Business

Cinderella City Vintage Photos Helping to Turn Famed Mall Into "Video Game"

We hope this marriage lasted longer than Cinderella City did. Click to see more images from this post on the Cinderella City Project's Instagram page.
We hope this marriage lasted longer than Cinderella City did. Click to see more images from this post on the Cinderella City Project's Instagram page. Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project

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click to enlarge Redemption was easily available at Cinderella City. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
Redemption was easily available at Cinderella City.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
click to enlarge A concert in the Blue Room circa 1971. Click to see more images from this post on The Cinderella City Project's Instagram page. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
A concert in the Blue Room circa 1971. Click to see more images from this post on The Cinderella City Project's Instagram page.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
click to enlarge Customers venture into the Cinder Alley portion of Cinderella City. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
Customers venture into the Cinder Alley portion of Cinderella City.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
click to enlarge A shot from a multi-image post showing the Gold Mall over the years. Click to see more photos from this post on The Cinderella City Project's Instagram page. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
A shot from a multi-image post showing the Gold Mall over the years. Click to see more photos from this post on The Cinderella City Project's Instagram page.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
click to enlarge An aerial shot of the complex from around the time of its opening. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
An aerial shot of the complex from around the time of its opening.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
click to enlarge An early 1970s boat show in the Blue Room. Click to see more images from this post on The Cinderella City Project's Instagram page. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
An early 1970s boat show in the Blue Room. Click to see more images from this post on The Cinderella City Project's Instagram page.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
click to enlarge This pic of a Cinderella City Foot Locker shows that not everything has undergone a radical change over the past half-century. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
This pic of a Cinderella City Foot Locker shows that not everything has undergone a radical change over the past half-century.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project

click to enlarge Mmmmm: The Cinderella City Orange Julius. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
Mmmmm: The Cinderella City Orange Julius.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
click to enlarge Center court circa the 1980s, when the mall was in decline. Click to see more images from this post on the Cinderella City Project's Instagram page. - ENGLEWOOD PUBLIC LIBRARY VIA THE CINDERELLA CITY PROJECT
Center court circa the 1980s, when the mall was in decline. Click to see more images from this post on the Cinderella City Project's Instagram page.
Englewood Public Library via The Cinderella City Project
More insight from Josh Goldstein about his Cinderella City project:

"As most know, Cinderella City's initial incarnation included a spectacular fountain and enough seating and places to gather to be the envy of even today's most experience-driven developers and architects. Its center court was a gathering place, ostensibly Englewood's communal living room. Its tenant mix was mostly charming, local or regional brands. The shopping center featured Englewood High School's "City Campus," where students from nearby EHS could learn on site in the mall. It had a police and fire substation, and the Cinderella City Merchants Association often held concerts, plays, car shows, boat shows, trade shows and competitions in various open areas in the mall. I show some of these events in the Instagram account. It of course also had its brightly painted, color-coded malls, plus Cinder Alley, which was a bazaar of specialty and boutique shops that is all the rage in retail design today. This place was more than a mall when it opened.

"I'm fascinated by just how fast Cinderella City changed from decade to decade. By the early 1980s, the idea of a fountain was out of favor, the lush furniture that made the Blue Mall feel like a living room was undesirable, Cinder Alley was renovated to be more like a typical 1980s mall. The Englewood High City Campus was long gone, concerts and events were scarce, and the bright colors of the five malls were painted beige. Cinderella City changed ownership a couple of times during this period, and management apparently thought everything that gave the mall character in the 1960s and 1970s needed to be scaled back. So Englewood got roughly the version of the mall I show in the video, a shell of a once-opulent and grand vision of community engagement. In the later years, the mall had little to differentiate itself, with chain retailers and offerings that could be found in other malls around Colorado. It didn't age well.

"Starting my rebuilding efforts with the 1980s-’90s version of the mall is simply a factor of having more information available to me from this era of Cinderella City's life. This era wasn't Cinderella City's finest, and modeling it as such isn't terribly exciting. Apart from the technical feat of making an interactive game inside a 1.35 million-square-foot shopping center, the more I model the mall as it was in its later life, the more I long to move on to modeling its earlier life, so I can re-create something that's a little more forward-thinking and optimistic. I can't wait to send out videos and images of that when I get there."
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts