Westland Mall is an abandoned shopping mall on the western fringes of Columbus, Ohio. One of four directionally-named shopping centers in the region, all but Southland were constructed by Jacobs, Visconsi & Jacobs.
The first tenant to locate at what would become Westland Mall was Columbus-based Lazarus in 1962. It was the department store’s first suburban location. 3
Between 1967 and 1969, Sears, JC Penny, and Woolworth and 40 storefronts were constructed around an open-air concourse by Richard Jacobs of Jacobs, Visconsi & Jacobs. 3 4 Lazarus expanded to 171,000 square feet, adding a pillared portico entrance. 3 The new 860,000 square feet mall was dedicated at 10 a.m. on February 12, 1969. About 400 city leaders had breakfast at the new Westland Mall Harvest House restaurant before the opening ceremony.
The new mall was adorned with several outdoor sculptures by Cleveland artist Clarence E. Van Duze and fountains that reacted to the weather. 3
In 1982, Westland was enclosed. 3 The upper floor of Sears was closed to customers and converted into office space for their in-house credit card, Discover, in the late 1980’s. In 1993, the Lazarus store was extensively remodeled. Woolworth’s closed in January 1994 during the chain’s restructuring process that resulted in the elimination of its 400 stores. It was renovated into a Staple’s with no concourse access and Footaction USA that faced the interior.
Westland Mall began bleeding inline tenants when the Mall at Tuttle Crossing opened nearby in 1997. Jacobs defaulted on loans relating to Westland in 2001 leading Cigna Investments to take over ownership. 4 Plaza Properties co-owned some of the out-parcels, including a Bob Evans restaurant. 5 Kashani, a shopping mall developer from Toledo, Ohio, acquired the mall in 2003 and attempted to reposition Westland Mall as a lower-tier shopping center, with used bookstores, arts and crafts dealers and a karate school, among others. 1
J.C. Penny left Westland for Tuttle Crossing in 2005. Lazarus, a founding partner in Federated Department Stores, was rebranded Lazarus-Macy’s in 2003 and Macy’s on March 6, 2005. The store closed in 2007, leaving Sears as the remaining anchor.
Redevelopment plans for Westland began shortly after. A new shopping center, anchored by home improvement chain Menards, Sears and Staples, was announced. 5 After signing a contract with Cigna and Plaza, Menards put plans for the new store on hold in December 2008 due to the economic recession.
In September 2011, Sears closed the entrance to the concourse. Plans were announced in March 2012 to demolish the mall, sans Sears and Staples, for a new mixed-use development styled after Easton Town Centre. 2 The projected demolition cost would be $3.3 million.
Sears closed its Westland store in September 2017, leaving the mall entirely empty of tenants. 7
In April 2019, the former Sears anchor was acquired by LGR Weston for $3.15 million. 6 The purchase gave LGR and its sister company, Plaza Properties, control of the entire 88-acre mall site, which it had proposed demolishing and replacing with new mixed-use development.
[su_spoiler title=”Sources” icon=”caret”]
- Showalter, Kathy. “New owners poised to revive Westland.” Columbus Business First 3 Mar. 2003: n. pag. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.
- Ferenchik, Mark. “Westland owners forsee a mini-Easton.” Columbus Dispatch 10 May 2008: n. pag. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.
- Tebben, Gerald. “Columbus Mileposts: Feb. 12, 1969 | Westland Mall’s debut draws crowd.” Columbus Dispatch 12 Feb. 2012: n. pag. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.
- McConnell, Kitty. “A BRIEF HISTORY OF COLUMBUS’ SHOPPING CENTERS.” Columbus CEO 2014 Jun: n. pag. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.
- Ferenchik, Mark. “Menards is losing interest in Westland.” Columbus Dispatch 25 May 2010: n. pag. Web. 30 Dec. 2014.
- Weiker, Jim. “Westland Mall to become Weston mixed-use development under plan.” Columbus Dispatch, 26 Apr. 2019.
- Feran, Tim. “Sears to close stores at Eastland, Westland.” Columbus Dispatch, 7 Jun. 2017.