In 1946, the house was demolished after having been purchased by the water company several years prior.(3) The land was not used until 1971 when parts of the Lexington Mall were constructed. A McAlpin’s department store, Shoppers Choice Supermarket and discount store opened, however, the mall itself was not complete. The center suffered from on-and-off-again construction due to the bankruptcy of the mall’s original developers, John W. Waites Associates.(4) Saul Subsidiary Incorporated purchased the mall in bankruptcy proceedings, completed construction and opened the indoor mall four years later in September with 48 tenants. Notable tenants for the indoor center included McAlpin’s For The Home Store and Dawahare’s.
For numerous years afterwards, the mall was at 100% occupancy with a “waiting list” of tenants that vied for a spot in the center. Over time, Shoppers Choice Supermarket was replaced with County Market.(7) In January 1984, the mall expanded with a new 72,000 square-foot grocery store structure;(4) the County Market expanded its operations, stocking 20,000 items in a new freestanding store. In March, Heleringer’s, a well-known furniture store in Louisville, expanded its operations outside of the Louisville-metro area for the first time by opening a new store in the vacated Shoppers Choice Supermarket and Consolidated Sales Company in the mall.(8) The new tenant carried “furniture, carpeting, bedding, draperies, wall coverings and decorative accessories” from the mid-range to the upscale.
The good times were sure rolling throughout the 1970s and 1980s. McAlpin’s renovated their department store in 1993,(6) freshening the interior with new tile, carpet and lighting fixtures, drastically updating it with its first major update since it opened in 1971. The Karmelkorn Shoppe became the number one sales-leader in the nation for the month of December 1988 selling 16,250 pounds, or roughly eight tons, of popcorn;(7) it was expected that it would be the number one chain again in December 1989 since same-store revenues had increased 30%.
These high-rolling times of the shopping center were sure to come to a close. The expansion of the Fayette Mall in 1993, with the addition of a department store and wing, took much of the customer base from the Lexington Mall.(4) One year later, in an effort to keep pace with the trends of the shopping center industry, the then-manager of the mall, Steve Reach, stated that the aging center would be renovated in 1995; this was an unkept promise, however. In October 1995, County Market closed its Lexington Mall operations after declining sales. In another effort to try and revitalize the mall, the then-manager of the mall, Pat Day, stated in September 1996 that the mall “might be expanded upwards with a second story.” Like the prior promise of a renovation, this was never executed. In June 1997, the two-screen Sony Theaters at Lexington Mall closed. Later that year in October, Hamburg Pavilion’s first stores open at the former Hamburg Farm in eastern Fayette county. The massive shopping complex, anchored by a booming housing market, drove customers further away from the Lexington Mall. Desirable tenants such as Target and Goody’s Family Clothing were constructed, soon followed by Old Navy, Barnes and Nobles, and numerous other ‘big-box’ chains and restaurants. In July 1998, Turfland Mall, Lexington’s oldest indoor shopping center, underwent renovations in an effort to keep pace. Two months later, the Lexington Cinema Grill opened in the place of the vacated movie theater.
By 1999, the future of the mall was in question.(4) Numerous tenants were leaving at a fairly rapid pace because of general maintenance neglect, unkept promises on renovations and expansions and a shifting customer base. The addition of new floors, higher ceilings and improved lighting, once expected, were never executed. One-by-one, tenants fled the Lexington Mall for greener pastures at the Fayette Mall and Hamburg Pavilion, and by 2005, Dillard’s 295,723 square-foot store was the sole tenant remaining. But even it announced that it was closing its doors to the Lexington Mall in September.(2)
Home Depot Lawsuit
In December 1997, Home Depot, a home-improvement superstore, demolished the former County Market grocery store.(4) Home Depot, which had purchased the store’s lot for $4.4 million in 1996, soon found itself embroiled in legal predicaments with the owners of the Lexington Mall, Saul Subsidaries. Saul had wanted Home Depot to construct its store as part of the mall in the former County Market lot, however, Home Depot constructed a free-standing store adjacent to the property instead.
The owner of the Lexington Mall insisted that Home Depot violated a private written 1969 agreement between the then-developer John W. Waites Associates and any future tenants. The Lexington Mall, however, was constructed on two pieces of property; the mall with the former McAlpin’s was located on one piece, with County Market, then Shoppers Choice Supermarket, on another. In August 1998, the Kentucky appeals court agreed that Home Depot did violate the agreement, but Home Depot stated that it would request the Supreme Court to review the ruling. Saul stated that the only remedy to the situation was to “tear down Home Depot.”
The out-lots included Perkins Restaurant, Noah’s Car Wash, and Home Depot.
Former tenants included AllSports, Cinderella, Concord Custom Cleaners, Dave’s Holiday House, Dawahares, Diamond Gallery, Dillard’s, Dr. Klecker OD, For Friends, For Friends Too, General Nutrition, Gold Spot, Hollywood Nails, Home Accents, Knott’s Shoes, Kopper Popper, Lottery Station, Morrison’s, Musicland, Pal Optical, Pro Image, Radio Shack, Regis, Rite Aid, Roger’s Hallmark, Schwab’s Pipes n’ Stuff, Sears Portrait Studio, Shoe Sensation, Things Remembered, and Up the Creek.
- Henson, Jenna. Personal interview. 30 June, 2005.
- Goolsby, Jonathan. “City in the dark as Saul stonewalls.” 22 Sept. 2006. Business Lexington. 17 Oct. 2006 Article.
- Edwards, Don. “Ghosts of time catch up with everything, even malls.” 27 May 1999. Herald-Leader (Lexington). 17 Feb. 2007.
- Baldwin, Amy. “Lexington’s uncrowded mall.” 1999 May 24. Herald-Leader (Lexington). 17 Feb. 2007.
- Baldwin, Amy. “Shopping center malls the competition.” 1998 Nov. 16. Herald-Leader (Lexington). 17 Feb. 2007.
- Osbourn, Kevin. “Fayette Mall solidifies influence.” 1993 Jan. 4. Herald-Leader (Lexington). 17 Feb. 2007.
- Jordan, Jim. “Lexington shop pops 8 tons of holiday corn.” 1990 Jan. 8. Herald-Leader (Lexington). 17 Feb. 2007.
- Reynolds, Sharon M. “Heleringer’s.” 12 March 1984. Herald-Leader (Lexington). 17 Feb. 2007. (title unknown)