News 12 Then: The mall wars of the 1980s

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CHATTANOOGA (WDEF) – The Chattanooga shopping experience saw a major change in 1986.

The Hamilton Place Mall opening gave us our first, big mall.

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Up to that point we had 2 1/2 in our area… Eastgate, Northgate and (does anyone remember?) Four Squares Mall on Mountain Creek Road.

But the company (CBL) that ran operations all over the country decided to open the largest mall in Tennessee right here in their hometown in August of 1987.

Last year, we took you back to the opening for their 30th anniversary.

So we thought we would check back in this year with a story on how the competing malls were coping, one year later in 1988.

(see video above)

They were still putting on a brave face at this point.

But by the end of the decade, Eastgate lost Hess, Proffit’s and the Sears department stores and never recovered their retail mojo.  They operate now as Eastgate Town Center, mainly with office space.

Northgate survived the Hamilton Place onslaught.  The north-of-the-river customers have stayed loyal, even through lean years.  And now CBL has bought it so the two former rivals are now in the same family.