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

Greater Grand Rapids' first fully-enclosed shopping center, ROGERS PLAZA, opened for business 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 region's third fully-enclosed retail complex. The center was built on 60.3 acres, located 5.2 miles southeast of the center city.

By the time the complex was officially dedicated, in October 1967, its name had been changed to EASTBROOK MALL. It consisted of a single retail level, encompassed approximately 519,400 leasable square feet, and housed fifty stores and services.

Anchoring EASTBROOK MALL were 2-level (160,000 square foot), Grand Rapids-based Wurzburg's, 1-level, (60,000 square foot), Grand Rapids-based Steketee's ["stek-uh-teez'] and 1-level (100,000 square foot) Woolco discount mart. Wurzburg's opened, as the mall's first operational store, in 1966. Steketee's welcomed its first shoppers on July 13, 1967.

Original inline tenants included Gantos ladies' wear, Winkelman's ladies wear, Fox Jewelers and Muir Drug. The Butterfield Theatres Eastbrook Theatre showed its first feature August 25, 1967. The venue, which had been built as a northwestern outparcel of the mall, was split into the Eastbook Twin in the early 1980s and was shuttered on August 19, 1987.

Retail competitors of EASTBROOK MALL 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 store rebranding at EASTBROOK involved Wurzburg's, which closed and re-opened, as a Grand Rapids-based Klingman's Furniture, in 1979. Woolco's January 1983 demise created a vacant anchor space that was divided by three.

The largest section became a (62,500 square foot) Burlington Coat Factory. There was also a (20,300 square foot) F & M Distributors and (12,000 square foot) Show Biz Pizza Place.

The first expansion of EASTBROOK MALL was completed in 1986. The project added a 1-level (81,200 square foot), Canton, Massachusetts-based Hills discount mart and eight inline stores. The complex now spanned approximately 619,700 leasable square feet and contained fifty-eight stores and services.

Hills shut down in 1991 and was followed by an Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based Menards home improvement center in 1995. Show Biz Pizza had morphed into a Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater in 1984 and came under the Chuck E. Cheese's banner in 1992. F & M Distributors closed in 1998 and re-opened as a short-lived MC Sports outlet.

By this time, EASTBROOK MALL was in a state of decline. The complex was acquired by a joint venture of West Bloomfield, Michigan-based Lormax Stern Development, FH Management and Southfield, Michigan-based Ariel Enterprises in June of the year 2000.

Steketee's was shuttered January 14, 2001. The empty store was gutted and rebuilt as an extended north-south mallway flanked by five new tenant spaces and two exterior entries. A 1-level (36,900 square foot), Seattle-based Nordstrom Rack was constructed north of this rebuilt section. It debuted on October 25, 2001.

Meanwhile, the name of the complex had been changed to CENTERPOINTE MALL in August 2001. A 70 million dollar reworking of the shopping complex got underway. Various inline tenants were relocated with vacated store area expanded into larger, big box spaces.

Mallways were refurbished with new flooring, landscaping and skylights. Likewise, the exterior was given a complete makeover and the parking lot was repaved. Existing tenants, such as Menards, T.J. Maxx , Famous Footwear, Old Country Buffet and Golf Galaxy, were joined by Linens & Things (August 2001) and Steve & Barry's University Sportswear (October 2001).

The revitalized CENTERPOINTE MALL was officially dedicated October 25th through 28th, 2002. New stores continued to open, such as DSW (March 2004), Old Navy (June 2004), Dunham's Sports (August 2004) and Lane Bryant (September 2004). The shopping facility (including its outparcels)  now spanned approximately 915,000 leasable square feet.

Regretfully, the EASTBROOK-CENTERPOINTE reinvention was not entirely successful, due -in-part- to competition from WOODLAND MALL and RIVERTOWN CROSSINGS {9 miles southwest, in Grandville}, which had been dedicated in 1999.

In 2007, a demalling plan was announced, whereby the CENTERPOINTE property would be reconfigured as an open-air complex. The Great Recession 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.

Their respective CENTERPOINTE stores were replaced by a Jo-Ann Fabrics Superstore (November 2008) and Below Wholesale (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 demolition of old Wurzburg's structure, in March 2012. It was replaced by a two-unit building housing a (52,000 square foot) T.J. Maxx / HomeGoods. These opened on March 3, 2013. A second newly-built structure was occupied by a downsized (10,000 square foot) David's Bridal.

Phase Two of the reconstruction was underway by late 2012. Retail space remaining from the enclosed mall was renovated and retenanted by stores such as Ulta Beauty, Five Below, World Market and Dress Barn.

The DSW and Men's Wearhouse stores moved to new buildings. Four freestanding structures were also built in the south parking area. 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. A (38,400 square foot) Planet Fitness assumed a portion of the vacant store space.

The reconfiguration of the shopping hub was completed in late 2013. SHOPS AT CENTERPOINT encompassed 575,000 leasable square feet and housed over twenty-two stores and services.

Sources:

The Grand Rapids Press
www.centerpointmall.com
http://www.grbj.com (Grand Rapids Business Journal)
www.centerpointmall.com (Archived website on the Internet Archive)
http://www.cinematour.com
"Centerpointe Mall" article on Wikipedia