EASTBROOK MALL
28th Street Southeast and East Beltline Avenue Southeast
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The Grand Rapids region's first fully-enclosed shopping center, ROGERS PLAZA, opened, as the first interior mall in the state, in March 1961. 2 years later, BRETON VILLAGE CENTER was completed.

In September 1965, ground was broken for "EASTBELT MALL", which was to be the area's third enclosed complex. With its name changed to EASTBROOK MALL, the center was officially dedicated in October 1967. EASTBROOK MALL presided over 60.3 acres, located 5.2 miles southeast of the center city. The single-level shopopolis originally encompassed 519,400 leasable square feet and fifty stores and services.

Its three anchors were a 2-level, (100,000 square foot), Grand Rapids-based Steketee's ["stek-uh-teez'], 2-level (160,000 square foot), Grand Rapids-based Wurzburg's and 1-level (100,000 square foot) Woolco discount mart. Original inline tenants included Gantos ladies', Muir Drug and the freestanding (single-screen) Eastbrook Theatre.

Retail competitors included the aforementioned ROGERS PLAZA {5.1 miles west, in Wyoming} and BRETON VILLAGE CENTER {1 mile west, in Grand Rapids}. In 1968, WOODLAND MALL {.3 mile west, in Kentwood} was completed.

The first major rebranding at EASTBROOK involved the Wurzburg's anchor, which closed and re-opened, as a Grand Rapids-based Klingman's Furniture, in 1979. Woolco's January 1983 closing presented a vacant anchor space that was divided by three. The largest section, consisting of 62,500 square feet, became a Burlington, New Jersey-based Burlington Coat Factory. 20,300 square feet was leased as an F & M Distributors, with the remaining 12,000 square feet given to a Show Biz Pizza Place. Framingham, Massachusetts-based T.J. Maxx moved into a Woolco Wing mall space in 1984.

The first expansion of EASTBROOK MALL, completed in 1986, added a 1-level (81,200 square foot), Canton, Massachusetts-based Hills discount mart and eight inline store spaces. The complex now spanned 619,700 leasable square feet and fifty-eight stores and services. Hills shut down in 1991 and was followed by an Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based Menards home improvement center in the mid-1990s.

In the old Woolco spot, Show Biz Pizza morphed into Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater in 1984 and assumed the Chuck E. Cheese's banner in 1992. F & M Distributors closed in 1998 and re-opened as an MC Sports outlet.

The Steketee's anchor was shuttered in 2000. This was also the year that the shopping center was acquired by a joint venture of West Bloomfield, Michigan-based Lormax Stern Development, FH Management and Southfield, Michigan-based Ariel Enterprises.

A 70 million dollar reworking of the shopping complex was undertaken, with various inline tenants relocated and adjoining vacant store areas opened up into larger, big box-type spaces. Moreover, mallways were widened, ceilings raised and the exterior given a complete makeover.

The empty Steketee's was gutted. Its area was rebuilt as an extended north-south concourse with five new tenant spaces and two exterior entryways. A 1-level (36,900 square foot), Seattle-based Nordstrom Rack was built north of the reconstructed section.

In 2004, the restyled shopping center, renamed CENTERPOINTE MALL, was officially dedicated. The struggling EASTBROOK MALL had been repositioned into a value-oriented complex of 656,700 leasable square feet and forty retailers.

Existing tenants such as Menards, T.J. Maxx and Klingman's Furniture, were joined by Dunham's Sports, DSW, Game Zone, Old Navy, Steve & Barry's University Sportswear and Modern Surf & Skate.

In the old Woolco space, Burlington Coat Factory, shuttered in 2001, was carved into six sections. The largest of these, encompassing 38,700 square feet, became a Clifton, New Jersey-based Linens 'N Things. By this time, MC Sports had morphed into a Coraopolis, Pennsylvania-based Golf Galaxy.

The retail reinvention was not entirely successful...due to competition from the adjacent WOODLAND MALL. In 2007, a plan was formulated to demall the CENTERPOINTE property into an entirely open-air complex. However, a downturn in the national economy slammed the brakes on any such redevelopment. The economic doldrums also resulted in the demise of the Linens 'N Things and Steve & Barry's chains.

These respective CENTERPOINTE stores were replaced by a Jo-Ann Fabrics Superstore (coming inline in November 2008) and Below Wholesale (opening in February 2009). Klingman's Furniture had vacated their spot in May 2008.

With only thirty-seven stores in operation -out of a total of fifty-eight spaces- the demalling plan first proposed in 2007 gained momentum. In October 2011, Lormax Stern announced that demolition of 350,000 square feet of the existing structure would soon get underway. The enclosed mallway, southern store blocks and Wurzburg's building would be torn down.

Phase One of the demalling began with the demolition of old Wurzburg's structure, in March 2012. It was replaced by a two-unit building encompassing 52,000 square feet and housing a combo T.J. Maxx / HomeGoods. These stores opened March 3, 2013. The second newly-constructed building was occupied by David's Bridal.

Phase Two of the reconstruction project was underway by late 2012. Retail space left standing as the interior mallway was demolished was renovated and retenanted by stores such as Ulta Beauty, Five Below, World Market and Dress Barn. The DSW store in the old mall was relocated. Four outparcel structures were also built in the south parking area.

Existing big box stores Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy, Dunham's Sports, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Golf Galaxy remained in place. Menard's, a tenant since the mid-1990s, closed for good March 29, 2013. The reconstruction of the shopping hub was completed in late 2013. SHOPS AT CENTERPOINTE encompassed 575,000 leasable square feet and over twenty-two stores and services.

Sources:

"Centerpointe Mall" article on Wikipedia
Information provided by "TenPoundHammer"
www.centerpointmall.com
www.centerpointmall.com (Archived website on the Internet Archive)
www.lormaxstern.com
www.cinematreasures.org