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Gateway Fashion Mall
Gateway Fashion Mall is an enclosed regional shopping center that opened in September 1979 with original anchors Sears, White Mart, Osco Drug, and A.W. Lucas. Carmike Theaters also operates an eight-screen movie theater inside the mall, which was once the largest in the region. Today, Gateway Mall is anchored by Sears, Jo-Ann Fabric, Hancock Fabric, and the PrimeCare Medical Mall.
Gateway Mall had helped contribute to a temporary decay of downtown Bismarck, in addition to the Interstate and Kirkwood Mall. All original anchors had previous locations in downtown Bismarck. Although the White Mart concept itself was new to Bismarck, the company operated White Drug in downtown.
Gateway Mall opened in September 1979 along the booming State Street Corridor, near the US Highway 83/Interstate 94 interchange. It was the region’s third fully enclosed shopping center. Three strong anchors initially supported the shopping center: national department store Sears, long-time local department store A.W. Lucas, and regional discount department chain White Mart.
Despite promising expectations, Gateway Mall has been plagued with vacancy problems since inception. After 80 years in business, A.W. Lucas closed shortly after relocating to Gateway Mall. The space was soon taken over by Herbergers, who also departed in 1994 upon expanding its Kirkwood Mall location. White Mart closed in 1986, and was replaced by Menards, who has since left after building their own store just north of the mall. The former Menards location was shortly after converted into Hancock Fabrics and a “Medical Mall”.
The center anchor space, in particular, has had major difficulty maintaining anchors. After the departure of Herbergers in 1994, the space sat mostly vacant for the next ten years. The space was, for a short time, occupied by regional deep-discount department store Jacobs Trading Company (later called World’s Greatest Deals). Upon their departure in 1997, the center anchor space was unable to attract a permanent tenant until Conlin’s Furniture moved into the space in 2004. Conlin’s tenure at Gateway Mall was short lived, however, with the long-time regional retailer relocating in December 2009.
Reinventing Gateway Mall
Between 2003-2006, Gateway Mall was sold a total of three times. Its current owner, Raymond Arjmand, promised to pump new life into the dying shopping center. Immediately after purchasing the center, Arjmand announced major renovation and expansion plans for the newly named “Gateway Fashion Mall”. Arjmand carried out many of his initial promises, completing the multi-million dollar renovation in 2009.
At the time of Ajmand’s renovation announcement, it was rumored that Macy’s would establish itself as a new anchor, however since the 2006 announcement, there has been no official confirmation. Interestingly, when May Department Stores purchased Marshall Field’s from Target Corporation in 2005, the company chose not to convert the Bismarck location to Macy’s, and instead closed the store.
By the end of 2006, it was reported that Gateway Mall was 100% leased, for the first time in many years, and things appeared promising for the newly reinvented shopping center.
CVS/pharmacy, an original tenant (as Osco Drug), departed Gateway Mall in February 2009 upon relocating into a brand-new freestanding store. This would prove to be only the first blow to the shopping center in 2009.
On June 26, 2009, Conlin’s Furniture and Joy’s Hallmark announced that they were leaving Gateway Mall. This marked the fourth time a major store had vacated the center anchor space. Joy’s Hallmark, which had planned to continue its location at Kirkwood Mall, had been a tenant at Gateway Mall for over 20 years.
In July 2009, the owner of Joy’s Hallmark filed a lawsuit against Gateway Fashion Mall’s owner, Raymond Arjmand, with allegations of fraud and misuse of money. Not longer after, it was revealed that Arjmand was facing similar lawsuits at two malls he owns in California.
Hansen’s Menswear, another long-time tenant, departed in October 2009 upon relocating.
By the end of 2009, Gateway Mall’s position again seemed glim, at best, with vacancies approaching record levels.
New Anchor Announced
In March 2010, Gateway Mall announced that Famous Labels, a deep-discount retail chain, had signed a lease to occupy the center anchor space, which was vacated by Conlin’s Furniture two months earlier. The announcement came as great relief after more than a year of repeated bad luck for the shopping center. Famous Labels opened in November 2010 only to close in February 2012.
Jo-Ann Fabric Relocates
Long-time tenant Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft completed a relocation within the mall in March 2012 into the former CVS/pharmacy space, left empty since CVS’s departure in February 2009.
Gateway Mall does have a food court, however has been unable to retain tenants for it. Past restaurants that have had locations within the food court have included Subway, Orange Julius, Papa D’s Pizza, Wild Willie’s, and Taco Tina’s.
There are, however, two sit-down restaurants located within the center, Chinatown and the Rock’n 50′s Cafe, in addition to a coffee shop.
Restaurants located on the outlots include Burger King, KFC, Perkins, and Paradiso.
Current Anchors & Major Tenants
- Hancock Fabric
- Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft
- PrimeCare Medical Mall
- Rock-N 50s Cafe
- Hobby Lobby
- Gate City Bank
Former Anchors & Major Tenants
- A.W. Lucas Company [1979-1980?]
- Conlin’s Furniture [2004-2009]
- CVS/pharmacy (Osco Drug) [1979-2009]
- Famous Labels [2010-2012]
- Gateway To Science Center [1994-?]
- Hansen’s Menswear [1979-2009]
- Herbergers [1980?-1994]
- House of Sund
- Jacob’s Trading Company / World’s Greatest Deals [1995-1997]
- Menards [1987-2001]
- White Mart [1979-1986]
- Burger King (Outlet) [1982-2012]