Greater Milwaukee's Brookfield Square



A circa-'67 logo for Milwaukee's first fully-enclosed shopopolis. At the time, it was the largest mall in America's Dairyland.
Graphic from the Milwaukee Journal

A circa-1966 rendering of the up & coming shopping center. The tri-anchor complex was completed in late 1967. The arched-roofed structure on the right was a Kohl's Foods supermarket. 
Drawing from the Milwaukee Journal

A full-page spread, announcing the official grand opening of BROOKFIELD SQUARE, which appeared in the October 22, 1967 edition of the Milwaukee Journal. From the looks of things, the mall featured some high-end "mid-mod" interior decor.
Advert from the Milwaukee Journal

A Brewtown-based Boston Store became the first tenant to open in the BROOKFIELD SQUARE mall, in August 1967. It would anchor the north end of the complex for 51 years.
Drawing from the Milwaukee Journal

The mall's quonset-style Kohl's Foods supermarket was in operation for 10 years. Following its late 1977 closure, its space was divided in half, with the northern portion becoming a Houlihan's Restaurant.
Drawing from the Milwaukee Journal



The "Rain Fountain" stood on the north end of Center Court. Such water-less Wonderfall features were common in mid-to-late 1960s malls. They could be found at Southern California's TOPANGA PLAZA, South Florida's PALM BEACH MALL, Rochester's GREECE TOWNE MALL, Cincinnati's BEECHMONT MALL and even Sydney, Australia's ROSELANDS CENTRE.
Photo from http://wisconsinproject.blogspot.com / L.L. Cook Company, Milwaukee

A circa-1968 site plan of the shiny new shopping hub. It spanned 1,064,900 leasable square feet on a single retail level and contained fifty-seven stores and services.


BROOKFIELD SQUARE TENANTS 1968:

BOSTON STORE (with Garden Terrace Dining Room and freestanding Auto Center) / SEARS (with Coffee Shop and freestanding Auto Center) / J.C. PENNEY (with freestanding Auto Center) / T.A. CHAPMAN / KOHL'S FOODS / F.W. WOOLWORTH (with Harvest House Restaurant) / WALGREEN DRUG (with luncheonette) / BROOKFIELD SQUARE CINEMA (single screen) / Allied Radio Shack / Atlantic City / Baker's Shoes / Baldwin Wurlitzer Organs & Pianos / Barricini Candy / Bresler's 33 Flavors Ice Cream / Brills Colony Men's & Boy's / Brookfield Federal Savings & Loan (outparcel) / Brookfield Music Center / Brookfield National Bank (outparcel) / Brookfield Square Barber Shop / Evenson's Gift Shop / Fanny Farmer Candies / Florsheim Shoes / Fountain of Flowers / Four Seasons Casuals / Harris, Upham & Company Stock Brokers / Hobby Horse / House of Fashion Beauty Salon / House of Nine ladies' wear / Johnny Walker Men's & Boy's / Julie Ann Fabrics / Kaiser Shoe Boat / Kinney Shoes / Lane Bryant / Marianne Shop ladies wear / Marshall Camera West / Mary Lester Fabrics / Memory Lane, Incorporated Cards & Gifts / Miles Shoes / Militzer Bakery / Nobil Shoes / Parklane Hosiery / Regal Shoes / Richman Brothers men's wear / Rose Jewelers / Shirley's Maternity Fashions / Singer Sewing Center / Spencer Gifts / Spic & Span Laundry / The Added Touch Fireplaces / The Grand ladies' wear / The Sidewalk Cafe / The Swiss Colony / Tie Rak / Travel Guide, Incorporated / Waldenbooks / Women's Wear      
Market Square


Chicagoland's MARKET SQUARE, in suburban Lake Forest, was completed in April 1917. It was the nation's first planned retail complex designed to accommodate shoppers arriving by automobile.
Photo from http://www.lflbhistory.org (Lake Forest-Lake Bluff Historical Society)


The original plan for the center, which was designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw. It was built for 750 thousand (1917) dollars and housed twenty-four stores, twelve offices and twenty-eight apartment units. There was approximately 64,000 square feet of retail space.
Original drawing from www.idaillinois.org (Illinois Digital Architecture)


In May 1928, Chicago-based Marshall Field & Company opened its first suburban branch in Lake Forest. The store moved into this MARKET SQUARE building in March 1931. It was enlarged, taking in all of the first floor and basement, in August 1931. In May 1941, the second floor (which had housed a YWCA) was also acquired. All operations of Marshall Field's were rebranded by Macy's in September 2006. This MARKET SQUARE store was shuttered in January 2008.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Slo-Mo"

