Cleveland's Parmatown Center



The nucleus of what eventually morphed into Greater Cleveland's seventh-largest enclosed shopping mall. PARMATOWN CENTER, an open-air strip plaza, opened for business in the fall of 1956.
Photo from www.loopnet.com


The original section of PARMATOWN CENTER (in black) was expanded in 1959-'60 (in dark gray). Now a full-fledged open-air mall, the shopping hub sported the shiny new "May's Parmatown" department store and featured a Kresge 5 & dime and Fisher Foods supermarket.


A rendering of "May's Parmatown". The store opened for business in August 1960.
Drawing from http://departmentstoremuseum.blogspot.com


Shoppers stroll the new Kresge Court at PARMATOWN CENTER. At the time this photo was taken (September 1960), the open-air mall addition had not been completed.
Photo from http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu / Cleveland Memory Project / Joseph E. Cole


The open walkway at a fully-realized PARMATOWN CENTER. This photo is dated August 1961.
Photo from http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu / Cleveland Memory Project / Joseph E. Cole

In 1967-1968, the open-air PARMATOWN CENTER was expanded and enclosed. A new concourse extended west of May Company. Moreover, a second anchor was built. The complex was now known as PARMATOWN MALL. Above we have a high-definition Complete Plan, with the names and locations of each of the mall's fifty-four stores and services indicated.

Higbee's opened a PARMATOWN location in August 1967 and would operate in the mall for 25 years.
Photo from http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu / Cleveland Memory Project / Joseph E. Cole


This section of the shopping complex had been built as an open-air concourse in 1959-1960. At the time of this April 1968 photo, it had just been roofed-in.   
Photo from http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu / Cleveland Memory Project / Joseph E. Cole


Davidson's PARMATOWN, in the new West Wing. The men's wear store started out in the open-air PARMATOWN CENTER in 1960. It moved to this location in early 1968. 
Photo from http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu / Cleveland Memory Project / Joseph E. Cole


Casual Center opened a PARMATOWN MALL West Wing store at the same time.
Photo from http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu / Cleveland Memory Project / Joseph E. Cole

A third expansion got underway at the PARMATOWN property in 1979. New construction is indicated in light gray on this circa-1980 layout. The addition brought a third anchor store, J.C. Penney, new South Wing and a Food Court.

A circa-2008 PARMATOWN plan. The center's fourth major renovation brought WalMart, which replaced the Higbee's / Dillard's store, and Dick's Sporting Goods, which was built on the old cinema site.


The mall's Main Entrance and TGI Friday restaurant are seen in this view. This area has been completely rebuilt as part of a 2013-2016 demalling renovation.
Photo from www.loopnet.com

A January 2014 view of the court area in the mall's former South Wing. This area was left standing until its tenants could be relocated to a section that was not going to be demolished.
Photo from "DaveBronx"


The northern facade of an abandoned May Company / Kaufmann's / Macy's. It awaits a destiny date with a wrecking ball, which came in January 2014.
Photo from "DaveBronx"


In this snapshot, the demolition of "May's Parmatown" has begun. So, another Mid-Century Modern structure (one designed by Victor Gruen, I might add) was being destroyed in the name of "progress". Time marches on, as they say, usually trampling everything in its path.
Photo from "DaveBronx"


A circa-2017 physical layout shows the orientation of SHOPPES AT PARMA. Sections of the old PARMATOWN MALL are indicated in black. Obviously, a great deal of the original shopping hub has been razed. A new Dick's Sporting Goods has replaced the original store (which was only in operation for 10 years).

Here we see a new Dick's Sporting Goods, which opened for business in the spring of 2015.
Photo from "DaveBronx"


A circa-1980 J.C. Penney has had a bit of exterior work. The aforementioned South Wing, which used to connect to the left side of Penney's, has been demolished. A new store facade and entry have been installed.
Photo from "DaveBronx"


PARMATOWN CENTER
West Ridgewood Drive and Ridge Road
Parma, Ohio

The second shopping mall in Greater Cleveland started as a small strip complex in 1956. PARMATOWN CENTER, developed by the Ratner, Miller and Shafran familes (basically, today's RMS Investment Corporation) encompassed 147,000 leasable square feet. It occupied the eastern corner of a 65 acre parcel, located 11 miles southwest of downtown Cleveland's Public Square.

The first PARMATOWN CENTER stores opened their doors on September 27, 1956. The complex was expanded into an open-air mall in 1959-'60. The new West Wing was anchored by a 4-level (299,200 square foot), Cleveland-based May Company of Ohio. The "May's Parmatown" store held its grand opening August 21, 1960. The mall now included an S.S. Kresge 5 & 10 and Fisher Foods supermarket.

A second expansion got underway in 1966. A 2-level (188,000 square foot), Cleveland-based Higbee's was built. The store opened for business August 5, 1967 and anchored an expanded, fully-enclosed, West Wing. This connected with the existing open-air structure, which had also been enclosed.

