EASTGATE MALL: CHATTANOOGA, TN
Robert Bradford's Commentary
Posted April 24, 2011 (user submitted)
Originally it was an open air mall but after a fire in the 1960's it was enclosed. In 1986 another mall opened in Chattanooga a few miles from Eastgate and that was Hamilton Place. Even though I-24 and I-75 split behind the mall there was no easy way to get to it from the Interstates. In order to do so it would require a 3 1/2 mile drive in some very congested areas.
In 1991 Eastgate it lost one of its anchor stores (can't recall the name) it didn't move the store just flat out closed. The space was quickly turned into a Goody's store and everything seemed okay. In 1992 the mall suffered a huge blow when the J.C. Penny moved to Hamilton Place. This time no store came in to take its place Throughout the mid 1990's more and more spaces in the mall became empty as stores moved elsewhere or just flat out closed down. In about 1997 the mall lost Proffitt's which along with the Goody's was the only anchors the mall had.
In 1998 the mall was sold to a new owner who wanted to revive the mall. The plan was to turn the mall back into an open aired mall and have a street running through the middle of it. As part of this planned expansion several new outparcels were built. Also Goody's was moved into a new place that was still attached to the mall however it was no longer accessible from inside the mall. Then a section of mall was closed off.
Also in an effort to lure businesses and bring interest to the mall they put in a small ice skating rink. Eventually the plan to divide the mall failed but the ice skating rink remained there for several years. By 2003 the mall was undergoing another transition. Much of the mall was going from stores to office space. In 2003 the last store totally in the mall Dollar Tree closed. However as the inside was turning into office space there was some retail businesses that moved to the mall but have no access to inside the mall.
Today there is a Tuesday Morning, a YMCA, A police precinct, a very popular Chinese Buffet, an Office Depot (which took the space Goody's occupied). Most of the inside of the mall is office space. Parts of the mall are still accessible and are popular with walkers. Very little of it though feels like a mall. The once wide areas in many places have been reduced to standard hallways. There is one store that is in the mall now and has been there for ages and that is GNC. It does have outside access as well so it would not surprise me to see that separated from the inside of the mall eventually.