Rainbow Centre Factory Outlet
|Location||Niagara Falls, New York|
|Opening date||July 4, 1982|
|Closing date||September 30, 2000|
|No. of floors||2|
Rainbow Centre Factory Outlet was an enclosed outlet mall in downtown Niagara Falls, New York, that operated from 1982 to 2000. Its design was unusual in that it was contained within its own parking ramp, and opened directly into the now-demolished Wintergarden indoor botanical garden on its southern end. It was built, owned, and managed by the Cordish Company until October 2010, when CEO David Cordish personally donated the abandoned mall to Niagara County Community College for use as a culinary institute, student-run restaurant, and a Barnes & Noble bookstore. The Institute and bookstore opened in 2012.
The mall opened on July 4, 1982, as part of a failed Urban Renewal project. Initially, the mall was successful, but it did not turn a profit until 1990, when the original anchor, Beir's Department Store, was replaced with a Burlington Coat Factory and the majority of the mall tenants were replaced with outlet stores. The mall was a popular destination during downtown Niagara Falls' Festival of Lights throughout the 1980s and 1990s. However, by the late 1990s, The mall lost its designation as the most successful in Niagara Falls as the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls renovated and became the more popular choice. The Rainbow Centre had received no updating since its opening, and simply could not compete with the Fashion Outlets. Burlington Coat Factory closed in 1999, and the entire mall closed in 2000, with all remaining tenants required to evacuate by September of that year. Shortly after closing, the Cordish Co. claimed the mall would be redeveloped into an entertainment complex, but these plans never came to fruition. Despite the closure off all the retail stores in 2000, the mall still remained open to foot traffic for a few years afterward due to the mall's off-track betting parlor remaining successful. Once the center closed in 2005, the mall was officially closed off to all foot traffic and fell into disrepair. The interior of the mall was gutted in 2011 and the NCCC Culinary Institute and Barnes & Noble opened in the Southern 1/3 of the building on August 31, 2012. The other 2/3 of the structure were turned over to the city of Niagara Falls for future redevelopment. As of 2015 a resort named "Wonderfalls" is planned for the remaining space but development is not yet underway.
- "OTB FINALLY THROWS IN THE TOWEL, RAINBOW CENTRE NOW ABANDONED". Niagara Falls Reporter. 11 October 2005. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- "RAINBOW CENTRE MAY TURN A PROFIT". The Buffalo News. 8 February 1990. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
- Michelmore, Bill (28 November 1999). "CHANGING COLORS OF THE RAINBOW AS RETAIL MARKET SUFFERS, DOWNTOWN MALL OWNERS EYE ENTERTAINMENT INSTEAD OF RETAIL FOR THEIR POT OF GOLD". The Buffalo News. Retrieved 20 April 2010.
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