Chapel Hill Mall

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Chapel Hill Mall
"The Friendliest Mall of All"
Location Akron, Ohio, USA
Opening date 1967
Developer Forest City Enterprises and R.B. Buchholzer
Management CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.
Owner CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.
No. of stores and services 102[1]
No. of anchor tenants 3
Total retail floor area 860,000 sq ft (80,000 m2)
Parking 4,200[1]
No. of floors 1

Chapel Hill Mall is a one-story, 860,000 sq ft (80,000 m2) enclosed mall located at 2000 Brittain Road in Akron, Ohio.[1] Built by Richard (R.B.) Buchholzer and Forest City Enterprises,[2] it opened on October 12, 1967.[3] They continued to own the mall until 2004, when it was sold to the Chattanooga, Tennessee company CBL & Associates Properties, Inc..[4] The mall features more than 100 stores, with three anchor stores, Sears, JCPenney and Macy's.


The carousel in the food court.

Chapel Hill Mall sits on land once owned by Richard Buchholzer's father, J.J. Buchholzer. During the Great Depression, J.J. Buchholzer became owner of a Hower's department store in downtown Akron. The Buchholzers knew Akron would grow to the north, and they felt that a Hower's store should be located on their land. It later became evident that even larger opportunities existed, and the natural choice was a climate-controlled shopping mall. Buchholzer teamed up with Forest City Enterprises to build Akron's first indoor mall. Plans were ready by 1963, but before the mall opened, Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation built Summit Mall on the west side of Akron.[5] In the 1930s, young Richard Buchholzer found what appeared to be an old Indian council circle on his father's land. Because of this, Buchholzer named the development "Chapel Hill".[5]

Expansion plans to include a Higbee's store came up numerous times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A plan was considered in 1988 by part-owner Forest City Enterprises. It included a 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) addition for an additional department store.[6] Expansion was again mentioned in 1989.[7] A front-page story on the January 31, 1990 edition of the Akron Beacon Journal read "Higbee's Coming to Chapel Hill Mall". The store, along with a food court and additional retail space, would be open by Fall 1991, it said.[8]

In 1994, the mall's owners added the food court and retail expansion that exists today. New flooring and ceiling tiles, a new fountain, and new lighting were also added.[9][10]

Major tenants[edit]

JCPenney is one of the three department stores at the mall.

Chapel Hill Mall features three anchor stores: Sears, JCPenney and Macy's, which opened in 1966 before the mall proper.[5] Macy's operates in an anchor that was originally occupied by local chain O'Neil's until 1989, May Co. until 1993, and Kaufmann's from 1993 to 2006. There used to be a multi-screen cinema at the mall as well. It opened in October 1966 as a two-screen theater, and eventually expanded to five screens. In 1987, General Cinemas (owner of the mall's cinema) opened an 8-screen multiplex just west of the mall, and in October 1996, Regal Cinemas opened their 10-screen theater immediately south of the mall. Less than two weeks later, the General Cinemas at the mall closed,[11] and Old Navy took over the former theater. Woolworth also operated a store at the mall until 1997. It was later occupied by The Gap which has since closed as well.


The mall follows a basic, horizontal plan. The main concourse has Sears at one end and Macy's at the other. At the very center of this concourse is the fountain. JCPenney is located here. Across the fountain from JCPenney is a corridor leading to the food court, added in the 1990s. The food court is home to a carousel. The carousel displays images of Akron-area landmarks and icons. These include the Stan Hywet estate, Blossom Music Center, Derby Downs, a Goodyear Blimp, Firestone Country Club, and the Ohio and Erie Canal.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Chapel Hill Mall - Fact Sheet. Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  2. ^ "West and South Side Malls" The Plain Dealer. February 22, 2004. Retrieved July 31, 2006.
  3. ^ Akron Ohio Historical Timeline 1950-1999. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
  4. ^ Akron Beacon Journal, September 11, 2004.
  5. ^ a b c Nevada, Charlene. "Man Behind Chapel Hill Mall- Richard Buchholzer's Idea Defines That Part of Akron." Akron Beacon Journal. 6 July, 1997: E1.
  6. ^ Mitchell, Jacqueline. "Forest City Waffles on Plan for Chapel Hill." Akron Beacon Journal. 7 May, 1988: A8.
  7. ^ Pantages, Larry and Peter Geiger. "Another Higbee Possible; Chapel Hill Plan Studied." Akron Beacon Journal. 28 April, 1989: A1.
  8. ^ Vanac, Mary. "Higbee's Coming to Chapel Hill Mall." Akron Beacon Journal. 31 January, 1990: A1
  9. ^ Ethridge, Mary. "Chapel Hill Mall Getting A Face Lift; A 12-Restaurant Food Court, New Lights and New Ceiling Among Plans." Akron Beacon Journal. 9 March 1994: C7.
  10. ^ Adams, David. "Mall Courts Customers With Food; Dining Area Added at Chapel Hill to Keep Shoppers on the Premises." Akron Beacon Journal. 4 November, 1994: B9.
  11. ^ Nevada, Charlene. "Retailers to Replace Movies at Chapel Hill; General Cinema Closes 5-Screen Theater at Mall." Akron Beacon Journal. 19 November, 1996: C6.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°06′50″N 81°28′07″W / 41.113997°N 81.468655°W / 41.113997; -81.468655