In the North Randall suburb of Cleveland, Ohio sits at one point, the worlds largest mall in 1976, and is the most famous dead malls in the trend. Randall Park Mall is the largest and emptiest mall in the city of Cleveland and the state or Ohio, and places number one on my list of the top ten most popular dead and dying malls in the country, Rolling Acres in Akron begin second.
The mall has grown to such an extent in the 1980s and 1990s, but as many malls do, declined in sales, and demographics changed, and the closed offically closed in March 2009. The only remaining tenants are Burlington Coat Factory, Lasalle Furniture, and a sports bike and ATV store in the former JCPenney. After years of talk of demolition and repurposing, on December 28, 2014, the city began to demolish the former Higbee's/ Dillard's store.
|Northfield Road, approaching the mall on of the malls many entrances.|
Here are some pictures from the city property board from how the street looked back in 1997:
Here is an original mall map depicting what the original anchor stores and inline tenants were.
In the beginning:
The plans of Randall Park Mall were initially set forth in 1966 by its creater, Dominic Visconsi, and in 1968, voters proposed the mall to be a blessing for the city town of North Randall and surrounding suburbs. Anchor stores planned for the mall consisted of Sears, JCPenney, May Co., Higbee's, Halle's, and Joseph Horne & Co.
Randall Park Mall was built on the site of the former horse racing track, and another horse racing track was built directly across the street. The creator of the mall envisioned that it would be "a city within a city", the mall would house 200 inline stores and 6 anchor stores in a two-story mixed floor plan. Also, plans for three 14-story apartment complexes, and two 20-story office centers were planned as well.
Randall Park Mall opened in 1976 as the worlds largest mall, what a claim, and how important was this for the mall community, and what potential this design gave other developers to construct more mall, showing bigger is really better.
The first loss to the mall was the Halle's Department Store, as it closed with the rest of the chain in 1982.
The Movie Theater:
When Randall Park Mall opened, it had a 3-screen cinema, a very intrigue and complicated design made the rooms that housed the screens feel as thought you were in many different buildings within one building. In 1991, the theater became second-run, and closed in 1993, and up until the malls closure, housed storage for store merchandise.
In 1999, a 12- screen Magic Johnson Cinema in the space originally never used by the Halle's chain. The theater was sold to Lowe's in 2007, and was changed to "O Theater", to reflect the company sloga at the time, "O what a bargain". The theater then closed some point after 2008.
The mall began to decline:
When JCPenney was in the mall, it stood at 207,000 square feet between two stories. In October 1998, the JCPenney store was converted to an outlet format, and closed for good in January 2001 because of falling sales. The Higbee's was changed to Dillard's in 1992 and closed a decade later. as well as Hornes, which was changed to Dillard's in 1994, and some point later became a Burlington Coat Factory store.
The May Co. store changed to Kaufmann's in 1993, and Macy's in 2006, before closing in February 2008. Around 2003, was when the mall appeared half vacant, mostly because two of the 5 anchor stores where gone. In June 2007, the Ohio Technical College acquired the former JCPenney and Firestone auto center to use as a training campus.
In 2008, talk about the mall closing began to surface, where most of the stores in the mall were small, and could be forced to move out, if the decision turned into action and Sears and Burlington would only be accessed from outside.
In February 2009, Sears announced it would close the store at Randall Park Mall in an effort to close 24 under-performing stores, including Kmart locations.
The last stores in the mall moved out and closed in March 2009, the only remaining tenant was the Burlington Coat Factory, which was only accessible from outside entrances, the technical school, and Lasalle Furniture.
All power to the mall was turned off in May 2009.
|Former Toys R' Us and Kids R' Us, and former Dick's in the middle|
In March 2014, it was announced that the vacant Randall Park Mall would be demolished in favor of an industrial park coming in, and the property transfer cleared in July 2014, and demolition finally began in December 2014.
Pictures in this post are from July 2014, around the time the decision to demolish the mall went into affect. I was lucky to see it before it becomes a thing of the past.
|Former May Co./ Kaufmann's/ Macy's|
|Former Higbee's/ Dillard's|
|Wrecked shopping carts to stores that have not been in the area for years|
|Former Lowe's Theater|
|Former Joseph Hornes/ Burlington Coat Factory/ Lasalle Furniture|
|Massive former Holiday Inn hotel|
|Former BEST Catalog showroom|
|Former Circuit City|
Here are some clips of the mall from the day it opened, construction and events going on.
There is plenty of history in this famous mall, so if anyone has any stories, pictures, memories, questions, or comments, feel free to post below. If anyone feels the history is incorrect, post what was actually where and when.
Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this.