Randall Park Mall

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Randall Park Mall
Randall Park Mall.jpg
Location 20801 Miles Road
North Randall, Ohio, United States
Opening date August 11, 1976
Closing date March 12, 2009 (Power cut off in late May 2009) (Demolition of Dillard’s on December 29, 2014 and remaining anchor stores on August 25, 2017)
Developer Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. (DeBartolo Corporation)
No. of stores and services 0 (originally 200)
No. of anchor tenants 0 (originally 7)
Total retail floor area 0 Square Feet (originally 2.2 millon)
No. of floors 0 (originally 2)

Randall Park Mall was a shopping mall located in the village of North Randall, Ohio. Despite the mall's importance to the town – it was represented by two shopping bags appearing in the municipal seal (now replaced with the words Thistledown Racino for its racetrack) – Randall Park Mall closed on March 12, 2009. Demolition began on the former Higbee's/Dillard's building on December 29, 2014. Amazon has built a new distribution center on the former site.

Birth and rise[edit]

In 1966, Dominic Visconsi proposed building Garfield Mall in nearby Garfield Heights. In 1968, voters gave their blessing to the project, and the next year a proposal was revealed. Garfield Mall was to have heated underground parking, and elevator and escalator access to stores such as: JCPenney, Sears, Higbee's, and Halle's. In 1971, there were rumblings that Youngstown developer Edward J. DeBartolo was to build a shopping-apartment-office complex nearby, so Garfield Mall was scaled down and the department stores slated for Garfield Mall instead signed with DeBartolo.

Randall Park Mall was built on the site of the Randall Race Track, a horse racing park immediately south of Thistledown Race Track. During construction, DeBartolo was very flamboyant; he would arrive at the construction site in a helicopter. During tours, he entertained the media with lavish Italian dinners of pizza and pasta from top chefs. DeBartolo envisioned Randall Park as a "city within a city", with the mall, boasting 200 shops, three 14-story apartments, two 20-story office buildings, and a performing arts center that was intended to compete with the Front Row Theater. The total construction cost was $175 million.[1]

Randall Park Mall opened its doors to the public on August 11, 1976. The mall's architect, Frank DeBartolo (Edward's younger brother), opened the mall with actress Dina Merrill in 1976. Upon its opening, the mall had 5 anchor stores: Sears, JCPenney, the May Company, Higbee's, and Horne's. JCPenney opened in March 1976, 5 months before the rest of the mall opened. Sears did not open until February 1977.[2]Halles was going to open a store at the mall across from Higbees, but went out of business in 1982. Randall Park boasted the title of the worlds biggest shopping mall when it opened, but the title didn't last very long. [1][3][4] In 1992, DeBartolo announced major remerchandising plans.[5]

Great Northern Mall, in the west side suburb of North Olmsted, opened at about the same time as Randall Park. Nearby Euclid Square Mall is also a product of the mid-1970s mall building boom.

Movie theaters[edit]

When it opened in 1976, Randall Park Mall had a three-screen cinema run by General Cinema Corporation. The theater's "lobby" was one storefront wide, with steep steps leading to the concession stand. The screens themselves were in three side by side auditoriums that opened off the concession stand level. More steps led up a second story to restrooms, the projection booth, and GCC office space. From the exterior, it appeared that a separate building had been grafted onto the rest of the mall.

The cinema became a second-run theater in 1991, and closed in 1993. After that, until the mall's closure, it was used as storage for Diamond's Men's Store, its adjoining neighbor. By the 2000s, Diamond's had extended their display window to include the theater's entrance, and the cinema's steep blue steps could still be seen by looking through a door in the display.

In 1999, Loews Cineplex Entertainment opened a 12-screen Magic Johnson Theatres in the space originally designated for the never-built Halle's anchor. The theater became "O Theater" (with the slogan "O what a bargain!"), after Loews Cineplex Entertainment was bought out by AMC Theatres in 2006. O Theater offered first-run movies at matinee prices, but its website and phone number were offline by late 2008 and the theater closed in early 2009.

