WOODVILLE MALL
Woodville and Williston Roads
Northwood, Ohio

The first regional-class, fully-enclosed shopping complex in Greater Toledo, was also the ninth major retail facility developed by Youngstown, Ohio's Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation.

Ground was broken on an 89.8 acre site, located 5.6 miles southeast of the center city, in May 1967.  A "soft opening" was held April 16, 1969. By the end of the year, WOODVILLE MALL was fully-leased.

The single-level center encompassed 871,000 leasable square feet and was anchored by a 2-level (106,600 square foot), Toledo-based LaSalle's, 2-level (165,000 square foot) J.C. Penney and a 1-level (146,800 square foot) Sears.

F.W. Woolworth served as a junior anchor. Charter stores and services included Karmelkorn, Straus Bakery, Fanny Farmer Candies, Schubach Jewelers, Merry-Go-Round ladies' wear, Spencer Gifts, Orange Julius, Goodyear Tire & Appliance and the single-screen National General Corporation Fox Theatre at Woodville Mall.

WOODVILLE was the only regional mall on the east bank of the Maumee River. It had been built, in the late '60s, in anticipation of a population boom that never panned out.

Eventually, competition came from newer shopping facilities, such as FRANKLIN PARK MALL (1971) {10.9 miles northwest, in Toledo}, SOUTHWYCK CENTER (1972) {9.3 miles west, in Toledo} and NORTH TOWNE SQUARE (1980) {9.1 miles northwest, also in Toledo}. The fully-enclosed GREENWOOD MALL {9.6 miles northwest, in Toledo} had also opened in 1969. It was a community-class complex that provided no real competition to the larger WOODVILLE property.

The first anchor store rebranding at WOODVILLE MALL took place in 1982 when LaSalle's (owned by Macy's) was refitted with a Macy's nameplate. The store was shuttered and re-opened, as a Dayton-based Elder-Beerman, August 7, 1985.

J.C. Penney closed in June 1987. Maumee, Ohio-based The Andersons opened in the building September 1, 1988. Only the store's 104,700 square foot first level was utilized for retail. Its upper level was dedicated to offices and storage. The Andersons was not a traditional department store, per se, but was a grocery / building supply / lawn & garden outlet.

A 5 million dollar, mall-wide face lift had been announced in March 1987. New landscaping and skylights were installed and mall entrances rebuilt. Concourses were carpeted and the 13-bay Treats Food Court was fitted into vacant area in the West Wing. Center Court was also remodeled using an "old-fashioned town square" motif.

The renovation was completed in late 1987. Regretfully, it did not change the fortunes of the mall, whose decline had underway for some years. The Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group acquired the mall during their 1996 merger with the Debartolo Realty Corporation. Simon decided to unload the past-its-prime property.

WOODVILLE MALL was sold to Jack Kashani and Sammy Kahen, of Beverly Hills, California, in September 2004. They enlisted the Beachwood, Ohio-based Krone Group as a redevelopment and management agent.

A large-scale renovation was proposed, which was to include a full remodeling and retenanting of the mall. New office and residential space was to be added, as well as an ice rink and multiplex cinema. After the purchase of adjoining land and construction of a new access road into the existing complex, the redevelopment stalled-out.

A less ambitious plan advocated demolishing the mall proper and reworking its anchor stores into an open-air format. Like the first plan, this project was also abandoned.

The shuttering of Elder-Beerman, in September 2009, added an empty anchor space to the virtually vacant shopping center. Little Neck, New York's Mike Kohan acquired WOODVILLE MALL in November 2009. He initiated repairs to the roof and installed new flooring.

Twelve new stores and services opened during the spring of 2011 and a grand re-opening was held in May. New stores and services included CJ's Breakfast & Sandwich Shop, InProcess and MPWA Combat Sports. However, hopes that the mall would continue on an upward trajectory were dashed when Wood County and Northwood City inspectors toured the property in December 2011.

Several problems were found, including buckling floors, mold and mildew and collapsed and leaking roofs. It was also revealed that natural gas service to the mall had been disconnected. The unheated interior had an average temperature of 46 degrees. The Fox Theatre, by now a 4-plex, closed for good December 14, 2011.

A court injunction was filed December 16 that required for the mall to be shuttered. However, the exterior-entranced Sears and Andersons stores remained in business. Inline tenants were evicted in January 2012, with some relocating to the nearby GREAT EASTERN SHOPPING CENTER. The Andersons, concerned about the deteriorating condition of the mall, closed their store February 16, 2013.

The mall continued to deteriorate, and was eventually deemed a public hazard. A county judge ordered its demolition. A wrecking crew was brought in in March 2014. The mall structure was demolished, leaving three anchors standing. Sears, the last operational WOODVILLE MALL store, closed in July 2014. 

Sources:

www.labelscar.com
Wood County, Ohio tax assessor website
www.loopnet.com
www.cinematreasures.org
www.toledoblade.com
www.allbusiness.com
The Toledo Blade
www.13abc,com
Comment post by Patrick


FAIR USE OF WOODVILLE MALL IMAGE:

The graphic from The Toledo Blade illustrates a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The image is of lower resolution than the original (copies made would be of inferior quality). The image is not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the image does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the image in any way. The image is being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and its use is not believed to detract from the original image in any way.