THE MALL
East Northern Lights Boulevard and Seward Highway
Anchorage, Alaska

Alaska's first shopping mall was developed by Lawrence J. "Larry" Carr and Barney Gottstein, who operated the Carr's Food Center supermarket chain. They built a fully-enclosed shopping hub on a 17.6 acre site, located 1.5 miles southeast of downtown Anchorage, in the city's Midtown area.

THE MALL was added to a 2-level (120,700 square foot) Sears, which had been dedicated July 17, 1966. At its official grand opening, held on January 31, 1968, the single-level shopping center spanned approximately 202,300 leasable square feet and housed thirty stores and services.

Anchoring THE MALL were the aforementioned Sears and a 1-level (41,200 square foot) Carr's Food Center. Charter inline stores included Russell Stover Candies, a Wells Fargo Bank, Sheffield Cafeteria & Pub and Ben Franklin variety store.

The first enlargement consisted of a 29,800 square foot expansion of Sears. The remodeled store, now housing 150,500 square feet, was rededicated July 29, 1972. THE MALL now encompassed 232,100 leasable square feet.

Meanwhile, the first of five rival shopping malls had come on the City of Lights and Flowers scene. UNIVERSITY CENTER MALL {.5 miles southeast} opened for business in April 1972. Next came BONIFACE CENTER {3.1 miles east}, which was dedicated in June 1976. The first stores in DIMOND CENTER {2.7 miles south} began business in August 1977, with those in NORTHWAY MALL {2.1 miles northeast} debuting in May 1980. Lastly, FIFTH AVENUE MALL {a downtown development} welcomed its first shoppers in August 1987.

By this time, the official name of THE MALL had morphed into MALL AT SEARS. An anchor rebranding took place in April 1999, after the Pleasanton, California-based Safeway chain acquired Anchorage-based Carrs. Following the merger, stores were known as Carrs Quality Center-Safeway.

A major renovation of MALL AT SEARS got underway in March 2011. The project created a new south side entrance, gave facelifts to the north and south sides of the complex, replaced flooring, ceilings and restrooms and made room for four new retail spaces. The remodeling was completed in June 2011.

A 1-level (35,000 square foot) Nordstrom Rack was dedicated September 3, 2015. The store was set up in the northwest corner of the existing Sears. With the completion of this project, Sears' store had been downsized to 115,500 square feet.

In the twenty-tens, MALL AT SEARS is still owned by Anchorage-based Carr Gottstein Properties and is managed by Denali Commercial. They recently signed two new food service tenants, whose stores were installed on either side of the mall's main southside (Benson Street) entrance. SteamDot Coffee held its grand opening in February 2013. Burgerfication -or BurgerFi- welcomed its first patrons in November 2016.

Sources:

The Anchorage Daily News
www.mallatsears.com
Anchorage County, Alaska property tax assessor website
untphilstrunk.com/mall-anchorage-turns-47 / "Aunt Phil's Trunk"
http://www.denalicommercial.com (Denali Commercial)
http://www.carrgottstein.com (Carr Gottstein Properties)


FAIR USE OF THE MALL IMAGE:

The graphic from The Anchorage Daily News illustrates a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The image is of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). The image is not replaceable with 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.