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Charleston Town Center
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Central court of Charleston Town Center
Location Charleston, West Virginia, United States
Coordinates 38°21′18″N 81°38′21″W / 38.35500°N 81.63917°W / 38.35500; -81.63917Coordinates: 38°21′18″N 81°38′21″W / 38.35500°N 81.63917°W / 38.35500; -81.63917
Opening date November 1983
Management CBRE Group (as receiver)
Owner U.S. Bank Association
No. of stores and services 95
No. of anchor tenants 4 (1 open, 2 vacant, 1 converted to office space and divided to smaller stores)
Total retail floor area 933,979 sq ft (86,769.5 m2) (GLA)
Parking 4,000+
No. of floors 2 plus partial third level

Charleston Town Center is an enclosed shopping mall in downtown Charleston, West Virginia. One of the largest enclosed malls in the United States to be located in a downtown shopping district, it has comprised more than 130 tenants on two levels at its peak, in addition to food court on a partial third level. Several vacancies in later years have led to conversion of large portions into office space. Popular full-service restaurants include Chili's Bar & Grill, the Chop House, Outback Steakhouse and Tidewater Grill. The only remaining anchor store is JCPenney. The mall is owned by U.S. Bancorp.

History

Charleston Town Center opened in 1983 in downtown Charleston, West Virginia, as the largest downtown-based shopping mall located east of the Mississippi River. At the time, it included four anchor stores: JCPenney, Sears, Kaufmann's and Montgomery Ward. The mall remained largely unchanged until Stone & Thomas opened next to Montgomery Ward, moving from an existing location downtown. This Stone & Thomas store was later renamed Elder-Beerman when the chain was purchased in 1998, but Elder-Beerman closed it in 2000. The closure occurred shortly before Montgomery Ward also closed as part of its chain's bankruptcy and liquidation.

The Montgomery Ward location sat empty for some time. In 2002, plans were announced to renovate the mall. Under these plans, Dillard's (which, at the time, had no locations in West Virginia) would have opened in the former Montgomery Ward space. In return, the Dillard's chain asked for a $1-a-year lease as part of an incentive package, in addition to asking for $7.5 million in city loans. However, the plans for a Dillard's at the mall were later canceled, and the former Montgomery Ward remained dark, while the former Elder-Beerman space was converted to a Steve & Barry's clothing store in 2002.

In 2005, the retail bookstore chain Books-A-Million also expressed interest in replacing the former Montgomery Ward, although this store also never came to fruition. Finally, by 2006, it was announced that BrickStreet Insurance would locate its offices in the former Montgomery Ward space, and half of the food court was closed and converted into state government offices. A year later, Kaufmann's was converted to Macy's due to the acquisition of Kaufmann's then-parent company, May Department Stores. Steve & Barry's closed in September 2008 due to bankruptcy and the chain's liquidation; the space has since been divided between Rue21 and Rack Room Shoes. In 2011, television station WOWK sub-leased some unused space in the BrickStreet area to relocate its TV studio.

On December 28, 2016, Sears announced that it would be closing in April 2017 as part of a plan to close 150 stores nationwide, leaving JCPenney and Macy's as the only anchors left.

The extent of the mall's financial problems was slowly revealed in late 2017. The nature and amount of Macy's actual rent payment was disputed by local politicians, with some stated that it actually was staying rent-free. Finally on January 12, 2018, the Circuit Court of Kanawha County placed the mall in receivership and appointed CBRE Group as its receiver. The mall was scheduled to be sold at auction on the Charleston courthouse steps on January 24, 2019, however the bank holding the largest note, U.S. Bancorp, was the only bidder.

On May 8, 2018, it was announced that the former Sears would be demolished for a freestanding Hilton-branded hotel.

On April 2, 2019, Macy's closed, leaving JCPenney as the only remaining department store anchor. In July 2019, BrickStreet Insurance merged with Columbus, Ohio-based Motorists Insurance Group, with the combined company rebranding as Encova Mutual Insurance Group and retaining its Charleston offices.

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