Jack Thomas' Commentary

Posted June 12, 2009

The Tallahassee Mall, located in Tallahassee's north side on North Monroe Street(US Route 27) near Interstate 10, opened in 1971 with Woolco, Gayfer's, and Montgomery Ward. The mall was the second mall in the area, built after Northwood Mall down the road. That mall later closed, but 8 years later Governor's Square Mall opened on the east end of town, drawing traffic away with anchors new to the area and a wider selection of stores on two levels.

Tallahassee Mall struggled on for the most part. 1983 saw the closure of Woolco, and this space was filled with Zayre, which then became Ames in 1989. In 1992, a new two level wing in the rear of the mall was built behind Montgomery Ward, cutting the store in half and adding a fourth anchor, Parisian. And AMC 20 screen theater was added later on in 1996. Gayfer's became Dillard's at some point, and Ames was divided by Service Merchandise and Goody's.

Ownership changes occurred in 2000, with Jones Lang Lasalle operating the mall. At this time, Service Merchandise and Montgomery Ward left, being replaced with Ross Dress For Less, Shoe Carnival, and Burlington Coat Factory respectively. The Lasalle company took on a big box approach for the property, adding Sports Authority, Guitar Center, and Barnes and Noble to the center.

As stated in the previous commentary, Dillard's vacated the mall in 2007, and Feldman Mall Properties overtook the property, without doing much to improve the property, all while upgrading their other real estate holdings. Belk took over the operations of Parisian, and the rest of the mall just hangs in the balance. Having visited the mall in December of 2008, I can say that this mall isn't really dead, so much as it is forgotten. There are still a decent amount of stores in there, the mall is fresh and clean, the food court seems to have been remodeled at some point, and the theater still draws a large crowd. The fact that this mall has the area's only Belk store certainly seems to help. It's unkown what the future of the mall will bring. The recent economic downturn has seen the exit of Goody's, and without a replacement for Dillard's, the mall will continue to limp along.

Christopher's Commentary

Posted November 14, 2008 (user submitted)

Tallahassee has supported two malls, Governor's Square Mall and Tallahassee Mall. The two malls have coexisted for some time, with Governor's Square being a newer, 2 story enclosed mall with Sears, Macy's, Dillard's, and JCPenney. Tallahassee Mall is an older one story mall which had Dillard's, Burlington Coat Factory, and a Parisian (since rebannered to Belk's) and an AMC 20 screen movie theater. The mall is owned by Feldman properties, which is experiencing many financial problems. They have renovated or are in the process of renovating six of their seven properties. Tallahassee is the only one of the seven properties that has not been renovated yet.

In December of 2007, the Dillard's at the Tallahassee Mall closed after a multi-month liquidation sale. The store's employees were touting a future location at a new "lifestyle center" which is to be located on the northeast side of town. The lifestyle center, Pinnacle at Cross Creek, has been announced but construction has not started yet. This didn't stop Dillard's from leaving the mall.

Tenants at the Tallahassee Mall can apparently get out of their lease now that the mall is unable to find another tenant to replace Dillard's. The mall has until the end of December to do this, however, it appears unlikely as many other stores are closing as well. Goody's was just announced to be closing. Tallahassee's second Panera Bread was built in the mall, however, the uncertain future of the mall led the owners of the Panera Bread store to shutter the location before opening for its first day of operation. Store like Gap have left and were replaced by locations with names like "Stone Age". Two restaurants and Friedman's Jewelry also closed.

Now, the AMC theater is rumored to be moving to Fallschase, which is a new outdoor mall located near the future location of the lifestyle center. This will put the final nail in the coffin for Tallahassee Mall.


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