Country Club Plaza


The first structure built for Kansas City, Missouri's COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA was completed in March 1923. The complex, often heralded as the first car culture shopping center in the nation, is also cited for its innovation. It was laid out on a traditional city street grid, which made it a standard downtown district in a suburban setting.
Photo from State Historical Society of Missouri / J.C. Nichols Company Scrapbook

Click here for an in-depth COUNTRY CLUB PLAZA article...

http://shoppingmallmuseum.blogspot.com/search/label/Kansas%20City%27s%20Country%20Club%20Plaza

One of the primary competitors of BROOKFIELD SQUARE was -and is- SOUTHRIDGE MALL. It was dedicated in September 1970 and was Wisconsin's first 2-level, fully-enclosed retail complex. Today, with a GLA of 1,177,000 square feet, it is the Dairy State's third-largest mall. As a matter of note, Wauwatosa's MAYFAIR (MALL) is the largest.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Sulphur"

By 1996, BROOKFIELD SQUARE had gone through several changes. The only expansion that had ever been done to the mall proper, a 26,000 square foot enlargement of the Boston Store, was completed in 1992. The loss of two junior anchors, in 1986 and 1994, provided room for several inline tenants and new Food Court.

Another major renovation of the mall got underway in 2004. As part of the project, the center's Main Entrance was rebuilt. An adjacent Barnes & Noble held its grand opening in the spring of 2005.
Photo from www.cblproperties.com (CBL & Associates Properties)


Bravo! Cucina Italiana welcomed its first diners in the summer of 2005 and was joined by a Streetscape-style, restaurant row built along the center's east-facing front.
Photo from http://www.ci.brookfield.wi.us


The interior of BROOKFIELD SQUARE was also given a major makeover. Here we see its refurbished Food Court.
Photo from http://www.kainc.com (K A Architects)

A circa-2010 plan includes four new Streetscape bistros; Mitchell's Fish Market, Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, Bravo! Cucina Italiana and Claim Jumper. In the periphery of the mall are Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill, Ethan Allen Design Center and Fresh Market. The mall, now 43 years old, is one of a select few who -after so many years in business- still has all of its original anchor stores.


News of a too close for comfort lifestyle center project surfaced in mid-2011. Known as THE CORNERS OF BROOKFIELD, it was to snatch a Von Maur store that had been an eagerly-anticipated (prospective) addition to BROOKFIELD SQUARE.
Drawing from http://www.mlgcommercial.com (MLG Commercial)

A keeping up with THE CORNERS renovation reworked the east facade of the Sears anchor store, adding more Streetscape-type retail and restaurants. The project, which increased the mall's leasable area by 19,000 square feet, was completed in late 2015.
Drawing from http://www.kainc.com (K A Architects)


The 50-year-old BROOKFIELD SQUARE Sears went dark in March 2018. The building was knocked down, leaving its adjacent Streetscape section intact. It was worked into a new South Wing, which included 26,000 square feet of new retail, an 8-plex, dine-in cinema and entertainment and bowling center.
Drawing from www.cbl.com (CBL & Associates Properties)


A circa-2021 layout shows all recently-completed mall modifications. In addition to a reconfigured South Wing, a Hilton hotel has been built on the old Sears Auto Center spot. A Streetscape, and parking garage, have also been added to the north anchor store. Speaking of which, after the liquidation of the Boston Store chain, in August 2018, Dillard's considered taking over a few vacant stores, including the BROOKFIELD SQUARE location.
BROOKFIELD SQUARE
West Bluemound Road / US 18 and South Moorland Road
Brookfield, Wisconsin

Planning for Greater Milwaukee's first interior mall got underway in 1963, under the auspices of Cleveland's Jacobs, Visconsi & Jacobs firm (the predecessor of today's Richard E. Jacobs Group). They acquired a 141 acre plot, located 9.3 miles west of center city Milwaukee, and hired three architectural firms to design the prospective shopping facility; Cleveland's Peter S. Thomas & Associates, Chicago's Neil & Wennland, and the firm of Baxter, Hadnell, Donnely & Preston, of Cincinnati.

Ground was broken in June 1966. A single-level, fully-enclosed complex of fifty-seven stores and services was built. There were three anchors; a 2-level (189,400 square foot), Milwaukee-based Boston Store, 2-level (201,400 square foot) J.C. Penney and 2-level (224,100 square foot) Sears.

Governor Warren P. Knowles (R) officiated at the grand opening of the mall's first operational tenant, the Boston Store, on August 17, 1967. Thirty-three inline stores were dedicated October 23. Sears followed, on October 25. J.C. Penney was among the last stores to open, with its formal dedication taking place January 18, 1968.

