Editor's Note: This is the 295th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
HUNTINGTON — The East Hills Mall, which included a small indoor concourse, opened in 1973 along U.S. Route 60 east of Huntington.
With a prime location just off Interstate 64's 29th Street interchange, the mall was expected to draw a healthy flow of customers. But the shoppers never came, and business after business that moved into the mall soon closed its doors and moved out.
At its peak, the mall was home to more than a dozen businesses, including a beauty salon, an arts and crafts shop, a book and record store, a jeweler, a drug store, a financial services firm, a shoe store, a restaurant, a branch bank, Fitness World, the Huntington School of Beauty Culture, an A&P supermarket and a Hill's Department Store.
In the 1980s, a new owner dramatically slashed the rents it charged the mall's tenants. That helped some, but much of the 111,000-square-foot complex remained stubbornly vacant.
In 2008, Huntington developer Bob Childers of Childers Properties acquired the mostly vacant complex and invested $25 million to turn it into a modern office park, the East Hills Professional Center.
One of the early tenants at the East Hills Mall was a branch of Huntington Federal Savings Bank. In 2008, as the former mall was being transformed into an office park, Huntington Federal erected a new building for the branch.
Strikingly modern in design, the building's curving roof structure ties together the branch's interior and its drive-through lanes. The building's unusual design won Edward Tucker Architects of Huntington a merit award from the West Virginia Chapter of the American Institute of Architects.