North Academy Boulevard and East Platte Avenue / US 24
Colorado Springs, Colorado

The first interior mall in The Springs was developed by the Des Moines-based General Growth Development Corporation (the precursor of today's GGP Inc). THE CITADEL was built on a 64.9 acre plot, located 2.9 miles northeast of the Colorado Springs Central Business District.

Designed by Kansas City, Missouri's Chris Ramos Group Architects & Planners, the 2-level shopping hub originally encompassed approximately 506,700 leasable square feet.

Anchoring its south end was a 3-level (192,700 square foot) J.C. Penney, which opened February 2, 1972. On the north was a 2-level (99,600 square foot) Denver Dry Goods ("The Denver"). This store held its grand opening along with the mall, on March 1, 1972.

Charter inline stores included Baker's Qualicraft Shoes, Florsheim Shoes, Parklane Hosiery, National Shirt Shops, Conrad's Fabrics, Lerner Shops, The Record Shop, Singer Sewing Center, Mr. "C" Fashions, Helzberg Diamonds and Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio. The in-mall General Cinema Corporation Citadel Cinema I & II showed its first features July 21, 1972.

Commercial competitors in the early years were all located within the corporate limits of Colorado Springs. These included SOUTHGATE CENTER (1959) {4 miles southwest}, THE SHOPS AT THE BLUFFS (1975) {3.2 miles north} and CHAPEL HILLS MALL (1982) {7.1 miles northwest}.

As a keeping up measure, THE CITADEL was expanded during the mid-1980s. A 2-level (195,000 square foot), Denver-based May D & F was built as a third anchor, presiding over a 2-level West Wing. The store held its grand opening in 1984.

When all construction was completed, the shopping center encompassed 961,800 leasable square feet, with a retail roster of over one hundred and twenty stores and services. A prototype Record Bar was one of the new West Wing tenants, as was a large Food Court. The Super Saver Citadel 6 multiplex was built, as a southeastern outparcel, in 1985, replacing the theater inside the mall.

The first anchor store rebranding transpired in 1987. The Denver Dry Goods chain was absorbed by May D & F. Whereas this chain already operated a location at THE CITADEL, the old "The Denver" store was sold. Hayward, California-based Mervyn's retenanted the space. The next department store change was completed May 2, 1993, when May D & F at THE CITADEL was rebranded by Houston-based Foley's.

A 25 million dollar expansion and renovation of the retail hub got underway in 1994. This included the construction of a fourth anchor; a 3-level (183,000 square foot) Dillard's. Its grand opening took place August 23, 1995, bringing the GLA of the center up to 1,044,800 leasable square feet. Santa Monica, California's Macerich Company acquired THE CITADEL in December 1997.

Retail rivalry in Colorado Springs intensified after the turn of the century. BROADMOOR TOWNE CENTER {4.1 miles southwest, in Colorado Springs} opened its first phase in 2002. Eventually, the old SOUTHGATE CENTER directly north was thoroughly remodeled and incorporated as a second phase of the open-air plaza.

In 2003, SHOPS AT BRIARGATE {8.3 miles northwest, also in Colorado Springs} was dedicated. Like the BROADMOOR property, it was a lifestyle-type venue. Lastly, THE SHOPS AT THE BLUFFS, a thoroughly dead mini-mall for several years, was partially demolished and repositioned as MARKETPLACE AT AUSTIN BLUFFS (2008).

Springdale, Arkansas-based Midwest Mall Properties acquired three malls from Macerich in December 2006. These were CROSSROADS MALL (1974) {in Oklahoma City}, NORTHWEST ARKANSAS MALL (1972) {in Fayetteville, Arkansas} and THE CITADEL.

THE CITADEL Mervyn's had been shuttered January 21, 2006. The space re-opened, as a Burlington Coat Factory, March 5, 2007. Steve & Barry's University Sportswear had a brief stint at the shopping center between November 2005 and January 2009.

Macy's rebranded the mall's west anchor September 6, 2006 and ended up closing for good in March 2009. The vacant building was sold to Odessa, Texas' ICA Properties in July 2010, who "flipped" the property. The buyer, Manitou Springs, Colorado's Allen Realty, took possession in March 2011.

The Great Recession caused Midwest Mall Properties to be saddled with three upside down mall mortgages. CROSSROADS MALL fell to foreclosure in April 2009. To prevent two other foreclosures, THE CITADEL and NORTHWEST ARKANSAS MALL were surrendered to CwCapital Asset Management (a Citigroup trust) in November 2011.

Soon after, the managing agency of the two complexes, Urban Retail Properties, was replaced with Birmingham, Alabama's Bayer Properties. A joint venture of Great Neck, New York's Namdar Realty Group and Mason Asset Management acquired THE CITADEL in December 2015.


The Gazette
"Citadel Mall" article on Wikipedia
El Paso County, Colorado tax assessor website
The Gazette Colorado Springs


The photo from Pikes Peak Library Digital Collections illustrates a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The image is of lower resolution than the original (copies made would be of inferior quality). The image is not replaceable with a free-use or public-domain image. The use of the image does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the image in any way. The image is being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and its use is not believed to detract from the original image in any way.