Rolling Acres Mall
Rolling Acres Mall was a retail mall located in the Rolling Acres area of Akron, Ohio, United States. Built in 1975 and expanded several times in its history, it once comprised more than 140 stores, including five anchor stores, a movie theater and a food court. The mall was closed off in 2008, save for the only two anchors still in operation, Sears and JCPenney Outlet. However, in January 2011, Sears Holdings announced the Sears store would close by April 2011. Also in January 2011, JCPenney announced they would close all outlet stores including the Rolling Acres store which may close in 2011 or 2012.

Rolling Acres Mall was developed by Forest City Enterprises. It opened in Akron, Ohio with Sears and 21 stores on August 6, 1975, and had more than 50 stores by year's end. JCPenney opened a year later as a second anchor. A new wing, called the Court of Aquarius, was added in 1977, including a large aquarium (which was later removed) and a third anchor store, Montgomery Ward. Further expansion in 1978 comprised a new, two-story wing called the Promenade, comprising a food court called "Prom-N-Eat" and local chain O'Neil's as a fourth anchor. General Cinemas opened a movie theater at the mall in 1978 as well. The mall reached a peak of 140 stores in 1984. One year later, a mall-wide renovation was begun, replacing its original earth tones with pastel colors. Two of the anchors would change in the 1980s as well: Montgomery Ward closed in 1986 and was replaced with Higbee's (another local chain), and O'Neil's was merged to May Company Ohio in 1989.

1990s and 2000s
In a cost cutting measure, Rolling Acres stopped using off-duty police officers and instead relied on cheaper security guards, starting in 1991. During a showing of New Jack City , two movie patrons got into a fight outside of the cinema. People in the area believed it to be a gunshot, and a panicked crowd ran through the mall. Two more anchor changes in the 1990s, both affecting the same two buildings (Higbee's and May Company Ohio) that had previously been converted in the 1980s. Higbee's was acquired and renamed by Dillard's in 1992, and May Company Ohio became Kaufmann's a year later. Also in 1993, the General Cinema was closed. A fifth anchor, Target, was the final addition to the mall, opening in 1995. Shortly afterward, however, the mall began losing stores. In addition, the Dillard's and JCPenney anchors were downgraded to clearance centers in 1997 and 1999 respectively. The mall was sold to Bankers Trust in 2000, who gave the mall a new logo as well as a website. Also, the cinema reopened under an independent group calling itself "Blind Squirrel Cinema", but closed again two years later. In 2003, the cinema reopened again, this time as a discount theater.

The first anchor to leave the mall was Target, which relocated to nearby Wadsworth in February 2006. Dillard's Clearance Center was shuttered in August 2006, one month before Kaufmann's was re-branded as Macy's as the parent company of Kaufmann's was acquired. This Macy's, however, closed in February 2008. In April 2008, mall fixtures were auctioned off, and in August of the same year, the theaters closed for the third and final time. The eight remaining tenants at the mall were notified on October 2008 that the mall would be closing as soon as possible, due to FirstEnergy disconnecting the mall's electricity for nonpayment. On October 31, 2008, the mall's power was finally disconnected, not affecting Sears or the JCPenney outlet.

On April 23, 2009, it was announced that the mall had been placed on the internet auction block and that several people showed interest in buying it for various purposes. The mall was set to be auctioned off on May 1, 2009. On May 1. 2009 nobody placed a bid for the mall.

2010 Sale
The mall was sold in 2010 to a California company. The company announced plans to use the existing structure. Shortly afterwards, Sears announced it would be closing its location at the mall. It would close on or around April 3rd (although the date may change). but must clear out by April 20th. On January 25, 2011, the JCPenney Outlet Store announced it would be closing due to the chain's nationwide pullout of the oulet store concept. The store announced it would close in 2011 or early 2012.

After being sold by its developer, Forest City Enterprises of Cleveland, Rolling Acres Mall has since changed hands several times. It was in the hands of the Whichard family, known for buying malls and then flipping them for a profit. However, even Whichard had problems attracting major players. Invest Commercial LLC, a real estate developer from California bought the facility in July 2006. A number of employees were immediately fired. The future of the site remains unknown. Although Invest Commercial now owns the enclosed mall, concourses, and the Dillards facility, they do not own the other four anchors' buildings. This could become a problem in regards to the redevelopment of the site.


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Building Activity

  • Kirk Brewer
    Kirk Brewer commented
    dam shame what has happened to what was the crown jewel of Akron's malls
    about 5 years ago via Mobile