Founded in 1977 by Joe & Patty Ashlock, Dimond Center opened to the public as a modest neighborhood shopping center covering 180,000 square feet. It included a Pay'n Save, a Safeway, and thirty seven smaller businesses. Today you can still find original tenants, such as The Perfect Cup & Zales.
One of the original tenants was the municipal library. Upon closure in 2010, the Samson-Dimond Branch had become the oldest in Anchorage, having been open for thirty three years.
At the time South Anchorage was sparsely developed, but Joe & Patty believed in Anchorage's potential and that it would grow towards Dimond Center's location, and today we can see that their faith in the city wasn't misplaced.
Little by little Anchorage continued to grow & the Ashlocks decide to reinvest by more than doubling the size of the shopping center. The Phase II expansion is completed to the west and north adding an additional 230,000 square feet, which includes a Lamont's department store and a Sports West. Iconic stores would also included recently closed Hobbycraft.
A key value for Joe & Patty has always been family and they wanted to create a location that would have everything a family would need: shopping, dining, and entertainment. They also wanted to offer the growing community of South Anchorage business opportunities in the form of office locations.
Thus, in 1986, the Professional Office Tower was added to include a bowling alley, ice chalet, athletic club, food court, two levels for retail, and four levels for professional offices. Dimond Center is now the largest shopping center in the state. The Transit Center facilitates transportation from all over Anchorage to Dimond Center.
Maintaining their commitment to offer as many options as possible to their shoppers, Joe & Patty decided to expand vertically. In 1996, the roof was raised and a 9 screen movie theater was added on to the second floor, creating an additional entertainment option for visitors.
More than 20 years after opening, in 1999, the original Pay'n Save space was repurposed to accommodate GAP and Old Navy stores. A single retail space was transformed into, what today are, eight different stores.
This year Dimond Center opened Alaska's first Best Buy, replacing Alaska Marketplace grocery store (previously Safeway). The original building was torn down, and the current Best Buy was built from the ground up.
Joe & Patty were always looking for opportunities on how to enhance the Dimond Center experience. For years, they had dreamed about being able to add a hotel. Teaming up with Seldovia Native Association the Dimond Center Hotel opened its doors in 2002.
In 2012 Joe & Patty passed on the reigns to the next generation of the family. The first project undertaken was expanding & remodeling the west end of the shopping center, which hadn't had many structural changes since it opened in 1982. Its goal: offer new fashion and dining experiences.
In 2012 Olive Garden opens, followed by Chili's two years later. What was originally Lamont's department store, then Gottschalks, and finally Forever 21, gives way to new hallways & new retails spaces. This remodeling brings in stores such as Ulta Beauty and Kids Foot Locker. Dimond Center now has 728,000 square feet and continues to be the largest enclosed shopping center in Alaska.
In continuing to grow and evolve, in 2015 Dimond Center brought in its first foreign multinational brand, H&M. The Swedish brand opens a 32,000 square foot store, located on two levels of the Professional Office Tower, offering clothing for women, men, and children. The store required significant remodeling: the original outside wall was replaced with an energy-efficient glass and panel façade, escalators connect both floors and it renewed the Tower's esthetic.
Today the family owned business is still as committed as ever to evolve and serve the community's needs. Striving to renew & improve, the undergoing esthetic upgrades, such as new flooring. In 2016 the South entrance between Ulta Beauty & Old Navy was expanded, creating additional handicap parking, and a landscaping plan was put into place.
In 2018, Dave & Buster's will be claiming part of the second story of Phases I & II to create a 45,000 square foot combination of entertainment and dining that the whole family can enjoy. Making it the perfect choice for Dimond Center.