Randall Park Mall

Coordinates: 41°25′54″N 81°31′52″W / 41.431691°N 81.531086°W / 41.431691; -81.531086
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Randall Park Mall
Randall Park Mall.jpg
LocationNorth Randall, Ohio, United States
Coordinates41°25′54″N 81°31′52″W / 41.431691°N 81.531086°W / 41.431691; -81.531086
Address20801 Miles Road
Opening dateAugust 11, 1976
Closing dateMarch 12, 2009; 14 years ago (March 12, 2009)
DeveloperEdward J. DeBartolo, Sr. (DeBartolo Corporation)
No. of stores and services200 at peak
No. of anchor tenants7 at peak
Total retail floor area2,200,000 sq ft (200,000 m2)
No. of floors2

Randall Park Mall was a shopping mall located in the village of North Randall, Ohio, United States. It opened on August 11, 1976 on the site of what used to be the Randall Park Race Track. After over a decade of decline, it closed on March 12, 2009. The former Dillard's store and interior of the mall were demolished in 2015 to make way for an industrial park, and the remaining anchor tenants were demolished in 2017 after they all closed down. Amazon built a new distribution center on the site in 2018.

Planning and construction[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, Youngstown developer Edward J. DeBartolo planned 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 Park Race Track, a horse racing park immediately south of Thistledown Race Track. DeBartolo envisioned Randall Park as a "city within a city", with the mall, with 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 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] Halle's was going to open a store at the mall across from Higbees, but went out of business in 1982. Randall Park claimed the title of the world's 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 lobby was one storefront wide, with steep steps leading to the concession stand. The screens 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.

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.

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 the theater closed in early 2009.

Decline and closure[edit]

The mall's decline began in December 1994 when Edward J. DeBartolo died.[6] Two years after DeBartolo’s death, DeBartolo Realty Corporation merged with competitor Simon Property Group to form Simon DeBartolo Group, gaining ownership of Randall Park. The next year, 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 JCPenney store was converted into an outlet store in October 1998, but closed in January 2001 due to falling sales and as a result of closures of 44 locations nationwide.[9][10] Dillard's closed its Randall Park Mall Store in March 2003,[11] shortly after an incident where an off duty police officer, who was moonlighting as a security guard, apprehended a suspected shoplifter and injured him by slamming his head on the floor. The suspect died in the hospital two days later. In May 2003, two months after the closure of the Dillard's store, the security was sentenced to three years in prison for murdering the suspect.[12] By 2004, 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 2002, the mall was sold to the Farbman Group.[14] In turn they sold Randall Park to investor Haywood Whichard for $6 million – just fifteen percent of the original construction cost.[6][15] As the mall declined, the stores and buildings around it did so too.

Kaufmann's was rebranded into Macy's 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.[16][17] Macy's shuttered its Randall Park Mall store in March 2008.[18]

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.[19]

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. The last of the remaining small inside stores closed or moved out by March 12, 2009, the same day the mall closed, leaving the mall empty aside from Burlington Coat Factory, Sears, 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. Sears closed on June 14, 2009.

From 2013-2015, Cleveland-based photographer and artist Johnny Joo photographed the mall in a state of abandonment. Joo's photos were shared around the world when posted in a 2014 Buzzfeed article on abandoned malls across the United States.[20][21][22][23]

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][24][25] Property transfer occurred mid-July of that year;[26] demolition began the following December 29.[4][27]

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

On January 16, 2015, Burlington Coat Factory closed.

On May 5, 2016, calls came into the North Randall Fire Department for the former Magic Johnson Theater. Five surrounding agencies were dispatched to the theater. Fire was ruled arson by North Randall Fire Department.[28]


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.[29][30] On August 25, 2017, it was officially announced that Amazon would demolish the mall's remaining anchor stores and build an 855,000-square-foot warehouse, bringing 2,000 full-time jobs to the region.[31][32]

All remaining anchor buildings were demolished in August 2017, except for the former Sears and Amazon opened the facility in 2018.[33]


  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. ^ 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. ^ "Dillard's to exit Randall Park". 31 May 2005.
  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. ^ "New Randall Park owner plans spruce-up for mall". 31 May 2005.
  15. ^ Bullard, Stan (11 October 2004). "Bottom-fisher snags ailing Randall Park". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  16. ^ Gomez, Henry J. (June 19, 2007). "Ohio Technical buys Randall Park property". The Plain Dealer.
  17. ^ Mortland, Shannon (10 December 2007). "PowerSport Institute to roll into empty Randall Park Mall space". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  18. ^ "Macy's closing nine stores". Louisville Business First. December 28, 2007.
  19. ^ Jarboe, Michelle (May 21, 2008). "Randall Park Mall to close by June 12". The Plain Dealer.
  20. ^ "Completely Surreal Photos Of America's Abandoned Malls". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  21. ^ "The Haunting Final Photos Of What Was Once The World's Largest Mall". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  22. ^ Nutile, Alaina. "12 Eerie Photos of the Randall Park Mall". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  23. ^ Sim, David (2015-01-06). "Randall Park Mall: Johnny Joo's haunting photographs of Ohio's abandoned shopping city". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 2018-11-23.
  24. ^ Ziegler, P.J. (March 19, 2014). "Big Plans: Randall Park Mall to be Transformed". WJW-TV.
  25. ^ Bullard, Stan (17 March 2014). "Randall Park to be transformed; Lichter's plans for industrial park win positive reviews". Crain's Cleveland Business.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ Taylor, Lorrie (June 5, 2016). "Randall Park Mall fire: Arson investigated at old Magic Johnson Theater". WJW-TV. Retrieved December 5, 2016.
  29. ^ 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.
  30. ^ 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.
  31. ^ 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.
  32. ^ Estes, Adam Clark (25 August 2017). "Amazon Is Building a Colossal Warehouse Where America's Biggest Mall Once Stood". Gizmodo. Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  33. ^ Wright, Matt (2019-10-02). "See inside Amazon fulfillment center in North Randall for first time". fox8.com. Retrieved 2020-09-04.

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