CORAL RIDGE SHOPPING PLAZA
North Federal Highway / US 1 and Oakland Park Boulevard
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Among the earliest fully-enclosed shopping centers in Florida, CORAL RIDGE SHOPPING PLAZA opened in November 1962. Situated on a 31 acre site, located 3.8 miles northeast of the city center, the 8 million dollar complex encompassed 297,400 leasable square feet. It was developed by James S. Hunt and Steve Calder (under the auspices of Coral Ridge Properties) and Miami's Jack A. Cantor.

Two department stores stood at either end of the dumbell plan mall. The first, a 2-level (62,000 square foot) J.C. Penney, stood on the northwest. A 2-level (100,000 square foot) Britts anchored the southeast.

Britts was dedicated November 8, 1962 and was one of the first in a new line of department stores opened by the J.J. Newberry 5 & 10 chain. The Britts name had originated as a Spokane, Washington-based variety store that was acquired by J.J. Newberry in December 1928.

The CORAL RIDGE Britts was joined by other Sunshine State stores in WINTER HAVEN MALL (1972), LAKES MALL (1973) {in Lauderdale Lakes}, CROSS COUNTY PLAZA (1973) {in Palm Beach County}, BOCA RATON MALL (1974) and NAPLES CENTER (1976).

Inline stores in the original CORAL RIDGE SHOPPING PLAZA included Walgreen Drug, Gordon's Jewelers, Mister Pretzel, Dipper Dan Ice Cream Shoppe, Thom McAn Shoes, Baker's Shoes, Morrow's Nut House, Gall's Book Store, Happy House Cards and a J.G. McCrory 5 & 10. A freestanding (32,300 square foot) Publix supermarket was situated on the north end of the site. It had been in operation a few years when construction of the mall began.

At the time of its 1962 grand opening, CORAL RIDGE SHOPPING PLAZA had just one retail rival; SUNRISE CENTER (1954) {2.1 miles southeast, in Fort Lauderdale}. This was joined by LAUDERHILL MALL (1966) {5.6 miles southwest, in Lauderhill} and the aforementioned LAKES MALL (1973) {5.4 miles west, in Lauderdale Lakes}.

A single-screen motion picture venue, the ABC Florida State Theatres Coral Ridge Theatre, was built across Federal Highway from the mall and opened June 13, 1963. It was twinned in late 1976 and renamed the Coral Ridge Twin.

The official name of the shopping hub had been changed to CORAL RIDGE MALL by 1981. Palm Beach-based Gumberg Asset Management acquired the property in December 1984.

In January 1982, the mall's first anchor store change had been set in motion, with Britts being shuttered. Its area was divided between Miami-based J. Byron and Framingham, Massachusetts-based T.J. Maxx. A upper level nightclub, encompassing 28,000 square feet, was also created. It would be known by several different names before re-opening, as the Baja Beach Club, on May 1, 1992.

The Coral Ridge Twin had been replaced by another freestanding venue in the late 1980s. The American Multi-Cinema Coral Ridge 10 was built in the mall's rear parking area. It showed its first features March 25, 1988.

The next major change at CORAL RIDGE MALL involved J.C. Penney, which had been slated to close in October 1992. This shuttering was canceled, but a bona fide closing of the store did take place January 28, 1995.

Meanwhile, a (27,000 square foot) Marshalls set up shop in the old McCrory's space, in August 1992. Old Navy, assuming the (18,000 square foot) Walgreen Drug spot, opened in late 1994. J. Byron (known as simply "Byron's" since 1992) pulled the proverbial plug in May 1996.

T.J. Maxx remained in business at its south mall location until relocating into a (35,400 square foot) portion of the old Penney's, in September 1998. The Baja Beach Club moved across the highway, into the old Coral Ridge Twin building, in October.

The mall's south anchor was now vacant. It was razed in December 1998 and replaced by a 1-level (123,000 square foot) Target, which was dedicated October 10, 1999. While Target was being built, CORAL RIDGE MALL was given a 15 million dollar makeover. In the year 2000, T.J. Maxx was joined by an adjacent (22,600 square foot), Framingham, Massachusetts-based HomeGoods.

A Food Court and nine inline stores, in the south end of the mall, were gutted and replaced by a (26,700 square foot) Ross Dress For Less. This store began business March 8, 2014. As this transpired, the Coral Ridge 10 multiplex was renovated, It re-opened, as the AMC Dine-in Theatres Coral Ridge 10, on June 27, 2014.

Sources:

Malls of America Blogspot / Posts by "Anonymous", "Woofpop" and "Jesse1986"
http://www.mycoralridgemall.com
The Miami News
The New York Times
http://nreionline.com
www.cinematreasures.org
www.amctheatres.com


FAIR USE OF BRITTS DEPARTMENT STORE LOGO IMAGE:

The graphic from The Boca Raton News illustrates a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The image is of lower resolution than the original (copies made would be of inferior quality). 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 the image 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.