EASTFIELD MALL
Boston Road / US 20 and Fernbank Road
Springfield, Massachusetts

The first fully-enclosed shopping center in Western Massachusetts was built by Maryland's Rouse Company, under the auspices of its Community Research & Development subsidiary. EASTFIELD MALL was developed on a 43.6 acre site, located 5 miles northeast of center city Springfield.

The first structures built were two freestanding anchor stores; a 2-level (121,000 square foot), Springfield-based Forbes & Wallace and 2-level (201,000 square foot) Sears. A 1-level interior mall was added to these, which was dedicated in April 1968. It included a 2-level (117,000 square foot), Springfield-based Albert Steiger Company.

Charter inline stores at EASTFIELD included a Flaming Pit Steakhouse and Music City Record Store. The General Cinema Corporation Eastfield Cinema, a single-screen venue, showed its first feature December 25, 1968. When fully-leased, EASTFIELD MALL encompassed 656,000 leasable square feet and housed sixty-eight stores and services.

Retail rivals in the Pioneer Valley included BAYSTATE WEST (1970) {a center city Springfield Urban Renewal project}, FAIRFIELD MALL (1974) {4.8 miles northwest, in Chicopee ["chik-uh-pee"]} and HOLYOKE ["hohl-ee-ohk"] MALL (1979) {7.8 miles northwest, in Holyoke}.

Anchor store rebrandings commenced in 1975, with the dissolution of the Forbes & Wallace chain. Its store space at EASTFIELD was soon taken by J.C. Penney.

The Eastfield Mall Cinema, which had been twinned in the late 1970s, was shuttered in 1982. In May 1986, 90,000 square feet of the southeast corner of the mall (including the vacant cinema) was gutted and extended by 15,000 square feet. This area was rebuilt as a 10-bay Food Court.

A second anchor conversion involved the Albert Steiger Company, which closed in March 1994. The EASTFIELD MALL location was remodeled and re-opened, as a Boston-based Filene's, late in the year.

Clifton, New Jersey's Mountain Development Corporation acquired the shopping venue in April 1998. Soon after, plans were announced for a revitalization, which was to include the addition of the Showcase Cinemas Eastfield Mall 16. Construction got underway in March 1999 with the megaplex cinema opening for business August 27 of the same year. The mall now enveloped 751,600 leasable square feet.

The most recent nameplate changes at EASTFIELD MALL were done to Filene's, which was "Macy-ated" September 9, 2006, and the Showcase Cinemas, which became the Rave Eastfield 16 in April 2010. The mall's J.C. Penney became an Outlet Store August 10, 2005 and was shuttered in August 2011.

Since this time, the mall has been in decline. In early 2015, three major inline stores shut down; Radio Shack, Deb Shops and American Eagle Outfitters. The vacant Penney's, leased as a Spirit Halloween on an intermittent basis, was to be demolished and replaced by a single-level, open-air section of stores. At the same time, the shopping hub was to be given an interior and exterior facelift. Apparently, the shuttering of Macy's, in the spring of 2016, is not derailing these renovation plans.

Sources:

http://caldorrainbowblogspot.com / Nicholas DiMaio webmaster
http://www.eastfieldmall.com
http://204.213.242.147/alis/ww400r.pgm (Hampden County, Massachusetts Register of Deeds Records Access Site)
http://www.scribd.com (Western Massachusetts Movie Theaters and Drive-Ins / Mike Rivest webmaster)
www.masslive.com