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               SALEM MALL: TROTWOOD (NEAR DAYTON), OH

Matt's Update:

Posted March 24, 2005 (user submitted)

Salem Mall is going to public Auction on Saturday April 9, 2005 with demolition to follow shortly thereafter. There are several photos at www.innovative-auctions.com. Only one store left inside the mall proper, GNC. Store manager says the city is trying to force him out while still charging him for breaking the lease agreement which is good thru 2010. A small section of the mall is still open near GNC, however a large part of the ceiling has fallen down, there is trash everywhere and the heat has been shut off. Security guard says that demolition is planned for somewhere in the april/may time frame.

Troy Lightcap's Commentary:

Posted March 21, 2005 (user submitted September 19, 2004)

Ever since I can remember in the late 1980's, my family's shopping destination used to be the Salem Mall. We would visit around twice a week it seemed. In those days, there were no vacant stores and finding an empty table in the huge food court was difficult.

I just thought that I would update the other reader's views with correct information. The mall was originally anchored by Sears and Rike's (a Dayton based store, that was later purchased by Federated Dept. Stores, then becoming Lazarus in the late 70's). In 1981, the JCPenney was added to the mall and thus the wing including the 2nd story, the large food court was added at this time as well. It included a McDonald's, Arby's, Taco Bell, and the area's only Baskin Robbins. If you look by the elevator close to the now closed Foot Locker, there is a plaque that tells all about the renovation.

There has Never been an Elder-Beerman in the mall, although there is one that anchors a shopping center a few miles away, and there is a Elder-Beerman furniture store across the street from the mall.

In 1994 when the Mall at Fairfield Commons opened nearby, the mall's population did start to decline. This was mainly due to the fact of the location of the Salem Mall. Trotwood is not the safest town and there are plenty of bus stops around the Salem Mall adding to the declining image. There is no main interstate nearby, although there was a connector built and opened around 1998.

In 1995-1996 is when JCPenney decided to close it's underperforming store and Lazarus closed then in 1997-1998. The mall tried to lure in Kohl's department stores around this time, but the mall had pretty much died by then. Most stores closed around 2000 including Victoria's Secret, Waldenbook, and the MCL Cafeteria which was the main reason that the elderly community still shopped there.

After this, the mall's owner planned to revamp the mall into a much nicer facility, but nothing ever surfaced. In 2002, Home Depot built a store where Lazarus building once sat, trying to bring the mall back to life, but whenever I go by there, the parking lot is usually pretty empty.

The mall still has around ten tenants out of its possible 140 or so spaces, and Sears still is usually quite busy. I was once told by an employee that they had plans of closing this location, but the sales were still strong so they decided to stay until a decline in sales. I visited the mall over the Easter weekend this year, and the mall had around 200 people scattered throughout, (even the Easter Bunny was there). The only problem is that there are not many stores for them to shop, and absolutely no food establishments in the food court.

Stores left in the mall include the ever popular Rainbow (a women's store), Finish Line, & Sears Outlet. All others are basically homegrown stores.

The area surrounding the mall has improved vastly since the mall's decline. A Target, Best Buy, White Castle, and a soon to open Walgreen's have been built in a 1/2 mile radius within the past 4 years. But a Circuit City (which abruptly closed earlier this year), 2 Automobile Dealers, a Best Products, and other vacant buildings plague the area with empty lots.

Now plans to move the popular Wal-Mart 3-5 miles from the mall have been proposed and supposedly are going to happen, also taking the Applebee's restaurant with it.

To add to this, the city of Trotwood is now trying to take over the mall, and have plans to tear down the JCPenney wing this year and plans to have the rest of the mall torn down in the near future. The city would like to build upscale apartments and an upscale outdoor shopping and food complex, similar to Easton Towne Center in Columbus. The only problems with this are that the owner refuses to sell the mall and Sears still owns its own building and has no plans now to leave. And the demographics for an upscale anything are all wrong. Trotwood is not an upscale community, and proving this fact is the Big Lots store that is packed every time I go in. Efforts to save the mall are in full swing, even the owner of the mall has started airing commercials for the mall on local stations, telling folks that "we're not closed."

Sidney New's Commentary:

Posted March 21, 2005 (user submitted October 11, 2004)

I wish to correct some mistakes in the description of Salem Mall in Trotwood (Dayton), Ohio. I grew up only a mile from the mall. Elder-Beerman was never an anchor at Salem Mall. They had store in a shopping center on Main Street in Trotwood (which closed in the mid 1990's). When Salem Mall opened in 1966, Rike's (which later become Lazarus) and Sears were the anchors. The entire mall was one story and had about 60 stores. In 1981 a two story addition with a JC Penney was added. The total number of stores was then about 110. In 1985 the old Metropolitan clothing store was converted into a food court called Picnic. I remember just before it was suppossed to open heavy snow caused the roof to collapse and delayed the opening.

I remember the mall as a great place to shop and hang out. Every Christmas there was a giant tree made out of poinsettia plants in the Center Court. The movie theater was always very popular.

