BEECHMONT MALL
Beechmont Avenue and Five Mile Road
Hamilton County, Ohio

The fourth air-conditioned retail complex in the Tri-State area was built on a 60-acre plot, located 13.2 miles east of Downtown Cincinnati's Fountain Square. The single-level facility was developed by Carl and Robert Lindner (who had also built KENWOOD MALL). BEECHMONT was designed by Cincinnati's Baxter, Hodell, Donnelly & Preston firm.

Ground was broken on October 21, 1968, with the shopping hub's formal dedication being held on October 5, 1969, BEECHMONT MALL encompassed approximately 600,000 leasable square feet. Anchoring the venue were a 2-level (161,000 square foot), Cincinnati-based Shillito's ["shil-uh-towz"] and 2-level (126,300 square foot) Cincinnati-based Mabley & Carew.

Charter inline stores included Brendamour's Sporting Goods, Casual Corner, Lerner Shops, Royal Barber Shop, Getz Jewelers, The Swiss Colony, Docktor Pet Center and a Hot Shoppes Restaurant. The major inline stores were a (10,500 square foot) SupeRx Drugs, (41,000 square foot) F.W. Woolworth 5 & 10 and (22,000 square foot) Thriftway supermarket.

Like the earlier KENWOOD MALL, BEECHMONT had a "Rain Fountain" as the focal point of its Center Court. This 34-foot-high water-less feature consisted of a circular network of nylon strings which conducted drops of glycerin from ceiling to floor. It was bathed in a colored light display.

Anchor rebrandings at BEECHMONT MALL began in August 1978, when Dayton-based Elder-Beerman acquired the Mabley & Carew chain from the Allied Stores holding company.

Major retail hubs in the vicinity of BEECHMONT MALL included KENWOOD PLAZA (1956) and KENWOOD MALL (1966) {8.6 miles north, in Hamilton County} and EASTGATE MALL (1980) {4.1 miles northeast, in Clermont County}.

BEECHONT MALL was given a face lift and expansion in the early 1980s. The Thriftway grocery moved into a 1-level (44,000 square foot) Thriftway Food & Drug, which was built in the northwest parking lot. This new freestanding store was dedicated on October 16, 1983.

A 1-level (94,700 square foot), Worthington, Ohio-based Gold Circle discount mart was added in an extended North Wing of the mall. The store opened for business on November 3, 1983. The vacant Thriftway was incorporated into the mall's 3.5 million dollar renovation.

It became The Village of Beechmont, a 16-unit mall within a mall. Tenants included Murray Brothers Old Time Store, Gold Star Chili, Quick Wok, Pasta Palace and Hot Sam Pretzels. The interior of the existing mall was also refurbished with new flooring, entrances, landscaping and seating areas. A formal grand re-opening began on November 16, 1984.

Meanwhile, in June 1982, Shillito's had been rebranded as a  Shillito/Rike's (eventually written as "Shillito Rikes"). This morphed into a Lazarus in March 1986. Gold Circle, originally a division of Cincinnati-based Federated Stores, was divested in 1988.

The BEECHMONT store closed and re-opened, as a Canton, Massachusetts-based Hills, in early 1989. It had a brief stint as a Rocky Hill, Connecticut-based Ames before being rebranded as a Big Kmart. By this time, The Village of Beechmont mall within a mall had morphed into the Village Cafe food court.

Elder-Beerman vacated BEECHMONT MALL in 1992 and was replaced by a Birmingham-based Parisian on September 22, 1993. This store lasted until July 1999. The mall's decline was well underway by this time. KENWOOD PLAZA had been reconfigured as KENWOOD TOWNE CENTRE in 1987 and '88. EASTGATE MALL had completed an expansion in 1992. The older and smaller BEECHMONT MALL was unable to compete.

Moreover, it is said that exorbitant leasing rates charged for space in BEECHMONT MALL helped seal its fate. To add insult to injury, ROOKWOOD PAVILION {6.8 miles northwest, in Norwood} opened in 1994. It was expanded with ROOKWOOD COMMONS, an upscale lifestyle center, in the year 2000.

An unsuccessful initiative to redevelop BEECHMONT MALL came and went. In December 2001, the complex was sold to Columbus, Georgia-based Victory Real Estate Investments. Their reinvention of the struggling shopping hub got underway on March 10, 2003.

The moribund mall was demolished, leaving Lazarus, Big Kmart, TGI Friday and two peripheral structures standing. A portion of the mall housing CVS Drug was left standing until a new store could be built.

The 26 million dollar ANDERSON TOWNE CENTER was officially dedicated in November 2004. The focal point of the 505,000 square foot power center was its 1-level (103,300 square foot) Kroger. Inline stores included IHOP, Moe's Southwest Grill, Moonstone Salon, Taj India, UNO Chicago Grill and Carraba's Italian Grill.

Anchor store rebrandings transpired during and after the demalling. Lazarus morphed into Lazarus-Macy's on August 1, 2003, with full "Macy-ation" taking place March 6, 2005. Big Kmart, a holdover tenant from BEECHMONT MALL, was shuttered on September 7, 2014.

Sources:

The Cincinnati Enquirer
http://www.abandonedonline.com
Comment posts by "Newkies", Erica, Mike and "Sprickel"
www.vrei.net (Victory Real Estate Investments)
Hamilton County, Ohio property tax assessor website