Tuesday, June 18, 2013

North Towne Square Mall in Toledo, Ohio

Nicholas Eckhart

     There was a massive dead mall lying just a few thousand feet south of the Ohio and Michigan state-line on the north side of Toledo. Unfortunately for the people who would like to pay a visit to this dead mall themselves, it has since been demolished. The pictures in this post were taken a week or two before North Towne Square was turned into a pile of debris. All that currently remains on site is the Wards store, (now operates as Super Fitness and Darla & Co.), a former Pier 1 Imports that is being reused as AAA, and a Toys R Us store on an out-parcel.

     The original plans for the mall called for it to be developed by Phillip Portteus and to be called Skyview National Plaza. Later Simon Property Group took over the site and started planning a new mall called North Towne Square that would have 850,000 square feet of space. The actual square footage of the mall would be 735,000. North Towne Square was intended to have four anchor stores, but only Mongomery Ward, The Lion Store, and Lasalle's signed to Simon and built stores at the site. The mall was created since Simon figured they could be supported by the northeast part of Toledo and towns in southeast Michigan like Monroe. 

     The Lion store and Lasalle's opened in 1980 while the interior part of the mall and Mongomery Ward opened in March 1981. The mall featured many big name smaller stores in its original tenant line-up such as McCrory, Radio Shack, CVS, Claire's, Stride Rite, and an AMC movie theater. North Towne Square had a pretty big volume business in its early years. In the Mall's early years Lasalle's changed its name to Macy's and then was acquired by Elder Beerman. The first major blow to business came in 1988 when Frenchtown Square Mall (now called The Mall of Monroe) opened in Monroe, Michigan. Frenchtown featured five anchor stores including an Elder Beerman. Another hit to North Towne came in 1993 when nearby Franklin Park mall expanded and included added a store that North Towne Square also had : The Lion Store.

     The Elder Beerman store was closed in 1997, leaving a mall built for four anchor stores with only two. In 1998 Dillard's acquired and re branded the Lion Store as Dillard's. Dillard's closed in 2000 due to poor sales. At that point stores were fleeing North Towne square at a dreadfully fast rate. The chain stores left first and set up in other malls nearby such as Frenchtown and Franklin Park and more stores in the mall  became family run. Montgomery Ward closed their remaining stores in 2002, leaving North Towne with no remaining anchor stores. Right after Wards closed Simon bailed on the mall and opted to sell the property to two people from California. The new owners "officially" changed the name of North Towne Square to Lakeside Centre, but left most of the North Towne Square signage up. The change in ownership drew in new stores such as MC Sports and Bath & Body Works, but those stores quickly bailed as well. Late in 2003 Super Fitness opened in the former Ward's store. 
     North Towne Square (Lakeside Centre) was closed in July 2005. The mall was demolished in January 2013. Currently Super Fitness, Darla & Co. Toys R Us, and AAA are the only businesses on the property.      

This was originally York Steakhouse

The Lion Store
This store operated as The Lion Store from 1980 to 1998 and Dillard's from 1998 to 2000.

Montgomery Ward 
This store relocated in 1981 from Greenwood Mall (became a strip mall after North Towne Square opened) and remained operating until the Wards chain closed all their stores in 2002. Mongomery Ward was the only anchor at North Towne Square that did not get acquired and renamed. Currently, Super Fitness and Darla & Co. hair salon & day spa use part of this store. The Auto Center and the north side of the store remain unused. There is a picture on another site of the store with the signage still up. http://tch546.tripod.com/genret/index.html

The North side of the Wards store.

Notice that there are Wards stickers on the doors.
A sign left behind by Wards

Darla & Co. is on the West side of the former Wards.

Super Fitness is located in the south half of the former Montgomery Wards store.

This store was opened as a Lasalle's in 1980 despite other sources that say this opened as Hudson's. In 1982 this store was converted to R.H. Macy & Co. along with the other stores in the Lasalle's chain. Elder Beerman purchased this store from R.H. Macy & Co. in 1984. In 1997 Elder Beerman shuttered this location and it has remained vacant since.

Toys R Us
This is the last store left operating in the area.

The lack of cars is not a good sign.

Kids R Us sign (taken from a closed store perhaps?)

Pier 1 Imports
 This store is currently used as a AAA facility.

The mystery sign...
Not really a mystery, North Towne Square went by the name Lakeside Center from 2003 until the mall closed in 2005. Oddly enough, the mall entrances still displayed the name North Towne Square until the mall's closure.


  1. Good post, did you try to see if you could see inside the mall when it was being demolished?

    1. Too late now since it's been torn down already (except for Monkey Ward's spot since the fitness center apparently got to keep it. Toys R Us is still there, which is more than could be said about it since I suppose they still get people in during the warmer months anyway, if not that, than for the ALDI grocery store also in the vicinity.

    2. check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAo2ue6s5Bc

  2. I really wish we had a mall on this side of town. for me personally Franklin park mall is to big. I'd love to have a movie theater, and Ogla's, Dillard's, Deb's and Jc Penny's closer and in a smaller type mall.

  3. Sears is now closing here now, I heard on "The Blade" newspaper's website through a news search for 'Sears store'.

  4. Toys r us is closing surprised? why?


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