PINELLAS SQUARE
Park Boulevard North and US 19 North
Pinellas Park, Florida

Youngstown, Ohio's Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation developed their ninth Florida property in a joint venture with JCP Realty (a subsidiary of the J.C. Penney Company). Plans for PINELLAS SQUARE were formally announced in May 1972.

The 20 million dollar complex was designed by Frank DeBartolo and built on a 63.6 acre plot, located 7 miles northwest of downtown St. Petersburg. The mall site was within the corporate limits of the City of Pinellas Park.

Originally encompassing 848,200 leasable square feet, with room for one hundred and nine tenants, PINELLAS SQUARE was dedicated April 13, 1977. Forty stores began business at this time.

A pelican from the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary was on hand to assist in cutting the ceremonial ribbon. The 5-day grand opening celebration featured entertainment by the Pinellas Park High School Band and Florida Folk Music Association.

A 2-level (174,000 square foot) J.C. Penney opened its doors April 13, 1977. A 2-level (140,000 square foot) Montgomery Ward began business November 2nd of the same year. The mall's first theatrical venue, the General Cinema Corporation Pinellas Square I-II-III, showed its first features May 27, 1977. A third anchor store, a 2-level (113,400 square foot), Charlotte-based J.B. Ivey, held its grand opening September 18, 1978.

TYRONE SQUARE (1972) {3.9 miles southwest, in St. Petersburg} was also developed by DeBartolo. It eventually became the primary retail rival of PINELLAS SQUARE. Competition, to a lesser degree, was also provided by GATEWAY MALL (1968) {2.3 miles northwest, also in St. Petersburg}, SEMINOLE MALL (1970) {6.3 miles west, in Seminole} and BAY AREA OUTLET MALL / CROSSROADS MALL (1984) {5.6 miles northwest, in Largo}.

Ivey's was the first PINELLAS SQUARE anchor to sport a new nameplate. The chain was acquired -and rebranded- by Dillard's June 4, 1990. Meanwhile, competition in the over-malled Pinellas Peninsula had sent PINELLAS SQUARE into a downward spiral by 1993.

In 1996, the DeBartolo Realty Corporation merged with the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group, creating an entity known as the Simon DeBartolo Group. The struggling PINELLAS SQUARE property was jettisoned. In August 1996, its financial backer, the Boston-based John Hancock Life Insurance Company, acquired the property by loan default.

The Hancock company hired a Virginia real estate firm to perform a large-scale redevelopment of the complex, which got underway in 1997. An ice rink was installed in Center Court, with a new Food Court overlooking it from the Upper Level.

The "dark and gloomy" interior was also given a face lift and new entrances were built. The newly-renovated retail hub was renamed PINELLAS PARKSIDE in 1998. A state-of-the-art megaplex, the R/C Cinemas ParkSide Movies 16, opened its doors on March 30, 2001.

Unfortunately, the renovation and name change did little to improve the fortunes of the shopping center. Several vacant stores were leased as office spaces. The Hancock Company sold the property to Clearwater-based Boulder Venture South, in January 2003.

A new redevelopment plan was envisaged. This time around, the mall would be demolished, leaving only the cinema and an outparcel Applebee's restaurant standing. An open-air strip center, known as SHOPPES AT PARK PLACE, would be built.

Pinellas Park officials approved the 70 million redevelopment plan in October 2003. Dillard's shuttered their "PARKSIDE MALL" store in January 2004, with the J.C. Penney Outlet going dark in May. The mall closed for good June 30, 2004. The wrecking ball hit in July.

The ParkSide Movies 16 megaplex shut down in August 2004. The structure was remodeled, with a new northward-facing entrance built. In the interim, the Regal chain had acquired the theater. It re-opened, as the Regal Park Place Stadium 16, in August 2005.

A 1-level (134,600 square foot) Target opened for business October 4, 2005. Other stores leasing space in the 600,000 square foot shopping hub were Marshalls, Michaels, Dress Barn, American Signature Furniture, Off Broadway Shoes and Rue 21.

The center's selection of restaurants would eventually include Panda Express, BJ's Restaurant & Brewhouse, What A Burger, Panera Bread and Chilli's.

Sources:

The St. Petersburg Evening Independent
St. Petersburg Times
ww.divaris.com
http://www.boulderventure.net
www.bizjournals.com


FAIR USE OF PINELLAS SQUARE IMAGES:

The graphics from The St. Petersburg Times and St. Petersburg Evening Independent illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). 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.