BROOKFIELD SQUARE, which encompassed over 1,000,000 leasable square feet, featured a 1-level (48,000 square foot), Milwaukee-based T.A. Chapman, 1-level (71,600 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and stores such as Walgreen Drug, Bresler's 33 Flavors ice cream, House of Nine, Spencer Gifts and a Kohl's Foods supermarket. The General Cinema Corporation Brookfield Square Cinema showed its first feature November 15, 1967.

Shopping concourses at BROOKFIELD SQUARE were landscaped with 100 thousand dollars worth of tropical plants and trees. The Boston Store Court, on the north end of the complex, featured an upper level terrace restaurant. The Penney's Court, at the center of the center, had a falling glycerine ("Wonderfall") fountain. On the south end of the mallway, a huge, impressionist sculpture was suspended over the Sears Court.

Commercial competitors of BROOKFIELD SQUARE included CAPITOL COURT (1956) {7.3 miles northeast, in Milwaukee}, MAYFAIR CENTER (1959) {3.6 miles northeast, in Wauwatosa} and SOUTHRIDGE MALL (1970) {7.5 miles southeast, in Greendale and Greenfield}.

The first physical expansion of BROOKFIELD SQUARE was completed in September 1992, when the Boston Store was enlarged into a 208,000 square foot operation. The closings of T.A. Chapman (1986), Brookfield Square Cinemas I & II (1989) and F.W. Woolworth (1994) provided spaces for several new inline stores.

Woolworth's area was rebuilt into a 15-bay Food Court. Work on the project commenced in June 1995 and was completed in September 1996. At the same time, the mall's interior was given a face lift.

In January 2001, BROOKFIELD SQUARE was sold to Chattanooga-based CBL & Associates Properties. They announced a major renovation in 2003. In the plan, 248,000 square feet would be added in a new Southwest Wing. A 150,000 square foot, Davenport, Iowa-based Von Maur was mentioned as a possible anchor, with twenty-two inline stores, and a 3-level parking deck, included in the project. None of this came to fruition.

However, CBL did embark on a multi-phase remodeling in 2004. A 2-level (35,600 square foot) Barnes & Noble opened April 13, 2005. This was joined by Bravo! Cucina Italiana (in a portion of the old Chapman's spot) in June. Courts and concourses were refurbished and a new Main Entrance built. Moreover, the Food Court was redecorated, with a circular fireplace installed.

Five freestanding structures were built in the periphery of the mall. The first of these, a (22,500 square foot) The Fresh Market Gourmet Grocery, welcomed its first shoppers in March 2007. Next came Mitchell's Fish Market and Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar, which opened in the spring of 2007. A Claim Jumper restaurant served its first meals in June of 2008 (it would eventually morph into Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurant).

Two other stores were built in the northwest corner of the site. Stir Crazy Fresh Asian Grill and an Ethan Allen Design Center opened for business in September and December of 2008. The mall renovation was completed with the grand opening of Red Robin Gourmet Burgers, in November 2010.

This was built in part of the old Kohl's Foods space and joined the mall's new east-facing Streetscape of upscale restaurants. The revitalized BROOKFIELD SQUARE now encompassed 1,135,400 leasable square feet and housed one hundred and thirteen stores and services.

News of a future competitor surfaced in May 2011, causing CBL & Associates to plan further renovations at BROOKFIELD SQUARE. A lifestyle center, known as THE CORNERS OF BROOKFIELD, was envisaged for a site located 2.5 miles west of the mall (the first phase of THE CORNERS project would open in April 2017).

Modifications at BROOKFIELD SQUARE would be completed in several phases. The first reconfigured the east-facing facade of Sears. 20,000 square feet of the anchor store was sectioned off and worked into a 39,000 square foot Streetscape addition, which contained five tenant spaces. The first stores opened in late 2015.

The mall lost two of its anchor stores in 2018. Sears pulled the proverbial plug in March, with the Boston Store shutting down in August. The vacant Sears, and its freestanding Auto Center, were razed, leaving the recently-completed Streetscape intact. A new South Wing was built, which contained the following;

* A Marcus Theatres BistroPlex 8-screen, dine-in motion picture venue.
* WhirlyBall entertainment complex, with a 2-level restaurant, bumper cars game, laser tag and bowling alley.
* 26,400 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
-and-
* Hilton Garden Inn, an adjacent, 170-room hotel (built on the old Sears Auto Center pad).

