RiverTown Crossings Mall: A Grandville Landmark
The RiverTown Crossings mall in Grandville, Michigan, opened its doors on November 3, 1999. Developed by General Growth Properties and currently managed and owned by Brookfield Properties, the mall boasts over 130 stores and services, six anchor tenants, and a total retail floor area of 1,267,272 sq ft.
The two-story mall also features a staff mezzanine in Dick’s Sporting Goods and offers free parking for over 7,000 vehicles in the surrounding area.
Initially, the area occupied by the mall was home to Shoemaker Airfield, which was constructed in the 1960s. General Growth Properties began acquiring land for commercial development in 1981, but it took several years, and multiple proposals before a final plan was approved.
After a $160 million investment (equivalent to $260 million in 2022), construction began in December 1997, and the mall was completed two years later.
A Rich History of Development
The story of RiverTown Crossings mall began when General Growth Properties purchased 99 acres of land on Rivertown Parkway in 1981. However, it was not until 1990 that Homart Development Company, a subsidiary of Sears, first proposed the development of a new mall near 44th Street and Ivanrest.
The City of Grandville initially rejected the plan, suggesting a nearby 99-acre lot already zoned for commercial usage instead.
After a series of setbacks, including the departure of Homart’s director and the sale of the company, General Growth vice president John Bergstrom proposed a new 150-store mall with four anchor stores in 1994.
Despite another rejection from the city, General Growth continued acquiring land and, in 1996, proposed a 138-acre site for the mall. The city approved the project this time, and construction began the following year.
Opening and Early Years
Upon opening in 1999, RiverTown Crossings featured five original anchor tenants: Sears, Hudson’s (later Marshall Field’s, then Macy’s), Kohl’s, Younkers, and JCPenney, along with Barnes & Noble as a junior anchor. Galyan’s (now Dick’s Sporting Goods) and Old Navy opened shortly after, with Galyan’s becoming the sixth anchor tenant and Old Navy, another junior anchor.
Additional attractions included a 20-screen Cinemark cinema, a NASCAR Silicon Motor Speedway Racing Center, and Kahunaville, which closed a few years later.
The mall’s construction spurred further development, becoming a central shopping district for the West Side of Grand Rapids, including the Holland Area. Numerous restaurants and stores surround the mall today, creating a bustling commercial hub.
Subsequent Changes and Additions
Since its opening, RiverTown Crossings has experienced several changes. Meijer opened outside the mall in 2002, and Duluth Trading Company joined the mall’s property in 2017.
Younkers closed its doors in 2018 due to parent company The Bon-Ton Stores going out of business, and Sears followed suit in 2021 as part of a nationwide closure plan.
Despite these changes, the mall has maintained a strong presence in the community, with over 130 stores occupying approximately 1,250,000 square feet of retail space and more than 7,000 parking spaces available for visitors.
Unique Features and Attractions
RiverTown Crossings offers visitors diverse stores, attractions, and dining options. The food court houses a carousel at its center, surrounded by eight quick-service restaurants. Additionally, various food and beverage merchants can be found throughout the mall.
One unique aspect of the mall is its collection of murals painted by Chicago-based artist Thomas Melvin in 1999. Although some were painted over during a minor renovation in 2017, several murals above the anchor stores remain.
The mall also hosts a 20-screen Celebration Cinema movie theater near the food court. This popular cinema is considered one of Michigan’s top theaters, consistently ranking among the top three in the state.
A Legacy of Growth and Transformation
RiverTown Crossings mall in Grandville, Michigan, is a testament to the perseverance and determination of its developers, the community, and the businesses that call it home. Over the years, it has evolved from a simple shopping center into a bustling hub for art, entertainment, and dining experiences.
With its diverse offerings and unique attractions, RiverTown Crossings continues contributing to the growth and vibrancy of the West Side of Grand Rapids and surrounding areas.
Visitors can look forward to even more exciting developments, additions, and changes as the mall’s story unfolds. With a solid foundation in its rich history and a commitment to adapting to the ever-evolving retail landscape, RiverTown Crossings promises to remain a beloved destination for shopping enthusiasts and casual visitors for many years.