Boardman-Poland Road / US 224 and Market Street
Mahoning County (Boardman Township), Ohio

The  Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation's "hometown" shopping mall was built on a 92.3 acre parcel, located 4.8 miles south of Youngstown's urban core. The site was in an unincorporated section of Mahoning County known as Boardman Township (or simply "Boardman").

Originally planned as a joint venture with Youngstown developer William M. Cafaro, the SOUTHERN PARK project became solely a DeBartolo endeavor when his company bought out the Cafaro Company in 1968.

Enveloping approximately 905,600 leasable square feet, SOUTHERN PARK MALL opened in stages. Its 2-level (175,600 square foot) Sears became the first operational store, in October 1969. A 2-level (167,000 square foot), Youngstown-based Strouss' was dedicated in March 1970. J.C. Penney's 2-level (135,000 square foot) store opened its doors April 2, 1970.

Among the one hundred and one charter tenants were Donuts Galore, House of Nine, National City Bank, Mode O' Day Frock Shop, National Record Mart, Bond Clothes, Mother-to-Be Maternity, Hughes & Hatcher apparel, Baker's Shoes, Gray Drug, Art Gallery Inn, The Razor's Edge hairstyling salon, McKelvey's Loft, Leroy's Keepsake Diamonds, GNC, The Limited, Fanny Farmer Candies, Livingston's, an F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and a mallway-connected Kroger supermarket.

The shopping facility included an in-mall, single-screen movie house. The National Drive-In Theatres Southern Park Cinema showed its first feature April 10, 1970. It was twinned in 1977 and shuttered in 1989.

The only regional-class competitor in Greater Youngstown was, and is, EASTWOOD MALL (1969) {13.7 miles northwest, in Trumbull County}.

Plans for a fourth SOUTHERN PARK anchor were announced in November 1971. The Pittsburgh-based Joseph Horne Company built a 2-level (95,900 square foot) branch, the chain's eleventh, which opened August 1, 1973.

Anchor rebrandings commenced at the Strouss' store. In January 1986, Strouss' merged with another May Department Stores division, Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann's. Strouss' stores ran under the joint Strouss-Kaufmann's banner between January and August of 1986, when they received Kaufmann's nameplates. Soon after, the SOUTHERN PARK branch was expanded to 186,900 square feet.

In 1988, a DeBartolo-Dillard's joint venture sought to acquire stores operated by the Joseph Horne Company. However, the deal was abruptly terminated when Horne's filed a lawsuit. The issue was settled in February 1992, with Dillard's agreeing to buy five Horne's locations, including the SOUTHERN PARK store. It was shuttered July 12, 1992 and re-opened, as a Dillard's, August 12 of the same year. The building was eventually expanded to 187,500 square feet.

A merger between the DeBartolo Realty Corporation and Simon Property Group, in 1996, brought SOUTHERN PARK MALL under the Simon DeBartolo Group heading. The official name of the company reverted to "Simon Property Group" in 1998.

Immediately after the conclusion of the 1996 merger, a 19 million dollar expansion and renovation was done to SOUTHERN PARK MALL. A 9-bay Food Court was installed as part of a reconfigured Main Entrance and courts and concourses were refurbished.

A 7-screen megaplex was also built in the southeast parking area. The Cinemark Tinseltown USA 7 opened for business December 13, 1996. With these improvements, SOUTHERN PARK MALL enveloped 1,030,000 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and seventeen stores and services.

The Simon Property Group created a spin-off Real Estate Investment Trust in May 2014. Known as the Washington Prime Group, it assumed ownership of forty-four of Simon's "Grade B" malls, including SOUTHERN PARK MALL. In early 2015, the newly-formed Washington Prime Group merged with Columbus, Ohio's Glimcher Realty Trust.


"Southern Park Mall" article on Wikipedia
The (Youngstown) Vindicator (Simon Property Group) / Mike Rivest