New stores open at Christiana Mall ahead of holiday shopping season
Kendra Scott, Tag Heuer and Squishable highlight some of the new stores opening at the Christiana Mall ahead of the holiday shopping season. 11/7/23
A timeline of the Christiana Mall through the last 45 years.
In the early 1970s, The Rubin Co. and a group called New Castle Associates began engineering a shopping mall on roughly 100 acres of farmland. The property hugged the intersection of I-95 and Route 7.
The mall’s first store Strawbridge & Clothier opened on Oct. 12, 1978.
“The big moment is here,” an advertisement in The Morning News read. “A spectacular new shopping experience filled with all the things you want. And need. And dream of.”
The ad said the mall had 70 stores. Its second anchor Bamberger’s opened in August 1979. A movie theater at the mall showed its first features that year.
J.C. Penney became the mall’s third anchor store in May 1980.
Bamberger’s rebranded to Macy’s in 1986.
In 1988, the mall’s owners announced expansion plans. The addition, to be built on the east side of the mall, included 28 inline stores and a two-level John Wanamaker department store.
Wanamaker’s and the expansion opened in 1991. It was the last Wanamaker’s store built. The mall now had around 130 stores and was 1 million square feet.
Hecht’s, a department store chain founded in Baltimore, Maryland, took over the Wanamaker’s chain four years later and converted the Christiana Mall store to Hecht’s.
The parent company of Hecht’s, May Department Stores, shortly after replaced the Christiana Mall store with one of the company’s other brands Lord & Taylor. News reports at the time said the change gave the mall “an upscale lift.”
In 1996, May bought Strawbridge & Clothier. After the sale, the stores operated as Strawbridge’s.
Strawbridge’s and Lord & Taylor closed in 2006.
Shortly after, the mall’s owner General Growth Properties announced a major renovation, its largest to date. The new elements started to come online in late 2009.
Among the changes, the mall added a new food court, Barnes & Noble, Forever 21 and several restaurants, including the Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen, Brio Tuscan Grill and J.B. Dawson’s.
The biggest additions were Target, which opened in place of the Wanamaker’s/Lord & Taylor in October 2010, and Nordstrom, which opened in place of Strawbridge’s in April 2011.
Cabela’s and Cinemark Theatres were added outside the mall in 2014.
Brookfield Properties, the mall’s current owner, acquired General Growth Properties in 2018. The mall today has 179 retailers, according to Brookfield’s website.