Mass-based T.J. Maxx set up shop in the Woolworth space soon after that store's 1997 demise. Bed, Bath & Beyond took the place of an open breezeway in 2004.
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Sears assumed the McAlpin's spot in October of 1999.
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The WESTERN HILLS PLAZA Target opened its doors in March 2009. It had taken the place of Media Play (nee' Elder-Beerman) and Kroger.
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Michaels moved into the PLAZA when Old Navy moved out. The arts & crafts store opened in August 2011.
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Glenway Avenue and Werk Road
Hamilton County, Ohio

Ground was broken for Greater Cincinnati's first post-war shopping center in August 1953. Situated on 36 acres, located 6.7 miles northwest of downtown's Fountain Square, WESTERN HILLS PLAZA was built by Cincinnati's Brune-Harpnau Builders, Incorporated.

The single-level strip center included an open breezeway of inward-facing stores. Anchoring the first phase PLAZA was a 3-level (75,000 square foot), Cincinnati-based McAlpin's. This store began business, as part of the mall's official grand opening, on November 17, 1954.

A subsequent construction phase added three stores to the west end of the complex. Among these was a 1-level (41,000 square foot), Cincinnati-based Mabley & Carew. It was dedicated September 15, 1955.

When fully-leased, WESTERN HILLS PLAZA encompassed approximately 320,000 leasable square feet and housed thirty-four stores and services. These included Schiff Shoes, Richman Brothers men's wear, Dutch Pride Poultry Market, Hemseth Self-Service Hardware, Potter's Shoes, Jack Marmer Shoes, Western Auto, Walgreen Drug, Jack & Jill Children's Wear, Sherwin-Williams Paints, an F. W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and Kroger and Albers supermarkets.

The Kroger and Woolworth stores were expanded in the early-to-mid 1960s. Likewise, McAlpin's was enlarged to 102,000 square feet. Mabley & Carew became the first anchor to be rebranded. The store was refitted with the nameplate of Dayton-based Elder-Beerman on August 10, 1978.

By the late 1980s, the shopping center proper had also been expanded. A 44,500 square foot addition was built on the west end of the complex. Two freestanding restaurants, Gold Star Chili and Shell's, had also been added to the front parking area.

Elder-Beerman was shuttered on March 12, 1994. Its space was taken by Media Play. Woolworth closed in July 1997. Its space became a T.J. Maxx. McAlpin's (which was in the process of being absorbed by Dillard's) moved into a vacant Shillito's structure at the adjacent WESTERN WOODS MALL in July 1998. Its old store in WESTERN HILLS PLAZA re-opened as a Sears October 23, 1999.

Walgreen Drug and two adjacent storefronts became part of a new (25,000 square foot) Old Navy, which opened for business August 30, 2000. In April 2004, the breezeway area and adjacent stores were demolished. A (25,000 square foot) Bed, Bath & Beyond was built.

Australia's Centro Property Group purchased WESTERN HILLS PLAZA in November 2005. They initiated a 6.4 million dollar overhaul of the aging retail center in 2008. Vacant Media Play and Kroger stores were knocked down.

A 1-level (135,500 square foot) Target was built, which opened March 4, 2009. With this renovation, the shopping hub encompassed 322,000 leasable square feet and contained twenty-seven retail spaces. The latest store opening involved a vacated Old Navy space. It was retananted by Michaels, which welcomed its first shoppers on August 21, 2011.

The United States holdings of the Centro Property Group were acquired by New York City-based Blackstone Realty Partners in June 2011. An entity known as the Brixmor Property Group was created in September 2011 to manage the company's retail real estate.


The Cincinnati Enquirer
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