The shopping facility, now known as PARMATOWN MALL, held its official grand opening April 1, 1968. New stores included Petrie's ladies' wear, Susan Ives ladies' wear, Winkelman's ladies wear, Davidson's men's wear and a Hot Shoppes Cafeteria. The General Cinema Corporation Parmatown Cinema I & II had debuted on November 15, 1967.

A third PARMATOWN expansion was done in 1979-1980. This included a new South Wing, 10-bay Food Court and 2-level (159,200 square foot) J.C. Penney. This store welcomed its first shoppers on November 26, 1980.

Major shopping venues in the vicinity of PARMATOWN MALL included SOUTHLAND PLAZA / CENTER (1950) {2 miles west, in Middleburg Heights}, WESTGATE CENTER (1954) {8 miles northwest, in Fairview Park} and, eventually, SOUTHPARK CENTER / WESTFIELD SOUTHPARK (1996) {6.2 miles southwest, in Strongsville}.

Anchor rebrandings commenced at PARMATOWN MALL in August 1992, when the Higbee's location became a Dillard's. This store closed for good in the year 2000. In January 1993, the May Company store was rebranded as a Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann's. This store was "Macy-ated" on September 9, 2006.

Meanwhile, a fourth major mall renovation had commenced in late 2003. The vacant Higbee's / Dillard's was demolished. The cinema, which had closed August 12, 2004, was also knocked down.

A 1-level (152,200 square foot) Wal-Mart was built on the Higbee's spot, which held its grand opening January 28, 2004. It was joined by a (50,000 square foot), Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Goods, built on the old Cinema spot. The reconfigured shopping center, completed in the fall of 2005, encompassed approximately 991,600 leasable square feet and contained one hundred and fifty stores and services.

The tanking of the US economy in 2007-2008 was a harbinger of doom for PARMATOWN MALL. By June 2011, the proprietors (Cleveland's RMS Investment Corporation) were saddled with a partially vacant shopping center and upside down mall mortgage. 63 million dollars were owed on a shopping center valued at between 30 and 42 million.

The loan payment was defaulted on and a receiver brought in to manage the property and prepare it for sale. In the meantime, 800,000 dollars were invested in repairs and improvements. Then came news that Macy's was closing their PARMATOWN store. This transpired March 25, 2012.

The moribund mall had been placed on the open market in the previous January. Cincinnati-based Philips Edison & Company bought the delinquent mortgage on the property in October 2012. They started a massive renovation in the summer of 2013. This entailed demolition of the old May Company / Macy's and most of the enclosed mall.

Structures that had been retained were thoroughly renovated and reoriented into an open-air format. Several new buildings were added. WalMart expanded to a (178,600 square foot) SuperCenter and a new (50,000 square foot) Dick's Sporting Goods was built. It was dedicated April 14, 2015.

Inline stores in the new and improved SHOPPES AT PARMA included Ulta Beauty, Torrid, Rue 21, Fast Eddie's Kitchen & Bar, Panera Bread, Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Mattress Firm.

As these were opening for business, the Phillips Edison & Company, formed a new division. PECO Real Estate Partners was created in May 2015 to redevelop and operate grocery-anchored shopping centers, power centers, lifestyle centers and enclosed malls.

Sources:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
www.cinematreasures.org
www.parmatown.com
www.cleveland.com
http://www.loopnet.com
Info, photos and drawings from "DaveBronx"
www.rlba.com (Richard L. Bowen Associates)
www.phillipsedison.com
"Parmatown Mall" article on Wikipedia
http://www.prnewswire.com
www.pecorep.com (PECO Real Estate Partners)


FAIR USE OF PARMATOWN IMAGES:

The photos from The Cleveland Memory Project 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 them 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.
Cleveland's Severance Center



Cleveland's Higbee's chain anchored the north end of SEVERANCE CENTER with this high-end Mid-Century Modern structure. The store, which was the second Higbee's branch, featured two restaurants; The Hobnail Room and Pronto Room.

A circa-1963 aerial view of SEVERANCE CENTER, which was the Buckeye State's first enclosed shopping mall.
Photo from Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University / Parade Studios


In addition to the aforementioned Higbee's, SEVERANCE CENTER was anchored by Cleveland-based Halle's. Here we see the store's mallway entrance.
Photo from Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University / Daniel Ho


A primary feature of the Halle's SEVERANCE CENTER store was its Geranium Room restaurant.
Photo from Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University / Joseph E. Cole


In this early '60s-vintage view, we see the mall's Center Court and fountain.
Photo from Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University / Bernie Noble


The Winkelman's SEVERANCE CENTER storefront. The chain, based in Detroit, was a well-known women's ready-to-wear retailer.
Photo from Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University / Joseph E. Cole

A high-definition Complete Plan of the 1960s shopping hub. All of its seventy-five stores and services are indicated. As one can see, the center was based on a main retail level. A basement floor housed a bowling alley, leased office spaces and six-store "Convenience Wing", which was anchored by a Fisher Foods supermarket.

