Saturday, August 19, 2017

Richmond Mall in Richmond, Indiana

Nicholas Eckhart

nicholas@deadanddyingretail.com
Last Updated: August 19, 2017
 Today, we cover a mall with a possibly more optimistic future. It is a mall which was sinking fast until a new owner came along and decided to try to turn the mall around. The interior of the mall was overhauled, the name was changed, and the exterior was spruced up. A new building on an out-parcel is being built (as of posting) and no more interior or anchor stores seem to be leaving for at least the time being. However, much of the mall is still empty and still has a long way to go if it is going to be completely revived. It seems rare that a new owner comes in to try to save a dying mall (and has money to invest), so it will be interesting to see how this turns out.
The 390,834 square foot Richmond Square Mall was developed by The Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation in 1966. Based on the information I could gather, it seems likely the the original anchor stores were Sears and JCPenney (Sears and JCPenney didn't take over other former stores as far as I can tell). There was also a junior anchor store that I could not identify (currently OfficeMax). My guess, based on other similar malls from the 1960s, is that the junior anchor was something like Woolworth or W.T. Grant Co. originally.

For whatever reason, DeBartolo also built a mall with a very similar name the same year (1966) in Richmond Heights, Ohio. That mall, was originally called Richmond Mall. Richmond Mall later rebranded as Richmond Town Square, which was an even closer name to Richmond Square Mall! 

The Richmond Square Mall in Richmond, Indiana was remodeled in 1997. Dillard's was added as an anchor store in that 1997 remodel. The mall was sold off from Simon Malls in the early 2000s. It appears that the Richmond Square Mall really started struggling in the mid to late-2000s. Sears left in August 2013. A lot of the smaller stores were closed. In late 2014, the mall was put into foreclosure by Wells Fargo Bank. One year later, the mall found a new owner, the Hull Property Group.

In 2016, the mall underwent a major renovation and changed its name to Richmond Mall (the same name its one time sister mall in Ohio originally had). The remodel brought new carpeting to the mall, the vacant stores were sealed up, and new signage was installed. Anchor store wise, the mall seems to be doing fine since three of the four anchor store slots are still occupied by JCPenney, OfficeMax, and Dillard's. Also, on my visit, a new building was being built on an out-parcel (to go along with MCL Cafeteria and Olive Garden). However, the inside of the mall still appears to be struggling. There are a bunch of stores that are dry-walled over. The vacancies aren't as noticeable since the fronts of the stores are covered up with quotes and historic pictures of Richmond, Indiana. Someone I follow on Flickr does have a good album of how the mall looked prior to its remodel (https://www.flickr.com/photos/66855546@N03/albums/72157659204881123).

As for competition, there does seem to be a decent amount of retail in Richmond, but I did also notice some interesting exclusions. Big-box store wise, Richmond does have Walmart, Meijer, Menards, Lowe's, Kohl's, Kmart, and Kroger (as well as JCPenney and Dillard's at Richmond Mall). The big-box stores I found surprising that Richmond doesn't have are Target, Home Depot, and Sam's Club. I also noticed, like many other medium sized towns, Richmond has a lot of strip malls with smaller store spaces. I suspect this is a major reason why the interior of the Richmond Mall seems to be struggling as much as it is. At least in my opinion, it seems either downsizing the enclosed mall portion and bringing in more larger stores or opening the interior up to more mixed-use businesses (such as offices, gyms, and community centers as well as stores) would be best for the Richmond Mall.

 This mall was one that seemed hard to find information on, at least information that is available free and online. For one, this mall doesn't even have a Wikipedia page (which most malls this size have). There doesn't seem to be many news articles on the mall and the little information in those articles, such as the date built and square footage, I could only validate with an old SEC filing from Simon Malls. If anybody reading this notices any omissions or has more to add to this incomplete history of the Richmond Square Mall / Richmond Mall please email me or comment below.
The former Sears store is on the left side of this photo and the main mall corridor goes off to the right. Hibbett Sports is also on the right of this shot but the entrance faces towards the main corridor and not towards this smaller one.

Some empty stores covered by drywall and photos.

I really do like how the skylights look in this mall. The floor in this mall used to be tile until this new carpeting was put in.

The middle of the mall, facing towards the former Sears.

JCPenney mall entrance. The logo seems a bit off, perhaps the text was put in bold?

Walled off corridor and former entrance to the junior anchor space. OfficeMax is on the other side of this wall. OfficeMax does not have an entrance into the mall. 

Mall corridor and exit near JCPenney.

GNC, American Eagle, and Victoria's Secret.

American Eagle Outfitters

Victoria's Secret and Maurices

Mall corridor

Christopher & Banks

benches

Mall corridor, facing JCPenney...

Creative Eyebrows

Dillard's mall entrance.

Nirvana

Rogers Jewelers

FinishLine

Justice

Middle mall corridor facing the front.

FinishLine window display

Shoebilee!

Center of the mall, facing towards Dillard's.

Bath & Body Works

Former Sears mall entrance

Hibbett Sports

heading outside...

This pigeon in the trash can jumped out and startled me!

Closed exterior stores

mall entrance near former Sears (north)

main mall entrance. The space to the left is a former Garfield's restaurant.


OfficeMax
Front of the JCPenney store
Back of the JCPenney store
MCL Cafeteria and Personal Finance


Unknown



back of the mall. JCPenney and Dillard's
Mall entrance near JCPenney (back)



Dillard's





mall entrance near former Sears (south)


back of the former Sears



Former Sears auto center


Front of former Sears




Front of the Richmond Mall

 New out-parcel building

Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below.


 Sources
  1. http://pdf.secdatabase.com/386/0000912057-01-008704.pdf
  2. https://beacon.schneidercorp.com/Application.aspx?AppID=402&LayerID=6170&PageTypeID=4&PageID=3305&KeyValue=891635340201001030
  3. https://beacon.schneidercorp.com/Application.aspx?AppID=402&LayerID=6170&PageTypeID=4&PageID=3305&KeyValue=891635340201000030
  4. www.pal-item.com/story/money/2015/12/17/richmond-square-mall-has-new-owner/77526650/
  5. http://www.indianaeconomicdigest.net/main.asp?SectionID=31&SubSectionID=62&ArticleID=69675
  6. http://www.pal-item.com/story/money/2014/12/28/property-foreclosure-close-richmond-mall/20968283/