OAK PARK MALL
West 95th Street and Quivira Road
Overland Park, Kansas

Greater Kansas City's OAK PARK MALL was developed by a joint venture of Sherman Dreiseszen, Frank Morgan and Kansas City, Missouri-based Copaken, White & Blitt. The 2-level complex, designed by Kansas City, Missouri's Chris Ramos Group Architects & Planners, was built on a 107 acre plot, located 10 miles southwest of the Kansas City, Kansas' Central Business District.

The shopping center originally housed four department stores. A 2-level (174,800 square foot) Macy's Kansas City commenced operation September 18, 1975. Also anchoring the complex were a 2-level (157,000 square foot) Montgomery Ward and 4-level (205,000 square foot), St. Louis-based Stix, Baer & Fuller. The Stix store was dedicated February 19, 1976.

Inline stores at the original OAK PARK MALL included Kay Jewelers, Worth's, Krigel's Jewelers, Dale's Sports, Naomi's Hallmark and The Gap. The complex was completed by a 2-level (167,800 square foot) J.C. Penney, which held its grand opening October 6, 1976. This increased the GLA of the shopping hub to approximately 1,210,800 leasable square feet.

The mall's first movie house, the Oak Park 6 Theatres, had opened in December 1975. This freestanding venue was located adjacent to the shopping center's northeast parking area. Apparently, it closed in the late 1990s.

Malls in the OAK PARK trade area included WARD PARKWAY CENTER (1959 and 1962) {5.9 miles northeast, in Kansas City, Missouri}; METCALF SOUTH CENTER (1967) {2.7 miles east, also in Overland Park}; BANNISTER MALL (1980) {10.2 miles east, in Kansas City, Missouri} and GREAT MALL OF THE GREAT PLAINS (1997) {8.3 miles southwest, in Olathe, Kansas}.

OAK PARK MALL got its second cinematic venue in November 1985, with the dedication of the American Multi-Cinema Oak Park Plaza Theatres. Also a freestanding 6-plex, it was built adjacent to the southwest parking area and was in business until September 2006.

As a result of their aggressive retail chain acquisitions in the mid-1980s, Dillard's found themselves with two anchor locations at OAK PARK MALL. The first store, originally Stix, Baer & Fuller, had been rebranded as a Dillard's in 1985. The second, which had opened as a Macy's Kansas City, received its Dillard's nameplate in 1986. The Stix store became "Dillard's South"; Macy's Kansas City morphed into "Dillard's North".

The OAK PARK complex received a 2 million dollar interior face lift in the fall of 1993. Its original '70s Mod interior decor was stripped away and replaced with "Post-Modern" fixtures. New marble and tile floors, elevators and remodeled exterior entries were installed.

A large-scale expansion was done 4 years later. The existing Dillard's North was enlarged to 224,400 square feet. The Penney's store was expanded to 217,800. A 2-level Southeast Wing was also added. It's 2-level (200,000 square foot) Nordstrom held its grand opening March 6, 1998.

In all, 362,000 square feet were added to the mall. It now housed approximately 1,572,800 leasable square feet with a retail roster of over one hundred and eighty stores and services. It assumed the position of largest mall in Greater Kansas City.

Montgomery Ward closed in March 2001. The store was totally renovated inside and out. It re-opened, as a Kansas City, Missouri-based Jones Store, on August 14, 2002. Macy's rebranded The Jones Store on September 9, 2006, returning to OAK PARK MALL after a 20-year hiatus.

Meanwhile, OAK PARK MALL had been sold to Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates in November 2005. In May 2011, CBL entered into a joint venture with New York City's TIAA-CREF (Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association-College Retirement Equity Fund). TIAA-CREF received a 50 percent share of OAK PARK MALL.

By the Twenty-tens, OAK PARK MALL encompassed approximately 1,607,800 leasable square feet. A large-scale renovation of the property got underway in April 2011 and was completed the following November. This project included new mall entrances, flooring, interior decor, a refurbished Food Court, renovated restrooms, a new mall logo and updated exterior signage.   

Sources:

"Oak Park Mall" article on Wikipedia
http://companies.jrank.org/pages/1297/Dillard-S-Inc.html
www.cinematreasures.org
http://movie-theatre.org
http://www.thenewoakparkmall.com
www.cblproperties.com (CBL & Associates Properties)