A Gold Circle discount mart was added to the southwest end of the mall in 1981. The store closed for good in 1984. Its vacancy was expanded and retenanted by Dunham's Sports, the Severance Movies 6plex and Galaxy Food Court. All of these are shown on this circa-1990 site plan.

The mid-1980s reinvention of SEVERANCE TOWN CENTER was not an astounding success. By the mid-1990s, both of its anchor stores had been abandoned. The bulk of the mall was bulldozed in the late 1990s and replaced by the open-air power plaza seen here.
Photo from www.pinetreecommercial.com (Pinetree Commercial Realty)


Stores in the new & improved SEVERANCE TOWN CENTER opened between 1998 and 2000. The complex was anchored by Home Depot, Wal-Mart and the Regal Severance Town Center Stadium 14 (which was on a level underneath Wal-Mart).
Photo from http://www.cinematreasures.org / Eric K.

In our final SEVERANCE site plan, we see the true north-south orientation of the retail facility. Its 1998-2000 reinvention was successful for a time. However, by the twenty-tens, the complex was -once again- virtually vacant and on life support. Its Wal-Mart did an "anchors away" in late 2013, followed by the megaplex cinema, which closed in early 2015.


A parting view of SEVERANCE TOWN CENTER; this (obviously) taken before the 2013 defection of Wal-Mart. In July 2017, a redevelopment was proposed that would rename the complex and possibly add an arts center, public green space and several entertainment venues.
Photo from www.pinetreecommercial.com (Pinetree Commercial Realty)
SEVERANCE CENTER
Mayfield and South Taylor Roads
Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Ground was broken for Ohio's first fully-enclosed shopping mall in February 1962. SEVERANCE CENTER, designed by Seattle's John Graham, Junior, was developed by a joint venture of Cleveland's Austin Company and Seattle-based Winmar Pacific. The 70 acre mall site was located 7 miles east of Cleveland's Public Square. It had previously been part of Longwood, the 125 acre estate of local philanthropist John L. Severance.

Two Cleveland-based anchor stores opened for business August 5, 1963; a 3-level (257,000 square foot) Higbee's and 2-level (150,000 square foot) Halle Brothers Company's or Halle's ["Hal-eez"]. Higbee's, designed by Los Angeles-based Welton Becket & Associates, stood at the northeast end of the mall, Halle's, at the southwest.

SEVERANCE CENTER was officially dedicated October 17, 1963. The 17 million dollar complex encompassed over 800,000 leasable square feet on 2 levels. Most retail stores were located along a Mall Level, that stretched between the two anchors.

There was also a basement Lower Level, which included a bowling alley and five office suites. A Convenience Wing extended from the Lower Level, toward the northwest. It housed a Fisher Foods supermarket, Diamond's Deli, liquor store and three additional tenant spaces. These stores had only exterior entrances onto a lower level parking area and were not connected into the upper (Mall Level) corridor.

Within 5 months of its opening, the center housed seventy-four stores and services. Included on the tenant list were Gray Drug, Hot Shoppes Cafeteria, Winkelman's ladies' wear, Milgrim's ladies' wear, Richman Brothers men's wear, a Sirloin & Saddle restaurant and F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10. The National Theatres Corporation Severance Theatre at the Mall showed its first feature March 10, 1965.

Retail rivals of SEVERANCE CENTER included CEDAR-CENTER PLAZA / UNIVERSITY SQUARE (1956) {1.2 miles southeast, in University Heights}, RICHMOND MALL (1966) {3. 1 miles northeast, in Richmond Heights}, RANDALL PARK MALL (1976) {5.7 miles southeast, in North Randall} and BEACHWOOD MALL (1978) {3 miles southeast, in Beachwood}.

SEVERANCE CENTER received a face lift renovation in 1972. The complex was physically expanded 9 years later, with a new Southwest Wing. Formally opened on November 5, 1981, it housed a 1-level (85,000 square foot) Worthington, Ohio-based Gold Circle discount mart.

A 20 million dollar renovation was completed in 1986. The Gold Circle space, which had been vacated in 1984, was enlarged and retenanted by Dunham's Sporting Goods, the 14-bay Galaxy Food Court and National Theatres Corporation Severance Movies 6plex.

This new theater, which opened April 5, 1986, operated in conjunction with the circa-1965 venue, which had been divided in 1971 and renamed the Severance Movies Twin. With this renovation, SEVERANCE CENTER housed one hundred and three stores under its roof.

Unfortunately, the mall was becoming a haven for crime. In a move to quell any negative perceptions, the Cleveland Heights City Hall, jail and court complex relocated to new buildings, at the northwest corner of the mall site, in 1986. The civic center and retail hub became known, collectively, as SEVERANCE TOWN CENTER.

