As of 2007, Danbury Fair is the largest shopping mall in the U.S. state of Connecticut as well as for all of New England. It is located off of Interstate 84 and U.S. Route 7 in the city of Danbury opposite the Danbury Municipal Airport.

History

Danbury Fair was built by the Wilmorite Corporation on land formerly used for the Danbury Fair, who paid $170,000 per acre, at that time the highest price ever paid for land in the Danbury area. It opened in 1986, anchored by Sears and G. Fox (which became Filene's in 1993 and since closed). Macy's opened in October 1987 and JCPenney in March 1988. In 1991, Lord & Taylor and a parking garage were added. In 2005 the Wilmorite Corporation sold the mall to The Macerich Company.

During construction it emerged that two Wilmorite executives had paid Danbury's mayor, James Dyer, $60,000 in cash, sometimes concealed in newspapers. They claimed he demanded the money to assure his support for the mall. The allegations contributed to Dyer's defeat for re-election in 1987. He was acquitted of corruption charges in 1990; other charges were dismissed later. Lawyers for him and other city officials portrayed the executives as willing to do anything to get the mall built.

There are approximately 200 retailers and eateries, including the major department stores Macy's, Sears, Lord & Taylor and JCPenney. Filene's was in the mall until the 2006 Macy's consolidation. The store was 168,879 sq ft (15,689 m2). on two levels. The mall is especially popular with kids, partly due to the double decker carousel in the food court as well as many youth-oriented events and activities the mall sponsors on a regular basis (such as "Family Fun Night"). Many of these events take place in the mall's center on the lower floor. This space changes throughout the year. The mall is often decorated during the holidays. For special events such as song and dance performances, the central area can be converted into a stage area.

Renovation

In January 2007, Danbury Fair began the process of an interior renovation, which was completed in spring 2008. The mall received new lighting fixtures which replaced the original globe bulb lighting, new stone style floors which replaced the original tan, brown, and green tile floors, soft seating areas through-out the mall, new stained wood accents, and new paint. The two areas that received the most changes were the food court and the center court. A newly renovated food court features a slightly curved panoramic view of the restaurant choices, which reduced the number of restaurants from 16 to 11. New banquet seating is featured in the food court. The center court includes the removal of the large scale fountains (which also doubled as event areas), and has been replaced with a Starbucks coffee bar, soft seating with tables, and a down-scaled water feature to reduce the noise level.

During the last few years a large traveling carnival operates rides and amusements in several parking areas from mid June to mid July, billing the event as the "Danbury City Fair" in a nod to the original upon whose site the mall was built.

Anchors
  • JCPenney (137,000 sq ft (12,700 m2)) opened in 1988
  • Lord & Taylor (80,000 sq ft (7,000 m2)) opened in 1991
  • Macy's (240,000 sq ft (22,000 m2)) opened in 1987
  • Sears (178,000 sq ft (16,500 m2))opened in 1986

Media

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