Patrick Lessard's Commentary

Posted October 12, 2005 (user submitted)

The Newington Mall was a modern mall of 480,000 square feet, located in the middle of everything and near highways in tax-free New Hampshire. It had 4 anchor stores, a large parking lot with other businesses including two restaurants. The mall thrived but by 1983, a new and bigger mall opened a few yards away, the Fox Run Mall That mall had more stores and had strong anchors: Sears, JC Penney, Filene's and Jordan Marsh. This would become one of the problems the mall faced through the years.

The Newington Mall mall opened in the 70's and was anchored by Montgomery Ward, J.M.Fields, a supermarket (probably Food Fair) and a Value Store. McDonald's and Bickford's Family Fare were located in the parking lot. In the late 70's, Bradlees replaced J.M.Fields and Shaw's supermarket opened in the former grocery store. Porteous replaced the Value store around that same time. For years, the Newington Mall co-existed with it's new larger neighbor. Each had their own style and array of stores. Toys ?r? us opened at the mall in a separate building in the mid 80's. At it's peak, the mall had up to 70 stores.

The mall and the region suffered when the nearby Pease Air Force base closed. In 1991, Shaw's moved to another shopping center. The space remained vacant for years. Several small stores in the mall also closed down during that period. Many national chains had stores at both malls in Newington. During that hard time, companies decided to keep open the ones at the healthier mall... In 1992, Porteous closed it's doors, leaving another large anchor space vacant. By then, the mall was almost completely vacant. In 1995, mall officials told the remaining half-dozen tenants to leave the dead mall. Bradlees and Montgomery Ward were the only stores left along with the ones outparcel.

Plans were made for a new shopping center that would be located between the two anchors. In november 1995, a proposal was made to demolish and redesign the vacant mall. As planned, a new strip of stores was built between the two department stores. The redeveloped strip plaza was renamed ?The Crossing at Fox Run?. It started slowly in 1997 with MVP Sports and Bed & Bath. In october 1997, Montgomery Ward closed along with 48 other stores nationwide. The store was torn down in spring 1998.

Michaels Crafts opened in the fall of 1998 and Best Buy opened in the new section located on the former Ward site. Barnes & Noble joined Best Buy in the rebuilt space in 1999. Finally, Old Navy opened in the last available section of the former Montgomery Ward space in 2000. By the end of that year, Bradlees announced it would close. Kohl's quickly replaced Bradlees in an expanded store and the center lost the last big piece of it's past. Bed & Bath did not lasted and MVP Sports, renamed Decathlon, closed in 2003.

The power center now features Dick's Sporting Goods, LongHorn steakhouse, IHOP, Pet Quarters, a 15-screen Cinema and Bugaboo Creek Steakhouse. The remaining Sullivan Tire store looks lost in that modern power center near Kohl's. Now that Bickford's has closed, it's one of the last piece of the defunct Newington Mall.

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