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               PHOENIX VILLAGE MALL: FORT SMITH, AR

Lee Hollifield's Commentary

Posted October 2, 2005 (user submitted)

I was born in 1981, and that was the mall that everyone went to. Central Mall was out of the way, and very few stores were there. Slowly Central gained momentum, and Phoenix became the reject mall. My biggest treat as a child was going to the mall and getting an ice cream from the nice old lady in the mall, and one of my saddest memories was the Sunday afternoon we went there after church to find that the ice cream place had also closed.

The mall at one time housed the now defunct Venture and Bell Ladyman. Heilig Myers furniture made a run there for a couple of years, and a church called "Community Bible Church" lived there for many years before relocating to their new building less than 2 years ago. A craft store named Home World was there for close to 10 years before relocating a mile down the road to a former Wal-Mart building. A local mexican restaurant named Cucos was there since my earliest memories until less than a year ago when they built a free-stading facility on a different side of town. There is also an indoor fun-park that has been in and out of business for about 10 years. There is a First National Bank branch there, and to the best of my knowledge, it is still there (I moved 2 years ago, and haven't been in the mall since soon after I moved).

There is a Phoenix Village Square comprised of shops that seem to close down relatively quickly, besides a Chinese food restaurant that has been there at least 5 years. Half of the former Venture's is now an Atwoods, and about 2 years ago a developer bid on the mall with the intention of razing the square, and most of the mall except for Atwoods. He was then going to build a building to intice Target to move into the town with, and connect it to Atwoods with a strip mall. It would have been great, but the deal fell through, and the owners of the mall went into bankruptcy.

I found an article on the website for the Time Record (Fort Smith's news paper) about the mall. The article is from Sep 9th, 2005 and talks about the 7.7 million dollar deal that just fell through, and that the mall is now going through forclosure, and will be auctioned. One interesting point in the article is that Phoenix Village Mall was the first mall built in Arkansas, and was built in 1970, and had a major expansion in 1980. It's on 35-acres, and has 489,000 square feet of retail space.

Josh Levin's Photos

Phoenix Village Mall - pics from Josh Levin









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