Sam Graham's Commentary

Posted December 3, 2005 (user submitted October 24, 2005)

The Ogden City Mall opened in 1980 as a solution to a declining downtown with anchors JCPenney, Nordstrom, Bon Marche and ZCMI. It was two-level mall that was highly successful until the mid-1990's. The mall?s original owner, Ernie Hahn, lost control of the site to CIGNA in the mid-1990s.

In 1981, Ogden got its second mall. The single-level and somewhat low-rent looking Newgate Mall was opened with Sears and Mervyn's as anchors. The mall opened less than 20-percent occupied and languished for the next decade while Ogden City Mall thrived. Newgate got a major makeover in 1993, but it was two other factors around 1995 that really saved the mall. Newgate successfully attracted Dillard's, and Newgate's parent company was sold to General Growth Properties. General Growth, with the strength of the addition of Dillard's, attracted more national tenants including a 14-screen Cinemark theatre. The tide turned strongly in Newgate's favor and their occupancy rate went from a typical 50-percent of high-turnover local tenants to 90-percent occupancy and above with major national players. Today, Newgate thrives with over 90 stores and kiosks.

The Ogden City Mall's decline basically paralleled Newgate's growth. CIGNA sold the mall to Haywood and Angela Whichard of Raleigh, N.C in 1999. Whichard announced grand intentions to revitalize the mall, but they became "absentee landlords". The three remaining anchors closed under Whichard. Nordstrom closed their dated store first. JCPenney followed suit after a brief conversion of its space in an outlet format. Meier and Frank, a May division which had purchased the ZCMI chain and converted all locations, were the last to leave. Through the last two years of the mall's existence, many developers were taken through the mall in hopes of saving it with the leading candidate being the Boyer Co, who had just successfully opened the Gateway development in Salt Lake City. Ultimately, the city purchased the mall and closed it Jan 1, 2002. The mall was then demolished.

(The link below opens the Ogden City Redevelopment update website, and includes links to the mall's history and future vision.)

Links - Ogden City Redevelopment update website
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