A (52,400 square foot) retail and restaurant Streetscape was added to the north and east facades of the mall's north anchor store, with a multilevel parking garage constructed on its west side. When all of the construction dust settled in 2021, BROOKFIELD SQUARE spanned approximately 1,105,090 leasable square feet.

Sources:

The Milwaukee Journal
http://www.cblproperties.com (CBL & Associates Properties)
http://www.kainc.com (k a Architecture)
http://www.jsonline.com
http://www.allbusiness.com
www.bizjournals.com
www.elmgroupnow.com
"Brookfield Square" article on Wikipedia


FAIR USE OF BROOKFIELD SQUARE GRAPHICS AND IMAGES:

The graphics and renderings from The Milwaukee Journal illustrate a key moment in the mall's history that is described in the article. The images are of lower resolution than the originals (copies made would be of inferior quality). The images are not replaceable with free-use or public-domain images. The use of the images does not limit the copyright owners' rights to distribute the images in any way. The images are being used for non-profit, informational purposes only and their use is not believed to detract from the original images in any way.
Springfield's Eastfield Mall


The original -circa-1968- trademark for the Pioneer Valley shopping hub. It was the Rouse Company's tenth enclosed mall and also the first in Western Massachusetts.
Graphic from The Rouse Company 

Gazebo Court, at EASTFIELD MALL, which fronted on a Peerless Company store and included a bird aviary. There were three fountain court areas in the original complex.
Photo from http://www.rocketroberts/wilbraham (Joe's Wilbraham Photo History Tour)



A circa-'68 EASTFIELD plan. The six million dollar facility encompassed 656,000 leasable square feet and, when fully-leased, housed sixty-four stores and services. There were also accommodations for four thousand five hundred autos in the mall's parking area.


The single-screen Eastfield Cinema was reconfigured as the Eastfield 1 & 2 in 1976. The twin movie house was shuttered in 1985. This provided the impetus for a renovation of the mall. The vacant theater and adjacent area were gutted, extended and rebuilt into a Food Court. This remodeling project was completed in late 1986.


A late 20th century layout shows the orientation of the mall's new Showcase Eastfield Mall 16. This motion picture venue, which was dedicated in August 1999, increased the mall's gross leasable area to 824,000 square feet. The complex now housed around eighty-five stores and services under its roof.

The 16-plex at EASTFIELD MALL was acquired, by Dallas-based Rave Motion Pictures, in January 2010 and was Rave-rebranded in April of the same year.
Photo from http://thecaldorrainbow.blogspot.com


It was all about August! The mall's Forbes & Wallace store was shuttered in August 1976. It re-opened, as a J.C. Penney, in August 1977 and morphed into a J.C. Penney Outlet Store in August 2005. The store closed for good in August of 2011.
Photo from http://thecaldorrainbow.blogspot.com


Originally a Springfield-based Albert Steiger Company, the store seen here operated as a Boston-based  Filene's for nearly 12 years. It was rebranded as a Macy's in September 2006. That store, in business for over 9 years, was shuttered in March 2016.
Photo from http://thecaldorrainbow.blogspot.com 


A contemporary view of the mall's Central Court and fountain.
Photo from Wikipedia / John Phelan

Sears, the final operational EASTFIELD department store, went dark in September 2018. A redevelopment of the shopping hub has been in the planning stages for a number of years. Initially, it was stymied by multiple ownership of the three anchor store structures. The J.C. Penney was acquired by the owner in 2011, with the old Macy's being purchased in 2017.
Graphic from https://www.eastfieldmall.com
EASTFIELD MALL
Boston Road / US 20 and Fernbank Road
Springfield, Massachusetts

The first fully-enclosed shopping center in Western Massachusetts was built by Maryland's James Rouse Company, under the auspices of its Community Research & Development subsidiary. EASTFIELD MALL was developed on a 43.6 acre site, located 5 miles northeast of center city Springfield.

The single-level complex was officially dedicated on April 1, 1968. Two anchor department stores opened on this day; a 2-level (121,000 square foot), Springfield-based Forbes & Wallace and 2-level (201,000 square foot) Sears. Forty-four inline stores also held grand openings.

On August 1, 1968, a 2-level (117,000 square foot), Springfield-based Albert Steiger Company welcomed its first patrons. By this time, the mall contained sixty-four tenant spaces. Some of its charter stores and services were Peerless Company, Chess King, Andersen-Little, Thom McAn Shoes, Mall Barber Shop, Baker's Shoes, a Friendly Ice Cream Shop, Music City Record Store and Flaming Pit Steakhouse.

The General Cinema Corporation Eastfield Cinema showed its first feature December 25, 1968. With its completion,  EASTFIELD MALL encompassed 656,000 leasable square feet.

