Daniel Hull's Commentary:

Posted April 5, 2005 (user submitted)

Carlisle Plaza was another one of Crown American's small malls throughout their history, and was built in the mid to late 1960's. The mall (less than 400,000 sq. ft.) had 3 anchors. Bon-Ton on its East end, Kmart on its West End, and JCPenney in the middle.

While small, the mall served Carlisle very well. Carlisle is a small college town in Cumberland County off Interstate 81, about 20 miles south of the state capitol, Harrisburg.

The mall would have a small concourse outside of it, anchored by a Giant supermarket. The Giant Foods chain had their flagship store here, as the chain started in Carlisle, and still has headquarters there.

The mall prospered until the mid 1990's. In 1995, Kmart closed their store at the mall and opened a brand new larger Kmart down off College St. in Carlisle. Around that same time, JCPenney closed their store at Carlisle Plaza, which was only about 40,000 square feet anyway, as they were concentrating on a new store in Camp Hill's Capital City Mall, a suburb to Harrisburg, only about 8 miles from the mall. This would leave Carlisle Plaza w/only one anchor. The Giant supermarket next to the mall would close, as a new flagship store would be built down Spring Garden St.

Carlisla Plaza mall limped along from that point forward. OfficeMax filled the former Giant supermarket, and Bon-Ton remained an anchor to the mall. Some chain stores, like Kay-Bee Toys, Foot Locker, Jo-Ann Fabrics and Bath & Body Works would remain. Gold's Gym would take some mall space, but would not have mall access. The former Kmart would be filled with Albion Point Antiques & Collectibles, something Crown American used to fill anchor spaces in some of its malls, which were mainly ex-Kmarts. The space didn't prosper as much as Hanover's Black Rose Antiques & Collectibles, filled in Crown American's North Hanover Mall's former Kmart 30 miles to the south.

Albion Point closed in 2002, and that half of the mall was sealed off. At that point, Crown American sold the mall to another developer, who bulldozed over half the mall for a new Lowe's. The site is now named The Point at Carlisle Plaza, and still has Bon-Ton, OfficeMax, Lowe's, and a small mall corridor remaining, filled with Foot Locker, Kay Jewelers, RadioShack, a Quizno's, Bath & Body Works, JoAnn Fabrics, a couple local stores, and Bon-Ton's Home Store.

While the area near immediate Harrisburg has many malls (I would argue too many), most of the malls are old (the newest is Capital City, built in the early 1970's), and somewhat small for that area. Carlisle was simply too small, in a poor location not visible from Interstate 81, with shaky access from it (Different access from northbound and southbound I-81), as well as limited space for expansion. The other mall in Carlisle was more visible (which I've heard referred to as MJ Mall), which I also sent a report about. Renovation to Capital City in Camp Hill, which is also owned by Crown American, curtailed the last hopes of Carlisle Plaza.

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