Blake Hutchison's Commentary

Posted October 18, 2005 (user submitted)

This used to be one of my favorite malls growing up. There is a great wide-open space, almost feeling like a town square. The mall was built in 1969 and I'm told by my mother that it was enclosed in the early 1980's, about 1982 or 1983. In any event, I was too young to remember the open-air portion, but apparently, the mall was enclosed because people didn't like shopping in the cold winter weather.

Columbus originally had four directionally-named malls - Northland, Westland, Eastland, and Southland (not to be confused with Southland Mall in Marion, OH - there is also a Southland in Columbus that is now a "bazaar mall".)

Westland was originally occupied by Sears, which still stands, Lazarus, which became Macy's earlier this year, and JCPenney, which closed in 1997 and was never replaced. I'm told it is occasionally used for community events near the mall.

This is the one dying mall in Columbus that neither Polaris Towne Center (which is already missing an anchor after being open only 4 years) nor Easton had a hand in killing.

Westland Mall is not in one of the greatest neighborhoods of Columbus. Crime has been known to occur right in the parking lot.

The Mall at Tuttle Crossing opened in 1997 with four anchors - Sears, Lazarus (now Macy's), Marshall Field's (which later closed, and was replaced by Kaufmann's), and JCPenney, which moved out of Westland to occupy Tuttle Crossing.

Macy's and Sears probably aren't going anywhere soon. Both locations seem to be popular destinations for bargain hunters - the merchandise at the Westland store seems to be the same stuff that was at the Tuttle, Polaris, and Easton stores a few months ago. The General Cinema on an outparcel, which closed around 2000, has reopened under the "Dollar Cinema" name.

It is also worth noting that the mall is less than half a mile from the former village of New Rome, which at one time was hailed the Traffic Ticket Capital of the USA by one of the national tabloids. Not that this had anything to do with the mall's demise, though...

I doubt that the JCPenney anchor will ever be a department store again, and I seriously doubt that the mall will ever be a major contender again, as there is now a Wal-Mart Supercenter about a mile away, which is more appealing to the budgets of local shoppers. However, as long as the other two anchors continue to do good business, Westland Mall will probably remain the ideal dead mall museum for years to come...if you're in Columbus, and want to see a good sample of a dead mall that is still completely open, it's at I-270 and US 40 (Exit 7.)

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