PALISADES CENTER
Routes 59 and 303
Rockland County (Town of Clarkstown), New York

Plans for a lower Hudson Valley shopping mall were first envisaged in 1982. 3 years later, Syracuse's Pyramid Companies announced plans for an upscale shopping center which was to comprise 875,000 leasable square feet. 


This would be developed on a 130 acre plot, located 23 miles north of New York City's Times Square. The prospective mall site was a wetland area with a printing plant, bowling alley, diner, cemetery, several car dealerships and 2 landfills. It was situated in an unincorporated section of Rockland County's Town of Clarkstown known as West Nyack.

Getting approval to build PALISADES CENTER was a difficult and time-consuming process. An initial plan, sanctioned by the local government in 1990, was met with a tidal wave of community opposition. Several years of litigation followed.

All legal challenges had been overcome by 1995. By this time, the size of the prospective shopping center had grown to 1.9 million leasable square feet. In April 1996, plans for an even larger mall were approved by the local governing body.

By this time, the original plan for an upscale retail venue had evolved into one for a more middle-market "power mall". This would house traditional department stores and several big box tenants. It would be an East Coast version of Minnesota's MALL OF AMERICA and feature an indoor roller coaster, similar to one at Canada's WEST EDMONTON MALL.

PALISADES CENTER was designed by Saint Louis-based HOK (Hellmuth, Obata, Kassabaum). The complex would encompass 5 levels, with the first housing a subterranean parking deck.

Anchoring the mammoth mall would be a 3-level (204,000 square foot) Boston-based Filene's, 3-level (156,000 square foot) J.C. Penney and 2-level (120,000 square foot) Lord & Taylor.

A vertically-stacked structure on the west end of the complex would house 3 stores. On the first floor would be a 1-level (140,000 square foot) B.J.'s Wholesale Club. The second and third floors would contain a 1 level (135,000 square foot) Home Depot. A 1-level (134,000 square foot) Target would fill the fourth floor. This would be the only west end store with an interior mallway connection.

Junior anchor spaces on various floors of the complex would accommodate Best Buy, Burlington Coat Factory, Bed Bath & Beyond, Sports Authority, Nobody Beats The Wiz, Barnes & Noble, Krazy City and a Dave & Buster's Grand Sports Cafe. 


Level 3 would have a 13-bay Food Court, one of the largest in the nation. It would feature a ferris wheel and 1907-vintage carousel. On Level 4 would be the Loews Palisades Center 21 megaplex, IMAX Theatre Palisades Center, The Rink At Palisades Center (an indoor ice skating venue) and a Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley.

Moreover, there was TheEATery, which adjoined the 2 cinematic venues and featured 13 casual dining restaurants. These included Bravo! Cucina Italiana, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Chili's Grill & Bar, Dave & Buster's Restaurant Bar & Arcade, T.G.I. Fridays and Chevy's Fresh Mex.

Target became one of the first operational stores at PALISADES CENTER in February 1998. A mall-wide preview opening took place March 4, 1998, with the official grand opening being held April 15 of the same year.

Charter inline tenants included The Great Train Store, Rainforest Cafe, Catskill Corners Store, Laura's Hallmark, Ann Taylor, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, 9 West, J. Crew, The Disney Store and Restoration Hardware. The original plan for an inside roller coaster had been abandoned.

PALISADES CENTER had but one retail rival in its immediate vicinity, NANUET MALL (1969) {2.7 miles southwest, in Rockland County}. This center began a downward spiral soon after the completion of "PALISADES MALL".

Other major shopping facilities near PALISADES CENTER included CROSS COUNTY CENTER (1954) {12.7 miles southeast, in Yonkers}, PARAMUS PARK MALL (1974) {11.2 miles southwest, in Paramus, New Jersey}, WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN GARDEN STATE PLAZA (1957) {13.6 miles southwest, also in Paramus, New Jersey} and BERGEN MALL (1957) {13.5 miles southwest, in Paramus and Maywood, New Jersey}.

Although PALISADES CENTER comprised nearly as much physical space as Minnesota's MALL OF AMERICA, the area that it was permitted to lease was restricted by local statute. This required the passage of a voter referendum before any unused sections could be utilized. The most recent referendum, held in 2002, failed to pass.

Hence, the GLA of PALISADES CENTER remains stationary at 2,217,300 square feet. The mall currently houses 255 stores and services.

A couple nameplate conversions have taken place since the mall's 1998 dedication. The 
Loews Palisades Center 21 was rebranded, as the AMC-Loews Palisades Center 21, in January 2006. Filene's became a Macy's on September 9 of the same year. 

PALISADES CENTER was given an interior face lift during 2013. Surfaces were painted, with new ceiling treatments and soft seating areas installed. ThEATery was equipped with new tile flooring and lighting fixtures.

In 2015, the main (21-screen) cinema complex was renovated. A separate IMAX auditorium relocated into the 21-plex, with the combined venue being renamed the AMC Palisades 21 & IMAX. The Sports Authority chain went bust in the summer of 2016. Its space at PALISADES CENTER was taken by Dick's Sporting Goods.

Sources:

"Palisades Center" article on Wikipedia
The New York Times

Comment post by "Anonymous"
http://www.malletin.com
http://www.movietheatre.org / Mike Rivest
http://www.worldlingo.com
http://www.palisadescenter.com
http://www.pyramidmg.com (Pyramid Companies)