Upper Valley Mall – The Glory Days
Remember when Upper Valley Mall was Springfield, Ohio‘s bustling hub for shopping and entertainment? Those were the days when families would spend their weekends strolling through the mall, discovering new stores, and dining at the food court.
The mall, built in 1971 by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, had room for 55 stores and featured anchor tenants like J.C. Penney, Sears, Rike’s, and Wren’s.
Original Tenants and Early Changes
A few of the original tenants at the mall comprised an F.W. Woolworth Company dime store, which shut its doors in January 1992. In addition, the Block’s location was transformed into extra sales space for Lazarus following Federated Department Stores’ acquisition of Block’s in 1987.
Elder-Beerman arrived on the scene in October 1992, taking the place of Woolworth, but both Elder-Beerman and Old Navy closed up shop in January 2013.
Sadly, like many shopping malls across the country, Upper Valley Mall began to experience a decline. As a result, the mall went into receivership in July 2014, and management was transferred from Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group to Urban Retail Properties.
Macy’s and J.C. Penney closed their stores in the spring of 2015, followed by the mall’s cinema, an original tenant, in February 2017.
In December 2016, the Clark County Land Reutilization Corporation purchased the Macy’s site for about $200,000. They then purchased the rest of the site, excluding Sears, in May 2018 for more than $3 million. Sears eventually closed its store in the mall in March 2019, leaving the mall without any anchor tenants.
Failed Redevelopment Plans
There were hopes for redevelopment, such as a mixed-use sports complex with Home Plate Sports Academy. But, unfortunately, nothing ever came of those plans. Other closures, like Victoria’s Secret in January 2020, followed. The mall’s property was even used for COVID-19 vaccinations and testing in early 2021.
Closure and Redevelopment
On April 15, 2021, it was declared that Upper Valley Mall would close permanently to the public on June 16, 2021. The mall’s remaining tenants, including Bath & Body Works, Spencer Gifts, GNC, and Mark Pi Express, were informed they must vacate the mall by mid-June.
New Beginnings: Upper Valley Business Park
In June 2021, it was announced that Clark County had agreed to sell the mall and its property to the Ohio-based developer Industrial Commercial Properties (ICP) for $2.25 million. ICP planned to convert the mall into a mixed-use business park, with the first tenants, Eby-Brown and Rittal North America, moving in spring 2022.
While it’s sad to see the Upper Valley Mall close its doors, the transformation into Upper Valley Business Park marks a new beginning for the area. The business park aims to bring economic growth and development to the Upper Valley corridor and beyond.
|1971||Upper Valley Mall opens|
|1987||Block’s location converted to Lazarus sales space|
|2013||Elder-Beerman and Old Navy close|
|2014||Mall goes into receivership|
|2015||Macy’s and J.C. Penney close|
|2017||Mall’s cinema closes|
|2018||Clark County Land Reutilization Corp. purchases the site|
|2021||Upper Valley Mall permanently closes|
|2022||Upper Valley Business Park opens|
Preserving the Memories of the Upper Valley Mall
When Upper Valley Mall closed for good, the county declared its intention to donate any materials from the mall to the Clark County Heritage Center, ensuring their preservation as a part of local history. This includes the mall’s beloved Peanuts characters’ Christmas displays, providing that the cherished memories of the mall live on.
Supporting Local Businesses
Upper Valley Mall played a significant role in supporting local businesses. From the family-owned Mark Pi Express to the Emporium antique and consignment store, the mall provided a space for entrepreneurs to showcase their products and services.
Many local business owners got their start at Upper Valley Mall, where they were able to connect with the community and establish a loyal customer base. However, as the mall closed its doors, these businesses had to find new locations to continue serving their customers, carrying on the legacy of the mall in their new spaces.
Reflecting on the Past
For those who grew up visiting Upper Valley Mall, it’s hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia for the mall’s heyday. The mall was a significant part of the community, where people gathered to shop, dine, and socialize.
Embracing the Future
The closure of Upper Valley Mall marks the end of an era, but it also signals a new beginning for the area. As Upper Valley Business Park welcomes new tenants and fosters economic growth, embracing the change and looking forward to the opportunities it will bring is essential.
The story of Upper Valley Mall is one that many can relate to—a once-thriving shopping center that fell victim to the changing times. Yet, while it’s essential to remember and cherish the memories of the past, it’s also crucial to look forward to the future and the opportunities ahead.
Ultimately, transforming Upper Valley Mall into Upper Valley Business Park signifies a new chapter for the community, promising economic growth and development for years.