Palm Beach Mall
The Palm Beach Mall was a shopping mall in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was the first fully-enclosed, climate-controlled mall developed in Florida. Despite clear visibility from Interstate 95 and two major renovations, strong competition from newer shopping destinations, high area crime rates, and ultimately tentative speculation on redevelopment, the shopping center is perceived a dead mall, and closed in early 2010. Three stores remain open: J. C. Penney and George's Music which have outdoor entrances, and a Firestone outparcel. The mall's current owner, Orix, along with the City of West Palm Beach are currently looking into luring IKEA and Bass Pro Shops to occupy the site.

History
When the mall originally opened on October 26, 1967, it was touted by its developer, the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation, as the largest mall in the Southeastern United States. The founding anchors included J.C. Penney's, which moved from its historic store downtown on Clematis Street about three miles (5 km) southeast, Jordan Marsh, and Richards. By the end of the decade, the mall also featured Walgreens, Lerner Shops, Food Fair, Woolworth, and The Mall Cinema 1-2-3-4 quadraplex. The Palm Beach Mall was expanded and renovated in 1980, in conjunction with the addition of Burdines (which also previously had a presence downtown) sporting a parking garage and Lord & Taylor. Sears moved into Richards space in 1980, which closed the same year following a statewide liquidation. The shopping mall's terrazzo floor was also replaced with tiles. Furthermore, when Pantry Pride (formerly Food Fair) closed in 1987, a food court called Treats was developed from its space. Concepts popular in the 1980s, including skylights and a lofty ceiling, were introduced to the Palm Beach Mall at this time. The 2000 renovation replaced most of the malls interior fixtures, redesigned the food court (this time calling it "Sea Side Café), and replaced the Wonderfall in center court with a much more modern fountain sporting a seahorse theme. On May 1, 1999, Nicholas Megrath, an 18 year old manager at the Chick-fil-A restaurant once located in the mall's Treats food court was murdered execution style by Jessie Miller Jr. Investigators said Miller entered the store, gagged and bound Megrath to a chair with duct tape and unsuccessfully attempted to open the store's safe. Investigators then claim the Miller became frustrated and fired a bullet into the 18-year-old's temple. Miller and his gang fled the scene with about $500 cash. Miller was sentenced to life without parole in 2009. The mall faced stiff competition after the turn of the century with CityPlace opening in downtown in 2000, and The Mall at Wellington Green opening up in 2001 in nearby Wellington. The mall also had to contend against increasing crime rates in the mall's surrounding area. Stores ran on shorter leases, and more left the mall entirely due to decreasing traffic. To bring business back to the mall, plans were devised but never executed to redevelop the property into mixed-use development, one proposal was a 290,000-square-foot (0.027 km 2) IKEA. In addition to this 700,000 square feet (0.065 km 2) of retail, 300,000 square feet (0.028 km 2) office space, and 500 residential units were considered. From the decline of business at the mall, Dillard's abruptly closed on October 31, 2008. Macy's announced as of January 8, 2009, that the Palm Beach Mall location will close due to under par performance. On March 9, 2009, the mall started operating under reduced hours to negate the lower foot traffic. On April 14, 2009, banking firm JPMorgan Chase filed for a foreclosure suit against Simon for the failure to repay a $55.4 million loan used on the shopping center. The proposed foreclosure seeks the sale of the mall to satisfy the mortgage. As of July, 2009, Washington-based Madison Marquette is temporarily operating the mall by a circuit court judge's decision. David Simon, CEO of Simon Property Group, claimed in July 2009 that the mall will remain open in its present form and that his company would continue being dedicated to making the aging mall a viable place to shop. Beginning the first week of November, 2009, J.C. Penney has closed off its entrance to the mall. The store continues to see heavy use, but the air-conditioning in the respective wing of the mall was turned off due to vacancies. Sears closed on January 17, 2010, announcing liquidation sales to start November 19 of the preceding year. On December 5, 2009, the malls court appointed receiver announced that the Palm Beach Mall would officially close on January 31, 2010 with the exception of J.C.Penney, George's Music and Firestone, which have outdoor entrances. Upon foreclosure under Simon ownership, Orix seized ownership of the Mall in December 2009 and will take full control in 2010, expecting to demolish at least most the mall. Madison Marquette will continue to manage the malls operations. Orix and the City of West Palm Beach are currently trying to offer incentives to get IKEA and Bass Pro Shops to occupy the space. J.C. Penney currently owns the land where its store resides. Similarly, both Dillard's and Macy's continue to own the building and land their stores once occupied.

Stores
  • J. C. Penney; 202,812 square feet (18,841.9 m 2) (Opened in 1967)
  • George's Music Superstore (Opened in 2002)
  • Firestone; located in parking lot near J.C. Penney (Formerly opened as Penney's Auto Center in 1967)


Former anchors
  • Burdines (opened in 1979, converted to Macy's in 2005)
  • Dillard's (opened in 2000, closed in 2008, space is currently vacant)
  • Food Fair (later became Pantry Pride, closed 1987, became Food Court)
  • Jordan Marsh (opened in 1967, closed in 1992, became Mervyn's)
  • Lord & Taylor (opened 1980, closed 2001, store demolished)
  • Macy's (converted in 2005 from Burdines, closed in 2009, space is currently vacant)
  • Mervyns (opened in 1991 in former Jordan Marsh space, demolished in 2000, became Dillard's and additional mall store space)
  • Richards (opened in 1967, closed in 1980, became Sears)
  • Sears (opened in 1980 in former Richards space, closed in 2010)


Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com