A brief history of Columbus’ shopping centers

By
From the June 2014 issue of Columbus CEO

1909: Simon Lazarus moves his department store, founded in 1851 as a men’s tailor shop, to a new six-story building at Town and High Streets in downtown Columbus.

1928: Don Casto, Sr. develops the Grandview Bank Block into a shopping strip dominated by grocery retailers; this early prototype of the strip mall was built to accommodate Casto’s new housing in Arlington, which at the time was considered too far from Downtown for convenient shopping.

1949: Don Casto, Sr. opens Town and Country on the city’s Far East Side; in 1999, Casto invested $3.5 million in upgrades to the center.

1957: Great Southern Shoppers City opens on Columbus’ South Side, part of Casto’s mission to open shopping plazas across Columbus.

1964: Developer Richard Jacobs opens Northland Mall; 50,000 shoppers attend opening day. Cigna Investments takes over ownership after Jacobs defaults in 2001.

1968: Developer Richard Jacobs opens the 940,000-square-foot Eastland Mall; Cigna Investments takes over ownership after Jacobs defaults in 2001. Glimcher Realty Trust acquires the mall for $29.7 million in 2003.

1969: Developer Richard Jacobs opens Westland Mall; Cigna Investments takes over ownership after Jacobs defaults in 2001. The mall parcels, currently owned by Weston Town Centre/Plaza Properties and Sears Roebuck, sit vacant; current proposals call for redevelopment into an open-air shopping center.

1972: The Continent, Columbus’ original lifestyle center, opens in north Columbus. The Continent featured 29 buildings with outdoor shopping in the European-inspired French Market, apartments and entertainment venues. The center began declining in the 1990s. Currently owned by Los Angeles-based Axs Opportunity Fund, the site features a small mix of clubs, office space and residential tenants.

1989: City Center Mall opens Downtown across from Lazarus’ flagship store, drawing over 100,000 shoppers on opening day.

1992: Worthington Square Mall, built in the 1970s, is enclosed. In 2010, a Worthington resident and Texas-based Morris Capital Partners purchase the 168,000-square-foot property for $6.5 million.

1996: Columbus City Council unanimously approves creating a tax-increment financing district for 1,125 acres in the Polaris area, over the objections of Northland Mall owner Richard Jacobs and Northland-area community groups.

1997: The Mall at Tuttle Crossing opens. The mall is currently owned by Indianapolis-based developer Simon Property Group.

1999: Limited Brands, the Georgetown Co. and Steiner & Associates open the first phase of Easton Town Center; Easton’s second phase, including anchor department stores Macy’s and Nordstrom, opens in 2001.

2001: Glimcher opens the 1.4-million-square-foot, $45-million, enclosed Polaris Fashion Place.

2002: Northland Mall closes; for $9.5 million, the city of Columbus buys the 84-acre site and razes most of the buildings. The expanded redevelopment site is now home to the Franklin County Dog Shelter, Ohio Department of Taxation offices and a Menards store.

2008: Glimcher builds a 155,000-square-foot, open-air addition to Polaris Fashion Place.

2008: Mayor Michael Coleman launches the Mile on High initiative designed to bring retailers back to Downtown Columbus.

2009: The remaining eight tenants of City Center Mall are given notice to vacate and the 1.3-million-square-foot mall is demolished.

2010: Capital Crossroads and the city’s Office of Economic Development launch the Retail Recruitment program to build relationships with potential Downtown retail tenants.

2011: Columbus Downtown Development Corp. & Capital South open Columbus Commons on the nine-acre City Center site; a third of the land is reserved for commercial and residential development. The Highpoint on Columbus Commons by Atlanta-based Carter will include 23,000 square feet of retail space.

2012: Simon Property Group announce plans to build a 400,000-square-foot Tanger Outlet mall in Delaware County, which is scheduled to break ground in summer 2014.

2014: Glimcher announces it will auction over-leveraged Eastland Mall in June with a bid minimum of $9 million. If the mall doesn’t sell, trustee U.S. Bank National Association will acquire the deed in lieu of foreclosure.

(Sources: Capital Crossroads Special Improvement District, Carter, Casto, Columbus Citizen-Journal, Dispatch Research, Franklin County Auditor, Glimcher Realty Trust, Ohio Secretary of State)