The Halle's chain had gone belly-up on March 27, 1982. This created a vacancy that wasn't filled until August 17, 1989, when the Pittsburgh-based Joseph Horne Company opened a store in the vacated -and renovated- building.

Horne's was shuttered July 12, 1992. News surfaced about the store re-opening as a second Higbee's location. In actuality, it became part of a Dillard's "double-header", which was established in August 1992. Higbee's became Dillard's East (a Women's store) with the old Halle's / Horne's re-opening as Dillard's West, which carried Men's, Children's & Home merchandise.

Dillard's closed both SEVERANCE CENTER stores in June 1995. Within months, a plan to redevelop the shopping hub had been formally announced. The abandoned anchor stores were the first structures to be demolished.

A 1-level (113,800 square foot) Home Depot, built on the old Halle's / Horne's spot, welcomed its first shoppers on October 29, 1998. A 1-level (126,200 square foot) Wal-Mart SuperCenter, assuming the Higbee's spot, opened for business in January 1999.

By this time, the inline store section of the mall had been bulldozed, with the Convenience Wing left standing. It was worked into a 475,000 square foot power plaza, that retained the SEVERANCE TOWN CENTER name.

The complex was officially dedicated early in the year 2000. Its stores and services included a (30,400 square foot) Marshalls, (25,700 square foot) Borders Books, (68,400 square foot) Dave's Supermarket and Regal Severance Town Center Stadium 14 megaplex.

Within a few years, there was a new lifestyle center in the vicinity. LEGACY VILLAGE {2.5 miles southeast, in Lyndhurst} was dedicated in 2003. Chicago-based Syndicated Equities acquired SEVERANCE TOWN CENTER in April 2004. Lake Bluff, Illinois-based Pine Tree Commercial Realty was enlisted to manage and lease the complex.

A major vacancy was created on October 15, 2013, when Wal-Mart was shuttered. The cinema shut down in March 2015. By this time, the shopping hub was over 40 percent vacant. It was foreclosed on and sold at a sheriff's auction in November 2015. The buyer, New York City-based CWCapital Asset Management, flipped the property, with Great Neck, New York's Namdar Realty Group assuming ownership in May 2016.

In July 2017, a tentative redevelopment plan came to light. It would reinvent the struggling retail facility in three phases, over a period of 15 to 20 years, and add amenities such as an arts center, public park and several entertainment venues.

Sources:

1964 and 1990 Severance Center brochures submitted by Mike Dannhauser
preservenet.cornell.edu/publications/Longstreth Branch Store.doc
https://clevelandhistorical.org
www.ech.case.edu  / "Cleveland History"
The Cleveland Plain Dealer
www.cinematreasures.org
http://www.city-data.com
www.syndicatedequities.com / "Severance Towne Center"
http://www.pinetreecommercial.com


FAIR USE OF SEVERANCE CENTER IMAGES:

The photos from The Michael Schwartz Library at Cleveland State University 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 them 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.
Cleveland's Great Northern Mall


May Company of Ohio built its sixth branch location in suburban North Olmstead. The store, a Welton Becket-designed structure, opened in 1965.
Photo from http://images.ulib.csuohio.edu / Cleveland Memory Project / Joseph E. Cole

A fully-enclosed shopping center was added to "May's Great Northern" in the mid-1970s. GREAT NORTHERN MALL, dedicated in November 1976, featured anchor-size J.C. Penney and Sears stores. 

A circa-1993 site plan. Two expansions had been built by this time. The first, completed in 1987, consisted of a new South Court block of stores (in medium gray). The second involved renovating and enlarging space in the Southeast Wing into a new Food Court (in light gray).

WESTFIELD GREAT NORTHERN as it was configured in 2008. The latest expansions added an extended Southwest Wing and Dillard's (2003) and Dick's Sporting Goods (2004). The mall now housed 1,235,200 leasable square feet.


More renovations were done between 2011 and 2013. The Food Court was moved in front of Dick's Sporting Goods, with the old culinary complex being gutted and rebuilt into a Regal 10-plex. As a result of Westfield's sale of the property in late 2013, its name reverted back to GREAT NORTHERN MALL.

A view of the Northwest Entrance of the retail hub, known -at the time- as WESTFIELD GREAT NORTHERN. A Yogurt Vi store is located just inside the doors.
Photo from http://www.rsms-arch.com (RSMS Architects)


An interior view, which shows the mallway entrance of an Express Men store.
Photo from https://www.shoppinggreatnorthernmall.com


As mentioned, the GREAT NORTHERN Food Court was moved from the southeast to northwest sector of the mall during a 2011 renovation. The new 12-bay culinary complex, known as the Dining Court, is seen here.
Photo from http://www.rsms-arch.com (RSMS Architects)
GREAT NORTHERN MALL
Brookpark Road and Great Northern Boulevard
North Olmsted, Ohio

By the mid-1970s, seven mall-type shopping hubs had been built in Greater Cleveland. The eighth would be developed on a 62 acre site, located 15 miles southwest of Public Square, in the suburb of North Olmstead.

