EASTLAND MALL
Refugee and South Hamilton Roads
Columbus, Ohio

The first interior mall in Greater Columbus was built on a 60 acre site, located 8.3 miles southeast of the Ohio State House. The property was adjacent to the proposed route of the "Outerbelt" / Interstate 270 Expressway, with the section accessing the mall opening in late 1970.

EASTLAND MALL was designed by Visnapuu & Gaede Architects of Cleveland and was developed by the Visconsi, Mead-Jacobs Company, also of Cleveland. The single-level shopping center, encompassing 950,000 leasable square feet, was officially dedicated February 14, 1968.

Its anchors were a 3-level (160,000 square foot) F & R Lazarus and 2-level (234,400 square foot) Sears. The mall's 3-level (149,600 square foot) J.C. Penney had been dedicated January 2, 1968.

There were sixty-nine inline stores, including French's Restaurant, Florsheim Shoes, Rogers Jewelers and an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10. The General Cinema Corporation Eastland Cinema opened along with the mall. It was twinned in the 1980s and shuttered in February 1993.

The shopping venue had completed its first addition in 1976, when Lazarus was expanded to 222,400 square feet. A mall-wide face lift was done in 1989, with a third taking place 9 years later. This entailed gutting a shuttered Woolworth store and refitting it with a 7-bay Food Court. This new culinary complex opened for business in October 1998.

The first anchor rebranding at EASTLAND MALL occurred August 1, 2003, when Lazarus morphed into a Lazarus-Macy's. The location was fully "Macy-ated" March 6, 2005.

In December 2003, the Columbus-based Glimcher Realty Trust had acquired EASTLAND MALL. A fourth remodeling had been planned by the previous owner. Glimcher went ahead with the project. A thorough renovation was done, which removed landscaping from mall courts, carpeted mallway floors and installed a children's play area in Center Court.

In addition, the southeast-facing front of the complex underwent a dramatic transformation. 30,000 square feet of "Streetscape" retail was added, comprising ten new store spaces. Moreover, a 1-level (120,000 square foot), Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann's was constructed. The mall now encompassed 1,025,800 leasable square feet and eighty inline stores.

Kaufmann's held its grand opening October 26, 2005. The store was rebranded in less than a year. As part of the May / Federated merger of August 2005, the Pennsylvania-based chain ceased to exist. Stores were refitted with the Macy's masthead September 9, 2006. The original EASTLAND Macy's, operating in the old Lazarus location since March 2005, was shuttered.

A fifth renovation of EASTLAND was in the planning stages for several years. This would have entailed demolition of the vacant Lazarus / Macy's and construction of a new J.C. Penney in its place. The project, originally scheduled to get underway in 2007, was quickly abandoned when the national economy turned sour.

The Great Recession left the Glimcher Realty Trust with an upside down EASTLAND MALL mortgage. They decided to unload the property in an online auction, which was held in June 2014. A single bid -of 18 million dollars- was rejected.

In August 2014, Glimcher relinquished ownership of the shopping center to the Miami Beach-based LNR Property, Limited Liability Company. The mall's problems were exacerbated with the shutterings of all of its remaining anchor stores; J.C. Penney (in May 2015), Macy's (in March 2017) and Sears (in September 2017).

Sources:

preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
www.glimcher.com
Franklin County, Ohio tax assessor website
www.bizjournals.com
Comment post by "Dirty Harry"


FAIR USE OF EASTLAND MALL IMAGES:

The photographs from The Columbus Metropolitan Library illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.