MOBILE USERS: m.isthmus.com
Connect with Isthmus:         Newsletters 
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 69.0° F  Overcast
Collapse Photo Bar

Hilldale in Foreclosure

What are the things that puzzle, enrage, delight and tickle you as you go about your life in Madison?

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby gargantua » Thu Mar 31, 2011 10:49 am

ilikebeans wrote:
Huckleby wrote:A mall has to have an escalator, high ceilings, some sort of flora, a Spencers Gift or other novelty store, a long and bewildering store directory. There should be zero store vacancies, and it should take a minimum of 20 minutes to walk around each level.

Ok, I'll be the devil's advocate. Why has this ended up as a bad thing?

Isn't the general idea of a walkable space with a variety of shops in line with the progressive shopping ideal?

Why, considering the other suburban options, are indoor malls so maligned?


While I personally don't have a problem with them, I suspect it's because they are so auto-centered. In the case of East and West Towne, there is all those acres and acres of parking lot to negotiate. The vast majority of people drive some distance to get to them. From the outside at least, they are pretty ugly. As for the indoor aspect, I don't think people have a problem with that so much. In fact, in this climate I'd question your sanity if you have a problem with shopping indoors.
gargantua
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4121
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:30 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby fennel » Thu Mar 31, 2011 11:10 am

What about the muzak that seeps from the speakers like an insecticide mist? (Keillor)
fennel
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3179
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 4:24 pm
Location: Inside the Green Zone, Madison

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby Crockett » Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:30 pm

Westgate is becoming some type of post-apocalyptic hologram.

Whenever I'm in there I feel like the people are some variation of zombies and everything inside is just a bad movie prop.

I walk by Rocky Rococo's very carefully as that seems to be the main nest. And don't even think about venturing past TJ Maxx.
Crockett
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 1206
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2009 9:37 am

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby Huckleby » Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:22 pm

ya, I think when the theater died in West Gate, the last flicker of life was sucked out.

That is one depressing collection of shuttered businesses, but guess that is just post-2008 America. The strip mall across the street with Office Depot and Kopps is doing much better.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6635
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby The Center Square » Thu Mar 31, 2011 2:30 pm

Huckleby wrote:ya, I think when the theater died in West Gate, the last flicker of life was sucked out.

That is one depressing collection of shuttered businesses, but guess that is just post-2008 America. The strip mall across the street with Office Depot and Kopps is doing much better.



http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/ar ... 03286.html
The Center Square
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 483
Joined: Tue May 11, 2004 9:03 am
Location: Above Phyllis Diller & next to Waylan Flowers & Madame

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby green union terrace chair » Thu Mar 31, 2011 4:38 pm

Huckleby wrote:
ilikebeans wrote: Isn't the general idea of a walkable space with a variety of shops in line with the progressive shopping ideal?

I think it is a kid thing. Giant malls are like biodomes, cities within cities. All the open space is cool. It seemed like a fun place to go to when I was in short pants, especially on a cold day.


Bring back the giant fountains and open air smoking pits of West Towne Mall! And also Buddy Squirrel and Hot Sam and Alladin's Castle and Kay-Bee Toys and Spencer Gifts.

The Center Square wrote:
Huckleby wrote:ya, I think when the theater died in West Gate, the last flicker of life was sucked out.

That is one depressing collection of shuttered businesses, but guess that is just post-2008 America. The strip mall across the street with Office Depot and Kopps is doing much better.


http://host.madison.com/wsj/business/ar ... 03286.html


We'd be better off flattening the whole property and starting from scratch.
green union terrace chair
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2883
Joined: Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:33 pm
Location: Memorial Union

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:31 pm

green union terrace chair wrote:
Bring back the giant fountains and open air smoking pits of West Towne Mall!


AH you beat me to it! East Towne had em too. The fountains in the center were huge and half way in, by the smoking pits, they had those jungle-like ponds that seemed like they could possibly support wildlife. East Towne had that lounge in front...Backstage??...that I never got a chance to see. Moon fun shop. When a store went out they would cover the front with those walls that looked like Hollywood Squares without the drunk celebrities. West Towne was in farm country, the only thing further out was the Big Sky drive-in.
narcoleptish
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 3627
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 1:35 am

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby Kenneth Burns » Thu Mar 31, 2011 5:49 pm

I'm delighted by the remembrances of OG East Towne and West Towne and want to hear more.
Kenneth Burns
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2991
Joined: Fri May 24, 2002 3:14 pm

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby Huckleby » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:14 am

heee hee heee. There is something peculiar in waxing nostalgic over giant, tacky shopping malls. I mean, they are a far cry from Floyd's Barber Shop, Goober's Garage and Weavers Department Store.

Have the newer, smaller malls managed to become more souless than the 70's biodomes? Most likely we just prefer whatever we grew up with. Maybe kids today will someday be misty-eyed over Amazon.com
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6635
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby frozenCow » Fri Apr 01, 2011 1:56 am

Kenneth Burns wrote:I'm delighted by the remembrances of OG East Towne and West Towne and want to hear more.


Well, I'm already in Geezer mode so here goes:

I remember when Westgate and Hilldale were not malls but open air "Shopping Centers". Today folks would probably call those "Strip Malls", but Westgate and Hilldale were actually classier than that in their day.

