Instead of enlarging their store built in 1950 in northeast Wilmington, Sears, Roebuck and Co. decided to build a huge new facility on thirty acres in the booming suburbs. A marketing study showed that Prices Corner was the best location in the entire county, with over forty thousand households within a ten-minute drive. A 20 percent growth in population was expected by 1970, Wilmington and Newark growing together along Kirkwood Highway (modernized 1957–1958). Working with Philadelphia developers Jardel Co. and Richard I. Rubin, Sears erected their largest outlet between Philadelphia and Washington, with a special suburban emphasis: the biggest garden and “outdoor living” center on the East Coast. A series of low, freestanding buildings were arranged in an arc and fronted by a continuous pedestrian portico. The various stores stood in a sea of parking lots big enough for 2,400 cars. By 1969, this kind of development was being decried by Wilmington architects, who in the AIA journal Center Line called for careful planning “to avoid future Kirkwood Highways.”
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Prices Corner Shopping Center
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