Beechmont Mall, an enclosed shopping center in Anderson Township on the eastern fringes of Cincinnati, Ohio, was constructed in 1969. The 600,000 square-foot shopping center featured 56 stores and three anchors: Shillito’s, H and S Pogue and F.W. Woolworth’s.11 12 15 23 The initial owners, however, were under-capitalized and filed for bankruptcy not long after the center opened.12
The mall was expanded in 1980 with a northern addition that included a 94,700-square-foot Hills Department Store 22 and additional retail space.23 Pogue was replaced with Elder-Beerman in 1981, and Shillito’s became Shillito-Rike’s a year later, which then became Lazarus in 1986. The Hills Department Store on the northern end of the mall later became a K-Mart.23 In 1992, Elder-Beerman vacated and was replaced by Parisian.
The mall’s concourse languished in the late 1980’s and 1990’s due to increased competition from Eastgate Mall, and later Newport on the Levee and Norwood’s Rookwood Commons.12 In 1997, Anderson Township officials began pursuing mall revitalization,11 although that did little to help the shopping center. The Parisian department store closed its Beechwood Mall location on July 31, 1999.12 21 Within a year, only a handful of stores remained in the concourse, anchored by Lazarus, K-Mart and CVS, and the food court was vacant. The managing company of the center since 1997,17 Zamias Center, discussed redeveloping the mall into an open-air center.
Zamias prepared to tear down the aging retail center and replace it with a lifestyle center in January 2001, which was 85% pre-leased.18 20 In preparation for demolition of the mall, several stores were relocated into converted mobile homes, which was slated for completion by fall. In March, the rebranded Anderson Towne Center was put on hold due to a slumping retail economy.19
In December, Victory Investments purchased the deteriorated Beechmont Mall, but had no long-term reuse plans for the structure.8 13 On July 31, 2002, Anderson Township purchased a small gully behind the mall for $1 million.11 16 The gully had become a dump, although the township envisioned that it would provide for flash flood and erosion control and for a possible park.
On January 7, 2003, bids were opened for demolition of the shopping center,14 and the tear-down began on March 10.8 Twenty-five residents won a raffle for the chance to sit in a backhoe to help maneuver a wrecking ball.9 Demolition on the complex, sans Lazarus and K-Mart,14 was completed in June 10 for $1.6 million,9
On August 12, the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority’s board of trustees approved spending $350,000 to help fund a park-and-ride facility at Anderson Towne Center.7 The hub was designed to relieve congestion on the current park-and-ride lot near the township’s administrative building, and was part of the MetroMoves plan that included light rail and streetcars for the region.
The new 21-acre Anderson Towne Center opened in October 2004 4 at a cost of $21.1 million,1, although the developer had invested more than $30 million into the project.3 Patterned after a traditional ‘town square’, the development featured the nation’s largest Kroger store, a remodeled Lazarus, now Macy’s and K-Mart as anchors.2 5 6 8 In 2005, two office buildings were completed.2 3
In the fall of 2007, Anderson Township completed a two-story administration office and performing arts auditorium at a cost of $6 million.2 6 It included a 15-acre park 13 with a small man-made lake and waterfall, along with a two-mile long hike and bike path. A $2.5 million Metro bus park-and-ride station opened with 200-spots.1 6
The redevelopment effort attracted national attention.1 On July 28, 2006, 25 government and civic leaders from Indianapolis visited Anderson in search of ideas on how to revive a deteriorating mall in the northwestern part of the city. This was followed by government leaders and professionals from Maikop, Russia that came with an interest in local economic development.[stag_toggle style=”normal” title=”Former Tenants” state=”closed”]
- Hills Department Store 22
- Shillito’s 23
- H and S Pogue 23
- F.W. Woolworth’s 23
- Thriftway Food and Drug 23
- Shillito-Rike’s 23
- Elder-Beerman 23
- Lazarus 23
- Parisian 21
- Kemme, Steve. “Mall transformation getting noticed.” Cincinnati Enquirer 10 Aug. 2006. 5 Dec. 2008: 3C.
- Kemme, Steve. “Shopping center’s retail sites vacant.” Cincinnati Enquirer 30 May 2005. 5 Dec. 2008: 3B.
- Kemme, Steve. “Anderson Twp. waiting for site to be beautiful.” Cincinnati Enquirer 17 Feb. 2005. 5 Dec. 2008: 1B.
- McNutt, Randy. “Towne Center to give Anderson new heart.” Cincinnati Post 17 Feb. 2004. 5 Dec. 2008: 3G.
- Edwards, Jennifer. “Mall makeover poised to begin.” Cincinnati Post 6 Feb. 2004. 5 Dec. 2008: 1D.
- Edwards, Jennifer. “Anderson plan for town center has auditorium.” Cincinnati Post 17 Jan. 2004. 5 Dec. 2008: 8B.
- Osborne, Kevin. “Transit hub ok’d near Anderson Town Center.” Cincinnati Post 13 Aug. 2003. 5 Dec. 2008: A9.
- “Plans released for Anderson Towne Center.” Cincinnati Post 12 June 2003. 5 Dec. 2008: Z1.
- Luz, Lia. “25 to wield wrecking ball.” Cincinnati Post 7 March 2003. 5 Dec. 2008: A12.
- Hartong, Glenn. “Making way for new mall.” Cincinnati Enquirer 12 March 2003. 5 Dec. 2008: 1D.
- O’Neill, Tom. “Mall poised for transformation.” Cincinnati Enquirer 18 Feb. 2003. 5 Dec. 2008: 8E.
- Garretson, Craig. “Regional malls stole the show – Beechmont complex couldn’t compete.” Cincinnati Post 8 Jan. 2003. 5 Dec. 2008: A8.
- Garretson, Craig. “Last days of Beechmont Mall – Obsolete Anderson complex to be new town center, park.” Cincinnati Post 8 Jan. 2003. 5 Dec. 2008: A1.
- Paeth, Greg. “Complex nearing plans to demolish.” Cincinnati Post 13 Dec. 2002. 5 Dec. 2008: B8.
- Vance, Karen. “Mall will lose some walls.” Cincinnati Enquirer 1 Oct. 2002. 5 Dec. 2008: 5B.
- Moores, Lew. “Anderson moves on mall plan.” Cincinnati Enquirer 18 May 2002. 5 Dec. 2008: 1B.
- Moores, Lew. “Potential buyer of Beechmont Mall envisions revamp.” Cincinnati Enquirer 30 Nov. 2001. 5 Dec. 2008: 5C.
- Driehaus, Bob. “Beechmont Mall stores preparing for major makeover.” Cincinnati Post 8 Jan. 2001. 5 Dec. 2008: 7B.
- Driehaus, Bob. “Retail blues hit Beechmont Mall.” Cincinnati Post 17 April 2001. 5 Dec. 2008: 6C.
- Driehaus, Bob. “Beechmont Mall plans open-air face-lift.” Cincinnati Post 17 May 2000. 5 Dec. 2008: 6B.
- Fasig, Lisa Biank. “Store closing at mall.” Cincinnati Enquirer 9 April 1999. 5 Dec. 2008: 10D.
- “Beechmont Mall gets sixth threat.” Cincinnati Post 4 Dec. 1990. 5 Dec. 2008: 4A.
- “Cincinnati’s Beechmont Mall.” Mall Hall of Fame 1 July 2008. 12 Dec. 2008 Article.