To provide quality healthcare needs in one convenient location.
The Station Medical Center, formerly known as the Station Mall, was a downtown mall built during the 1970s at the corner of 17th Street and 9th Avenue on former Pennsylvania Railroad property. The 23 acres of land the Station Mall was built on was the original home for the Pennsylvania Railroad Repair Shop. This was the first railroad machine shop with a repair complex.
Looking at the history of Station Mall, it has always been a driver of our local economy. In the early 1900s when Altoona was centered on the railroad, it was a key spot in the operation. In the 1970s when it was built as a Mall, it drove the local business economy by extending retail from downtown to "the other side of the tracks". Now, with the medical field employing the largest number of people in Blair and surrounding counties, it strives to provide quality healthcare at one convenient location.
By 1946 much of the railroad in Altoona had diminished and politicians struggled with deciding what to do with the land. Because of its railroad heritage and the importance of this parcel, Altoona was in contention for being the future home of the National Railroad Museum, which ended up going to Strasburg, PA.
The new mall became home to a mix of tenants, mostly retail, and kept with its railroad heritage by being named Station Mall. The mall design reflected a railroad motif and the interior and exterior design resembled a train station. The Station Mall logo was a steam engine.
The new venture became the center of retail in Altoona but was never really recognized for its importance, expanding retail business away from downtown and towards the city's furthest boundaries.
The mall was anchored initially by Hills Department Store at one end and a supermarket at the other, with several storefronts in between that changed regularly throughout the years as businesses would open and close. Some of the longer-lasting businesses included Revco, Brothers Pizza, a State Liquor Store, Dairy Queen, JK Sports, a Hallmark store and a photography shop.
It also included outparcels, one which was occupied by Joyner Sports Medicine, a physical therapy practice which eventually became a video rental store.
Hills Department Store became Ames when the chain was bought out, but when Ames closed in 2002 most of the other stores in the mall closed too and the building sat in disrepair for many years.
In 2003, Lexington Mall Partners of Altoona purchased the property and gave it new life as the Station Medical Center. The building has been totally redesigned in keeping with the railroad motif. The hallways and corridors maintain the original layout but have been enhanced with new flooring, lighting and artwork. They also include three kiosks with monitors for advertising tenants/services and hallways that are wide enough to accommodate a myriad of events. Also, the tenant spaces were redesigned and individually customized with state-of-the-art equipment to suit the tenant's needs.
The Medical Center now includes fifteen tenants, employs more than 800 people, and welcomes more than 11,000 patients and customers each week. The exterior has been redesigned with new architectural features, landscaping and accoutrements such as benches, bike racks and picnic areas for employees. This parcel also includes a HealthWalk that can be utilized by people visiting the historic railroad site. The Station Medical Center now provides Blair County and other area residents with the best in healthcare and related amenities.