Binghamton Flashback: Oakdale Mall Construction Begins
Over 46 years ago construction begin on the biggest shopping center in Binghamton history at the time, The Oakdale Mall would bring several stores to the 963,475 square feet property located on Harry L Drive in Johnson City.
I remember the talk about the possibility of a shopping mall was originally focused on downtown Binghamton, but when that didn’t happen, the developers (Interstate Properties) turn their sites to Johnson City.
Montgomery Wards was actually at the location in 1973 and work began on the Oakdale Mall prior to the opening in 1975, and the Greater Binghamton area had its first taste of one stop shopping in several stores all in one location.
The Oakdale Mall provided easy access from the highway and plenty of parking.
Many of the stores in downtown Binghamton bought into the mall concept and one by one Sears, JC Penny and Fowlers (the Bon Ton) moved to the location.
The Oakdale Mall had a few development phases and I remember the back half was closed off and still being built as more and more businesses came in.
There really wasn’t much left in downtown Binghamton after the first few years of the Mall opening, restaurants like Ruby Tuesdays and other came in.
Through the years I can’t even tell you how many events I have personally been a part of, and the countless others held at the Mall, sometimes I walk the halls and remember how active and vibrant this shopping complex used to be.
Many of the anchor stores that moved here over 40 years ago have since closed their doors, but we still have over 70 stores at the Oakdale Mall.
I still enjoy walking through and visiting the shops and of course I have to get an Auntie Anne’s Pretzel or a Cinnabon.
With on line shopping and big box stores the days of the high traffic malls are slowing receding, but I am hopeful they will find a resurgence.
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