WOODHILL MALL: COLUMBIA, SC
Lewis Bozard's Commentary
Posted March 29, 2006 (user submitted)
Today the Shoppes at Woodhill occupies a hilltop location on busy Garners Ferry
Road. Completed in late 2004, the upscale open-air center features Target,
World Market, Bed Bath & Beyond, Panera Bread, Marble Slab Creamery, Starbucks
Coffee, and Hampton Hill Athletic Club among other tenants. But before the
redevelopment took place, the name Woodhill was associated with Woodhill Mall,
opened in 1978 on the same site.
The L-shaped mall consisted of about 300,000
square feet and was anchored by Richway, as the base of the L, and Tapp?s, at
the other end. The small enclosed mall was never a major destination for the
Columbia market, but it was home over the years to some decent tenants like
Casual Corner, Coplon?s fashions, Lourie?s men?s store, Morrison?s Cafeteria,
Eckerd Drug, and B. Dalton Books. Tapp?s was a Columbia chain of relatively
small department stores. The Richway store was one of three in Columbia, the
discount operation of Rich?s Department Store of Atlanta. This Richway, like
the others, had a distinctive architectural feature?orange and green
wedge-shaped skylights cropping up atop the roof.
In 1986 the Richway chain
was rebranded as Gold Circle. In 1989 it became Target. The mall fell on hard
times and in 1991 the mortgage holder foreclosed. Attempts were made in the
1990s to revitalize the mall through facelifts, but gradually the mall
continued to decline. A large blow came with the late 1995 announcement that
the entire Tapp?s chain would close, leaving an empty anchor space. A
freestanding Food Lion grocery store on the mall lot closed as well. By 2003
about two thirds of the mall was vacant.
Columbia-based Edens and Avant worked
hard to redevelop the site. They convinced mall tenants Target, Hampton Hill
Athletic Club, and Cici?s Pizza to remain on the site as tenants in the new
development. This was no small feat, as Target agreed to completely close
their location for almost a year while the old mall was demolished and the new
store was constructed. The old Woodhill Mall can now only be visited in our
memories, but it is good to know that a vital shopping destination has taken
its place?one even more appealing and popular than the mall had ever been.
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