East Towne Mall

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Address: 89 EAST TOWNE MALL,, Madison, WI, 53704

Stores: 104
10:00 - 21:00 ( Mon - Sat )  11:00 - 18:00 ( Sun )  
Phone: 608-244-1387

East Towne Mall is a shopping mall located in the northeast side of Madison, Wisconsin. The mall now comprises over 100 shops and services, a food court (opened as part of an expansion in 1989) with about a dozen eateries to choose from, and a small format Barnes & Noble store adjacent to the food court. From the mall's opening until around 2003, the mall also had a 6-screen movie theatre, which from the middle of the '80s to about 2003 was called Budget Cinemas owned by Silver Cinemas. It closed in 2003 because Budget Cinemas Mall Wing Entrance, as well as some other stores by the entrance, was bought by Steve & Barry's University Sportswear, and the mall entrance was turned into the Entrance for Steve & Barry's.

The mall and its sister mall, West Towne, were originally developed by Jacobs, Visconsi, and Jacobs Co. of Cleveland, Ohio, which was later known as the Richard E. Jacobs Group. CBL Properties purchased East Towne Mall, West Towne Mall and West Towne Crossing from Richard E. Jacobs Group in late 2000 as part of a $1.2 billion deal included 23 properties. The deal was completed February 1, 2001. CBL refurbished both East Towne and West Towne unveiling the changes which included more skylights, family restrooms, improved interior decor, seating, flooring and other changes in November 2003. Stores added in 2003 included Steve & Barry's, CJ Banks and Helzberg Diamonds. A 26,000-square-foot (2,400 m²) Barnes & Noble opened in March 2003 near the food court at the main entrance. The face lift to East Towne Mall cost $2.2 million and was the first significant change to the mall since the 1989 addition of a food court. The Barnes & Noble cost $1.8 million and the Dick's Sporting Goods project cost $5.5 million for both East Towne and West Towne. CBL remodeled the structure inside and out, and brought in new tenants to give the mall more of its own identity, rather than bring in the same tenants that West Towne has. There is a greater emphasis on regional names and gift shops, plus some national apparel shops that West Towne does not have.


The mall opened for business October 14, 1971 with a small ribbon cutting ceremony, a year after West Towne Mall. The two malls are only separated by around 11 miles (18 km) straight line, but the geography of Madison with its two main lakes creating bottlenecks for traffic it takes much longer to travel between the two than the mileage suggests. East Towne was Madison's largest enclosed mall, and initially had four large anchor stores, Sears, J. C. Penney, H.C. Prange Co., and Gimbel's. Prange Way and Aeropostale took up a large section at the back of Pranges' space, so it could be considered a fifth anchor.

Developed by Jacobs, Visconsi, and Jacobs Co. of Cleveland, Ohio construction of the center began September 18, 1970 under the supervision of project manager Stan Smith. Originally, the 1,600 sq ft (150 m²) mall area contained eight water pools and sunken lounge areas. Artists Clarence Van Duzer and Joseph McDonnell were commissioned to create art work for the mall. McDonnell created four sculptures, one was a 3,000 pound metal yellow rhinoceros with red polka dots made of half-inch steel plates and another was a 35'x22' chandelier-like work suspended above one of the entryways. The chandelier was multi-colored and according to McDonnell, it was inspired by a game of pick-up sticks and designed to resemble "a galaxy of light" from outside the center. Van Duzen was responsible for the large central area with its 30-foot (9.1 m) ceiling and four contemporary pillars. In the center was a large three-level pool with waterfalls, a 15-foot (4.6 m) fountain and flashing lights all synchronized to music. The main entrance was also flanked by sculpted stone blocks in relief with irregular shapes and sizes. All the water sculptures and sunken lounge areas were removed in the late 1980s and the main entrance was completely redesigned with the addition of the food court.

The parking area was designed by Stone and Robinson Associates, Inc. and was originally 2,100,000 square feet (195,000 m²) with a capacity of 6,000 cars and an average, maximum car-to-store distance of 350 ft (110 m) The parking are has since been reduced in size to hold less than 5,000 cars by various construction projects on the perimeter and expansion of the main facility.

East Towne Mall was constructed near the intersection of U.S. Route 151 and Interstate 90/94, but was virtually alone when built on over eighty acres of farmland. Now it rests in the center of a large retail area with a number of banks, restaurants and numerous chain big-box stores ranging from Best Buy and Circuit City to The Home Depot and Menards.

Original logo of East Towne Mall.

Gimbel's would become Boston Store in 1987 upon Gimbels' collapse a year earlier, and closed in 2003. This space was razed, and the area was rebuilt in 2003-2004 with the Boston Store name moving replacing Younkers. It is now a Dick's Sporting Goods, Gordmans and new mall space. Gordmans opened in September 2004 and Dick's Sporting Goods grand opening was at the end of October, 2004.

Prange's switched to Younkers upon the buyout of the chain in 1992. Before this buyout, Prange Way closed, allowing Younkers to expand into the large section the discount store had originally taken. Younker's would be switched to the Boston Store nameplate at this, as well as the West Towne Mall and Regency Mall's locations in 2003 when then-owners Saks Inc. decided to consolidate all southern Wisconsin stores into one banner. They had closed both Milwaukee-area Younker's stores at Northridge Mall and Southridge Mall in 2000 previous to East Towne's location.


Barnes & Noble (25,925 ft²)

Boston Store (138,755 ft²)

Dick's Sporting Goods (66,000 ft²)

Gordmans (47,943 ft²)

J. C. Penney (144,016 ft²)

Sears (107,157 ft²)

Steve & Barry's (28,828 ft²)




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    • by moboup
    • on 2009-10-27 19:14:18

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