This complex was an addition to a freestanding, 3-level (181,000 square foot), Cleveland-based May Company Ohio. "May's Great Northern" had opened -on September 5, 1965- as an eastern outparcel of GREAT NORTHERN CENTER, an open-air strip plaza dedicated in October 1958.

A fully-enclosed, single-level mall was built on the east side of May Company. GREAT NORTHERN MALL was developed by Cleveland's Saul Biskind, designed by Cleveland-based Keeva J. Kekst Architects, and was dedicated on November 3, 1976.

In addition to May Company, the anchors of the new retail hub were a 2-level (179,600 square foot) Sears and 2-level (165,400 square foot) J. C. Penney. Sears, which relocated from a smaller store in the adjacent strip plaza, welcomed its first shoppers on August 5, 1976. J.C. Penney, also relocated from the strip plaza, was dedicated on November 3rd of the same year.

Charter GREAT NORTHERN MALL tenants included Kay-Bee Toys, Small Stuff, Gordon's Jewelers, Waldenbooks, Winkelman's ladies' wear and the Great American Game Room.

Competing shopping facilities in the vicinity of GREAT NORTHERN included WESTGATE CENTER (1954) {4.5 miles northeast, in Fairview Park / Rocky River} and MIDWAY MALL (1964) {10.4 miles west, in Elyria}.

The first expansion of GREAT NORTHERN MALL entailed the addition of the fifteen store South Court, which was completed in 1987. The existing May Company store was also expanded to 228,500 square feet.

The next renovation was dedicated October 20, 1992. This included the 2-level, 17-bay Food Commons, which was installed in an expanded Southeast Wing. In August of the following year, May Company was rebranded as a Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann's.

Australia's Westfield acquired the mall in early 2002 and renamed it WESTFIELD SHOPPINGTOWN GREAT NORTHERN. "Shoppingtown" was dropped from the official name in June 2005, with the complex known, henceforth, as WESTFIELD GREAT NORTHERN.

The third addition of shopping space came early in the 21st century. An extended South Court was built, with ten inline stores and a 2-level (220,000 square foot) Dillard's. This store was dedicated March 19, 2003. It was followed by a 2-level (84,000 square foot), Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Good, added to the north-facing front of the mall, which opened in 2004.

With this addition, WESTFIELD GREAT NORTHERN housed 1,235,200 leasable square feet and contained one hundred and forty-three stores and services. Outparcel business included US Bank, a Harry Buffalo restaurant, Red Lobster restaurant, Smokey Bones BBQ Grill and 1-level (14,500 square foot) J.C. Penney Furniture.

In May 2011, Westfield initiated an 8 million dollar mall face lift. A 12-bay Dining Court was installed in gutted and rebuilt space adjoining the Dick's store. Eateries included Thai Kitchen, Subway, Chicken Wow, Charley's Grilled Subs, Sarku Japan and Chop It Salad Company. Children's play areas were also installed in the Macy's and Dillard's courts. This renovation was dedicated November 3, 2011.

In October 2012, another remodeling project got underway in the old Food Court area. It was rebuilt into the state-of-the-art Regal Great Northern Mall Stadium 10, whose first features were shown December 12, 2013. Two sit-down restaurants, The Rail and Mama Fu's Asian House, were also installed in the space and a mall entry and corridor was built west of the existing Sears.

Westfield had sold GREAT NORTHERN in 2013, as part of a 7-mall transaction with Starwood Retail Partners, an affiliate of the Greenwich, Connecticut-based Starwood Capital Group.

The other properties involved were WESTFIELD BELDEN VILLAGE and WESTFIELD FRANKLIN PARK {in Ohio}, WESTFIELD CAPITAL {in Washington State}, WESTFIELD PARKWAY and WESTFIELD WEST COVINA {in California} and WESTFIELD SOUTHLAKE {in Indiana}. After the transaction closed, the name of the Greater Cleveland retail hub reverted to GREAT NORTHERN MALL.  

Sources:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Westfield Great Northern" article on Wikipedia
www.westfield.com/great northern
Cuyahoga County, Ohio property tax assessor website


FAIR USE OF MAY COMPANY NORTH OLMSTEAD IMAGE:

The photo from The Cleveland Memory Project illustrates a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. 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 it 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.
Cleveland's Randall Park Mall



The "showplace" of Youngstown's Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation was anchored by five department stores...one of these being a Cleveland-based Higbee's. The basic design of this store had also been used for Higbee's units at Mentor's GREAT LAKES MALL and Greater Canton's BELDEN VILLAGE.

