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.
In 1962, Lazarus, a Columbus-based department store, became the first tenant of what would later be known as Westland Mall. This was Lazarus’s inaugural suburban location. 3
Between 1967 and 1969, the mall saw significant development under Richard Jacobs of Jacobs, Visconsi & Jacobs. 3 4 During this period, stores such as Sears, JC Penny, Woolworth, and 40 other storefronts were built around an open-air concourse. Lazarus underwent an expansion, growing to 171,000 square feet and featuring a new pillared portico entrance. 3 The revamped 860,000-square-foot mall was inaugurated at 10 a.m. on February 12, 1969. Prior to the opening ceremony, around 400 city leaders enjoyed breakfast at the Westland Mall’s Harvest House restaurant.
The updated mall was enhanced with several outdoor sculptures crafted by Cleveland artist Clarence E. Van Duze and weather-responsive fountains. 3
In 1982, Westland Mall was fully enclosed. 3 By the late 1980s, the upper floor of Sears was repurposed, transitioning from a customer space to an office for their in-house credit card, Discover. In 1993, the Lazarus store underwent extensive renovations. Woolworth’s shut its doors in January 1994 amidst a chain restructuring, which led to the closure of its 400 stores nationwide. Subsequently, the space was renovated to house a Staple’s (with no concourse access) and a Footaction USA, which opened towards the mall’s interior.
When the Mall at Tuttle Crossing opened in 1997, Westland Mall started losing its inline tenants. Jacobs defaulted on loans for Westland in 2001, resulting in Cigna Investments taking ownership. 4 Plaza Properties co-owned some out-parcels, including a Bob Evans restaurant. 5 In 2003, Kashani, a Toledo, Ohio-based shopping mall developer, bought Westland Mall. He aimed to reposition it as a lower-tier shopping center, introducing businesses like used bookstores, arts and crafts dealers, and a karate school. 1
J.C. Penny relocated to Tuttle Crossing from Westland in 2005. Lazarus, originally part of Federated Department Stores, transitioned to Lazarus-Macy’s in 2003 and then simply to Macy’s on March 6, 2005. However, it closed in 2007, leaving Sears as the sole anchor.
Subsequent redevelopment plans for Westland Mall were initiated. A proposed shopping center, with anchors Menards, Sears, and Staples, was unveiled. 5 However after contracting with Cigna and Plaza, Menards postponed its plans in December 2008, citing the economic downturn.
By September 2011, Sears shut off access to the mall’s concourse. In March 2012, there were plans to raze the mall, excluding Sears and Staples, to pave the way for a mixed-use development similar to Easton Town Center. 2 This demolition was projected to cost $3.3 million.
Sears closed its Westland branch in September 2017, rendering the mall tenant-less. 7
Fast forward to April 2019, LGR Weston acquired the former Sears site for $3.15 million. 6 This acquisition allowed LGR and its affiliate, Plaza Properties, to control the entire 88-acre mall area. They proposed demolishing it for a new mixed-use development.
On January 27, 2023, it was announced that the Westland Mall would be demolished as part of the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program. 8 The projected cost of the project was estimated at $13 million. The Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation, in association with the Franklin County land bank, applied for funding on behalf of the mall’s owners, Weston Town Center and LGR Weston. 9 According to the terms of the state grant, the mall company is required to cover a quarter of the total demolition costs, which amounts to $9.6 million.
The demolition of Westland Mall commenced in June. 10
Vintage images courtesy of the Westland Mall Facebook page.