The Midtown Mall's Momentous Makeover: New anchor tenants set up the mall for the new decade.

Author:Henry, Arie

Despite losing two key retail anchors, it's full sail ahead for Anchorage's Midtown Mall (formerly and not-so-formerly known as the Mall at Sears, but more on that later).

When Carrs Safeway closed its mall location in 2015, followed by the departure of namesake Sears in 2018, Anchorage shoppers collectively winced and pondered the future of the retail hub that, according to a 2014 report from the August Group, drew the highest concentration of shoppers per 1,000 square feet compared to Anchorage's other large malls: the Dimond Center and 5th Avenue Mall.

Meanwhile, economists contemplated the future of the city's retail sector amidst the state's economic recession. After the mall eclipsed its fiftieth anniversary in 2018, however, things began to look different--quite literally.

It started in January 2019 as recreation outfitter REI moved from a little more than a mile down the road into the mall's 50,000-square-foot western end that once housed Carrs. Shortly after, the eastern end that formerly housed Sears welcomed two new tenants and a familiar neighbor. National-brand music store Guitar Center set up shop, and Planet Fitness moved in west of Guitar Center and Nordstrom Rack (which opened its doors in 2015). Then Carrs made its return (reopening after a four-year absence) in the mall's southeast anchor space. As of publication, the most recent big brand addition is Providence Express Care, a health clinic that provides same-day appointments.

Seritage Property Growth, the New York-based firm that purchased Sears' holdings, owns the eastern end of the mall that houses Carrs, Guitar Center, Providence Express, Planet Fitness, and Nordstrom Rack; the remainder of the mall is owned by Carr-Gottstein Properties.

Even after saying goodbye to two big brands in a span of four years, the Midtown Mall ended the decade with a total of five significant additions: three national brands, a prominent healthcare provider, and a grocery chain that has long been a household name in Alaska.

And all this activity came with a major facelift.

Western Anchor

Having opened in 1968, the Midtown Mall is Anchorage's oldest shopping center. It boasts a prime location, situated between two of the city's main east-west arteries and is a quick turn off the Seward Highway.

The mall's curb appeal makes a world of difference when it comes to attracting mallgoers. And its new anchor tenants took full advantage of that curb appeal by investing heavily to make sure their...

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