FAYETTE MALL
Nicholasville Road / US 27 and West Reynolds Road
Fayette County (Lexington), Kentucky

The second shopping mall in Greater Lexington was developed by Forest City, Ohio's Richard E. Jacobs Group. It was situated on an a 61.3 acre plot, 3.9 miles south of the city center. FAYETTE MALL was originally within unincorporated Fayette County and was absorbed into the Lexington Fayette Urban County (a merger of the City of Lexington and Fayette County) on January 1, 1974.

A 2-level (183,300 square foot), Cincinnati-based Shillito's had opened its doors October 11, 1971. The mall, and a 2-level (133,100 square foot) Sears, were officially dedicated October 14, 1971. Inline stores included Byck's, Brendamour's Sporting Goods, Richman Brothers, Zondervan Books, Regal Shoes, J. Riggings, Camelot Music, Kinney Shoes and Waldenbooks.

The mall's third anchor store, a 2-level (138,300 square foot), Louisville-based Stewart's, held its grand opening May 1, 1972. This dedication was soon followed by the debut of the in-mall Fayette Mall Cinemas I & I, which showed its first features August 8, 1973. With the completion of the cinema addition, FAYETTE MALL encompassed approximately 609,300 leasable square feet and eighty stores and services.

The original competitors of FAYETTE MALL were TURFLAND MALL (1967-2008) {2.4 miles northwest, in Lexington}, LEXINGTON MALL (1975-2011) {3.9 miles northeast, in Lexington}, MALL AT LEXINGTON CENTER-LEXINGTON CIVIC CENTER SHOPS (1976) {a center city shopping gallery} and MALL AT LEXINGTON GREEN (1986) {.1 mile north, also in Lexington}.

Anchor rebrandings at FAYETTE MALL got underway with the conversion of Shillito's to a Shillito Rikes, in June 1982. The store became a Lazarus in March 1986, Lazarus-Macy's in August 2003 and was "Macy-ated" in March 2005.

The Stewart's store also had a long rebranding history. It morphed into an Indianapolis-based L.S. Ayres on November 1, 1985. It was rebannered, as a Louisville-based Ben Snyder's, on October 21, 1987, which was shuttered January 31, 1988. Allentown, Pennylvania-based Hess's opened in the space February 1, 1988. This operation closed in early 1993.

Meanwhile, retail space adjacent to the Cinema (now a 3-plex) was reconfigured as the 12-bay Pavillion Food Court, which opened November 7, 1990. During 1991, the interior of the mall was given a facelift. The vacant Hess's re-opened, as a 2-level (117,100 square foot) J.C. Penney, November 6, 1993.

The Jacob's Group had acquired a 25.2 acre plot south of FAYETTE MALL and announced an expansion project in May 1985. This became a hotly contested issue that was litigated for the next 5 and a half years. In February 1991, the final legal hurdle was cleared, Construction of the belated 327,000 square foot mall addition commenced in May 1991.

Constructed on the south side of the existing Sears, the single-level expansion would be anchored by a 2-level (208,200 square foot), Cincinnati-based McAlpin's. It would house twenty-seven inline stores, including American Eagle Outfitters and the Disney Store.

The first component of the mall renovation, a 2-level (20,000 square foot) enlargement of Sears, came inline April 17, 1993. The store now encompassed 153,100 square feet. McAlpin's, and the new South Wing, were officially dedicated May 6, 1993. The final component of the mid-1990s renovation, a third level for Lazarus, opened in 1994, with the store now housing 275,000 square feet.

With all of its recent additions, FAYETTE MALL encompassed 1,058,100 leasable square feet with a retail roster of over one hundred stores and services. The super-sized center was now the Bluegrass State's largest shopping mall, that is, until a 1998 expansion of Louisville's MALL ST. MATTHEWS brought the GLA of that complex up to 1,085,000 square feet.

Not to be outdone, a third expansion of FAYETTE MALL commenced in January 2005, undertaken by Chattanooga's CBL & Associates Properties, who had acquired the retail hub in 2001. This time around, 140,000 square feet and fifteen new stores would be added southwest of the circa-1993 South Wing.

Pittsburgh-based Dick's Sporting Goods would anchor the enlargement with a 2-level (75,000 square foot) store. While the Southwest expansion was being built, the existing mall was also given an interior and exterior remodeling.

The enlargement and facelift renovation were completed in October 2005, with FAYETTE MALL snatching back the "largest mall in Kentucky" honor. The complex now encompassed 1,198,100 leasable square feet and housed over one hundred and twenty stores and services.

Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy and P.F. Chang's China Bistro restaurants were built at the mall's Main Entrance. They opened in June and December 2006, respectively, and added an additional 14,500 square feet to the mall, which now housed an astounding 1,212,700 leasable square feet.

Meanwhile, a new retail rival had made its debut. The HAMBURG PAVILION power center {6 miles northeast, in Lexington} opened for business in 1998.

CBL & Associates Properties bought 24.8 acres lying southwest of the existing FAYETTE MALL parcel in April 2002. These were used for construction of the PLAZA AT FAYETTE MALL, an open-air strip center of thirteen tenant spaces, with six outparcel pads. Encompassing 190,200 leasable square feet, the PLAZA opened for business between April and October of 2006.

Tenants included a (60,000 square foot) Gordman's, plus Old Navy and Guitar Center. Anchoring the new development was the 16-screen Cinemark Fayette Mall, a state-of-the-art movie megaplex that showed its first features June 28, 2006. In essence, it replaced the old cinema complex in the mall that had closed in 1998.

The FAYETTE MALL Sears was shuttered January 11, 2014. The first floor of the building was sectioned into twenty inline stores. An outward-facing Streetscape was built onto the east-facing facade of the structure. Most of the upper level of the the building was repurposed as mall storage and maintenance facilities and the Sears Auto Center was demolished.

New boutiques and bistros began opening November 7, 2014. These included Cheesecake Factory, Newk's Eatery, Chipotle Mexican Grill, H & M, Janie & Jack, Jos. A. Bank, Vera Bradley, L'Occitane en Provence, Eddie Bauer and a 2-level (23,000 square foot) H & M.

When the construction dust settled in 2015, the gross leasable area of FAYETTE MALL had been reduced. The loss of selling space in the upper level of Sears, and addition of 38,700 square feet in the Sears Streetscape, adjusted the GLA of the mall to approximately 1,184,900 square feet. Nonetheless, it was still larger than Greater Louisville's MALL ST. MATTHEWS.

Sources:

"Fayette Mall" article on Wikipedia
Lexington-Fayette County tax assessor website
www.kentucky.com (Lexington Herald-Leader archive)
www.cblproperties.com (CBL & Associates Properties)
http://pastperfectvintage.com/louisvillestores.htm
www.bizjournals.com
www.scribd.com "Eastern Kentucky Movie Theaters"
www.kentucky.com
http://www.fayette-pva.com (Lexington-Fayette County Property Value Administrator)