Tour reborn Charleston Town Center, Charleston, WV
As Charleston Town Center kicks off its 30th Birthday Celebration on Tuesday, December 4th, 2012, the urban mall is getting a fresh new look that captures the natural, organic feel of the woods and waters of its home state of West Virginia. Here we see that warm and inviting character captured in the earthy color and leafy embellishment of new banners that will be suspended within the center’s three-story skylit atrium, and arrayed along approaching streetfronts.
Occupying the beating heart of Charleston Town Center’s central court is the mall’s new decorative and interactive fountain. Patrons can seek respite on either of the swooping semi-circular stone benches within arm’s length of the rippling and splashing waters. Five elliptical forms, clad in multi-colored stone tile and spouting flumes of water, rise ever higher at the fountain’s core, with multiple vertical jets spouting still higher. The natural feel of the mall is enhanced by the bounding low walls of split stone and the sumptuous travertine-like stone tile flooring.
While at Center Court, pause for refreshment at Starbucks. Settle into the nearby tech bar, where, perched atop a stylish bar stool, you can plug in your laptop and enjoy the free wi-fi access to conduct a bit of business (or launch a few disgruntled cartoon avians) while sipping at your latté.
If you are need of something more substantial than just a cuppa joe, you can ride a glass-backed elevator from Center Court to the third-level Picnic Place food court. There, beneath the diffuse sunshine streaming through enormous trussed skylights, you can enjoy the offerings of any of ten different fast food vendors. If your wish is for more traditional sit-down dining, drift out toward Clendenin Street, to Panera or The Chop House, or out onto Court Street, where Tidewater Grill, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Qdoba await the many city center workers and visitors alike.
As you stroll the mall, you’ll encounter a variety of pleasant lounge-like carpeted seating areas, furnished with a variety of bench and backed seating as well as café tables and chairs. There you’ll experience the varied colors, finishes and materials of a naturalistic world of comfort retailing.
But let’s not forget the reason one visits a mall: the shopping. Within its million square feet or so, Charleston Town Center contains 130 of today’s hottest retail destinations — not just Macy’s, JCPenney and Sears, but Build-A-Bear, Coach, Hot Topic, Sephora, The Gap, White House/Black Market, Abercrombie & Fitch, Chico’s, Justice, Hollister, Victoria’s Secret, Talbot’s, Francesca’s, Pacific Sunwear, Coldwater Creek, Old Navy, Charlotte Russe, Lane Bryant, Champs, New York & Co., American Eagle, Off Broadway, Ann Taylor Loft, Jos. A. Bank, and Bath & Body Works — among many others. All are arrayed along the mall’s two primary shopping levels, served by the convenience of several flanking parking garages. (And, if your shopping should keep you overnight, why not stay at the adjacent Marriott or Embassy Suites?)
Charleston Town Center first opened in 1983, and was originally designed by the architectural firm of RTKL. For the kick-off of its 30th Anniversary celebration, the mall owners enlisted the Solon, Ohio, design firm of ZZ Design Inc. to oversee the mall’s latest rejuvenation and reinvigoration. Whether you are shopping, dining, browsing, enjoying the tech bar, or relaxing by the gentle splashing of the Center Court fountain, you’ll find the same warm character, fine finishes and precise detailing throughout.
Charleston Town Center holds distinction as one of the largest and most successful urban shopping centers in America. Located near the heart of the state’s capital city, the center is readily accessible from I-77 from the north and south, I-79 from the east, and I-64 from the west. Access to its flanking parking structures are from Lee Street (one-way southeastbound) and Quarrier Street (one-way northwestbound).
Charleston Town Center is a partnership venture of Forest City Enterprises of Cleveland and the Cafaro Company of Youngstown, Ohio. For more information, visit the mall's website at www.charlestontowncenter.com.
Mall Street Dining is available along both the Clendenin and Court Street frontages of the mall, flanking the newly signed portal entrances into the mall. Take-out pick-up service is also available for several restaurants along Court Street in front of Chili’s. Parking garage access can be had from Lee, Quarrier and Washington Streets, with garages charging $1.75 daily. Retail tenants are arrayed along the four color blocks on both Mall Levels 1 and 2. Mall Level 3 atop the Center Court atrium is home to the Picnic Place Food Court.
Before leaving Charleston Town Center, you just might want to toss a lucky coin into the running river at the base of the Center Court fountain.
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