COLUMBUS SQUARE
Macon and Rigdon Roads
Columbus, Georgia

Georgia's first fully-enclosed shopping center, COLUMBIA MALL, in Dekalb County, was completed in 1964. 1965 saw the dedication of three new interior malls in the Peach State.

The first of these, COLUMBUS SQUARE, held its official dedication March 25, making it the state's second air-conditioned shopping center. It was followed by NORTH DEKALB CENTER, in July, and GREENBRIAR CENTER in August.

COLUMBUS SQUARE was developed by West Point, Georgia-based Batson-Cook. The single-level complex, occupying 42 acres, was located 2 miles northeast of Downtown Columbus.

The original mall encompassed approximately 294,000 leasable square feet and housed thirty-eight stores and services. Anchors were a 1-level (99,300 square foot) Sears and 1-level (80,300 square foot) J.C. Penney.

Charter tenants included Walgreen Drug, Lane Bryant, Katz Home Fashions, Merry Go-Round, Foxmoor Casuals, Schwobuilt's, Tempo Fashions, Kiralfy's Women's, Record Bar, Bell Shoes and the single-screen Beverly Theater. Moreover there were an interior-entranced Colonial supermarket and Woolworth 5 and 10.

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 (65,900 square foot), Columbus-based Kirven's and 47,000 square feet of store space.

Included in the new Southeast Wing were Chick-Fil-A, Taco Casa and Circus World. COLUMBUS SQUARE now spanned 407,000 leasable square feet, with sixty-three retailers.

Sometime around 1980, the Beverly Theater inside the mall was replaced with the Columbus Square 4, a southeast parking area outparcel. The venue was expanded, into an 8-plex, in 1985. It closed in August 2005 and has since been razed.

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

Kirven's was 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, situated 4.6 miles north of the old mall site, in April 2003. The building was demolished in January 2008, bringing to an end Georgia's second fully-enclosed shopping mall.

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

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