CORTANA complex, looking toward the southeast. Mervyn's is on the left, with Service Merchandise at front center.
Photo from www.mjwomack.com (Milton J. Womack, Incorporated)

One of two interior entries into the mall's J.C. Penney store.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Dan 326"


The CORTANA Steve & Barry's was short-lived. It went into a vacant Service Merchandise space in 2004 and closed in 2009. The store was reconfigured as a Birminghham-based Virginia College, which opened in 2010.
Photo from "Jamie"


An interior view of the Northwest (Virginia College) Wing. Nameplates for Lady Footlocker, Radio Shack and Footaction may be seen.
Photo from "Jamie"