VANCOUVER MALL
Northeast Vancouver Mall Drive and Northeast 94th Avenue
Clark County (Vancouver), Washington

The seventh major shopping mall in -or around- Portland, Oregon was built north of the Columbia River, in neighboring Washington State. VANCOUVER MALL would occupy a 73.1 acre parcel, located 9.9 miles northeast of center city Portland. The mall site was originally in an unincorporated section of Clark County, Washington.

Plan were initially announced in December 1972. VANCOUVER MALL would be a fully-enclosed structure, comprised of 2 retail levels. It would be developed by a joint venture of California-based Newman Properties and St. Louis-based May Centers and be implemented in two stages. Phase One, encompassing approximately 467,900 leasable square feet, opened for business in August 1977.

The 50 million dollar complex was anchored by a 2-level (118,300 square foot), Portland-based Meier & Frank, 2-level (71,700 square foot) Nordstrom and 2-level (125,100 square foot) Sears. Charter inline stores included Karmelkorn, Orange Bowl, B. Dalton Bookseller, Mr. Rags, Spencer Gifts, Lerner Shops, Huey & Sons Cutlery, Hanover Shoes and Musicland.

The freestanding Moyer Theatres Vancouver Mall Four Cinemas was built on a pad situated northeast of the mall proper. The venue opened for business in April 1978 and was shuttered in October 1999.

VANCOUVER MALL had no regional-class competitors in Washington State. TOWER MALL {2.5 miles southwest, in Vancouver} had opened in 1971 and encompassed only 179,000 leasable square feet. FIVE CORNER MALL {1.3 miles northeast, in Clark County} was dedicated in 1973 and was even smaller.

The nearest regional-class rival was JANTZEN BEACH CENTER {5.5 miles southwest, in Portland}. This complex had opened in 1972. Farther away from VANCOUVER MALL were LLOYD CENTER (1960) {9.1 miles southwest, in Portland} and MALL 205 (1971) {9.6 miles south, also in "PDX").

Construction commenced on the second phase of VANCOUVER MALL in 1979. A 326,100 square foot eastward expansion included a 2-level (144,100 square foot) J.C. Penney, which was dedicated February 27, 1980. A 2-level (82,000 square foot) Mervyn's was completed in August 1981. The shopping facility now encompassed approximately 793,900 leasable square feet.

"VAN MALL" was annexed into the city of Vancouver in 1993. The center was given a 17 million dollar interior facelift, which was completed in the summer of the same year. During the remodeling, the 10-bay Food Pavilion was installed in Second Floor space and original "Big Timber" interior decor was updated.

In December 1993, Australia-based Westfield Holdings (today's Westfield Group) bought the complex. It was renamed WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN VANCOUVER in December 1998. At the same time, a vacant International House of Pancakes, on the mall's First Floor, was enlarged with a southward addition. A new Outback Steakhouse welcomed its first patrons December 15, 1998.

A mall expansion had been announced in November 2001, which would have added a new Meier & Frank west of the existing location. The old building was to be sectioned into 2 levels of inline stores. This addition was never built. Meanwhile, the official name of the mall was shortened to WESTFIELD VANCOUVER in June 2005.

In August, the first earth was turned for an expansion of Meier & Frank. The structure was enlarged to 178,000 square feet, with the renovation completed in July 2006. On September 9 of the same year, the store was rebranded as a Macy's.

A mall-wide renovation was announced in August 2007. The 25 million dollar project would add a 50,000 square foot "lifestyle district" to the southwest corner of the complex and replace Mervyn's (which had closed in December 2006) with a Regal megaplex.

The Great Recession caused Westfield to reconsider any new construction at the mall. The renovation and expansion project, which was to get underway in the fall of 2008, was postponed indefinitely.

In September 2010, plans for a new WESTFIELD VANCOUVER movie megaplex were announced. The Cinetopia Westfield Vancouver Mall 23 would be installed in the old Mervyn's building, which would be gutted and enlarged.

A long-delayed mall renovation got underway in March 2011. New flooring, handrails, lighting and restrooms were installed. The complex was also given new elevators, escalators and soft seating. A children's play area was installed on the First Floor and mall entrances were rebuilt. The remodeling was completed in November 2011.

On June 22, 2012, the first features were shown at the new Cinetopia megaplex. With its latest renovation, WESTFIELD VANCOUVER encompassed approximately 883,100 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and twenty-seven stores and services.

An "underperforming" Nordstrom closed its doors January 10, 2015. The Second Floor of the store re-opened, as a (29,000 square foot) Gold's Gym, March 24, 2016. The First Floor was refashioned into a (20,000 square foot) H & M, which opened its doors September 14, 2016.

Meanwhile, the mall had been sold. A joint venture of San Antonio's USAA Real Estate, Dallas' Centennial Real Estate and San Francisco's Montgomery Street Partners bought the shopping center in December 2015. Its official name reverted back to VANCOUVER MALL on December 19.

Sources:

http://www.labelscar.com
The Columbian (Clark County, Washington)
"Vancouver Mall" article on Wikipedia
http://kaga.wsulibs.wsu.edu (Clark County Historical Museum Photograph Collection)
www.oregonlive.com
http://www.westfield.com
http://www.centennialrec.com (Centennial Real Estate)
www.angelfire.com/wa2/hwysofwastate
http://www.cinetopiatheaters.com
www.cinematreasures.org