FRANKLIN PARK MALL
Monroe Street and Talmadge Road
Toledo, Ohio

Greater Toledo's second fully-enclosed shopping hub took nearly 20 years to see 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 plaza 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 James Rouse Company.

Construction 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 (186,000 square foot) J.L Hudson (a.k.a. Hudson's) and 2-level (100,000 square foot), Lamson's of Toledo. These opened for business July 20, 1971. A 2-level (294,300 square foot) J.C. Penney began business with the mall, on July 22nd.

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, 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, Lerner Shops and a Farrell's Ice Cream Parlour (the first Ohio location). There was also a freestanding (29,400 square foot) Kroger supermarket in the north parking area.

In its early days, FRANKLIN PARK MALL did not have an in-mall movie house. The National Amusements Cinema 1 & 2 was located 1.1 mile southeast of the shopping complex. A freestanding venue, its first features were shown on December 17, 1964.

The National Amusements Franklin Park Cinemas 4 & 5 was built on a pad located .7 mile northwest of the shopping complex. This venue debuted on October 22, 1971. With its completion, Cinema 1 & 2 (now a 3-plex) was renamed Cinemas 1-3.

A third movie house, the American Multi-Cinema Franklin 5 was set up in a vacant Kroger supermarket; this situated in the mall's north parking lot. This venue showed its first features on October 4, 1985. It would be reconfigured as the Franklin 6 in 1994.

Competing shopping hubs in the vicinity of FRANKLIN PARK MALL included SOUTHWYCK CENTER (1972) {6.2 miles south, in Toledo} and NORTH TOWNE SQUARE (1980) {5.2 miles northeast, also in Toledo}.

These were eventually eclipsed by FRANKLIN PARK. 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. This was the chain's fourteenth store. The building was expanded, to 120,000 square feet, in 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 tenants. The existing mall was also given a face lift.

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

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 store in May 1999. Hudson's was rebranded by Chicago-based Marshall Field's in August 2001. Jacobson's 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.

Sydney, Australia's Westfield Group purchased FRANKLIN PARK MALL 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 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 stage of the mall makeover, a northwest parking garage (Cardinal Deck), was completed in October 2004.

Twenty-seven stores and services would be housed in the south end expansion, including Dick's Sporting Goods, Borders Books, Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Aldo, Perfumania, Charlotte Russe, Mimi Maternity and Bravo! Cucina Italiana.

The addition included the 12-bay Terrace Food Court and National Amusements Franklin Park 16 Cinema De Luxe. The new movie house, which replaced all freestanding motion picture venues in the mall's vicinity, was installed on a Second Level. Its first features were shown May 6, 2005.

During the remodeling, tenants in the existing mall moved to new locations. These stores included Victoria's Secret, Select Comfort, Yankee Candle Company, Brookstone, Hollister and Olga's restaurant.A southeast parking garage (Orchid Deck) was also 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 freestanding (49,000 square foot) strip was added to the southeast corner of the complex. This structure housed DSW, Old Navy and Ulta Beauty stores. These opened for business November 1, 2008.

The Westfield Group sold their 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. 

The southeast store block was expanded in the Twenty-tens. A (32,000 square foot) Dave & Buster's Grand Sports Cafe welcomed its first patrons October 31, 2016.

Sources:

The Toledo Blade
"Westfield Franklin Park" article on Wikipedia
http://www.toledohistorybox.com
www.cinematreasures.org
http://www.movie-theatre.org / Mike Rivest
www.westfield.com
Lucas County, Ohio Auditor's Real Estate Information System
https://starwoodretail.com