TURFLAND MALL
Harrodsburgh Road / US 68 and Lane Allen Road
Lexington, Kentucky

Ground was broken for Lexington's first fully-enclosed shopping center in November 1965. TURFLAND MALL, the Bluegrass State's second regional-class interior mall, opened for business August 24, 1967.

The single-level TURFLAND MALL was built on 41.6 acres, situated 2.5 miles southwest of the Lexington city center. The 5 million dollar complex spanned 531,100 leasable square feet. It was added to a freestanding, 1-level (187,000 square foot) Montgomery Ward, that had been dedicated March 17, 1966.

Also anchoring the complex were a 2-level (167,500 square foot), Cincinnati-based McAlpin's and 1-level (58,000 square foot) Grant City discount mart. There were forty-four inline stores, including Walgreen Drug, the Blue Boar Cafeteria, Graves-Cox, Hymson's Clothing Company, a freestanding (34,000 square foot) Winn-Dixie supermarket and in-mall Turfland Mall Cinema I & II.

The first commercial competitor was FAYETTE MALL (1971) {2.4 miles southeast, in Lexington}. Then came LEXINGTON MALL (1975-2011) {4.1 miles east, also in Lexington}. The three centers coexisted for several years, but eventually FAYETTE MALL gained a competitive edge, following a major expansion in 1993.

The first anchor store alteration at TURFLAND MALL had taken place after the shuttering of Grant City, in early 1976. J.C. Penney opened in the store space November 17, 1976 and remained in business until November 4, 1993, when they relocated to FAYETTE MALL. The vacant space at TURFLAND was taken by a McAlpin's Home Center. This operation relocated from a store that had taken a vacated Winn-Dixie space in the 1980s.

The next anchor alteration at TURFLAND MALL occurred October 17, 1998, with the rebranding of all McAlpin's locations by Dillard's. The Arkansas-based retailer rebannered the McAlpin's Home Center as a Dillard's For The Home operation.

Hoffman Estates, Illinois-based Rubloff Development had acquired the aging and outpositioned TURFLAND MALL in September 1997. A comprehensive renovation got underway in July 1998, which was the first refurbishment of the mall since 1986.

This remodeling project included new marble floors, landscaping and a revamping of the structure's exterior. The renewed (522,000 square foot) complex was rededicated in May 1999. Unfortunately, another retail rival had come on the shopping center scene. The HAMBURG PAVILION power center {6.2 miles east, in Lexington} was completed in 1998.

The troubles at TURFLAND were exacerbated by the shuttering of Montgomery Ward, in March 2001. Home Depot demolished the old Ward's and built a 1-level (119,500 square foot) store. It opened for business in 2002, but did not connect into the interior mallway.

Hopes for a prosperous future at TURFLAND were dashed for certain in 2008, when Dillard's shuttered both of its "underperforming" stores. Dillard's For The Home shut down in April, with the main store going dark June 22. The mall closed for good October 1, 2008.

A redevelopment plan was announced in 2009. TURFLAND TOWN CENTER, an open-air (300,000 square foot) mixed-use project was proposed. The bulk of the mall was to be razed, leaving the Home Depot, Staples and main Dillard's structures standing. Outparcels, such as Walgreen's, Ruby Tuesday's, O'Charley's, Longhorn Steakhouse and Chick-Fil-A, would remain, as well.

New construction would have included two 75,000 square foot data centers, fifty inline store spaces, urban loft-type condominiums and a parking garage. Unfortunately for Rubloff Development, a new tenant for the McAlpin's / Dillard's building could not be found. By June 2012, Rubloff had defaulted on their mall loan. The bank foreclosed and the vacant shopping hub was sold in December 2012.

The new owner, Lexington-based Turf Development, demolished the deteriorating mall in early 2014. The Staples, Home Depot and main Dillard's buildings were left standing, along with several outparcel structures. The University of Kentucky acquired the abandoned Dillard's and renovated it into a group of primary care and specialty outpatient clinics.   

Sources:

"Turfland Mall" article on Wikipedia "Mall Malaise: Is Turfland Mall's Future a Storegone Conclusion?" / Lexington Herald Leader / Karla Ward
The Lexington Herald-Leader
"Protecting Its Turf" / Retail Trade Magazine / Amy Baldwin / May 1, 1999 http://www.rubloffusa.com/ (Rubloff development Group)
http://www.turflandtowncenter.com
http://www.fayette-pva.com (Lexington-Fayette County Property Value Administrator)