A Look Back at Southland Mall’s Rich History
Southland Mall in Cutler Bay, Florida, originally known as Cutler Ridge Mall, has a long and storied history. The original shopping center opened in 1960 and was anchored by Food Fair (Pantry Pride) and Richard’s, which later became Burdines.
Throughout the years, the mall underwent several expansions, and anchor tenant changes, including the addition of JCPenney, Jordan Marsh, and Lord & Taylor.
The Early Years: Cutler Ridge Shopping Center
In 1978, the shopping center was expanded into an entire mall and rebranded as Cutler Ridge Mall. This expansion saw the addition of JCPenney, Jordan Marsh, and Lord & Taylor as new anchor tenants, with Lord & Taylor opening in 1982.
During this time, Pantry Pride transitioned into a Phar-Mor store. The former Richard’s/Burdines building was demolished to make way for J. Luria and Sons, a local catalog showroom chain that opened in the mall in 1994.
Later, Luria’s building was transformed into Garden Ridge Pottery, and Dillard’s occupied the space left by Mervyns, which had closed in 1997. Eventually, Garden Ridge closed, and the area was subdivided into smaller stores, while Phar-Mor was replaced by a Kmart.
A Time of Change: The 1990s and 2000s
In 1992, the mall was nearly destroyed by Hurricane Andrew. When the Cutler Ridge Mall reopened after a year, only the original Sears store remained standing from the initial Cutler Ridge Shopping Center.
In 2002, T/S Development of Miami, Florida, took over the mall’s management, renaming it Southland Mall in November 2003. The Dillard’s store closed, and the building was demolished in 2004 to make way for Regal Cinemas, which opened in 2005. A similar process occurred at Pompano Citi Centre, where a Dillard’s store was also removed.
T/S Development purchased the property in November 2004 and sold its interests to Investcorp International Realty, a global investment group, in December 2006. Investcorp then enlisted Gumberg Asset Management Corp in Fort Lauderdale for the daily management and leasing of Southland Mall.
Anchor Tenants Through the Years
- Food Fair (Pantry Pride)
- Lord & Taylor
- Jordan Marsh
Today, Southland Mall features JCPenney and Macy’s as its anchor stores and a movie theater, LA Fitness, Victoria’s Secret, TJ Maxx, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Old Navy, Buffalo Wild Wings, and Ulta.
Community Favorites: Dining and Entertainment
Southland Mall has always been a hub for dining and entertainment. The mall property is home to popular eateries such as Olive Garden, Applebee’s, and Churromania. The mall also features a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant for sports enthusiasts and numerous fast food options.
The Regal Cinemas theater, which replaced the former Dillard’s store in 2005, offers the latest movie releases in a comfortable and modern setting. In addition, an LA Fitness facility is also located within the mall for fitness enthusiasts, providing a convenient place to work out and stay healthy.
The Iconic Carousel
One of Southland Mall’s most memorable features is its full-sized Italian carousel. Initially built for the Rotterdam Square Mall in Rotterdam, NY, in 1988, the carousel features beautiful imagery of New York and has been delighting Southland Mall visitors since 2007.
The carousel has become a symbol of nostalgia for many residents, providing a fun and whimsical experience for children and adults alike.
Retail Therapy: Popular Stores and Services
Over the years, Southland Mall has hosted a wide range of popular retail stores and services. Current tenants include well-known brands such as Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy, TJ Maxx, and DSW Shoe Warehouse.
Other businesses located on the mall property include Ross Dress for Less, SunTrust, Regions Bank, and Baby Elegant. In 2015, Sears Holdings spun off 235 properties, including the Sears at Southland Mall, into Seritage Growth Properties.
On July 7, 2017, it was announced that Kmart would close on October 1 as part of a plan to shut down 43 Kmart and Sears stores nationwide. On November 7, 2019, it was revealed that Sears would close this location as part of a plan to close 96 stores nationwide. The store eventually closed on February 14, 2020.
The Future: Southplace City Center
In September 2022, Electra America, American Landmark, and BH Group unveiled preliminary plans for the redevelopment and reinvention of Southland Mall into “Southplace City Center.”
The $1 billion redevelopment project will be one of the largest in the Southeast and aims to create a vibrant, mixed-use, transit-oriented community.
Southplace City Center at a Glance
- Over 4,000 residential units
- Over 500,000 square feet of thoughtfully selected retail space
- The project includes 150,000 square feet of prime retail space and dedicated outparcels for food and beverage establishments
- Abundant green space
- Bike and golf cart trails
- Walking trails
- Trolley system
- Easy access to public transit, including the Miami-Dade SMART Plan mass transit route
With the transformation of Southland Mall into Southplace City Center, the community will have access to a “city within a city” for living, shopping, working, and playing. The project promises to provide much-needed relief for the city’s housing shortage while preserving the rich history and memories of the beloved Southland Mall.
As Southland Mall continues to evolve and transform into Southplace City Center, the community can look forward to a bright future filled with new opportunities and experiences while cherishing the nostalgia of the mall’s storied past.