Crystal Mall (Connecticut)
|Location||Waterford, Connecticut, USA|
|Address||850 Hartford Turnpike|
|Developer||Simon Property Group|
|Management||Simon Property Group|
|Owner||Simon Property Group|
|No. of stores and services||130+|
|No. of anchor tenants||5|
|Total retail floor area||793,000 sq ft (73,700 m2)|
|No. of floors||2|
Crystal Mall is an enclosed, two-level regional mall in Waterford, Connecticut. It is situated in a central retail area off the Hartford Turnpike (Route 85), across from another large shopping center, Waterford Commons. The mall covers a gross leaseable area of almost 800,000 square feet, making it Connecticut's ninth biggest mall, boasting over 130 shops. Its primary trade area includes a trade population of about 300,000 people, mostly serving the nearby towns of Waterford, Norwich, Groton and New London.
The mall was developed in 1984 by Simon Property Group. When it opened, it was the only regional mall in the area, and many smaller shopping centers faced strong competition. Some, like nearby New London Mall, were eventually forced to change strategies, such as becoming a "lifestyle center".
After about 10 years in operation, Crystal Mall's look was becoming outdated, and management realized it needed to be renewed. In 1997, the mall underwent a renovation to upgrade its interior design. The previous dark color scheme was replaced by a brighter white, the food court was remodeled, and lighting as well as other fixtures were improved. The elegant center chandelier was slated to be removed during the renovations, but the fixture was popular with shoppers, so it was shined and has remained. Unfortunately, the mall has still been criticized for its aging exterior look, and for not updating its tenants to keep up with the times.
In 2006, one of the mall's longstanding anchors Filene's closed its store, as this was one of a number of New England Malls that had both a Macy's and Filene's. After the May Co Department Store Company was purchased by Federated Department Stores (now renamed Macy's) duplicate stores were closed at many New England malls. The anchor space remained empty for over a year. In late 2007, it was announced that two non-traditional anchors would fill the vacant space: Christmas Tree Shops and Bed Bath & Beyond. Both retailers opened a few months later in early 2008, with Christmas Tree Shops on the first level, and Bed Bath & Beyond on the second level.
In 2004, the State of Connecticut began a lawsuit against Simon Property Group, the owners of Crystal Mall. The issue stemmed from the fact that Simon charged dormancy fees, and also set an expiration date on its gift cards, which is against state law. The allegations were settled in 2008, with Simon Property Group paying a total of $308,736 to affected customers and the state. However, a debate has been ongoing since the issue began, that allows Simon to effectively curb state laws by using national banks, which are under federal jurisdiction.
On January 25, 2010, Crystal Mall was shut down and evacuated after shoppers reported smelling a strange odor. Several people felt ill, and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection Hazardous Materials team, as well as firefighters were called in to investigate the source.
It had another renovation in 2012, and the renovation also left behind new stores.
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- Corey Sipe (November 11, 2007). "Crystal Mall in Waterford, Connecticut, to Have Non-Traditional Anchors". Associated Press.
- Corey Sipe (February 29, 2008). "Crystal Mall in Waterford, Connecticut". Associated Press.
- "Attorney General, DCP, Treasurer Announce $308,000 Settlement With Crystal Mall Owners..." (Press release). Connecticut Attorney General's Office. December 29, 2008.
- Anthony Cronin (September 2, 2006). "State Aims to Enforce Rules On Gift Cards" (PDF). The Day.
- Michael Naughton (January 26, 2010). "Crystal Mall evacuated after odor reported". The Day.
- "Crystal Mall Evacuated Amid Strange Odor". WFSB. January 25, 2010.