Cindee Joye's Commentary

Posted November 23, 2015 (user submitted)

I grew up with the mall where I am currently employed as Marketing Director. I had never heard of your site until I came to work here, but it is having an impact on our business and I'd like to address that. This mall has been under new ownership for 2 years now. Our team is working diligently to bring the mall back to the shopping destination that it is meant to be. We are under a revitalization plan and have already started some of the beautification plans, as well as, sorting through the many letters of intent from retailers and businesses that are game changers.

I love this mall, this area and what we are doing here. Our community has come together to partner with us to make this place great again. I'd love to send pictures to you to show the progress. We have some young entrepreneurs that have start ups in here now too. Anything negative can normally be addressed and talked about. With your site, it's hindering any communication and an attack on our livelihood. I urge to please remove us from this site. We have positive energy here now, and the community that supports us. Response: Information is presented as a historical account and obviously may not reflect present-day status. I commend you and your efforts to make Eastridge Mall a great mall! They're obviously paying off.

Kabuki Kitsune's Commentary

Posted April 25, 2011 (user submitted)

Gastonia had at one time two malls, the first of which Gaston Mall, which was a much smaller Woolco-anchored center built in the late 60's. Eastridge arrived in 1976, far eclipsing Gaston Mall and drawing a large trade area that served a market in both North and South Carolina mostly independent of Charlotte. It is also a relatively large mall with nearly a million square feet, five anchors and three levels that was undoubtedly as popular as Eastland Mall was in Charlotte in its early years. Gaston Mall itself dropped off the face of the earth, falling well out of favor by the 1980's when my family had moved there.

When Eastridge opened, it brought in three large anchors: Matthews Belk, Ivey's, and JCPenney. The anchors were shuffled over the years, however, with only Matthews Belk retaining its original location.

Little changed for nearly 20 years: the mall's 70's trappings and anchors remained in place with the exception of Ivey's, which became Dillard's in 1990. Goody's also joined the mall somewhere in that time span, though it is unknown whether it existed as anything previously.

In 1997, JCPenney completed construction of a new store in the front of the mall facing NC 279. The old store located on the southeast end was then demolished and replaced the following year with a new Dillard's. When work was completed, the old Ivey's/Dillard's was then converted to Sears. This brought the total anchors up to four not counting Goody's, which opened as a junior anchor adjacent to Sears. During the same time, renovation began on the mall, completed in late 1998. The third floor had a rather extensive video game arcade, which covered a full third of the upper floor. This arcade had quietly declined in the 90's, with the arcade style gaming falling out of favor. The food court, having also been located on the third level, moved down to the main part of the mall on the second level. The new food court had replaced a four-screen movie theater. Not only was a theater lost, but also resulted in the closure of the third level, which itself was only accessible from the JCPenney wing (originally the front entrance). With no food court, patrons no longer had any reason to go up to the third floor.

The third floor has spent much of its existence abandoned since the food court was relocated. A small indoor theme park called Jeepers! took up the space in 2005, but closed in 2006. Jeepers! was essentially an arcade with a few rides, stuff for the kids and even a small roller coaster, which proved challenging due to ceiling height restrictions, being far shorter than the rest of the mall. The exact reason for this is unknown, but some suspect building code restrictions came into play during original construction.

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