By the early 1990's the mall was in trouble. The movie theater closed and in 1998 both Lazarus and J C Penney left. Only Sears remains. Recently the City of Trotwood came to an agreement with the owner to purchase the mall. They will tear down everything except Sears (which will remain open), and build a new mixed-use development.

I have many fond memories of Salem Mall, it is very sad to see it go.

Blake Hutchison's Commentary:

Posted May 7, 2004 (user submitted)

I remember visiting the Salem mall regularly growing up. My family lived pretty far away, but my parents, both Dayton natives, liked to shop here because it was familiar to them.

Built in 1966 in the Dayton, Ohio suburb of Trotwood, the Salem Mall had a pretty long heyday as far as malls go (31 years). The original anchors were Lazarus, JCPenney, Sears, and Elder-Beerman. There was also a Showcase Cinema which I believe had 6 screens. It has been closed for a long time.

In 1981 a second story was added to the JCPenney wing, starting just past the food court. During the rest of the 1980's the mall flourished. However this would change during the 1990's.

Lazarus closed their Salem Mall store in 1990. In 1994, the Mall at Fairfield Commons opened its doors. Although it's clear on the other side of Dayton from the Salem Mall, it's in a much safer neighborhood. This posed a problem for the Salem Mall, where crime problems were getting worse.

JCPenney and Elder Beerman left the Salem Mall by 1997, leaving Sears as the only anchor. The mall made attempts to attract new anchors, to no avail. At the time, there were over 100 smaller stores in the mall.

This changed in 1998, following a shooting at the Salem Mall. Stores left the mall in droves, reducing the number of stores in the mall from 100 to just 35.

Today, the mall is in complete despair.

The JCPenney wing, which was the only two-story part of the whole mall, is now off limits to the public. But they didn't go to great lengths to seal it off -- just a curtain and some benches on the lower level, and a knee-high gate in front of the escalators to the second level. Kind of pathetic-looking, really. If someone wanted to, they could probably get into the closed portion of the mall without too much difficulty, as long as security wasn't watching too closely. The closed wing looks incredibly creepy at night, because they don't turn the lights on in that wing. However, you can still see over the curtain into pitch-black darkness.

Sears, GNC, and Foot Locker are the only chain stores remaining in the mall. The other handful of stores are mom-and-pop operations that seem to be different every time I'm in the mall. There is also a church, and an office for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Sears, the only anchor left in the mall, is still open to the public, for They have upgraded the logo on the store to the new one, which may be a sign that they plan to stay in the Salem Mall.

Personally, I wouldn't hold my breath. Sears probably will pull out someday. Perhaps in their next round of cuts. And when they do, the Salem Mall will be truly, completely dead.

RETAIL REBIRTH:

Posted May 10, 2004 (courtesy Dayton Daily News)

Redevelopment efforts around Salem Mall encouraging

By Jason Roberson

Dayton Daily News

TROTWOOD | While adding final touches to a customer's haircut, Bobby Smith peered from his barbershop window at the construction site across the street.

Smith, a barber and manager of Talking Heads Barber Service on Salem Avenue, frequently gazes at the new restaurant/pool hall development under construction.

"Good. We need some life around here," Smith said.

8 Ball & Wings, trumpeted as family safe, is slated to open in mid-April at the 4600 block of Salem Avenue, adjacent from King's Furniture Store.

Todd Hicks, the 42-year-old owner from Jefferson Twp., is fulfilling a dream after taking $400,000 he earned from selling several beer & wine drive-throughs in East Dayton to open his self-financed sports bar/restaurant.

Barbecue ribs, thick burgers, chicken breasts, Philly cheese steaks and wings are listed on 8 Ball's menu. In addition, 8 Ball will feature 14 pool tables, three dart boards and enough elbow room for 280 customers.

The city of Trotwood "has been very encouraging, (obliging) me any way they can," Hicks said.

Hicks is an example of what Trotwood officials say they expect to see from redevelopment efforts in the area that surrounds the aging Salem Mall.

In his State of the City address, Mayor Donald K. McLaurin boasted about future traffic congestion on the Salem Avenue strip near the mall.

The developers of two projects, located within a half-mile of the mall, said they represent about $8.5 million in investment and that the climate is ripe for a retail rebirth.

Highland Plaza, one of the two projects, already has signed leases for 70 percent of its 200,000 square feet. Tenants include 8 Ball; King's Furniture Store; a Dayton Daily News distribution center; and an Oriental rug company. In addition, negotiations are underway for a department store similar to T.J. Maxx.

"The thing that brought us out is the location," said Javad Adinehvadeh, whose partnerships, Nile Investment and Zahara Investment, are developing Highland Plaza, a former Kmart property. "When we took this project we had only one tenant. It was basically a ghost town."

As Trotwood officials work to redevelop the near-vacant, *40-year-old Salem Mall*, they can draw hope from a nearby success.

Links:

Innovative Auctions - mall slated for auction or demolition! Date on file is 4/9/05.

Microsoft Terra Server:

Salem Mall: Trotwood, Ohio










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