A circa-'77 plan of the shiny new mega mall. Promoted as the world's biggest, its gross leasable area was reputedly a whopping 2,196,100 square feet. There five anchors, with a roster of one hundred and fifty-two inline stores. A potential sixth anchor, hyped by Edward DeBartolo as a Cleveland-based Halle's, would never be built.


RANDALL PARK MALL TENANT LIST 1977:

HIGBEE'S (with The Racing Silks Dining Room and Pronto Room restaurants) / JOSEPH HORNE COMPANY (with Josephine's On The Mezzanine restaurant) / SEARS (with Coffee shop and attached Auto Center) / MAY COMPANY (with The Thistle Grill restaurant) / J.C. PENNEY (with Coffee Shop and freestanding Auto Center)

LOWER LEVEL INLINE STORES:

Amber's Young Colony / American Commodore Tuxedo / B.R. Baker men's wear / Bernard Wigs / Bresler's 33 Flavors Ice Cream / Brooks Fashions / Burger Country / Camelot Music / Cards-N-Such / Casual Corner / Chess King / Craft Showcase / Davy Jones Locker / D.K. Marshall / Evelyn Carr & Company / Fanny Farmer Candies / Flowerama / Foxmoor Casuals / Friendly's Restaurant / Fun-N-Games / GNC / Gray Drug / Hahn Shoes / Hanover Shoes / Hot Sam Pretzels / J.B. Robinson Jewelers / Jean Nicole / Joan Bari Boutique / Jo-Ann Fabrics / Jon Steed / Jones Optical / Just Pants / Karmelkorn / King's / Koney Island Inn Hot Dogs / Lady Madonna Maternity / Lane Bryant / Lynn's Hallmark / Market Research, Incorporated / McKelvey's Loft / Merry-Go-Round / Milles Shoes / Miss Bojangles / National Uniform Shops / Naturalizer Shoes / Nobil Shoes / Oke Cookie / Parklane Hosiery / Paul Harris / Petrie's ladies' wear / Rogers Jewelers / Rose Jewelers / Small Stuff ladies' wear / Society National Bank / Stride-Rite Shoes / The Children's Photographer / The Fly Shop / The Gap / The Jox Shop Shoes / The Oak Tree / The Proving Ground / The Pub / The Shoe Lace / The Swiss Colony / The Wild Pair Shoes / Thom McAn Shoes / Toyco / Ups & Downs / Vangaurd Limited Shoes / Waldenbooks / Whittman, Incorporated / Winkelman's ladies' wear / World Bazaar / Young Faces 

UPPER LEVEL INLINE STORES:

A.S. Beck Shoes / Alexander's Flowers & Plants / Athlete's Foot / B. Dalton Bookseller / Baskin-Robbins 31 Flavors Ice Cream / Betty Lee Fashions / Bill's Clothes for Men / Bill Jones Leather / Bond Clothes / Burrows / Burt's Shoes / Captain Chips Potato Shop / Carousel Snack Bar / Chandler's Shoes / Charlie Chan / Claire's Boutique / Cole Shoes / Coles The Book People / Cookie Kitchen / County Seat / Cowell & Hubbard Jewelers / Diamond men's & boy's wear / Faflik Shoes / Fanny Farmer Candies / Father & Son Shoes / Florsheim Shoes / Frederick's of Hollywood / Fun-N-Games / Gordon's Jewelers / Hickory Farms of Ohio / Hobby Center / Homemaker Shop / Hot Dog On A Stick / Hot Sam Pretzels / House of Cards / J. Riggings / Jaccard's Jewelers / Jeans West men's / Jerry Mill / Just Jeans / Kelly-Kitt / Kinney Shoes / Koenig Sporting Goods / Le Cookery / Lerner Shops / Luv / Man Talk International / Merle Norman Cosmetic Studio / Morrow's Nut House / Orange Julius / Page Boy Maternity Fashions / Pearle Vision Center / Porky's Restaurant / Radio Shack / Randall Park Cinema I-II-III / Record Rendezvous / Richman Brothers men's wear / Roffler Hair Styling / Rug Crafters / Scotto Pizza / Silverman's / Singer Sewing Center / So-Fro Fabrics / Spencer Gifts / Strictly Graphics, Limited / Sumwall's Keyboard Music / Susie's Casuals / Terra Art / The Bottom Half / The Limited / The Magic Pan Creperie / The Rivet / The Tinder Box Tobacconist / Things Remembered / Thom McAn Shoes / Tiffany's Bakery / Women's Federal Savings & Loan Association

The 117 acre mall site as it was configured in the early 1980s. Several outparcel structures now complimented the enormous shopping center.

