Founded in 1977 by Joe and 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 two original tenants in Dimond Center, The Perfect Cup and 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 operated 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. Today, we can see that their faith in the city wasn't misplaced.
Little by little Anchorage continued to grow and the Ashlocks decided to reinvest by more than doubling the size of the shopping center. The Phase II expansion was completed to the west and north adding an additional 230,000 square feet, which included a Lamont's department store and a Sports West. Iconic stores 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 became the largest shopping center in the state. The Transit Center facilitated transportation from all over Anchorage to Dimond Center.
Maintaining their commitment to offer as many options to their shoppers as possible, Joe and Patty decided to expand vertically. In 1996, the roof was raised and a nine-screen movie theater was added to the second floor, creating an additional entertainment option for visitors.
More than twenty 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 are now eight different stores.
In 2002 Dimond Center opened Alaska's first Best Buy, replacing Alaska Marketplace grocery store (previously Safeway). The original building was torn down and Best Buy was built from the ground up.
Joe and Patty were always looking for opportunities to enhance the Dimond Center experience. For years, they had dreamed about adding a hotel. Teaming up with Seldovia Native Association the Dimond Center Hotel also opened its doors in 2002.
In 2012 Joe and Patty passed the reigns to the next generation of their family. The first project undertaken was expanding and remodeling the west end of the shopping center, which had few structural changes since it opened in 1982. The goal: offer new fashion and dining experiences.
In 2012 Olive Garden opened, followed by Chili's two years later. What was originally Lamont's department store, then Gottschalks, became Forever 21, giving way to new hallways and retail spaces. This remodeling brought in stores such as Ulta Beauty and Kids Foot Locker. Dimond Center had grown to 728,000 square feet and continues to be the largest enclosed shopping center in Alaska.
In continuing to grow and evolve, Dimond Center brought in its first foreign multinational brand, H&M in 2015. The Swedish brand opened 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, with escalators connecting both floors. The remodeling renewed the Tower's aesthetic.
Today the family-owned business is still as committed as ever to evolving and serving the community's needs. Striving to renew and improve with aesthetic upgrades, such as new flooring. In 2016 the South entrance between Ulta Beauty and Old Navy was expanded, creating additional handicap parking, and a landscaping plan was put into place.
In 2018, Dave & Buster's claimed part of the second story of Phases I and 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.