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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.

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