Columbia Mall

Columbia Mall is an enclosed regional shopping mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota and is located at the intersection of 32nd Avenue South and Columbia Road.

It is the largest mall within 70 miles (110 km). Located 80 miles from the Canadian border and 140 miles from Winnipeg, the mall draws a significant number of customers from Canada.

Columbia Mall, which opened in 1978, was developed by the Dayton Hudson Corporation (now Target Corporation) at a cost of roughly $20 million.

Today, Columbia Mall houses three department stores (Macy's, JCPenney, and Sears),a 430-seat food court and more than 70 specialty merchants. GK Development, Inc. of Barrington, Illinois is the current owner of the mall. In 2005 GK Development added the new Dakota Cafe food court, a children's play area and renovated the rest rooms.


Dayton Hudson experienced fierce competition for a new mall in the city of Grand Forks in 1975. While their proposal was to build a mall at the intersection of 32nd Avenue South and Columbia Road, Inland Construction of Edina, Minnesota wanted to build a mall at 32nd Avenue South and Washington Street (one mile east of the Dayton Hudson site), which was quickly dismissed, while a group of local investors and Farber-Kelley Ltd. of Toronto advanced a proposal for a mall at Demers Avenue and 42nd Street to be called "Marketplace West". While Marketplace West was initially preferred by the city planning department, a referendum was called to annex Dayton Hudson's proposed Columbia Mall site to the city. When it passed, the city council interpreted it as a public endorsement of the Columbia Mall project. Interestingly, the Marketplace West site would later become the home of the Alerus Center arena and convention center.

Columbia Mall opened on August 2, 1978 with {convert|571800|sqft|m2|abbr=on}} of space. Major merchants at the new mall included both Dayton Hudson-owned Target and Dayton's stores as well as a JCPenney store. The mall's early marketing efforts included a jingle, "Meet met at Columbia Mall," that was also produced as a television commercial and recast in a holiday version.

In 2000, a Sears department store opened at Columbia Mall, bringing the number of department stores in the mall to four. In 2001, Target closed its Columbia Mall store and opened a SuperTarget store in the new Grand Forks Marketplace mall a few blocks west of Columbia Mall. The current owner is actively marketing the former Target space. In 2001 Dayton Hudson Corporation acquired the Marshall Field & Co. chain and renamed some of its Dayton's stores as Marshall Field's, including the store at Columbia Mall. In 2005, Federated Department Stores, Inc. acquired the May Co., which had acquired and owned the Marshall Field's chain for less than a year. Federated re-branded the Field's chain as Macy's including the Columbia Mall store.

In early fall 2007, the American Red Cross established a disaster relief operations headquarters at the shopping center in response to the August 26 tornado that struck nearby Northwood, ND.

On November 22, 2003, University of North Dakota student Dru Sjodin was abducted from the mall parking lot by Alfonso Rodriguez, Jr.. Rodriguez crossed state lines into Minnesota with Sjodin where he assaulted and murdered her. He was convicted of the crime on August 30, 2006.

Local activities hosted annually honor the life of Dru Sjodin including: Dru's Drive, a campaign with the mission to increase awareness about violence against students; Dru Sjodin Purple Elephant 10K & 5K Run/Walk; Dru Sjodin Golf Tournament; and "Shed Light on Violent Sexual Offenders" initiative.

President George W. Bush signed into law The Adam Walsh Protection and Safety Act on July 27,2006, which includes Dru's Law, which (in part) requires convicted child molesters to register on a national database.

Current anchors
  • J.C. Penney - 96,551 square feet (8,969.9 m2)
  • Macy's (Dayton's from 1978-2001; Marshall Field's from 2001-2006) - 101,203 square feet (9,402.1 m2)
  • Sears - 108,477 square feet (10,077.8 m2)