BASHFORD MANOR MALL
Bardstown Road / US 31E and 150 and Bashford Manor Lane
West Buechel, Kentucky

Plans for a fourth major Louisville shopping mall were announced in 1970. Developed on a 58 acre parcel situated 5.6 miles southeast of the city's urban core, BASHFORD MANOR MALL was built by a joint venture of the Long and Bashford Manor corporations.

The predominantly enclosed shopping center, which encompassed 560,000 leasable square feet, was designed by Curtis & Davis Architects and was officially dedicated October 8, 1973. The land on which the mall was built was the site of Bashford Manor, a circa-1870 French Second Empire country home. A thoroughbred horse farm operated on the property between 1888 and 1922 that produced three Kentucky Derby champions.

The mansion eventually fell into decay and was demolished in June 1973 as the mall that was being built on its southern flank was preparing to open for business. The decor and graphic design for BASHFORD MANOR MALL used an equestrian theme that reflected its heritage. Its interior had a large horse-themed mural in one of its court areas and the sign at its main roadway entry featured three horseshoes. Original flooring consisted of earthtone shade carpeting. There were also recessed seating sections with televisions and two large court area fountains.

A 1-level (85,500 square foot), Indianapolis-based Ayr-Way discount mart became the first operational BASHFORD MANOR MALL store in August 1972. At the shopping hub's October 1973 dedication, a 2-level (182,300 square foot), Louisville-based Bacon's and 1-level (63,900 square foot), Louisville-based Ben Snyder's opened their doors.

Among the eighty-five charter tenants were Byck's, Levy Brothers, Allied Sporting Goods, The Bottom Half, Hickory Farms of Ohio, Karmelkorn, Kinney Shoes, Musicland, National Shirt Shops, Pass Pets, Waldenbooks, Walgreen Drug, Taylor Trunk Company, Orange Julius, Zondervan Books, Cassano's Pizza King, the Blue Boar Cafeteria, an A & P supermarket and freestanding Liberty National Bank.

Rival shopping centers included THE MALL / MALL ST. MATTHEWS (1962) {4 miles northeast, in St. Matthews}, OXMOOR CENTER (1971) {4.1 miles northeast, in Louisville}, WESTLAND MALL (1975) {11.5 miles southwest, in Jefferson County}, RACELAND MALL (1975) {1.6 miles southeast, in Jefferson County} and JEFFERSON MALL (1978) {3.9 miles south, also in Jefferson County}.

The first renovation of BASHFORD MANOR MALL got underway in July 1989. New flooring, landscaping and mallway skylights were installed, with fountains being removed. A clock tower and new mall entrances were built on the north-facing facade. The 4 million dollar project was completed and dedicated November 10, 1989.

Ayr-Way was the first anchor store to change nameplates. Minneapolis' Dayton-Hudson Corporation rebranded the BASHFORD MANOR MALL store as a Target July 26, 1981. Ben Snyder's was converted to an Allentown, Pennsylvania-based Hess's on February 1, 1988. This operation lasted until its shuttering on August 1, 1993. After this, it was remade into a Bacon's For The Home Store. The mall's two Bacon's operations were rebranded, by Little Rock-based Dillard's, on October 17, 1998.

Hoffman Estates, Illinois' Rubloff Development Group bought BASHFORD MANOR MALL in November 1999. They proposed a 3 million dollar remodeling in January 2000, with work finally commencing in February 2002. New ceilings, lighting and landscaping were to be installed, among other improvements. However, midway through the project, work stopped.

Target announced that they were vacating their anchor space and building a new store on an adjoining parcel to the west. This new location opened October 13, 2002. Next came Dillard's defection. Both BASHFORD MANOR MALL stores went dark in late January 2003.

Alas, the 30-year-old retail hub was now anchor-less, with only twenty stores in operation. Chi-Chi's restaurant closed in March 2003. By mid-summer, only a handful of tenants remained and the beleaguered mall closed for good soon after. A wrecking ball began knocking down the structure in December 2003, but work was halted in January 2004.

A lawsuit had been filed by an electrical contractor who had not been paid for work that they had completed. The matter was settled and demolition commenced in March 2004. When all was said and done, only the vacant Dillard's remained standing. It was to be renovated and retenanted by a "national big box retailer". This never came to fruition.

Meanwhile, a 1-level (196,000 square foot) WalMart SuperCenter was built on the west end of the mall site, which opened January 26, 2005. It was joined by a 1-level (116,000 square foot) Lowe's, at the east end of the parcel, which opened in 2006. In 2008, the decaying Dillard's was bulldozed and replaced by a 1-level (80,000 square foot) Burlington Coat Factory. This store began business in March 2009.

Sources:

"Bashford Manor Mall" article on Wikipedia
http://mallsofamerica.blogspot.com/2006/11/retro-louisville-malls.html
http://pastperfectvintage.com/louisvillestores.htm
www.bizjournals.com
The Courier-Journal