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 center 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 (139,300 square foot) Sears, which had been dedicated July 17, 1966. At its official grand opening, held on January 31, 1968, the single-level shopping complex spanned around 279,400 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.

Within 3 years, the Sears store was being enlarged by 29,800 square feet. The expanded store, now spanning 163,000 square feet, was rededicated July 29, 1972. THE MALL now encompassed a total of 309,200 leasable square feet.

Meanwhile, the city's second enclosed shopping complex had been completed. 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. 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 face lifts to the exterior of the building, 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 its completion, Sears' store had been downsized to approximately 128,000 square feet.

Carrs Quality Center-Safeway was shuttered on September 12, 2016. In April 2018, Sears went dark. Its space is to be reconfigured with a (65,500 square foot) Carrs-Safeway supermarket and (16,500 square foot) Guitar Center.  These stores are plotted to open in mid-2019.

Anchorage-based Carr Gottstein Properties, who own and operate MALL AT SEARS, have stipulated that the shopping facility will be renamed in January 2019.


The Anchorage Daily News
Anchorage County, Alaska property tax assessor website / "Aunt Phil's Trunk" (Denali Commercial) (Carr Gottstein Properties)


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.