Uncovering the Past and Present of Oxmoor Center Mall in Louisville, KY

The Early Days of Oxmoor Center

The Oxmoor Center Mall opened in Louisville, Kentucky, on February 8, 1971. It was located at 7900 Shelbyville Road and stood opposite the Watterson Expressway from Mall St. Matthews. The mall initially featured Shillito’s and Stewart’s as its anchor stores and expanded in July 1984 with a new wing over the Middle Fork of Beargrass Creek, which included a Sears store.

The mall was built on the part of Oxmoor Farm, and due to a trust stipulation, the mall had to lease the land. As a result, the mall remains a leaseholder even after the deed restriction expires.

At the mall’s east end, the Shillito’s store was a three-story building with a small restaurant on the third floor. The west end featured Stewart’s department store, while Yudofsky Furriers was adjacent. The central atrium had a beautiful circular fountain that caught the eye.

https://youtu.be/VW13r83w6e8

Highlights from the 1970s

  • Putters Park on the upper level
  • Four cinema screens
  • Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour
  • Something to Do (now known as Something2Do) – moved out in July 2014
  • Modelle’s Custom Tailors – still operating on the lower level
  • Athlete’s Foot

Lower Level Tenants

  • A tobacco shop (with a wooden Indian statue, still in business)
  • A candle store
  • Lerner’s (women’s clothing)
  • Far East – a small store selling imported gifts
  • Thom McAn Shoes

By the 1980s, six cinematic auditoriums were in operation at Oxmoor Center.

Oxmoor Center’s Evolution: 1980s to Present

Over the years, Oxmoor Center has seen many changes in its anchor stores. For example, the Shillito’s store went through several rebrandings: Shillito Rikes in June 1982, Lazarus in March 1986, Lazarus-Macy’s in August 2003, and finally, Macy’s in March 2005.

Stewart’s went through six rebrandings between November 1985 and September 2003 and is now known as Von Maur. The Famous Blue Boar Cafeteria, a charter tenant from 1971, closed in 1995 along with Rax.

In 1989, the mall added a food court on its upper level, and in 1997, a 2-level Kohl’s store was opened nearby. A significant renovation in 1998 brought a new octagonal main entrance, vaulted ceilings, escalators, and a refreshed north facade.

In addition, Galyan’s Trading Company opened a new 2-level store in the front parking area in October 2001, which later became Dick’s Sporting Goods location in October 2004.

Oxmoor Center boasts over 960,000 square feet of retail space and is anchored by Macy’s, Von Maur, H&M, and Dick’s Sporting Goods. Brookfield Properties owns the retail hub.

In January 2013, the mall announced a significant renovation, replacing the center mezzanine containing the food court and some retailers with a new center court. Moreover, the renovation introduced new seating areas and a play zone close to the Sears store, ready for shoppers during the 2013 Christmas season.

Sears announced the closure of their Oxmoor Center location on October 6, 2017, with the store closing on January 14, 2018.

Recent Developments at Oxmoor Center

Toys ‘R’ Us Returns to Louisville

In October 2022, the iconic toy retailer Toys “R” Us returned to Louisville more than four years after its closure. Toys “R” Us has returned just in time for the holiday season and operating from the Macy’s outlet in Oxmoor Center.

This Toys “R” Us location remains the only store in the city, following the closure of the Shelbyville Road storefront and other branches in early 2018 due to the company’s bankruptcy.

Oxmoor Center Unveils Updated Facade and New Retail Spaces

After a two-year renovation, Brookfield Properties completed a 30,000-square-foot addition and renovations to Oxmoor Center in April 2023. The project included the addition of 27 acres of surface parking and redevelopment of a big-box space formerly occupied by Sears. Topgolf recently opened within this area, and there are locations for nine additional tenants.

Sandbox VR Opens Its First Kentucky Location at Oxmoor Center

Sandbox VR, a full-body virtual reality experience, celebrated its grand opening at the Oxmoor Center in April 2023. The gaming experience fully immerses users in their chosen game.

The new location boasts four private rooms, called “holodecks,” for virtual reality gameplay. Each game session at Sandbox VR can accommodate up to six players, with prices varying between $50 and $55 per person.

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Comments: 2
  1. Avatar of Maria Eckerle
    Maria Eckerle

    Spencer, I enjoyed your article on Oxmoor Center. It may be interesting to write about the older history of Oxmoor Farm when the Bullitt’s lived there. The story about the butler and the maid absconding with money they found in the Bullitt’s largest residential library in the State… They were eventually caught and the money recovered in a glass jar near a small bridge on the property. I believe the curator of the library would be able to give you the whole story.
    I had a good friend on the farm and spent many days shoveling hay and walking the grounds there in the ’70s. The City build the farm a viaduct that allows the farm to be accessed on both sides of the expressway.

    There is a formative article written by Lennie OmalzaSpecial to Courier Journal about the gardens, the library and the Oxmoor Farm Foundation.
    Maria

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for your proposal, Maria.
      Learning about the people and events that have shaped the land and its buildings over the years can provide a deeper understanding and appreciation of the area. It’s exciting to think about the stories and secrets that may still be hidden within the farm.
      I appreciate your recommendation of the article written by Lennie Omalza to Courier Journal. It was really interesting.
      While I can’t make any promises about writing an article on the Oxmoor Farm history right now, I agree that it would be an exciting and informative topic to explore.

      Reply
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