Retail rivals in the Pioneer Valley included BAYSTATE WEST (1970) {a center city Springfield Urban Renewal project}, FAIRFIELD MALL (1974) {4.8 miles northwest, in Chicopee ["chik-uh-pee"]} and HOLYOKE ["hohl-ee-ohk"] MALL (1979) {7.8 miles northwest, in Holyoke}.

Anchor rebrandings commenced with the shuttering of the mall's Forbes & Wallace store, which transpired on August 7, 1976. The vacant space was taken by J.C. Penney, who held their grand opening on August 10, 1977.

Meanwhile, the mall's movie theater had re-opened, as the Eastfield 1 & 2, in October 1976. The theater was shuttered in late 1985. In January 1986, construction commenced on a 2.5 million dollar renovation. 90,000 square feet of the southeast corner of the mall, including the vacant cinema, was gutted and extended. This area was rebuilt as the 10-bay Market Shed Food Court, which was completed in October 1986.

A second anchor conversion involved the Albert Steiger Company, which closed on March 12, 1994. The EASTFIELD MALL location was one of six Steiger's stores sold to May Department Stores, of St. Louis. The building was remodeled and re-opened, as a Boston-based Filene's, November 9, 1994.

Clifton, New Jersey's Mountain Development Corporation acquired EASTFIELD MALL in April 1998. Soon after, plans were announced for a revitalization, which was to include the addition of the Showcase Cinemas Eastfield Mall 16. Construction got underway in March 1999 with the megaplex cinema opening for business August 27 of the same year. The mall now enveloped approximately 824,000 leasable square feet.

The most recent nameplate changes at EASTFIELD MALL involve Filene's, which was "Macy-ated" September 9, 2006, and the Showcase Cinemas, which became the Rave Eastfield 16 in April 2010. The mall's J.C. Penney was demoted to an Outlet Store on August 10, 2005 and shuttered in August 2011.

In early 2015, three major inline stores shut down; Radio Shack, Deb Shops and American Eagle Outfitters. The vacant Penney's was leased as a 1-level Spirit Halloween on an intermittent basis. Macy's pulled the proverbial plug on their EASTFIELD store in April 2016, leaving only Sears to sustain the shopping hub. This 50-year-old store would close for good in late 2018.

Mountain Development has plans to demall the EASTFIELD complex, demolishing at least two of its anchor stores but leaving the Rave cinema and Sears standing. The remaining structures are to be worked into an open-air power plaza.

Sources:

The Springfield Republican
http://caldorrainbowblogspot.com / Nicholas DiMaio webmaster
http://www.eastfieldmall.com
Hampden County, Massachusetts Register of Deeds Records Access Site
Western Massachusetts Movie Theaters and Drive-Ins / Mike Rivest
www.masslive.com
MAJOR BOSTON MALLS & SHOPPING CENTERS

1. SHOPPERS' WORLD -1951-1994 / open-air / SHOPPERS WORLD -1995 / open-air / Framingham

2. NORTHSHORE CENTER -1958 / open-air, enclosed 1978 / NORTHSHORE MALL -1994 / Peabody ("pee-BUD-ee")

3. NEW ENGLAND CENTER -1960 / SQUARE ONE MALL -1994 / Essex County

4. SOUTH SHORE PLAZA -1961 / open-air, enclosed 1976 / Braintree

5. WESTGATE SHOPPERS' PARK / MALL -1963 / Massachusetts' first enclosed mall / Brockton

6. DEDHAM MALL -1965 / enclosed community-class complex / Dedham

7. NATICK MALL -1966 / enclosed / NATICK -2006 / NATICK COLLECTION -2007 / NATICK MALL -2011 / enclosed & open-air / Natick

