Lycoming Mall near Williamsport, PA: The Retail Giant’s New Clothes

Establishing A Retail Empire

Lycoming Mall sprang from ambitious blueprints in 1975, with a sprawling 674,000-square-foot area set to be a retail haven.

Anchored by retail giants Sears, Hess’s, Gee Bee, and it was poised to be the go-to shopping destination in the Williamsport Metropolitan Area, Pennsylvania.

The mall flung its doors wide open on July 15, 1978, with Hess’s leading the charge from March 1.

Sears followed suit a few weeks later, and the retail empire started to shape Pennsdale’s identity.

A place bustling with activity, each storefront was a new realm waiting to be explored.

Moving on, the sails of expansion caught wind in 1985 with a whopping $4.7 million investment, adding 115,800 square feet to the retail kingdom.

Bon-Ton graced the mall with its presence, further amplifying the shopping allure.

The late 1980s saw a significant player, J.C. Penney, relocating from downtown Williamsport to the mall, embodying the retail magnetism Lycoming Mall exuded.

The mall became more than a shopping hub; it was where memories were crafted over window shopping and coffee dates.

Its aisles resonated with laughter, chatter, and the clatter of shopping carts, epitomizing the community’s social hotspot.

It wasn’t merely about the commerce; it was about the experience, the joy of finding that perfect dress, the satisfaction of snagging a deal, and the simple pleasure of a shared meal in the food court.

The narrative of Lycoming Mall during these times was a testament to the thriving retail culture. It was a period when shopping malls were the heartbeats of communities.

Among them, Lycoming Mall stood as a beacon of retail excellence, embodying the spirit of commerce and community intertwined in a dance that lasted for decades.

The mall had become synonymous with “things to do in Pennsdale, Pennsylvania.”

It was a realm where retail dreams blossomed, the old met the new, and every visit was an expedition into the world of commerce.

Yet, as time passed, winds of change began to whisper through the bustling corridors of Lycoming Mall. The retail landscape was shifting, and the tide of change was inching closer to the shores of Pennsdale.

The first clouds appeared on the horizon in March 2008 with the closure of Value City. It was a signal of the challenges that lay ahead.

However, hope glimmered as Burlington Coat Factory took place in May, promising to keep the retail flame burning bright.

In the heart of retail, every exit marked the possibility of a new beginning, of new brands making their mark.

Additionally, the transition from Borders to Books-A-Million in November 2011 was a testament to the mall’s resilience and adaptability.

Yet, the retail storm brewed stronger, with Gap and RadioShack bidding adieu in February 2015.

It wasn’t merely about store closures; it was about the changing face of retail, the shift in shopping paradigms, and the evolving expectations of the discerning shopper.

The year 2015 brought an air of uncertainty as the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust put Lycoming Mall up for sale.

It was a period of contemplation for the mall, the retail industry, and the community. What did the future hold for Lycoming Mall? Was this the end of an era or the beginning of a new chapter?

The tale of Lycoming Mall was morphing, embodying the ebbs and flows of the retail sector.

As the lights dimmed on the retail extravaganza, the whispers of what lay ahead began to echo through the now quieter corridors of Lycoming Mall.

Lycoming Mall: From Retail Giant to Ghost Mall

The whispers soon turned into conversations as the reality of change began to dawn.

Lycoming Mall, once a bustling hub of retail activities, started facing a series of closures and financial challenges post-2015.

The ownership baton was passed to Kohan Retail Investment Group in 2016, heralding a new phase.

However, the ensuing years weren’t kind to the mall, with anchor stores like Macy’s (March 2017), JCPenney (July 2017), Sears (January 2018), and Bon-Ton (April 2018) pulling down their shutters, one after the other.

Lycoming Mall
Lycoming Mall” by Random Retail is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The once lively corridors started echoing with the memories of the past, each closed shutter telling a tale of a bygone era.

The financial woes didn’t stop at store closures. February 2019 brought a chill wind as the mall faced a sheriff’s sale scare due to unpaid utility bills.

Though a partial payment averted the auction, the message was clear – the mall was on shaky ground.

The mall that once buzzed with activity was now grappling with silence. The eerie quiet of vacant stores and empty corridors replaced the laughter and chatter that once filled the air.