Looking at this deserted and decrepit structure, it is hard to believe that in 1975, it was a rather posh Holiday Inn. 
Photo from www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"

By the year 2000, only one "RPM" anchor is original...Sears. Penney's has been demoted from the status of a full-line store. Horne's, Higbee's and May Co. have all been rebranded. The Loews Cineplex Magic Johnson 12 Theatres (shown in light gray) opened in late 1999.

The Magic Johnson megaplex replaced the mall's original 3-screener, which had closed in November 1993. The theater seen here was shuttered in March 2008. It operated -briefly- as O Theatre at Randall Park.
Photo from www.labelscar.com / "Prange Way"

A parting view of Center Court. At this time, there were around sixty stores in business, with over one hundred and thirty vacancies. RANDALL PARK MALL had a destiny date with a wrecking ball in late 2014. The site has been redeveloped as an Amazon.com Fulfillment Center. This is especially ironic when considering that so-called "online shopping" has been a factor in putting so many malls out of business.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Eddie~S"
RANDALL PARK MALL
Northfield and Emery Roads
North Randall, Ohio

Once promoted as the largest enclosed shopping center in the Buckeye State, let alone the planet, Greater Cleveland's RANDALL PARK MALL experienced a dramatic rise and fall over its 38-year existence.

In the early 1970s, things had looked really rosy. Youngstown's Edward J. DeBartolo proposed a gargantuan retail center for the small Cleveland suburb of North Randall. The super-sized center was to occupy a 117 acre plot, located 15 miles southeast of Cleveland's Public Square.

The parcel had been used for the Randall Park Race Track, a horse racing facility, between 1908-1935 and 1939-1968. Mr. DeBartolo had purchased the land in 1961. His "City within a City" was to be the nucleus of a grand development, which was to include three apartment buildings, two office towers and a performing arts center...none of which ever saw fruition.

What did come to pass was a 2.2 million square foot, bi-level shopping center. The 300 million dollar complex, designed by DeBartolo's brother Frank, was anchored by a 2-level (285,700 square foot) Sears, 2-level (229,900 square foot) J. C. Penney, 2-level (176,300 square foot), Cleveland-based May Company Ohio, 2-level (196,500 square foot), Cleveland-based Higbee's and 3-level (203,100 square foot), Pittsburgh-based Joseph Horne Company (a.k.a. Horne's).

A potential sixth anchor, promoted by DeBartolo as a Cleveland-based Halle's ["Hal-eez"], was never built. In fact, the department store chain had only briefly entertained the notion of locating at RANDALL PARK MALL.

J.C. Penney became the first operational store, on February 25, 1976. Horne's welcomed its first shoppers on August 2nd. A mall-wide grand opening, officiated by actress Dina Merrill, was held August 11, 1976. At this time, the Higbee's and May Company stores were dedicated. Sears' store would begin business in February 1977.

Among the one hundred and fifty-two charter tenants were Petrie's ladies' wear, Camelot Music, Things Remembered, World Bazaar, Toyco, Diamond's men's & boy's wear and J. Riggings. The General Cinema Corporation Randall Park Cinema I-II-III opened as part of the official mall dedication.

The gigantic shopping center featured two separate stores for Fanny Farmer Candies, Thom McAn Shoes, Hot Sam Pretzels and the Fun-N-Games arcade. It was floored with Mexican terrazzo. There were carpeted, recessed seating areas, three sets of escalators, nine stairwells and parking accommodations for over 9,000 autos.

The primary competitor of RANDALL PARK MALL was SOUTHGATE CENTER (1955) {.9 mile south, in Maple Heights} which lost two of its anchor stores to the newer retail complex. Eventually, the tide turned and a greatly-expanded SOUTHGATE USA put the hurt on its retail adversary. Additional competition was provided by BEACHWOOD PLACE {4.7 miles northeast, in Beachwood}, which was completed in 1978.

RANDALL PARK MALL was enormously successful during its early years. Things had started to change by the mid-1980s. The facility became notorious for car thefts, muggings and gangland violence. Shoppers began to stay away in droves.

The first anchor alterations transpired in the early 1990s. Horne's closed in July 1992, with its upper level re-opening as a Burlington Coat Factory. Higbee's was rebranded by Dillard's in August of the same year. In January 1993, The May Company store became a Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann's. October 1998 brought the downsizing of J.C. Penney into an Outlet Store.

In March 1996, the DeBartolo Realty Corporation had merged with the Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group. Simon DeBartolo embarked on a 20 million dollar renovation of the RANDALL PARK property in the summer of 1998. This included the installation of a new Food Court and construction of the 12-screen Loews Cineplex Magic Johnson Theatres. This venue made its debut on December 9, 1999.

Regretfully, this remodeling did not cause a retail resuscitation of the struggling shopping center. By August 2002, Simon had unloaded the albatross. It fell into the hands of Raleigh, North Carolina-based Whichard Realty in 2004, who did not pursue any sort of revitalization.

