BRICKYARD MALL
North Narragansett Avenue and West Diversey Parkway
City of Chicago, Illinois

The thirty-fourth major mall in Chicagoland was developed by Southfield, Michigan's E.N. Maisel Associates and the Windy City's Harry F. Chaddick. The complex was situated on a 50 acre site, located 7.9 miles northwest of The Loop.

For several years, the BRICKYARD MALL land parcel had been undeveloped. Due to subterranean clay deposits, it was deemed unfit for any type of use for residential or commercial construction. In the meantime, the Carey Brick Company (a brick manufacturing plant) thrived there. Eventually, the clay deposits used for making bricks were used up. The brickyard closed, leaving two huge pits. These were filled with garbage and refuse and served as a breeding ground for mosquitos.

In 1975, grading work commenced and a small, 1-level enclosed mall was built. This was anchored by a 1-level (90,000 square foot) Jewel Grand Bazaar mega-grocery on the north and 1-level (120,000 square foot) Kmart on the southeast. The new BRICKYARD MALL was officially dedicated March 18, 1977.

The retail hub was expanded, with a 2-level, fully-enclosed mall built southwest -and on top- of the the circa-1977 structure. This second stage mall was anchored by a 2-level (180,000 square foot) Montgomery Ward on the north and 2-level (208,900 square foot) J.C. Penney on the south. These were completed in March 1979.

BRICKYARD MALL now housed 875,000 leasable square feet. Among its one hundred and seventeen inline stores were Burger King, Lerner Shops, Waldenbooks, The Gap, Bressler's 33 Flavors Ice Cream, Merry-Go-Round, The County Seat and Musicland.

Shopping options at the site were expanded in 1988 and 1989, with construction of a two section, open-air plaza known as BRICKTOWN SQUARE. This 277,400 square foot retail center, built south and southwest of the existing BRICKYARD MALL, included SportMart and the 6-screen Bricktown Square Cinema. This motion picture venue showed its first features on May 14, 1989.

There were several competing retail centers in the vicinity of BRICKYARD MALL. Those nearest were HARLEM IRVING PLAZA (1956) {1.8 miles northwest, in Norridge}, NORTH RIVERSIDE PARK MALL (1976) {4.3 miles southwest, in North Riverside} and LINCOLNWOOD TOWN CENTER (1990) {6.7 miles northeast, in Lincolnwood}.

BRICKYARD MALL had a rather short lifespan. Due to ever-increasing commercial competition and changing neighborhood demographics, the center was more or less a dead mall by the mid-1990s. Kmart, which had been renovated into a Big Kmart-format store in April 1997, closed in the summer of 2000. J.C. Penney, demoted to an Outlet Store in 1999, was shuttered in April 2001. Montgomery Ward had gone dark the month before. These three anchor spaces were never retenanted.

In late 2002, the mall's proprietor, New York City-based Whitehall Street Real Estate, decided that total demolition of the center was in order. The wrecking ball was brought in in December. The mall was leveled, with the Jewel structure temporarily left standing until a new store could be built. The circa-1980s BRICKTOWN SQUARE strip centers were left intact.

The "functionally obsolete" interior mall was replaced by a 573,000 square foot power plaza, known as THE BRICKYARD. Its first phase, including a new (64,200 square foot) Jewel-Osco, opened for business in March 2004. Phase Two, featuring a "shadow anchor" Target and Lowe's, debuted the following December. The complex was acquired by the Oak Brook, Illinois-based Inland Real Estate Investment Group in October 2004.

Sources:

http://www.labelscar.com / Article posted by "Prange Way"
Cooke County, Illinois property tax assessor website
http://www.shopthebrickyard.com