The retail giant was now a ghost mall, each passing day pulling it further away from its glorious past.

Yet, amidst the quiet, there was a whisper of hope, a story that spoke of change, rebirth, and a future waiting to be written.

As the sun set, casting long shadows on the empty parking lot, the chapter of Lycoming Mall as a retail giant was coming to a close, making way for what lay ahead.

Lycoming Mall
No Borders Here” by Random Retail is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Sealing The Fate, Unlocking A New Beginning

As the calendar pages flipped to 2022, Lycoming Mall was at the cusp of change.

The local authorities began rallying support, with Lycoming County commissioners contemplating a $5 million loan to aid the mall’s purchase.

It was a glimmer of hope that the community still believed in the mall’s potential.

The phrase ‘It takes a village’ took on a whole new meaning as the community rallied to breathe life back into the mall.

The transition from 2022 to 2023 marked the dawn of a new era. Despite months of delay, the sale to Famvest Partners was finalized, opening a new chapter for Lycoming Mall.

The plans were ambitious and aimed at revitalizing the 135-acre property into a mixed-use development.

It was no longer about merely shopping but about creating a community-centric space that resonated with the changing times.

As the redevelopment plans rolled out, anticipation filled the air. The community, developers, and local authorities were hopeful.

The vision of transforming the mall into a mixed-use development meant blending commercial and residential spaces.

The narrative was changing, and as the first rays of a new dawn touched the grounds of Lycoming Mall, the promise of a new beginning brought hope and anticipation.

It was a step towards redefining what Lycoming Mall stood for and a step towards embracing the future.

Lycoming Mall
Main Skylights” by Random Retail is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Hadany Arch: Reflecting Lycoming Mall’s Legacy

As you approach Lycoming Mall in Pennsdale, Pennsylvania, the sight that likely catches your eye before anything else is the intriguing Hadany Arch.

Nestled at the mall’s entrance, this unique structure is more than just an architectural feature; it’s an emblem of the mall’s enduring presence in the community.

Positioned at 300 Lycoming Mall Circle, just off Route I-180, the Hadany Arch stands as an unyielding sentinel, its twisted steel form visible before you reach the mall’s entrance​.

Over the years, while stores within the mall have come and gone, the Hadany Arch has remained constant, a steadfast witness to the mall’s evolving narrative​​.

Described as a “roadside America” attraction, the Hadany Arch is not just a static structure but a source of visual delight.

Its design creates fascinating optical illusions depending on the viewer’s angle, adding a touch of mystique and allure to the mall’s entrance​.

The arch’s unique appeal initially attracted many to the Lycoming Mall, showcasing its commitment to providing a distinctive experience to its visitors.

The Hadany Arch, with its mesmerizing geometry, serves as a silent yet eloquent testament to the mall’s storied past and its hope for rejuvenation.

As Lycoming Mall embarks on a new chapter of transformation, the Hadany Arch continues to be a symbolic link to its rich heritage.

Famous Hadany Arch
Famous Hadany Arch” by Random Retail is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It’s a reminder of the mall’s glory days, a tribute to its resilience through challenging times, and an invitation to witness its journey into a new era of mixed-use development.

Through the twists and turns of its steel, the Hadany Arch encapsulates the essence of Lycoming Mall, making it a visual landmark and a cherished emblem of the Pennsdale community.

Conclusion

Lycoming Mall’s story is a mesmerizing saga of evolution, resilience, and transformation. As it transitions from a retail giant to a mixed-use development, it stands as a beacon of adaptability and innovation.

It’s a story that mirrors the changing face of retail and community spaces, promises a blend of nostalgia with a dash of modernity, and invites one to be a part of the journey toward a new horizon.

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Comments: 2
  1. Avatar of Steve
    Steve

    RE: Lycoming Mall. The finest farmland in the state of PA was destroyed to build the Lycoming Mall on this land. It was a sneaky, underhanded deal to make local politicians who owned much of the land rich.

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thanks for bringing attention to the history behind Lycoming Mall. The loss of farmland for development is a significant issue. It’s crucial to balance growth with environmental preservation.

      Reply
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