Meanwhile, a new lifestyle center had been built in the vicinity. LEGACY VILLAGE {4.9 miles northeast, in Lyndhurst} was completed in 2003. The RANDALL PARK property now had two vacant anchors and well over one hundred empty store spaces. The J.C. Penney Outlet Store had went dark in January 2001. Dillard's threw in the towel in 2003.

Things got progressively worse. By mid-2008, the Magic Johnson Theatres and Macy's (a 2006 rebranding of Kaufmann's) were defunct. However, the Penney's space had been retenanted in 2007. Ohio Technical College utilized the store and freestanding Auto Center as the PowerSports Institute (a training center for motorcycle mechanics). Moreover, the multiplex re-opened as O Theatre at Randall Park.

A deal with Cincinnati-based United Church Builders to purchase the mall hit hurdles in late June, 2008. The deal would never be finalized. The inline store section closed on March 12, 2009. Sears shuttered their store June 14, leaving only Burlington Coat Factory, Furniture Mattress Liquidators, the PowerSports Institute and O Theatre in business.

Another RANDALL PARK MALL redevelopment scenario surfaced in October 2010. Proposed by Devland Holdings, a New York City-based branch of a South African concern, it was spearheaded by Neill Bernstein and Terry Brenner. They proposed a reinvention of the moribund mall as DEVLAND CITY, a center for light industry, education and research & development. Unfortunately, these plans turned out to be nothing more than a pipe dream.

The final RANDALL PARK redevelopment proposal was the brainchild of a joint venture of the Torrance, California-based Industrial Realty Group and Chris Semarjian, a Buckeye State-based investor. They acquired sections of the shuttered shopping complex between July 2013 and March 2014.

The site was be reconfigured as a large industrial park. The PowerSports Institute, Penney's Auto Center, Burlington Coat Factory and Sears structures were left standing. The remainder of the mall was razed between December 2014 and June 2015.

In mid-2017, it was announced that a 177 million dollar Amazon.com Fulfillment Center was to be built on the site, with all remaining mall structures being demolished. The 855,000 square foot facility was dedicated in July 2018.

Sources:

The Cleveland Plain Dealer
https://case.edu/ech  (Case Western Reserve University)
Cuyahoga County tax assessor website
www.greatamericaparks.com
www.labelscar.com
www.cleveland.com
Cleveland Business Journal
www.cinematreasures.org
Comment posts by "Go Nordrike!" and Randy Hansen
www.newsnet5.com
"Randall Park Mall" article on Wikipedia
https://www.clevescene.com
El Paso's Bassett Center


A late 1960s-vintage postcard features El Paso's second shopping mall. In this eastward view, we see its White House anchor store in the foreground.
Photo from Petley Studios, Incorporated

A circa-1962 site plan. At the time of this layout, the facility encompassed 444,400 leasable square feet and housed forty-eight inline stores. It was promoted as "the largest shopping mall between Dallas and Los Angeles" (Actually, Phoenix's CHRIS-TOWN CENTER would have encompassed 105,100 more square feet).

BASSETT CENTER TENANTS 1962:

POPULAR DRY GOODS / THE WHITE HOUSE / SAFEWAY supermarket (outparcel) / S.S. KRESGE (with luncheonette) / Aaronson Brothers / Acme Laundry & Cleaners / Baker's Shoes / Bassett Beauty Salon / Bassett Center Book Store / Bassett Center Community Hall / Bassett Flower Shop / Bassett Key Booth / Bassett National Bank / Beau's Pets / Buck Rogers Travel Service / Cherry's Barber Shop / Christo Rey Gifts / Christopher's / Contour Chair Lounge / Feder's Jewelers / First Savings & Loan / Finance Trust Company / Franklin Optical / Fred Astair Dance Studio / Given Brothers / Glass Apparel / Hardy Shoes / Howard Stores / Kinney Shoes / Lerner Shops / Lynn's Apparel / Melody Shop / Misenheimer Ice Cream & Candy Shoppe / Molly's / National Shirt Shops / Park-A-Tot Nursery / Patrician Restaurant / Singer Sewing Center / Sports Shop / Steiling's Linens / Stover Hearing Aids / The Dauphin House Gifts / Thomas Paint Company / Tony Lama Western Wear / Toys By Roy / Union Fashion / Walgreen Drug (with luncheonette) / Western Auto / Wyatt's Cafeteria 

A circa-1990 BASSETT CENTER plan shows several modifications. The Popular store was enlarged in 1973, with the shopping concourse enclosed in 1974-'75. Mervyn's was added to the front of the complex in 1980. Later in the decade, a Food Court (in light gray) was installed and the White House store downsized into its southern half.


Street signage proclaiming BASSETT CENTER.
Photo from Flickr / "Raileon"


The "West Texas town" shopping complex was renamed BASSETT PLACE in November 2004.
Photo from http://visitelpasomissiontrail.com