FRANKLIN PARK MALL
Monroe Street and Talmadge Road
Toledo, Ohio

Greater Toledo's second fully-enclosed shopping hub took nearly 20 years to come to fruition. Conceived in the early 1950s as an open-air strip center, the complex was to be built on a 66 acre tract, located 7 miles northwest of downtown Toledo. The Franklin Airport had operated there between 1939 and 1952.

The early '50s shopping center plan never materialized. By 1963, Youngstown's Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation was plotting a mixed-use retail, office, hotel and residential complex for the site. This plan also fell through.

The J.C. Penney Company announced its plan for a 650,000 square foot "FRANKLIN PARK SHOPPING CENTER" in 1966. By 1968, the J.L. Hudson and Lamson Brothers companies had signed onto the project, which was now headed by Maryland's Rouse Company.

Construction finally got underway in 1969. A predominantly single-level retail center, encompassing 940,000 leasable square feet and seventy-five stores and services, was officially dedicated July 22, 1971.

The original anchors of FRANKLIN PARK MALL were a 2-level (294,300 square foot) J.C. Penney, 2-level (186,000 square foot) J.L Hudson (a.k.a. Hudson's) and 2-level (100,000 square foot), Lamson's of Toledo. The Lamson's and Hudson's stores had opened for business July 20, 1971. Penney's began business with the mall on July 22.

The new J.L. Hudson marked the return of the Detroit-based chain to the Buckeye State. The retailer had operated a Toledo store between the 1880s and early 1900s.

FRANKLIN PARK MALL originally had four court areas. Center Court featured a 35-foot-high fountain, a suspended "sky cube" and second level mezzanine. The Hudson's Court, in the west end of the complex, was decorated with a "stabile" abstract sculpture by Alexander Calder.  

Charter tenants included Arthur Treacher's Fish & Chips, Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour (their first Ohio location), Lane Bryant, National Fabrics, J. Riggings, Bailey, Banks & Biddle Jewelers, Gray Drug, The Limited, The Alcove, Young Ages, B. Dalton Bookseller, Hughes & Hatcher, Goldcrest Gallery and Lerner Shops. There was also a freestanding (29,400 square foot) Kroger supermarket in the north parking area.

A theatrical venue, the Franklin Park Cinemas 1-2-3, was built one block northwest of the mall and opened in conjunction with it. The theater complex was expanded into the Franklin Park Cinemas 1-2-3-4-5 in October 1971. A second venue, the Franklin Park Mall 6 Theatres, took the space vacated by the Kroger grocery, and showed its first features October 4, 1985.  

Competing shopping hubs in the vicinity included SOUTHWYCK CENTER (1972) {6.2 miles south, in Toledo} and NORTH TOWNE SQUARE (1980) {5.2 miles northeast, also in Toledo}. These two properties were eventually eclipsed by FRANKLIN PARK MALL. SOUTHWYCK was demolished in 2009. NORTH TOWNE SQUARE was renamed LAKESIDE CENTRE in 2003 and shuttered permanently in 2004.

GREENWOOD MALL {4.2 miles northeast, in Toledo} was a smaller, community class complex. It opened in 1969, but provided no sizable competition for the regional-class FRANKLIN PARK property.

The first of several anchor rebrandings at FRANKLIN PARK MALL took place October 23, 1974, when the Lamson's store became a Jackson, Michigan-based Jacobson's. The branch at FRANKLIN PARK MALL was the chain's fourteenth store. The building was expanded, to 120,000 square feet, in early 1986.

An addition to the north side of the mall was approved by the local government in September 1991. A 2-level (192,100 square foot), Toldeo-based Lion Store was included in this North Wing project, along with twenty inline retailers. The existing mall was also given a facelift.

New tenants included Gap Kids, Bombay Shop, Recordtown, Babbage's Waldenbooks, Cache and a Ruby Tuesday's restaurant. The addition, dedicated August 4, 1993, increased the GLA of the shopping hub to 1.1 million square feet, with the retail roster now numbering one hundred and thirty stores and services.

Dillard's purchased Mercantile Stores, the parent company of the Lion Store chain, in August 1998. A Dillard's nameplate was installed at the FRANKLIN PARK MALL store in May 1999. The Hudson's location was rebranded by Chicago-based Marshall Field's in August 2001. Jacobson's location at the mall was shuttered in March 2002, with the building being sold to Dillard's. A Dillard's For The Home store was planned which didn't pan out.

The Westfield Group's purchase of FRANKLIN PARK MALL was finalized in May 2002. In anticipation of the acquisition, the official name of the complex had been changed to WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN FRANKLIN PARK in April. Westfield initiated a 113 million dollar renovation and expansion of the property in March 2004.

The vacant Lamson's / Jacobson's was knocked down, with a 2-level (238,000 square foot) South Wing built. The first operational stage of the mall makeover project, a northwest parking garage (the Cardinal Deck), was completed in October 2004.

Twenty-seven stores and services would be housed in the south end addition, including Dick's Sporting Goods, Borders Books, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Aldo, Perfumania, Charlotte Russe, Mimi Maternity and Bravo! Cucina Italiana. The expansion included the 12-bay Terrace Food Court and Franklin Park 16 Cinema de Luxe.

During the remodeling, tenants in the existing mall moved to new locations. These relocated stores included Victoria's Secret, Select Comfort, Yankee Candle Company, Brookstone, Hollister and Olga's restaurant. A new Forever 21 also opened in existing space. Lastly, a southeast parking garage (the Orchid Deck) was built.

The mall was re-dedicated May 6, 2005. It now encompassed 1.2 million leasable square feet and over one hundred and sixty stores and services. In June 2005, the official name of the shopping center was truncated to WESTFIELD FRANKLIN PARK. On September 9, 2006, the Marshall Field's store was "Macy-ated".

A small expansion of outparcel store space added 49,000 square feet to the shopping complex. Built southeast of the existing mall, it housed DSW, Old Navy and Ulta Beauty stores. These opened for business November 1, 2008.

The Westfield Group sold the FRANKLIN PARK property in October 2013; the buyer being Starwood Retail Partners, an affiliate of the Greewich, Connecticut-based Starwood Capital Group. Soon after the completion of the transaction, the mall assumed its original (circa-1971) moniker, FRANKLIN PARK MALL. 

Sources:

The Toledo Blade
"Westfield Franklin Park" article on Wikipedia
http://www.toledohistorybox.com
www.westfield.com
Lucas County, Ohio Auditor's Real Estate Information System