8. BAYSIDE MALL 1966-1976 / enclosed inner city specialty complex / BAYSIDE EXPOSITION CENTER -1983 / Boston

9. BURLINGTON MALL -1968 / enclosed / Burlington

10. ROUTE 30 MALL -1971 / enclosed community-class complex / Framingham

11. HANOVER MALL -1971 / enclosed / Hanover

12. WALPOLE MALL -1972 / enclosed community-class complex / Walpole

13. LIBERTY TREE MALL -1972 / enclosed / enclosed & open-air - 1998 / Danvers

14. METHUEN MALL 1973-1999 / enclosed / THE LOOP -2000 / open-air / Methuen

15. MALL AT CHESTNUT HILL -1974 / enclosed / Newton

16. CHELMSFORD MALL -1974 / open-air & enclosed community-class complex / Middlesex County

17. WATERTOWN MALL -1975 / enclosed / Watertown

18. MIDDLESEX MALL -1975 / enclosed & open-air community-class complex / Burlington

19. BILLERICA MALL ("bill-rick-uh") -1975 / open-air & enclosed community-class complex / Middlesex County

20. HARBORLIGHT MALL 1976-2000 / enclosed community-class complex / HARBOURLIGHT MALL -2001 / open-air / Norfolk County

21. WOBURN (woo-burn) MALL -1976 / enclosed community-class complex / Woburn

22. MYSTIC MALL -1977, shuttered 2000 / enclosed / Chelsea

23. NATICK TOWNE MALL -1978 / enclosed & open-air community-class complex / CLOVERLEAF MALL -1982 / CLOVERLEAF MARKETPLACE -2003 / CLOVERLEAF SHOPS / open-air complex / Natick

24. FRAMINGHAM MALL - 1979-1999 / enclosed community-class complex / TARGET GREATLAND -2000 / open-air / Framingham

25. MEADOW GLEN MALL -1979 / enclosed / Medford

26. ASSEMBLY SQUARE MALL existing building renovated into enclosed mall in 1980 / ASSEMBLY SQUARE MARKETPLACE -2006 / Somerville

27. COPLEY PLACE -1981 / enclosed inner-city specialty mall / Boston

28. ARSENAL MARKETPLACE / MALL existing building renovated into enclosed specialty mall in 1983 / Watertown

29. LAFAYETTE PLACE -1984-1992 / enclosed inner city specialty mall / LAFAYETTE CORPORATE CENTER -1999 / office-retail complex / Boston

30. EMERALD SQUARE MALL -1989 / enclosed / Norfolk County

31. ATRIUM MALL -1989 / ATRIUM CENTER enclosed office & retail complex - 2016 / Newton

32. CAMBRIDGESIDE GALLERIA -1990 / enclosed / Cambridge

33. SOLOMON POND MALL -1996 / enclosed / Marlborough & Worcester County


[Structures indicated in bold italic have been completely demolished. Those in green have full articles on the MALL HALL OF FAME site]
Omaha's Westroads Center


A late '60s postcard proclaiming the Gateway To The West's preeminent shopping center. In 1968, WESTROADS opened as the largest mall in the Corn Husker State. It holds that distinction to this day.
Photo from the Dunlap-Henline Company

In a circa-1969 site plan, we see the original configuration of  WESTROADS CENTER. At the time, it was a 2-level (with basement), tri-anchor shopping center of around 894,000 leasable square feet. The complex housed the first in-mall 6-plex cinema in the United States.

The American Multi-Cinema (AMC) Six West Theatres showed its first features in January 1969. Eventually expanded into 8-screens, it would be a fixture at WESTROADS CENTER until the late '90s.


Omaha-based Brandeis built an 80,000 square foot branch at WESTROADS CENTER, which was added to the north-facing side of the shopping hub. The store opened in October 1972.
Drawing from http://departmentstoremuseum.blogspot.com


A site plan from 1977 shows the recently-added Brandeis branch. The mall's Fox theater has also been twinned and renamed.

By the time of a circa-1991 layout, the Grand Cafe Food Court has been built in a vacated sporting goods store. Brandeis closed after that chain was absorbed by Younkers, in 1987. A portion of its space was now a Younkers Juniors specialty store. The fourth floor housed a police station.

A fourth WESTROADS anchor -a branch of Iowa's Von Maur chain- opened for business in August 1995. The 3-level store encompassed 179,100 square feet.
Photo from Dan Olson


After the shuttering of the McCrory 5 & 10, in the early '80s, Younkers expanded into its space. By late 1999, the facility has been sold to General Growth Properties and renamed WESTROADS MALL . The complex has also been substantially renovated. In addition to Von Maur, there is a new The Jones Store. This went into an expanded "Monkey Wards" space. WESTROADS now spanned 1,078,700 leasable square feet and housed around one hundred and forty stores.

Originally built as a Galyan's Trading Company, this store opened in August 2003. It was rebranded, as the Dick's Sporting Goods seen here, in October 2004.
Photo from Wikipedia / "JonClee86"


A Bing's-eye view of WESTROADS from around 2006. This was right before the shopping center's north anchor store was reconstructed.
Photo from www.bing.com

The Rave Cinemas Westroads 14 was completed in November 2008. It became an AMC venue in 2012.
Photo from Wikipedia / "JonClee86"

In our fifth WESTROADS layout, we see that Younkers has assumed The Jones Store spot. The north facade of the mall has also been rebuilt. There are now Dick's Sporting Goods, a Rave movie megaplex and the Flagship Commons Food Hall. The old Grand Cafe Food Court has been reconfigured as a Container Store. With these modifications, the shopping center encompasses 1,045,800 leasable square feet and contains one hundred and twenty-two stores under its roof.


