South Park Mall: Full Review

PANA1678“Wait a minute, Cleveland. Are you telling me you built a shopping mall… on the site of what was going to be the Browns new stadium?!”- Marty McFly

The quote above is actually true. This land was purchased originally by Cleveland Browns’ former owner Art Modell in the ’80s with a secret plan to build a new stadium at this site. However, plans changed and the land was sold to the Richard E. Jacobs Group, which set out plans to build this behemoth mall with over 1 1/2 million sq. ft. of retail space.

Backstory:

Opened on October 16, 1996, South Park Mall is the largest retail destination in all of Northern Ohio. This title was taken after the closure of the now infamous dead mall Randall Park Mall. South Park Mall has 2 floors,an amazing 7 anchor stores and over 180 stores all together. The mall, while not fully renovated since its birth, has had plenty of upgrades throughout its life and has never seen a point of low business. Just this past year the entire center court area, including the Cinemark movie theater and food court restaurants, was updated and I gotta say the whole place looks great. I found the location of this mall to be excellent as well – just 25 minutes outside of Cleveland and about 35 minutes from Akron, benefiting people from both surrounding areas.

Experience:

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After walking in through the main entrance you enter the center court area, and if you turn around you will see one of the coolest movie theaters I have ever seen in a shopping mall (sorry Forest Fair). In this area you will also see the renovations recently done to the food court.

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Everyone kept looking at me like I was some kind of freak, like dude I’m here for the mall not your Philly cheese steaks. I’m not sure if this was a down time at the mall. It was a Thursday at around 4 o’clock and there didn’t seem to be a lot of people there. Despite that, all of the stores were pretty high end, and vacant storefronts were few and far between.

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Couldn’t resist getting a double shot of espresso when I saw this and no this isn’t an advertisement for Starbucks. A daddy just needs his caffeine or he gets headaches. As our journey towards the center of the mall continues, we come across one of the most beautiful open spaces I’ve seen in any mall I’ve visited. I mean just look at the skylights, the elevator, everything is so welcoming!

20200130_141813“Escalators! Escalators! Escalators!”- SpongeBod Dadpants20200130_142251“But I like Elevators too Mr. Dadpants, especially when I take the photo vertically”- Michael Makin

20200130_141828Kinda wish they still had worn out furniture from 1996 but then again I’m probably the only person who would think that’s cool. To be honest though, I could sit here like a 75 year old dad and just people watch for hours and be perfectly content.

20200130_142008Leaving the center of the mall, you can go down two very (and when I say very I mean veeeeery) long corridors which both have their own spur off of them that leads to other anchors. Also in this picture you can see the gorgeous, clearly original pink and white, marble floors which make me very nostalgic for walking through Kenwood Towne Centre as a kid.

20200130_142530View down the same corridor, this time from the top floor. It really surprises me to see these anchor stores doing so well at this place considering that they have a Macy’s, Dillards, and JC Penney which have been closing at such a rapid rate all over the country. I guess it’s just another case of location, location, location. Sorry I’ve been watching too much HGTV.

20200130_142559For some reason this picture turned out eerie but believe me, all of these stores are open. This was another one of those spur corridors which leads to yet ANOTHER ANCHOR. My Bod this place is endless. These anchors are huge too! I didn’t walk through all of them but I could tell from the outside. Driving around this mall took like five minutes.

20200130_143728Hard to tell from the lighting but there’s a clear Sears scar underneath the Dick’s sign. I’m assuming this is a feature at every mall. So now I’m on my way to the eastern corridor of the mall where the Macy’s resides

20200130_142038Love the gap in the second floor right there. No not gap as in The GAP, the gap in the ceiling. Oh whatever. So we make our way down the extended corridor and we arrive at the crown jewel (or, for the high schoolers, the crown Juul).

20200130_142111Macy’s, and you bet I cried walking through the perfume section.20200130_142135Looking out Macy’s back towards the center of the mall, which you can’t even see because there is a bend in the corridor, it’s basically the length of 2 average mall corridors. Very impressive. And again, I just love the ceilings in here; so much natural light.

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As we come to a close let’s take a look at some of the exterior of the mall. Here’s Macy’s. All exterior pics are brought to you by the Panasonic GH-5. Thank you ZTV at the University of Akron for these wonderful 4K pictures. Go Zips.

PANA1683Haha get it, like wieners.

Back to the Future vibes anyone? Or is that just me anytime I’m in a mall parking lot with a JC Penney? My Midwestern urge makes me want to say “JC Penney’s” so bad but for the formality of this blog I’ll spell it properly for you.

PANA1676Ope! There’s that Sears scar again and man those colors are crisp.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed my time at South Park Mall, and even though I’d rather walk around a dead mall than one with actual stores, I really appreciated this place. The architecture seems a little dated for 1996, and I’m guessing that’s due to the fact that this place was planned so long before it was built; it probably also took a long time to build due to the sheer size of this monstrosity. All in all though, if you’re a shopper, or if it’s Christmas eve and you’ve been a classic dad waiting until the last minute to buy your whiny son his TurboMan, this is definitely the place to go.

Michael’s Score: 8/10

Continued:

If you’re reading this because you’ve already read my first blog on this trip Mall Maniac: A 3 Stop Trek Through Northeast Ohio, then I hope you’re finally satisfied by my full in-depth review. I’m sure you also know that there’s still plenty more to come from this day, so keep posted on our blog, and you’ll see what the likes of Great Northern and Midway have in store for you. Until next time, this has been the Mall Maniac Michael Makin, signing out.

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“Just fucking do a review on me already.”- Great Northern Mall

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