Stamford Town Center
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Stamford Town Center is an urban shopping mall in Downtown Stamford, Connecticut. The 853,000-square-foot (79,200 m2) mall is the eighth largest in Connecticut, with space for about 130 stores and restaurants. It includes a 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) Macy's and a 78,000-square-foot (7,200 m2) Saks Fifth Avenue as anchors. The 1991 picture, Scenes from a Mall, was partially filmed at this center.
Built by F.D. Rich Co, and opened in 1982, the mall's site was part of the Landmark urban renewal project and previously was the location of tenement structures that once lined Greyrock Place, the street which is its primary address. Saks Fifth Avenue opened its store in the mall on March 12, 1983. A third anchor, a 160,000-square-foot (15,000 m2) Filene's closed in 2005 (before the merger of the May Department Stores and Federated Department Stores), as the store's sales were not up to par. This location originally opened as a J.C. Penney store, but was eventually shuttered and replaced by Filene's in 1996. The far south end of the mall which housed J.C. Penney and Filene's was demolished in 2006 and was replaced by a pedestrian-oriented exterior complex of retail stores and restaurants that directly connects to the mall. It opened on November 1, 2007.
The construction of the mall and adjacent office towers had a profound effect on the face of downtown Stamford during the 1970s and 1980s, and was profiled in a May 8, 1988 article in The New York Times headlined "A Town Sells Off Pieces of its Soul."
Stamford Town Center has four floors of shopping - floors 3, 4, 5 and 7, with The Food Court located on the 7th floor. The supporting parking structure has space for 4,000 cars and is situated in levels below and above the mall, thus forming a kind of mall and parking 'sandwich'.
The mall was a significant part of Stamford's urban renewal efforts, and thus was not without controversy. The mall gutted the heart of Stamford's traditional Main Street retailing and business district, and is widely perceived to be a large fortress-like structure, that even today appears hugely out of scale to the remaining cityscape. Another perception of its design is that it was built to primarily cater to auto-oriented visitors and it was made difficult to enter from the street as a pedestrian. Most pedestrian routes from the street involve going through the mall's anchor stores or through the other (primarily office) buildings of Landmark Square and Atlantic Street. The redevelopment of the former Filene's/ J.C.Penney location has alleviated some of these original design characteristics.
Levels of Success
From its opening, the mall was very popular and drew shoppers and tourists from as far as the New York City boroughs and even internationally. The redevelopment of the former Filene's anchor has added pedestrian-friendly retail space and provides a better streetscape. In November, 2007, Stamford Town Center opened four new restaurants; California Pizza Kitchen, Cosi, Kona Grill and P.F. Chang's China Bistro. The Capital Grille opened on February 25, 2008. Barnes & Noble opened their largest Connecticut store in this new space.
The Plaza, as it is referred to, is a pedestrian friendly complex of restaurants and merchants that are new to Connecticut, as well as the region.
The Plaza offers valet parking and easy access to parking level 1 from Tresser Boulevard. There is also a new entrance that was built to ease accessibility to the main mall. Other mall and parking levels are accessible by 2 all-glass elevators that access Levels 1,S*/M* for the Plaza, and the mall levels (4-5), and levels 6-Rooftop(10). Barnes & Noble is accessible from Level 4 as well as from the Plaza. H&M is accessible from Level 5 of the mall only.
The initial opening of the Plaza (which included Barnes & Noble, H&M, California Pizza Kitchen, Cosi, Kona Grill, and P.F. Chang's) occurred on November 1, 2007. Mitchell's Fish Market opened on December 8, 2007, while The Capital Grille opened on February 25, 2008. Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que was originally planned to open in this new space, but pulled out of the project.
The new restaurants are as follows:
- California Pizza Kitchen
- Kona Grill
- Mitchell's Fish Market
- P.F. Chang's
- The Capital Grille
- Plan B Burger Bar
New retail options in the Plaza include:
- Barnes & Noble - at 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2), it is the largest in the state.
- H&M - Newest store in Fairfield County
- Macys (250,000 sqft) - opened in 1982
- Saks Fifth Avenue (78,000 sqft) - opened in 1983, to close in early 2014
- JCPenney (160,000 sqft) - opened in 1982, became Filene's in 1996
- Filene's (160,000 sqft) - opened in 1996, closed in 2005, demolished in 2006
The Plaza at the Stamford Town Center. H&M is shown here.
Kona Grill at The Plaza at Stamford Town Center
- Walsh, Erin, "From the Archives: The Week of March 9" weekly column in The Advocate of Stamford, March 10, 2008, p A5
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