The Flagship Commons Food Hall replaced the mall's original culinary complex in late 2015. The new 8-bay facility was installed in existing space on the northwest corner of the shopping center. It featured bistros such as Blatt Beer & Table, Aromas Coffee House, Weirdough Pizza Company and Clever Greens.
Photo from www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
WESTROADS CENTER
West Dodge Road / US 6 and North 96th Street
Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha's John A. Wiebe developed the first fully-enclosed shopping complex in the Corn Husker State. THE CENTER, located southwest of Omaha's Central Business District, was a small, community-class venue of 195,000 leasable square feet that opened for business in 1955.

The real estate arm of the Omaha-based J.L. Brandeis & Sons department store chain opened the regional-class CROSSROADS CENTER, the first of the city's "roads" malls, in 1960. They followed with SOUTHROADS CENTER, in 1966.

Mr. Wiebe developed the third, and final, "roads" complex. WESTROADS CENTER was designed by Stanley J. How & Associates and built on 50.4 acres, located 6 miles west of downtown Omaha. The 3-level, fully-enclosed mall was adjacent to the Interstate 680 (formerly Interstate 280) beltway, which had been completed in 1966.

The 25 million dollar WESTROADS encompassed approximately 893,800 leasable square feet. It was anchored by a 2-level (177,200 square foot) J.C. Penney, which became one of the first operational tenants on August 2, 1967.

A 2-level (200,000 square foot) Omaha-based Kilpatrick's opened November 16, 1967. The mall's third anchor department store was a 2-level (148,300 square foot) Montgomery Ward. A mall-wide dedication was held August 1, 1968, when sixty-eight stores and services made their debut. By year's end, WESTROADS CENTER would house one hundred and twenty.

Charter tenants included Zales Jewelers, Singer Sewing Center, Florsheim Shoes, Magee's, Lollipop Lane children's wear, Casual Corner, Zondervan Books, Walgreen Drug, Docktor Pet Center, Orange Julius, Radio Shack, Bishop Buffet cafeteria, J.G. McCrory 5 & 10, Hinky Dinky supermarket and freestanding First Westroads Bank.

Shopping concourses at WESTROADS were designated as the Boston Mall, Central Park Mall, Italia Mall and Alpine Mall. Central Park Mall (the center court area) featured a large Clock Tower. The original complex had a rooftop heliport.

The National General Corporation Fox Westroads Theatre had opened November 12, 1967. It was reconfigured with 2 screens in 1977 and renamed the Fox Twin. The second mall movie house, the American Royal Cinema (American Multi-Cinema) Six West Theatres, was the nation's first in-mall 6-plex. It showed its first features January 22, 1969.

The two movie houses were situated adjacent to one another, in the northeast corner of the mall. The Fox venue had an exterior entry, with the 6-plex connecting into the interior mallway. The Fox theater was acquired by AMC in December 1983 and merged with the 6-plex. The combined cinemas were promoted as the AMC Westroads 6 & 2 and then as the Westroads 8.

A fourth anchor, Omaha-based Brandeis, was added to WESTROADS CENTER between Montgomery Ward and Kilpatrick's. The new 4-level (80,000 square foot) store opened for business in October 1972. In the following year, the basement level of the shopping center was rebuilt as Bicentennial Square, a "mall within a mall". This included the Westroads Dinner Theatre and several Colonial-motif boutiques. This area was dismantled and redeveloped in 1980.

Retail rivals of WESTROADS CENTER were the aforementioned CROSSROADS CENTER (1961) {2 miles east, in Omaha}, SOUTHROADS CENTER (1966) {9.4 miles southeast, in Bellevue} and -eventually- OAK VIEW MALL (1991) {4 miles southwest, also in Omaha}.

The first anchor nameplate change at WESTROADS CENTER involved Kilpatrick's. The chain had been acquired by Des Moines-based Younkers in 1961. Although operated as a (quote-unquote) Kilpatrick's-Younkers, the WESTROADS store had always sported a Kilpatrick's nameplate. It became a full-fledged Younkers in 1982. The Brandeis chain was also acquired by Younkers in the late 1980s. The WESTROADS Brandeis was refashioned into a Younkers Juniors specialty store, which opened August 5, 1987.

