This holiday season, many will head to the New London Mall in New London, CT to visit a number of stores in one stop.
t’s too bad that one stop wouldn’t require moving one’s vehicle from one end of the center to the other.
The New London Mall was an enclosed shopping mall consisting of 290,000 square feet and approximately 35 stores with a dumbbell shape and originally opened in 1968 on a 26 acre parcel.
During its time it has seen several stores as part of its lineup including, according to the Directory of Major Malls 19th Edition: Marshalls Department Store, Sage-Allen Department Store, Bradlees Department Store, D&L Department Store, Hobbytown U.S.A., Things Remembered, Gemstones, Etc., Subway, Orange Julius, Papa Gino’s, CVS, Hickory Farms store, Fifth Avenue Card Shop, Abba Travel, Dollar Plus, Paperback Booksmith, Fifth Avenue Clearance Shop, Fifth Avenue Halloween/Christmas Shop, Fashion Bug, Hair International, Cutting Crew, Tolan Nail Salon, Singer Sewing Center, Triumph Auto Glass, and Tobacco Kiosk.
The mall provided comfort in a climate controlled atmosphere and encouraged shoppers to walk from one end of the mall to the other.
In an effort to modernize the center and breathe new life into a regional mall, it was made into a lifestyle center, a project starting in 1998, with five separate buildings, some of which are quite awkward to walk between as a pedestrian.
All buildings have a New England architectural element such as white pillars and have high window tower elements along with a mix of brick and vinyl siding characteristics along with sheltered walkways and a park-like atmosphere.
Outside of each building is at least one sign with a directory of all stores in the mall but no actual handout for shoppers to take along with them.
Today, the New London Mall consists of a southern building anchored by a 64,017 square foot Shop Rite Supermarket with Dime Savings Bank and Subway, a 4,156 square foot Kay’s Hallmark, a 23,500 square foot Petsmart (former OfficeMax), and a 6,060 square foot West Marine.
The Shop Rite Supermarket is closest to the entrance/exit to the mall from Bayonet Street creating congested conditions when pedestrians walk across the main service road to the parking lot.
Shop Rite is aware of the problem of people parking their vehicles along the road waiting for their loved ones to come out with groceries and the problems this creates as vehicles are forced to drive in the lane of the opposing direction.
Signs now instruct drivers to not park in front of Shop Rite.
Adjacent to that building is an 8,045 square foot Midas Muffler.
Across a busy parking lot is a large building housing Marshalls, the only original anchor from the old mall still at the site and the backside of its exterior is in the same brick as the enclosed mall once was.
The 30,354 square foot Marshalls takes up the lower level of a two floor building.
Interestingly enough, Marshalls it was constructed as part of the enclosed mall had merchandise on the upper level and its escalator was hidden in the store’s back corner.
The upper level was turned into a storage area and while rumors had Marshalls overtake the upper level for merchandise, it was later decided to use the space for offices.
The upper level consists of six separate office spaces which currently houses a 4,232 square foot Buyer’s Edge office, a 6,624 square foot Lostin and Ruffkess, a 1,508 Marvel Home Decorating office, a 2,500 Maxim Healthcare Services office, and a soon to open 11,771 square foot for Eliassen.
An adjacent building to the left of Marshalls is an outparcel 8,468 square foot Chili’s Bar and Grill restaurant (formerly Red Lobster).
Chili’s Bar and Grill is closest to North Frontage Road and has excellent visibility from Interstate 95.
Right of Marshalls in the same building is a number of small specialty shops, this building was renovated as-new and was originally the right side of the main hallway of the New London Mall.
The sidewalk is in roughly the same space where the hallway of the mall used to be with the former space of stores on the left-side of the hallway now being taken up by the center’s large parking lot.
Next to Marshalls is a 7,428 square foot Panda Buffet Chinese Restaurant, a 591 square foot Nails 4 U salon, a 2,008 square foot The Gallery Hair Design and Spa, a 6,989 square foot Famous Footwear store, a 1,488 square foot Wireless Zone store, a 1,479 square foot Taj Boutique (originally in the enclosed mall), a 4,046 square foot F.Y.E. Movies and Music (formerly a Strawberries and originally in the enclosed mall), a 1,617 square foot Sally Beauty Supplies store, a 2,305 square foot vacant space (this was the former Booksmith which closed after it survived the mall’s surgery from an enclosed building to a lifestyle center) , a 1,071 square foot New London Sewing and Vacuum Center, and a 2,997 Marvel Home Decorating store (originally in the enclosed mall).
In an adjacent building, requiring crossing a portion of a parking lot and a service road are three “junior” size anchors.
They consist of a 20,932 square foot A.C. Moore, a 25,432 square foot Home Goods, and a 10,200 square foot Guitar World (a former Dress Barn/Woman that did not last long).
The center has a total of 259,818 square feet of leasable space.
Changes to the mall essentially removed a discount department store, created a heavy volume supermarket, and created two stores specializing in home/craft/seasonal products.
I believe A.C. Moore and Home Goods provide some variety to the center and they seem to always be busy even though they may not be having any special sale.
The mall is located at 351 North Frontage Road in New London and most of its stores are open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Hopefully future developers will build shopping centers all in one building to encourage pedestrian movement and not for motorists to drive to the closest parking space to each and every store they visit creating unnecessary and sometimes dangerous movements among vehicles on the center’s service roads and parking lots.
To access New London Mall from I-95 North use exit 82A to Colman Street exit and follow signs for I-95 South. To access the mall from I-95 South use exit 83, the mall is on the right.