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. In 1985, Syracuse's Pyramid Companies made public their plan for an upscale shopping center of 875,000 leasable square feet. 


This was to occupy a 130 acre plot, situated 23 miles north of New York City's Times Square. The prospective mall site, a swampy area with a printing plant, bowling alley, diner, car dealerships and two landfills, was located in West Nyack, an unincorporated hamlet within the Town of Clarkstown, a political division of Rockland County.

Getting approval to build the PALISADES CENTER complex was a difficult and time consuming process. An initial plan, sanctioned by the local government in 1990, was met with community opposition and lawsuits. Several years of court battles 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 the construction of an even larger mall were approved by the local governing body.

Over the years, 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-type tenants. It would be an East Coast version of Minnesota's MALL OF AMERICA and feature an indoor roller coaster...ala Canada's WEST EDMONTON MALL.

Construction was soon underway on the PALISADES CENTER project. Designed by Saint Louis-based HOK (Hellmuth, Obata, Kassabaum), the center would encompass 5 levels, with the first being 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 anchor box structure on the west end of the complex would house three big box stores. On Level 1 would be a 1-level (140,000 square foot), Natick, Massachusetts-based B.J.'s Wholesale Club. Levels 2 and 3 would consist of a 1 level (135,000 square foot) Home Depot. On Level 4 would be a 1-level (134,000 square foot) Target. It would be the only store of the three 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 and Krazy City. 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 Lucky Strike Lanes bowling alley.

Moreover, there was TheEATery, which adjoined the two cinematic venues and featured thirteen sit-down restaurants. These included Bravo! Cucina Italiana, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Outback Steakhouse, Chili's Grill & Bar, Dave & Buster's Restaurant Bar & Arcade, T.G.I. Friday 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 tenants included The Great Train Store, Rainforest Cafe, Catskill Corners Store, Laura's Hallmark, Ann Taylor, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, 9 West, J. Crew, Disney Store and Restoration Hardware. The original plan for an inside roller coaster had been cancelled.

PALISADES CENTER had but one retail rival in its immediate vicinity...NANUET MALL (1969) {2.7 miles southwest, in Rockland County}. This center was reduced to dead mall status soon after the "PALISADES MALL" grand opening.

Other major malls within a short distance were CROSS COUNTY CENTER (1954) {12.7 miles southeast, in Yonkers}, PARAMUS PARK MALL (1974) {11.2 miles southwest, in Paramus, New Jersey}, WESTFIELD 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 of the remaining vacant area in the mall could be utilized in a retail capacity. The most recent referendum, held in 2002, failed to pass.

Hence, the GLA of PALISADES CENTER is held down to its present-day size of 2,217,300 square feet, with a retail roster of two hundred and fifty-five stores and services.

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

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


Sources:

"Palisades Center" article on Wikipedia
The New York Times

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