Reliving the Magic of Coral Ridge Mall in Coralville, IA

The Birth of a Shopping Landmark

Nestled just south of Interstate 80 in Coralville, Iowa, the Coral Ridge Mall stands as a testament to the growth and progress of the region. The mall’s primary trade area includes Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and other parts of eastern Iowa.

Since its grand opening on July 29, 1998, Coral Ridge Mall has become an iconic shopping destination, attracting millions of visitors yearly.

Initially developed by General Growth Properties and now owned and managed by Brookfield Properties, the mall has an impressive total floor area of 1,187,000 square feet (110,285 m2).

The mall offers many amenities, including a 1,000-seat food court with Wi-Fi internet access, a charming “antique” carousel, a children’s play area, and an NHL regulation-sized ice rink.

A Dynamic Array of Stores

Coral Ridge Mall‘s rich history is reflected in the ever-changing lineup of stores and services available to customers. The mall’s anchor stores include well-known brands such as Dillard’s, Barnes & Noble, Target, JCPenney, Best Buy, PetSmart, H&M, Old Navy, Tuesday Morning, Marshalls, Ashley HomeStore, Marcus Cinema, The Iowa Children’s Museum, Scheels All Sports, Shoe Dept. Encore, Ulta Beauty, Five Below, HomeGoods, and Planet Fitness.

The mall has seen numerous changes in its tenant mix over the years. The closure of Sears in 2013 paved the way for several new stores, while the demolition of the former Sears space in 2016 made room for six new businesses.

In 2017, Hollister Co. closed its doors, allowing Victoria’s Secret to expand into the vacated space. The mall has continued to evolve, with many more store openings, relocations, and expansions shaping its current offerings.

Coral Ridge Mall
Coral Ridge Mall” by icarusjj is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Impact on Eastern Iowa’s Retail Landscape

The arrival of Coral Ridge Mall sparked significant changes in the eastern Iowa retail scene. While the mall boosted taxable sales in Coralville and Iowa City, a study by Iowa State University economics professor Kenneth Stone revealed that 18 eastern Iowa counties lost over $120 million in retail sales to Johnson County in the mall’s first year.

Consequently, general merchandise and apparel sales in Iowa City declined between 1997 and 2007.

Additionally, neighboring malls, including Old Capitol Mall in downtown Iowa City and Westdale Mall in Cedar Rapids, experienced a wave of store closures following Coral Ridge Mall’s opening.

However, by 2008, Old Capitol Mall and Sycamore Mall in Iowa City managed to bounce back, reaching 95 percent occupancy under local ownership, while downtown Iowa City merchants shifted their focus to specialty retail.

Coral Ridge Mall: A Place of Joy and Sorrow

The mall has served as a shopping hub and as the backdrop for unforgettable happy and tragic moments. In 2003, officials discovered a secret marijuana-growing operation in the roof space above one of the tenants during routine structural checks.

Although no plants were found, the perpetrator faced an additional five years in prison due to the proximity of the Iowa Children’s Museum.

In June 2015, tragedy struck the mall when a young woman working at the Iowa Children’s Museum was fatally shot near the food court area. The alleged shooter, a former mall security guard, had reportedly been fired for harassing the victim earlier that day.

A Legacy of Memories and Inspiration

Coral Ridge Mall remains a beloved fixture in eastern Iowa’s retail landscape despite its challenges. Its storied history, evolving store lineup, and undeniable impact on the surrounding community have left a lasting impression on countless visitors.

As you walk through the mall, you can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia and camaraderie with fellow shoppers. The mall has undoubtedly evolved over the years, adapting to the changing needs of its patrons. Still, its essence remains unchanged – a hub of excitement, discovery, and connection for the people of eastern Iowa.

Coral Ridge Mall’s future is undoubtedly bright as it innovates and grows. New stores, services, and experiences will surely emerge, providing fresh reasons for locals and visitors to come together and enjoy all the mall offers.

Whether you have fond memories of riding the antique carousel, spending hours exploring the shelves at Barnes & Noble, or cheering on the University of Iowa Hawkeyes hockey team at the ice rink. Coral Ridge Mall holds a special place in the hearts of many. It is a testament to the power of community, commerce, and shared experiences that bring us closer together.

So, the next time you find yourself in eastern Iowa, don’t forget to stop by Coral Ridge Mall and create some new memories. You never know what exciting adventure awaits you around the corner.

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