The next renovation of the shopping venue, undertaken in February 1990, redeveloped a 20,000 square foot section of the Lower Level, which had housed a Hinky Dinky supermarket and then a United Sporting Goods store. The 12-bay Grand Cafe Food Court opened for business May 30, 1991.

Work on a fifth anchor got underway in 1994. A 3-level (179,100 square foot), Davenport-based Von Maur was included as part of a twenty-two store South Wing. The new department store opened its doors August 5, 1995.

Ownership of the shopping hub changed in July 1997. Chicago's General Growth Properties and Montreal's Ivanhoe Cambridge acquired the complex in a joint venture. Soon after, its official name was changed to WESTROADS MALL.

In November of 1997, Montgomery Ward was shuttered. Kansas City, Missouri-based The Jones Store bought the vacant structure, gutted and remodeled it, and opened October 8, 1999. The mall, which encompassed approximately 1,078,700 leasable square feet, would not be expanded again until 2003.

The multiplex cinema, shuttered in 1997, was demolished. It was replaced by a 2-level (84,000 square foot) Galyan's Trading Company, which opened August 31, 2003. A parking garage had also been added to the existing Penney's. The Galyan's store was rebranded by Dick's Sporting Goods in October 2004.

The Jones Store closed August 25, 2003. Younkers moved in and opened on October 12. The next alterations at WESTROADS MALL were done in the southwest and northwest parking areas. Three freestanding restaurants were built. P.F. Chang's China Bistro opened September 2, 2002. Granite City Food & Brewery followed, on October 10, 2006, with Cheesecake Factory debuting on November 1 of the same year.

Now we come to the tragic part of the WESTROADS story. On December 5, 2007, a deranged individual, bent on becoming famous, instead became INfamous when he entered the Von Maur store with an assault rifle, killed eight and wounded five.

Von Maur and WESTROADS MALL persevered.

The vacant Kilpatrick's / Younkers was gutted and reconfigured as the Rave Cinemas Westroads 14 megaplex. The new cinema made its debut on November 14, 2008. The Grand Cafe Food Court was replaced by the 8-bay Flagship Commons Food Hall in late 2015. This was installed in existing mall space, in the northwest corner of the complex.

As the new Food Hall opened, eateries in the old Grand Cafe were shuttered. Some relocated into the new Food Hall, others found space within the mall. The vacant Grand Cafe space was gutted and rebuilt as a (25,000 square foot) The Container Store, which welcomed its first shoppers on October 22, 2016.

WESTROADS MALL now encompassed 1,045,800 leasable square feet. The complex faced a major vacancy when Younkers, a mall anchor since 1982, was shuttered. The store -and chain- were liquidated as part of the 2018 Bon Ton Stores bankruptcy.

Sources:

The Omaha World Herald
Douglas County, Nebraska property tax assessor website
https://myomahaobsession.com
www.ggp.com (General Growth Properties)
www.cinematreasures.org
Malls of America blogspot / Keith Milford, webmaster
"Westroads Mall" article on Wikipedia
Youngstown's Southern Park Mall



The original trademark of the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation's hometown shopping mall. SOUTHERN PARK was developed at the same time as Southwestern Ohio's DAYTON MALL. Stores in both complexes began opening in late 1969, with official dedications -at both centers- being held in early 1970.
Graphic from the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation

Above and below are two snapshots, which show the mall's fountained and festooned Center Court.
Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/spmhistory/page2


These images were taken in July 1970.
Photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/spmhistory/page2


The mall's center anchor, Youngstown-based Strouss', was the eighth branch in the chain. Its Terrace Room restaurant occupied the semi-circular area over the main entrance.
Drawing from http://departmentstoremuseum.blogspot.com


A circa-'73 site plan shows the original configuration of the mall in black and a fourth anchor (Joseph Horne Company, a.k.a. "Horne's") in dark gray. With this addition, the complex enveloped approximately 1,001,500 leasable square feet.

By the time of a circa-1993 layout, the mall is anchored by Pittsburgh-based Kaufmann's. There are also Dillard's, Sears and Penney's stores. The Kroger and in-mall cinema are long gone.


The shopping facility was renovated following the merger of the Simon Property Group and DeBartolo Realty Corporation, in 1996. Dillard's had already been doubled in size. As part of the mall remodeling, a Food Court was added and freestanding megaplex built.


An early 2000s view of the north end of SOUTHERN PARK MALL. J.C. Penney, on the left, was among the three original anchors.
Photo from Wikipedia / "Nyttend"


Another early 2000s snapshot shows the mall's Main Entrance, which leads into a 9-bay Food Court.
Photo from www.simon.com (Simon Property Group)