COLUMBUS SQUARE
Macon and Rigdon Roads
Columbus, Georgia

Georgia's first fully-enclosed shopping center, WESTGATE CENTER {near Macon} was dedicated in 1961. COLUMBUS SQUARE, the Peach State's second fully-enclosed shopping center, held its grand opening March 25, 1965.

Developed by West Point, Georgia-based Batson-Cook, the single-level complex was built on a 42 acre site, located 2 miles northeast of Downtown Columbus. The original mall encompassed approximately 389,500 leasable square feet and housed thirty-eight stores and services. The original anchors were a 2-level (189,000 square foot) Sears and 1-level (80,300 square foot) J.C. Penney.

Charter inline stores included Walgreen Drug, Lane Bryant, Matthews of Columbus Square, Katz Home Fashions, Merry Go-Round, Foxmoor Casuals, Schwobilt Clothes, Tempo Fashions, Kiralfy's ladies' wear, Record Bar, Bell Shoes, a Colonial supermarket and F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 (with Harvest House Coffee Shop).

The single-screen Martin Theatres Beverly Theater was located inside the mall and was dedicated along with the shopping center in 1965.

By 1975, PEACHTREE MALL, a future commercial competitor, was under construction on a site 2 miles north of COLUMBUS SQUARE. The older mall underwent its only physical expansion, which added a 1-level (70,000 square foot), Columbus-based Kirven's and 47,000 square feet of inline store space. Included in the new Southeast Wing were Chick-Fil-A, Taco Casa and Circus World. COLUMBUS SQUARE now spanned 506,500 leasable square feet, with sixty-three retailers.

The in-mall Beverly Theater was replaced with a freestanding cinematic venue. Built as a southeastern outparcel of the mall, the Martin Theatres Columbus Square Twin showed its first features July 10, 1975. It was expanded into the Columbus Square 4 in the late '70s and into the Columbus Square 8, in 1982. The theater was shuttered in August 2005.

The anchor store rebranding cycles seen in so many other malls of the mid-20th century never happened at COLUMBUS SQUARE. Its department stores simply closed, on by one, and never re-opened.

Kirven's became the first anchor to pull out if the mall, in early 1993. Penney's moved to a new store, in an expanded PEACHTREE MALL, in November 1994. After languishing as a dead property for over 12 years, COLUMBUS SQUARE was shuttered in May 2001 and demolished, save for Sears, in January 2002.

Columbus / Muscogee County had purchased the faltering shopping mall in May 2000. After demolishing the structure, a new 100,000 square foot Public Library was built on the site, which was formally dedicated January 3, 2005.

Sears, the only remnant of the mall left standing, remained in business until the store relocated to the new COLUMBUS PARK CROSSING power center {4.6 miles north}, in April 2003. The building, and the vacant cinema structure, were demolished in January 2008.

Sources:

"Columbus Square" article on Wikipedia
www.angelfire.com/wierd2/georgia / "Going, Going, Gone - Columbus" / Jan / Photos by Mike Dudley
www.georgiaretailmemories.blogspot.com / "J.T" webmaster
http://movie-theatre.org
Muscogee County, Georgia tax assessor website