Crossroads Mall, the first enclosed shopping center built in Virginia, celebrated its 50th anniversary July 27.
Farther south in the city, Towers Shopping Center will celebrate its 50th anniversary on October 12.
I am working on a story about the history of these two shopping centers, and how they ended up so different 50 years after they opened.
Crossroads Mall was the premiere place to shop in the region, maybe even the state, when it opened in 1961. When construction began in 1960, there were only four enclosed malls in the eastern part of the country, according to a Roanoke Times story. Crossroads was touted throughout the newspaper for its air conditioning. “The entire mall will be air-conditioned and temperatures will remain the same year-round,” a May 8, 1960 story about the construction said.
Towers opened several months later. It cost $5 million to build the split-level shopping center that, at the time, was one of the largest centers in the state, according to a Roanoke Times story about the opening.
I’ve been talking to leasing agents and property owners about the future of these shopping centers, and the different paths they’ve taken. Crossroads is now a mix of office space and retail, while Towers continues to attract new restaurants and retail. The story I’m working on is slated to be published in early September, and I’ll post a link to it here.
What are your memories of Crossroads and Towers? What do you think of the direction they’ve taken?