Cottonwood Mall

Cottonwood Mall is a shopping mall located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States. The mall is anchored by Dillard's, JCPenney, Macy's (formerly Foley's), and Sears (formerly Montgomery Ward). The mall is the second largest mall in the state of New Mexico (after Coronado Center) with a gross leasable area of 1,041,680 square feet (96,775 m2).; it features over 130 stores, as well as a food court and United Artists Theater. Cottonwood Mall is managed by Simon Property Group.


Cottonwood Mall was built on part of a 89,000-acre (360 km2) parcel of land given by King Philip IV of Spain in 1710 to Francisco Montes Vigil and Captain Juan Gonzales of the Spanish Army. This "Land Grant" by King Phillip included valuable range land and farm land for sheep and cattle and horses. The name "Alameda Land Grant" was based on the Spanish word alameda which means "cottonwood grove" in Spanish. In 1929, 20,500 acres (83 km2) of the Alameda Grant were purchased by Albert F. Black and his partner, Guy Ray, who were both from West Virginia. A.F. Black moved his family to Albuquerque in 1929 from West Virginia. A.F. Black's son Albert J. Black who was 18 years old at that time was chosen by A.F. Black to help manage the 20,500-acre (83 km2) ranch and farm which became known as the "Black Ranch". This ranch was approximately seven miles wide and ten miles (16 km) deep east to west. The east boundary was the Rio Grande River and the west boundary was the Rio Puerco "breaks" (also known as the "Ceja" which means eyebrow in Spanish) where the land began to fall into the Rio Puerco Valley west of Albuquerque.

In 1947,Mr. Black's son Albert J. Black purchased the interests of Mr. Guy Ray out of the Black Ranch. A.J. Black then surveyed out a small portion of the Black Ranch (1150 acres) for a new airport development. This portion of the land became known as the Seven Bar Ranch, named after the livestock brand used for the Black Ranchâa 7 on the right shoulder and a bar across the right nose of the livestock. The A. J. Black built an adobe home out of adobes he made himself in 1946 and in 1947 constructed the small airport with dirt runways which was known as the "Alameda Airport". He started with his wife Mary J. Black an airport business called the 7 Bar Flying Service to operate this facility. 7 Bar Flying Service was ultimately taken over by the Black's son Rolfe Black and later by Rolfe's son Wade Black.

In 1960, the Black Ranch sold 8,600 acres (35 km2) of the ranch to US Land Corporation. US Land Corporation (later to become Horizon Corporation) hired Gruen and Associates of Los Angeles, CA to masterplan the first planned community on the West Side of Albuquerque which became known as Paradise Hills. Lster the Black Ranch sold another 4,000 acres (16 km2) to Horizon Corporation to add to the Paradise Hills project. Later in 1960 the neighboring rancher north of the Black Ranch, the Koontz Family, also sold their land to the buyers who eventually formed Rio Rancho Estates that became the City of Rio Rancho, a 93,000-acre (380 km2) subdivision.

In response to the development pressure surrounding the Black Family's Seven Bar Ranch land, Albert Black and his wife assigned their son John F. Black the duties of developing the family's real estate. The A.J. Black family then formed a real estate investment and development company named "Seven Bar Land and Cattle Company" and John Black served as the Managing Partner of that company until 1992. In 1972, Seven Bar Land and Cattle started the first commercial development, the Corrales Shopping Center a 107,000-square-foot (9,900 m2) project anchored by Safeway and Walgreens. In 1976, SBL&C hired A. Wayne Smith from Tempe Arizona to master plan the 1,150 acres (4.7 km2) of the Seven Bar Ranch. Smith's projects in Scottsdale include the Gainey Ranch, the McCormick Ranch, and Ocatillo in Chandler. Between 1972 and 1984, John Black led the efforts to also develop the Corrales Office Park, Las Tiendas Shopping Center, and Alameda West Shopping Center, along with several other smaller developments.

In 1980, SBL&C and John Black were approached by a real estate represenative of the Simon Mall Company for a new retail regional mall. SBL&C initially ground leased a 55-acre (220,000 m2) site to the Simon Group in the Seven Bar Ranch. Later on in negotiations,the Simon Group requested that the Black Family rezone and move the mall site to a 95-acre (380,000 m2) site in the location of the Seven Bar Airport. After several years and numerous zoning lawsuits with the neighboring Village of Corrales, the family and Simon succeeded in their rezoning effort for the new Simon Mall which Simon named Cottonwood Mall. In 1986 the Alameda Airport closed and Seven Bar Flying Service moved its airport operations to the Albuquerque International Airport.

When Cottonwood Mall opened in 1994, it was the first regional mall to open in Albuquerque in thirty years. To this day, it is the newest enclosed shopping mall in New Mexico. Original anchors included Dillard's, Foley's, JCPenney, Mervyn's, and Montgomery Ward. Montgomery Ward closed in 2000 with the demise of the chain and was replaced with Sears. Old Navy was later added above the Cottonwood Starport Theater during one of its many expansions. During 2006, Foley's appeared briefly in advertising as Foley's-Macy's before the nationwide conversion of May Company stores to the Macy's nameplate. On December 31, 2008, Mervyn's closed all stores due to bankruptcy, and the space that housed Mervyn's remains vacant to this day, although it has been leased in 2009 and again in 2010 as a temporary store for Halloween costumes.

1999 lawsuit

In 1999, Cottonwood Mall was one of three New Mexico malls involved in a federal lawsuit regarding free speech. The malls had their rights of activity regulation challenged after protesters attempted to hand out leaflets at the malls. The case was dismissed. The 1972 case Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner states that shopping malls may limit speech activities (such as distribution of pamphlets) on premises.

Book Co-Op

From Thanksgiving Day to New Year's Day every year, Cottonwood Mall is also home to New Mexico Book Co-Op, a locally owned bookstore which sells only local books and products; such books and products are ordinarily not found in traditional bookstores.


Building Activity

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