Decline and closure[edit]

The mall's decline began in December 1994 when Edward J. DeBartolo died.[6] By 1997 the mall's occupancy was 73%, which was well below the national average of 85%.[7] However, by 2000, that figure had reached 92%, fostering hopes of a full recovery for the institution.[8]

The first anchor store to close at the mall was Horne's, which closed when the chain filed for bankruptcy in 1992. That same year, Higbee's was renovated into Dillard's, and in 1993 The May Company became Kaufmann's. Three years after that, the lower level of the Horne's store was converted into LaSalle Furniture and the upper level was converted into Burlington Coat Factory. The JC Penney store was converted into an outlet store in October 1998, but closed in January 2001 due to falling sales.[9][9][10] Dillard's closed its Randall Park Mall Store in March 2003, [11] shortly after an incident where an off duty police officer named Jameel Talley, who was moonlighting as a security guard, apprehended a suspected shoplifter named Guy Wills III and injured him by picking him up and then smacking his head on the concrete floor. Wills' skull was fractured, his collarbone was broken, and his brain was severely bruised. He was treated in the hospital but died shortly after he was released. On May 13, 2003, two months after the closure of the Dillard's store, Talley was sentenced to three years in prison for murdering the suspect. However, Talley told the court that it was an accident since both him and Wills fell down while he was trying to handcuff him.[12] By 2003, about 50% of the mall was vacant, including the former Dillard's and JCPenney. The infrastructure was physically dilapidated, and many area residents viewed the mall as unsafe. Many of the vacant store fronts were completely walled off and the escalators and fountains were shut off. [3][13] In 2004, ownership of the mall changed hands, with control being handed over to investor Haywood Whichard for $6 million – just fifteen percent of the original construction cost.[6][14]As the mall declined, the stores and buildings around it did so too.

Kaufmann's was rebranded into Macys in 2006. In June 2007, it was announced that Cleveland-based trade school Ohio Technical College would acquire more than 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) of space at the mall. The school's PowerSports Institute occupied the former JCPenney and Firestone Complete Auto Care areas.[15][16] Macy's shuttered its Randall Park Mall store in March 2008 due to poor sales. [17]

On May 21, 2008, North Randall mayor David Smith announced that Whichard Real Estate had decided to close the mall by June 12, 2008. The few dozen small stores inside the sprawling, mostly empty, mall had until June 12 to close or move into empty storefronts on nearby roads. Burlington Coat Factory and Sears, which could be accessed from outside the mall, would stay open, as would the movie theater and Ohio Technical College's PowerSport Institute.[18]

County records showed the company owed more than $200,000 in unpaid property taxes, and had taken out multiple mortgages on the mall. On June 5, 2008, it was announced that Randall Park Mall was being sold for an undisclosed sum to United Church Builders. The deal was expected to be finalized in the next 30 to 90 days. Ken Geis, CEO of UCB, felt it could be best suited for housing, education, research, and medical operations. As of May 2009, UCB had not finalized the deal for the mall.

On February 26, 2009, Sears announced that it would close its Randall Park location, as part of an effort to close 24 under-performing Sears and Kmart locations across the country. This would be the last traditional anchor store to shutter its location at Randall Park. The store's last day of business was Sunday, June 14, 2009.

The last of the remaining small inside stores closed or moved out by March 12, 2009 (the date the mall closed), leaving the mall empty aside from Burlington Coat Factory, Ohio Technical College's satellite campus, and Furniture Mattress Liquidators, all of which have direct external access. All power to the mall was turned off in May 2009.

In March 2014, it was announced that the vacant mall would be demolished by Industrial Realty Group for the purpose of constructing an industrial park.[6][19][20] Property transfer occurred mid-July of that year;[21] demolition began the following December 29.[4][22]

Demolition of the mall began December 29, 2014, on the former Higbee's/Dillard's anchor store, followed by the mall interior. The demolition and excavation company Sitetech Inc. of Grafton, Ohio was hired to do the work. As of July 2015, only the former anchor buildings (excluding the former Dillard's) remained standing.

Randall Park Mall, 2014
Randall Park Mall, 2014

As of January 16, 2015, Burlington Coat Factory had officially closed its doors to the public.

On May 5, 2016, calls came into the North Randall Fire Department for the former Magic Movie Theater. Five surrounding agencies were dispatched to the theater. Fire was ruled arson by North Randall Fire Department.[23]

On October 14, 2016, a video of the old Macy's building was uploaded to YouTube. The video shows the interior of the building, which is in horrible shape. The building clearly has a leaky roof, and whole interior is covered with black mold, and uninhabitable.

LaSalle Furniture closed on Halloween of 2016, leaving PowerSport Institute as the only business left.

On January 23, 2017, another video of the Macy's building was uploaded by the same YouTuber who filmed it in October 2016. It shows that work crews have been in the building and have cleaned up most of the ground floor and removed most of the mold. The upstairs is in worse condition then before. Work crews have yet to clean and remove mold.

In June 2017, PowerSports left the property.