In the 60s, Hilldale and its environs (and the neighboring office buildings) were the epitome of early 1960s suburban architecture. Westgate was built first (it opened in 1960) but Hilldale was a little more stylish (it opened in 1962). Westgate and Hilldale were the first shopping centers that enabled established Madison retail businesses to move beyond the Capitol Square. Longtime Square retailers like Manchester's, Penney's (which opened stores in Westgate), and The Hub and The Emporium (which opened stores in Hilldale) were the first to extend their operations to these new shopping centers.

People still shopped downtown, but the ease of (free) parking at the shopping centers did not go unnoticed.

In 1970, (coincidentally, at the same time that the anti-Vietnam War riots were scaring the over-30 crowd from traveling downtown) construction began on West Towne and East Towne. West Towne opened first (about 1970-71) and East Towne opened second (about 1972).

I had never heard the term "Mall" until one day in about 1971 when one of the kids in my East Side neighborhood told us about traveling to this amazing place called West Towne Mall. Eventually we made the journey ourselves, and yes it was a fabled land of "mod" early 70s fountains, indoor gardens (think rubber tree plants and giant ferns), sunken seating lounges (smoking allowed), and giant Hot Sam pretzels (garnished with huge salt crystals you could use on your driveway). About a year and a half later, a similar magical wonderland opened on the East Side.

I recall one early East Towne store was The Tie Rack. A friend's sister worked there, circa 1973. Much like the fictional Scotch Tape Store in a late 70s SNL skit (that sold only tape and nothing else), The Tie Rack sold only ties (not shirts, or belts, or cuff links, or even tie clips - no, just ties). Keep in mind, these were not kiosks (which did not exist in ET or WT at that time - such space was occupied by fountains and gardens and seating areas). No, a store like The Tie Rack occupied actual (small) store space. Another early store (at both WT and ET) was "Id", which was a hip clothing store for the under-30 crowd. It had the novel idea of having the store opening closed (a big white wall with the word "Id" written in a funky late-60s font reminiscent of the Laugh-In logo), with the entrance off to one side, kind of hidden by the wall.

As hoards of Madisonians flocked to these sheltered shopping meccas with free parking, retail on the square sharply declined. The sheltered aspect of the new malls did not go unnoticed by Hilldale and Westgate. Starting first with Hilldale (in about 1971) and later with Wesgate (in 1975), the old shopping centers began to enclose their open sidewalks with walls and windows.

Hilldale's first attempt in about 1971 was just that: A wall of window glass enclosing the sidewalk in front of the store fronts, forming an enclosed "mall". Throughout the 1970s, Hilldale expanded on that, and actually built out into the parking lot to add store fronts on the parking lot side of the former sidewalk. By the late 70s you really wouldn't have known that Hilldale had once been an open air shopping center with just one row of stores, with the exception of a couple of the old store fronts (like Wolff Kubly) that looked like exterior facades with the doors removed. In 1975, Westgate was completely remodeled and they enclosed the former sidewalk and built storefronts on the parking lot side right away. If you walk out of the back entrance of Westgate, one or two storefronts on the right still have their old exterior facades (complete with doors).

OK, enough.
frozenCow
Forum Addict
 
Posts: 264
Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:43 am
Location: Mad City, USA

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby Huckleby » Fri Apr 01, 2011 3:46 am

frozenCow wrote: it was a fabled land of "mod" early 70s fountains, indoor gardens (think rubber tree plants and giant ferns), sunken seating lounges (smoking allowed), and giant Hot Sam pretzels
ya baby, that's what I'm talking about.

Lets not forget that malls have a large selection exotic junk foods.
Huckleby
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 6635
Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2005 5:12 pm
Location: parents' basement

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby snoqueen » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:45 am

Whatever you grew up with -- especially whatever was cool just before you were old enough to be part of it -- becomes an object of nostalgia.

Music, clothes, shopping malls, everything. It's a predictable, though fun, cycle.

Corollary: whatever your grandmother did or had (not your mother, your grandmother) becomes vintage.
snoqueen
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 11542
Joined: Fri Feb 14, 2003 11:42 pm

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby Kenneth Burns » Fri Apr 01, 2011 10:56 am

Kenneth Burns
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 2991
Joined: Fri May 24, 2002 3:14 pm

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby gargantua » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:14 am

I really really hate the kiosks in the malls. They are like cancer cells as far as I'm concerned.
gargantua
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 4121
Joined: Sat Apr 13, 2002 1:30 pm
Location: Madison

Re: Hilldale in Foreclosure

Postby Nick Berigan » Fri Apr 01, 2011 12:04 pm

snoqueen wrote:Whatever you grew up with -- ....


OK, there was a big field. We went over there when ever we could and exploded things and shot arrows straight up in the air without any concern and climbed up in the barn rafters and watched the unknowing UW ag school guy milk the cows.

Is that one of the options that could be explored for the future?
Nick Berigan
Forum God/Goddess
 
Posts: 592
Joined: Thu Apr 03, 2003 5:12 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Town Vibe

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

moviesmusiceats
Select a Movie
Select a Theater


commentsViewedForum
  ISTHMUS FLICKR

Promotions Contact us Privacy Policy Jobs Newsletters RSS
Collapse Photo Bar