North Federal Highway / US 1 and Northeast 2nd Street
Boca Raton, Florida

Like Chicagoland's DIXIE SQUARE MALL, Palm Beach County's BOCA RATON MALL experienced a rapid rise and decline. The shopping center was in business for only 14 years.

As brief as its time turned out to be, the actual implementation of BOCA RATON MALL was a long and drawn-out process. Initially proposed in 1969, the prospective plaza was to encounter several delays and hurdles before its construction finally got underway in September 1973.

Built on a 31 acre site in the center city of Boca Raton, the mall was developed by Trenton, New Jersey's Smathers, Plagginger & Aronowitz (a.k.a. S.P.A. Properties). Fully-enclosed in format, it consisted of a single level of retail and encompassed 405,000 leasable square feet.

A rooftop parking deck was connected with the mallway below via glass-enclosed elevator. An anchor store stood at each end of the dumbell plan center. There was 2-level (125,000 square foot), Miami-based Jefferson Store on the north and 2-level (100,000 square foot), New York City-based Britts on the south. The upper levels of both anchor stores had entrances on the rooftop parking deck.

Britts became the first operational store on November 4, 1974. The dedication of the Jefferson Store was held November 14. A mall-wide grand opening took place November 29, when twenty-five inline stores opened for business. The 16 million dollar center was to eventually house eighty.

Mall tenants in 1975 included Walgreen Drug (with Walgreen Grill Restaurant), GNC, Thom McAn Shoes, Rock of Ages Records and Florida's thirteenth Orange Bowl snack bar. The American Multi-Cinema Boca Mall Six, an in-mall venue, made its debut August 29, 1975.

The completion of TOWN CENTER AT BOCA RATON {2.6 miles northwest}, in 1980, was the harbinger of doom for BOCA RATON MALL. The shuttering of Britts, in January 1982, hastened the steady decline of shopping venue.

In April 1980, the BOCA MALL Jefferson Store was rebranded as a Jefferson Ward. On August 29, 1985, a going out of business sale got underway. The store re-opened as a 1-level Montgomery Ward Clearance Outlet on November 1, 1985, but shut down in 1986.

By the mid-1980s, the BOCA MALL rooftop parking deck was closed off. The empty Britts building was leased as a Levitz Furniture for a time. By 1986, it was vacant.

In March 1988, a redevelopment plan for the moribund mall was announced. The complex would be completely demolished and replaced by MIZNER PARK, a mixed-use "village within a city". In June 1988, Boca Raton's Tom Crocker (of Crocker & Company) acquired the virtually vacant property and formed a joint venture with the Boca Raton Community Redevelopment Agency.

The Boca Mall Six showed its final features in November 1988. The last operational stores went dark in January 1989. The mall was demolished between August and October.

The first phase of the 60 million dollar MIZNER PARK project was dedicated during a weekend-long celebration, which got underway January 11, 1990. MIZNER PARK was named in honor of renowned South Florida architect Addison Mizner.

The open-air complex featured 236,000 square feet of retail, 165,000 square feet of office space and one hundred and thirty-six residential units. Charter tenants included Altair Jewelers, Dillan Isle men's wear, Jordan Shoes, Midnight Sahara ladies' wear, VIP St. Tropez ladies' wear and the Bistro L'Europe, Baci and L & N Seafood restaurants.

American Multi-Cinema's Mizner Park 8 megaplex was dedicated December 12, 1990. The venue was shuttered in January 2011. It was renovated into the state-of-the-art Ipic Theatres Boca Raton, which showed its first features May 4, 2012.

Meanwhile, Maryland's James Rouse Company acquired the MIZNER PARK property in December 2003. As a result of the November 2004 merger of the Rouse Company and Chicago's General Growth Properties, MIZNER PARK became a GGP holding.


The Boca Raton News / Post by Edric Floyd
"Mizner Park" article on Wikipedia


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