The Rise and Fall of Silver City Galleria Mall: A Taunton, MA Tale

The Inception of Silver City Galleria

Do you remember the ’90s? It was a time of grunge music, flannel shirts, and the birth of some iconic places. One of those places was the Silver City Galleria Mall in Taunton, Massachusetts.

Pyramid Companies from Syracuse was the mastermind behind this venture. It had a knack for creating spaces people loved, and they set their sights on Taunton for their next big project.

Initially, they had a partner in crime—New England Development of Newton, with whom they had jointly built Emerald Square Mall earlier.

But New England had plans for another mall just 9 miles away. Unfortunately, due to environmental concerns, that project was scrapped.

So, Pyramid had the stage all to themselves, and they went big. They secured commitments from anchor stores like Filene’s, JCPenney, Sears, and Bradlees. These were the retail giants of the time, and their involvement was a big deal.

The planning stage was intense. There were zoning laws to consider, permits to secure, and community concerns to address. But one by one, these obstacles were overcome.

The developers knew they had something special on their hands and were determined to see it through.

The local community was buzzing with anticipation. Jobs would be created, and new shopping opportunities were on the horizon.

The city council was supportive, seeing the mall as a way to put Taunton on the map. With all systems going, construction began, and the dream started to take shape.

Architectural Marvels of Silver City Galleria

When the first shovel hit the ground in July 1990, there was a sense of excitement in the air. The designers had an extraordinary vision for this mall.

They wanted to pay tribute to Taunton’s rich history in the silversmithing industry. So, they incorporated many silver elements into the mall’s design.

The mall was going to be big, really big. With two levels and 1.1 million square feet of retail space, it was set to be one of the largest malls in New England.

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The design blended classic and modern, with a New England gabled roofline and a vast angled skylight. It was a nod to the past but with a foot firmly in the present.

Inside, the color scheme was carefully chosen. Silver and navy were the dominant colors, but they were accented with pops of pink and yellow. It was designed to be comforting and stimulating, where people would want to spend time.

The food court was another highlight. With various options and a seating area under the skylight, it was the perfect place to take a break from shopping.

The designers thought of everything, from the flow of foot traffic to the placement of rest areas. They wanted to create a functional and beautiful space, and they succeeded.

Grand Opening and Initial Years

Fast forward to March 1, 1992. The big day had finally arrived. The grand opening was a spectacle. The parking lot was jam-packed, and cars were parked in fire lanes and construction zones.

It was chaos, but the good kind of chaos, the kind that comes from excitement and anticipation.

Celebrities were in attendance, adding a touch of glamour to the event. Hugh Millen from the New England Patriots was there, as were Miss America Carolyn Sapp and Miss Massachusetts Melissa Bloemker.

They were part of the ribbon-cutting ceremony, and their presence added an extra layer of excitement to the day.

But, of course, no event is complete without a bit of drama. A fire alarm went off in Ruby Tuesday’s. It was a false alarm, but for six minutes, a siren blared throughout the mall.

People were slightly startled, but there was even applause when it was announced that it was a false alarm. It was a memorable moment in a day full of them.

So, if you were wondering about things to do in Taunton, Massachusetts, the Silver City Galleria was the place to be.

The Silver City Galleria wasn’t merely a place for shopping; it served as a focal point for the community.

Here, you could not only shop but also enjoy a meal and various forms of entertainment, all within the same building.

Events and Community Engagement

The grand opening was just the beginning. The mall had a knack for keeping people engaged. There were concerts, live performances, and even book signings.

One memorable event was when Marky Mark came to Lauriat’s bookshop to sign copies of his new book.

The turnout was huge; one fan even brought a pair of Calvin Klein underwear for an autograph. Yes, you read that right.

The mall was a cultural hub, hosting events that catered to all age groups and interests. There were fashion shows, cooking demonstrations, and holiday celebrations.

The mall would transform into a winter wonderland with a Santa’s Grotto and a towering Christmas tree during Christmas.

Local schools and community groups were often involved in mall events. It was a way to keep the community engaged and offer more than retail therapy.

The mall was always buzzing with activity, from charity fundraisers to educational workshops.

But it wasn’t just about the significant events but also about everyday experiences.

The mall was where friends met for coffee, families spent their weekends, and teenagers hung out after school. It was a part of the community’s daily life, which made it special.

The Dark Days – Financial Troubles and Decline

Unfortunately, good times don’t always last. The financial crisis of 2008 hit the retail industry hard, and the Silver City Galleria felt the impact.

Stores started closing, and the once-bustling corridors became eerily quiet. By 2010, the mall’s occupancy rate had dropped to around 75%.

The mall’s owners were in a tough spot. They defaulted on the mortgage, and there were several failed attempts to sell the property.

It was stressful for everyone involved, from the mall’s management to the remaining store owners.

The decline was felt by the community as well. Once a hub of activity, the mall was now a shadow of its former self.

The empty stores and the lack of foot traffic were a constant reminder of what had been lost. It was a sad chapter in the mall’s history that nobody wanted to see.

Despite the challenges, there were efforts to turn things around. New stores were courted, and there were plans for a significant renovation.

But it was too little, too late. The mall had lost its luster, and it was clear that its best days were behind it.

A Tragic Incident and Its Aftermath

As if the financial troubles weren’t bad enough, tragedy struck in 2016. A stabbing incident at the mall resulted in three deaths and several injuries. It was a dark day for the mall and the community, impacting its reputation.

Security measures were ramped up, but the damage was done. People were hesitant to visit, and more stores closed their doors. It was a difficult period that seemed to confirm that the mall’s decline was irreversible.

The community was shaken. The mall was always considered a safe space where people could gather without fear. That sense of security was shattered and took a long time to rebuild.

Despite the challenges, the mall’s management tried to move forward. They hosted community events and increased security measures, but it was an uphill battle. The mall had lost the community’s trust, and it wasn’t easy to regain.

The Final Chapter – Closure and Demolition

In the end, the challenges proved to be too much. In 2020, the mall closed its doors for good. The remaining stores packed up, and the once-bustling corridors were empty. It was a sad moment that marked the end of an era.

The demolition began in March 2021. As the walls closed, it was hard not to feel a sense of loss.

The mall had been a part of Taunton’s identity for nearly three decades, and the entire community felt its absence. It was more than just a building; it was a place where memories were made.

Silver City Galleria Demolition

As the rubble was cleared, there was a sense of finality. The mall was gone, but it would not be forgotten. It had been a part of the community’s life, where friendships were formed and milestones were celebrated.

So, as we say goodbye to the Silver City Galleria, we are reminded of the importance of community spaces.

They are more than just buildings; they are places where life happens. And while the mall may be gone, the memories will live on.

Conclusion

The Silver City Galleria was a tapestry woven with community, commerce, and culture threads. Its rise was meteoric, and its fall was equally dramatic.

But in its nearly three-decade existence, the mall was more than just a commercial space; it was a community landmark that witnessed significant events and changes.

Its closure and demolition symbolize the end of an era and the shifting landscape of retail and community spaces in America.

As we bid farewell to this iconic landmark, we are reminded of the transient nature of things and the everlasting impact of community and memories.

The Silver City Galleria will always be a cherished chapter in the story of Taunton, Massachusetts—a chapter that has ended but whose essence will live on in the hearts and minds of those who were a part of it.

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