Located in the capitol city of Iowa, the Southridge Mall is one of the more iconic locations in the not so exciting state of Iowa. The mall itself is able to bring in over 3 million visitors every year, primarily local residents of Des Moines and some suburbs to the south and east of the city. Southridge Malls official grand opening took place on October 15th, 1975, and has gone through its fair share of anchor changes, renovations, expansions, and tough times.
Early years of Southridge Mall
Built right on the intersection of Army Post Road and Southeast 14th Street, this mall was a close neighbor to another mall, Valley West Mall, which had just recently opened two months prior. The first anchor location for Southridge Mall was Younkers, and two years later the mall received its second anchor store in Sears. The following year in 1978, there was an expansion to the mall that allowed a third anchor slot which was quickly taken by Montgomery Ward.
Four years later, the mall received yet another anchor location in a Richard Goodman Department Store, now totaling at four separate anchor locations as well as an increase in mall popularity. In the seven years since its grand opening, Southridge Mall had already gone through some major expansion and added some high-profile retailers to its slots, things were looking very good for the mall and businesses was booming all around.
Contractual Issues with Southridge Mall
In 1987, owners of Southridge Mall were planning to add a Dillard’s to the mall, but plans were quickly put to an end by Younkers, who found information on the lease that would only allow four department stores in the mall in order to ensure competition wasn’t too high. Younkers actually attempted to sue the mall, but lost the suit, and then Dillard’s decided not to implement a store even after all that had happened.
Five years later, the mall did finally receive a fifth anchor location, and that happened to be by one of the most recognizable establishments in the US, Target. In order to fit the Target store in Southridge Mall, more expansion was required, and once completed the mall would now be over a million square feet in size. In the same year, JCPenney would move into the mall, replacing the former Richard Goodman that filed for bankruptcy.
Recent years at Southridge Mall
Ever since the turn of the millennium, Southridge Mall has seen a slow but steady decline in business and occupancy within the mall. This is undoubtedly due to the tough competition Southridge faces against Merle Hay Mall and Jordan Creek Town. However, Southridge continues to press onward and actually went through with some renovations in 2007 to add new children’s play areas and seating. Then, in 2012, almost 300,000 square feet of the mall was demolished and replaced with a small outdoor shopping area that includes a Foot Locker, T-Mobile, Shoe Carnival, and Rue 21.