TURFLAND MALL: LEXINGTON, KY
Nathan E Smith's Commentary
Posted May 3, 2011 (user submitted)
In 1967 Turfland opened to the population of Lexington as the city's first enclosed shopping mall. Turfland grew to be prosperous throughout the 1970s and 80s. The mall originally housed three anchor stores Montgomery Ward,Grant City, and McAlpin's as well an arcade dubbed 'Dream Machine' and a Loews two screen cinema. But soon other malls shot up drawing business away from Turfland.
By the mid-1970s Lexington was home to 3 large enclosed shopping malls competing were Lexington Mall and Fayette Mall. The openings of these malls led McAlpin's to expand out into three locations at each mall and Grant City to close to be replaced by JCPenney.
The 1990s saw a major decline after the recent expansion of Fayette Mall. Vacancy rate began to increase and the inner design began to look dated with pink plastic kiosks and green and black tile floors.
In 1997 Illinois development group Rubloff acquired the mall and began a Five-Million dollar renovation drawing some business away from its competitors. The renovation saw an expansion of the movie theater, the opening of Dillard's home store, and several restaurant chains opening on pad sites around the mall. The expansion was a success ultimately bringing competition Lexington Mall to it's demise but though one competitor was finished Turfland continued to race against the ever growing Fayette Mall.
In 2000 Montgomery Ward closed soon replaced by Home Depot. JC Penney moved to Fayette, Walgreens moved to a pad site outside of the mall leaving it's former space to be occupied by a CiCi's Pizza, and Dillard's closed both their Turfland and Lexington Mall locations.
By early 2008 Turfland mall served mostly as a walking track for residents nearby. In the Summer of 2008 the last enclosed store GNC closed it's doors ultimately leading to the Mall's official closure in the fall of that year.
Today Turfland Mall is only home to a few restaurants, Walgreen's Drive-thru pharmacy, Staples, and Home Depot. As of recently the Rubloff group has planned to completely renovate Turfland Mall renaming it Turfland Towne Center in which it will become a mixed use facility with retail stores, office buildings, and residential units. The existing stores will remain and will be incorporated into the Town Center.
Nate Smith's Commentary
Posted April 20, 2017 (user submitted)
A few years have passed since the initial post about Turfland Mall and a lot has changed.
In 2009, the mall's owner, Rubloff Properties announced they would redevelop the mall into Turfland Towne Center, a mixed use development featuring retail, office, and living space. Plans would have included the Dillard's building being renovated into an office complex while existing retailers like Staples and Home Depot would be included in the retail portion of the complex. While Rubloff's idea was considered favorable among Lexington's city council, such plans never came to fruition.
A number of factors were cited for the delay including lack of interest from potential tenants and concerns with Home Depot (which owned the land the former Montgomery Ward stood)
While it had been closed since 2008, the Mall began to fall victim to scrapping and vandalism. Rubloff Properties was no stranger these conditions as many locals were familiar with their other community eyesore Versailles Center which remained abandoned until Kroger purchased and redeveloped the site in 2015.
The Mall continued to make enough revenue through the restaraunt outparcels that remained including Longhorn Steakhouse, O'Charley's, and Chik-Fil-A but the main Mall continued to fall into disrepair.
The fate of the Mall was uncertain until Heritage Bank sued Rubloff Properties in 2012 for foreclosure, which would lead to local businessman Ron Switzer's purchase of the Mall.
Switzer razed the remaining enclosed portion of Mall leaving the former Dillard's and Staples buildings in tact. University of Kentucky Healthcare opened a clinic in the former Dillard's and several new outparcels were opened as well including Verizon Wireless, City Barbecue, and Burger King. This redevelopment also included a rebranding the property to simply "Turfland" with Switzer continuing to lease spaces for business and retail.