Via Port Rotterdam Mall: A Hub of Entertainment and Shopping in Rotterdam, NY

Via Port Rotterdam: Early Years

In the heart of Rotterdam, New York, a bustling hub of commerce and community was born on September 1, 1988. Known then as Rotterdam Square Mall, the mall was a product of Wilmorite Properties’ vision to create a space that catered to the shopping needs of the local community.

The mall quickly became a popular destination for locals and visitors with its stores and services. It was more than just a shopping center; it was a gathering place symbolizing the community’s growth and development.

However, the mall was not just about commerce. It was also about creating a space that was inclusive and welcoming. The mall’s design, with its wide corridors and ample lighting, was carefully thought out to ensure a pleasant shopping experience.

With its diverse cuisines, the food court became a popular spot for families and friends to gather and share meals. The early years of the mall were marked by a steady stream of shoppers, drawn by the variety of stores and the convenience it offered.

Ownership Transitions and Challenges

The journey of the mall, like any other venture, was not without its share of challenges. 2005 the mall underwent a significant change when The Macerich Company acquired Wilmorite Properties. This transition began a new chapter in the mall’s history, bringing challenges and changes.

One of the most significant challenges came in January 2014 when the Kohan Retail Investment Group purchased the mall. This transition was marked by a series of events that tested the resilience of the mall and its management.

In January 2015, Macy’s, one of the mall’s anchor stores, announced that it would be closing its store as part of a plan to close 14 stores nationwide. This was a significant blow to the mall, as Macy’s was one of its major attractions.

The challenges did not end there. In February 2015, the mall faced a significant hurdle when the local power company, National Grid, disconnected electric service due to an unpaid utility bill rumored to be around $300,000. The service was restored the next day, but the incident served as a stark reminder of the mall’s challenges.

A New Era with Via Properties

Despite the challenges, the mall continued to persevere. In June 2015, a new chapter in the mall’s history began when it was sold to Via Properties for $9.25 million. This transition marked the beginning of a new era for the mall that promised a fresh start and a renewed focus on improving the mall’s offerings.

Via Properties embarked on an ambitious plan to revitalize the mall. They renamed it Via Port Rotterdam and announced plans to invest $10 million into mall improvements.

Via Port Rotterdam Entrance
Via Port Rotterdam Entrance Geotek at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

These improvements included exterior upgrades, a 25,000-square-foot aquarium, and a nearly 30,000-square-foot entertainment center with a bowling alley, sports bar, restaurant, and arcade.

The transformation under Via Properties was not just about physical improvements. It was also about redefining the mall’s identity and positioning it as a vibrant shopping, dining, and entertainment hub. The new name, Via Port Rotterdam, reflected this new identity and the mall’s renewed commitment to serving the community.

The Mall Today – A Hub of Entertainment and Shopping

Today, Via Port Rotterdam is a testament to the power of resilience and transformation. The mall, once a traditional shopping center, has evolved into a dynamic space that offers much more than just retail. It is a place where people can shop, dine, and entertain all under one roof.

Via Port Rotterdam food court Entrance
Via Port Rotterdam food court Entrance Geotek at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The mall is home to various unique brands and boutiques, offering shoppers a diverse range of products. Once a place to grab a quick bite, the food court has been transformed into a dining destination with various cuisines to suit every palate.

One of the most notable additions to the mall is the Via Aquarium. This 25,000-square-foot space allows visitors to explore vivid underwater worlds across 37 exhibits.

From watching sharks swim overhead in immersive tunnel tanks to feeling the soft skin of a stingray in Stingray Bay, the aquarium offers an unforgettable journey into the depths of our planet’s oceans and rivers.

Via Port Rotterdam Carousel
Via Port Rotterdam Carousel Geotek at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Via Port Rotterdam is not just a mall; it’s a place filled with history and unique features. One of these is the Vedder Family graveyard, a small family cemetery dating back to 1715, located in a corner between the food court entrance and the front side entrance. This graveyard is a poignant reminder of the mall’s historical roots and the land’s previous owners.

Another unique feature was the full-size Italian carousel that graced the food court from 1988 until January 2007. The carousel, a beloved feature for many shoppers, was sold and removed in 2007, leaving behind memories of joyous rides and laughter.

The mall also houses a theater, a testament to its commitment to providing diverse entertainment options. Initially part of the Sony-Loews Cineplex, the theater is operated by an independently owned company, Zurich Cinemas.

The theater has been refitted with stadium seating and digital projectors, offering moviegoers an enhanced cinematic experience.

Via Port Rotterdam graveyard
Via Port Rotterdam graveyard Geotek at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

The Future of Via Port Rotterdam

As Via Port Rotterdam looks towards the future, it continues to adapt and evolve to meet the needs of its patrons. The mall’s management is constantly exploring new ways to enhance the shopping and entertainment experience, ensuring that Via Port Rotterdam remains a vibrant and dynamic hub for the community.

The story of Via Port Rotterdam is a testament to the mall’s resilience and adaptability. From its early days as Rotterdam Square to its current status as a vibrant community hub, the mall has continually evolved to meet the needs of its patrons.

As it looks towards the future, Via Port Rotterdam stands as a symbol of the changing face of retail and community spaces.

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