Amazon[edit]

In July 2017, reports emerged that online retailer Amazon was considering the site of the former mall as a space for a new fulfillment center.[24][25] On August 25, 2017, it was officially announced that Amazon will demolish the mall's remaining anchor stores and build an 855,000-square-foot warehouse, bringing 2,000 full-time jobs to the region.[26][27]

Former anchors[edit]

  • Higbee's (210,000 sq ft) became Dillard's in 1992 which closed in 2003
  • May Company Ohio (176,327 sq ft) became Kaufmann's in 1993 which became Macy's in 2006 and finally closed in 2008
  • Horne's (201,000 sq ft) closed 1994. The 2nd floor turned into Burlington Coat Factory in May 1996 and the 1st floor turned into LaSalle Furniture in that same year. Burlington Coat Factory closed in 2015 and LaSalle Furniture closed in 2016
  • JCPenney (207,000 sq ft) closed in 2001 and became Ohio Technical College´s PowerSport Institute which as the last business closed in 2017
  • Sears (285,702 sq ft) closed in 2009

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Randall Park Mall". Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Case Western Reserve University. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  2. ^ "Randall Park Mall". DeadMalls.com. 2017. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  3. ^ a b McDonough, Victoria (18 April 2017). "Randall Park Mall: The Short Career of "The World's Largest Shopping Center"". Cleveland Historical. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Aaron (December 30, 2014). "Once the world's biggest mall is being torn down today". CNN Money. CNN. Retrieved December 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "DeBartolo Announces Tenant Changes at Randall Park Mall". PR Newswire. 22 January 1992.
  6. ^ a b c Armenta, Hannah (6 June 2017). "The death of Randall Park Mall: Mall Monday". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  7. ^ Hardin, Angela (9 June 1997). "Randall Park Looks to Lasso New Retailers". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  8. ^ Hardin, Angela (3 July 2000). "Randall Park revived; Optimism returns to mall now near full occupancy". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  9. ^ a b Lubinger, Bill; O'Donnell, Patrick (March 16, 2000). "On Heels of Revival, Randall Park Mall to Lose J.C. Penney". The Plain Dealer. p. A1.
  10. ^ Mortland, Shannon (13 August 2001). "Biz a bust at trio of local malls". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  11. ^ http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20030131/REG/301310705/dillards-to-exit-randall-park
  12. ^ "Officer sentenced in death of shoplifting suspect". The Associated Press. 2003. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  13. ^ Mortland, Shannon (19 August 2002). "New Randall Park owner plans spruce-up for mall". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  14. ^ Bullard, Stan (11 October 2004). "Bottom-fisher snags ailing Randall Park". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  15. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (June 19, 2007). "Ohio Technical buys Randall Park property". The Plain Dealer.
  16. ^ Mortland, Shannon (10 December 2007). "PowerSport Institute to roll into empty Randall Park Mall space". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  17. ^ "Macy's closing nine stores". Louisville Business First. December 28, 2007.
  18. ^ Jarboe, Michelle (May 21, 2008). "Randall Park Mall to close by June 12". The Plain Dealer.
  19. ^ Ziegler, P.J. (March 19, 2014). "Big Plans: Randall Park Mall to be Transformed". WJW-TV.
  20. ^ Bullard, Stan (17 March 2014). "Randall Park to be transformed; Lichter's plans for industrial park win positive reviews". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  21. ^ Jarboe, Michelle (December 27, 2014). "Randall Park Mall demolition will start Monday, as village bets on industrial park". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  22. ^ Jarboe, Michelle (December 29, 2014). "Randall Park Mall demolition under way, as crew tears into former Dillard's store". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  23. ^ Taylor, Lorrie (June 5, 2016). "Randall Park Mall fire: Arson investigated at old Magic Johnson Theater". WJW-TV. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  24. ^ Miller, Jay; Bullard, Stan (2017-07-20). "Amazon may stake claim to old Randall Park Mall site". Crain's Cleveland Business. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  25. ^ Fung, Esther (2017-08-08). "The Best Place for a New Warehouse? An Old Mall". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  26. ^ Faull, Colton (25 August 2017). "An Amazon Fulfillment Center Officially Comes to Former Randall Park Mall Site, Needs Workers". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  27. ^ Estes, Adam Clark (25 August 2017). "Amazon Is Building a Colossal Warehouse Where America's Biggest Mall Once Stood". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017-12-06.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°25′54″N 81°31′52″W / 41.431691°N 81.531086°W / 41.431691; -81.531086