Latham Circle Mall in Latham, NY: From Mall to Shoppes

The Birth of Latham Circle Mall

Once a bustling hub of activity, Latham Circle Mall began its journey as the Latham Corners Shopping Center in 1957. Nestled adjacent to the Latham Circle in Latham, New York, an open-air plaza quickly became a favorite among locals.

Anchored by JCPenney, which has remained a part of the complex since its inception, the mall symbolized post-war prosperity and growth.

The original design reflected the era’s architectural trends, with wide-open spaces and a welcoming ambiance. Families would spend weekends exploring the stores, and the mall became a social gathering spot. The community’s initial response was overwhelmingly positive, and the mall was seen as a modern marvel of its time.

The mall thrived as the years passed, attracting more tenants and visitors. It was more than just a shopping center; it was a place where memories were made, friendships were forged, and the community came together. The Latham Corners Shopping Center was not just a mall but a part of the local culture.

Transformation and Expansion

1977 the mall underwent a significant change, becoming a fully enclosed and temperature-controlled shopping mall. This renovation marked a new era for the mall, attracting new anchors such as Woolworth and Boston Store.

The expansion in 1988 included a Caldor, a new JCPenney store, and a second level housing a ten-screen movie theater.

In the late 1980s, a devastating fire resulted in the closure of the two-level space that housed The Boston Store. Despite this setback, the community’s determination was evident, leading to the store’s remodeling and its eventual replacement by Burlington Coat Factory in the early 1990s. These changes were symbolic of the mall’s ability to adapt and grow.

The mall’s transformation was not just physical; it symbolized the changing times and the community’s evolving needs. From open-air to enclosed, from a few stores to a multi-level shopping experience, Latham Circle Mall reflected progress and innovation.

Decline and Closure

Despite its success, the mall started losing tenants around the mid-1990s, eventually becoming dead. Key stores like Woolworth closed in 1995, replaced by Stein Mart, which closed in 2001. Caldor’s closure in early 1999 marked the beginning of a downward spiral.

Many other tenants began to leave during the 2000s, leaving Latham Circle as a shadow of its former self. The once-vibrant mall became a sad reminder of changing times.

The decline and closure of Latham Circle Mall were not just about the loss of a shopping center; it was the end of an era.

The mall, once a symbol of community and growth, had become a relic of the past. Its closure marked a poignant moment in the history of Latham, New York.

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Failed Renovation and Foreclosure

Failed attempts at renovation punctuated the decline of the mall. In 2007, plans were underway to renovate the mall, including completely refacing the building and adding new tenants. However, these plans never materialized, and the mall faced foreclosure, sinking into debt for $21 million.

The mall’s Boston-area lender, LR6-A Latham LLC, acquired the property at auction in September 2009. The lender, a real estate investment firm Realty Financial Partners affiliate, brought foreclosure proceedings against the mall. The once-thriving shopping center was now mired in financial challenges.

The failed renovation and foreclosure were not just business events; they reflected the changing retail landscape and the challenges faced by traditional shopping centers.

Latham Circle Mall‘s struggles were emblematic of a broader trend, a shift in consumer behavior, and the rise of online shopping.

New Ownership and Leasing Efforts

With new ownership under Realty Financial Partners, efforts were made to revive the mall. In May 2011, CB Richard Ellis took over leasing at Latham Circle Mall, releasing a new redevelopment plan. This plan aimed to be a mixture of anchor stores, small shops, restaurants, and grocery, involving the removal of most of the indoor mall portion.

On August 21, 2012, the Grossman Development Group proposed a new redevelopment plan named the Shoppes at Latham Circle. This proposal aimed to retain existing anchor stores and introduce new retail spaces. Demolition began in March 2013, but challenges persisted, and the transformation was slow to materialize.

These efforts were not just about business and real estate but about preserving local history and adapting it to modern needs. The new ownership and leasing efforts were a testament to the community’s determination to keep the spirit of Latham Circle Mall alive.

The Shoppes at Latham Circle

Finally, the site was transformed into the Shoppes at Latham Circle. Now, the plaza contains a Lowe’s, Walmart, Burlington, Skechers, Bob’s Discount Furniture, and other stores. The newly proposed shopping center was a fresh start, a new chapter in the story of Latham Circle.

The transformation was not just about new stores and a new look; it was about renewal and rebirth. The Shoppes at Latham Circle symbolizes resilience, a testament to the community’s ability to adapt and grow. It’s a reminder that new beginnings are possible, even in the face of change and loss.

The Shoppes at Latham Circle is not just a shopping center; it’s a continuation of a legacy. It’s a place where new memories can be made, the community can come together again, and the spirit of Latham Circle Mall lives on.

Conclusion

The journey of Latham Circle Mall, from its birth in 1957 to its transformation into the Shoppes at Latham Circle, is a story of growth, change, resilience, and renewal. It’s a story that resonates with the people of Latham, New York, reflecting the changing times and the enduring spirit of community.

The mall’s rise and fall, struggles and triumphs, are not just events in the history of retail; they are a part of the fabric of Latham. The mall’s legacy lives on in the Shoppes at Latham Circle, a reminder that change is not the end but a new beginning.

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