Solon Developer That Bought Chapel Hill Mall property Has Plans for Another in Ohio
The Upper Valley Mall in Springfield closed Wednesday after about 50 years in business. The Solon developer Industrial Commercial Properties has agreed to buy the space and expects to repurpose it as a business park.
According to Moody’s Analytics, mall vacancies in the U.S. hit a record high in the first quarter of 2021.
Leila Goldstein of member station WYSO spoke with some of the mall’s final visitors.
Marsha Moats: It's a sad day to see it ...
Sis Monroe: Close.
Moats: Yeah, it really is sad. It's like [sniffles] what are we going to do now?
Rose Sutherland: It's really upsetting, honestly. Yeah, stores change. They change places. But,
you know, it used to be alive.
Russell Truman: We're going to miss Upper Valley Mall and people, especially customers, as
well as a lot of the managers that were in here.
Monroe: It's just a hollow feeling. I don't know how to put it in words.
Daryl Weber: Well, it's just sad because it really helped the entire area, the whole county,
because everybody everybody came here. So now it kind of, I think, loses a little bit of
Sutherland: It was a lot of fun. My parents would drop us off me. We'd get in trouble. We’d romp
around. We threw snowballs at each other in the back parking lot, at one point. I learned how to
drive in the back parking lot.
Truman: We worked in Hickory Farms here in the mall. From ‘74 ‘til we sold the place in 2000.
The parking lot used to be full out here on a rainy Sunday afternoon. That's what I remember
most about it.
Twilla Hagans: My fondest memory is really of the Young and the Restless. They had Brad and
Nikky out here, and I really thought Brad was cute. I wanted to see him. And he was like right up
there. And it was packed. But I stood up on it, climbed up on the thing. And I really seeing him
and I'm like, Brad, Brad, Brad.
Leila Goldstein: Were you able to see him?
Hagans: Yeah, I seen him good. Yeah I did, I seen him.
Weber: Well, it was bustling. It was the place to be, you know, with entertainment, restaurants,
all your household goods, whatever you needed was here.
Aunesti Beard: Yeah, I used to always come here. Me and my sister, my youngest siblings.
There used to be a photo booth down there by the jewelry store, used to take pictures. I have a
lot of them pictures. We used to just get dropped off, stay here for hours, morning to the night.
Just over here. We used to meet friends, had them come over. We’d eat, just kick it in the mall.
Truman: Well, I think they lost some traffic to other malls. That happened when they opened
one down the road here in Beavercreek.
Sutherland: Macy's or J.C. Penney, whichever one of them closed first, that was that was the
beginning and that was hard. I wish things could still thrive here. People aren't going to be able
to come here, shop like they used to. My mom said at one point there used to be skylights in
here and fountains. I wish I would have been able to see that honestly.
Moats: You know, it's out of our control, we don't have any say. I guess it's just the people that
own the building and the land, and they make the decisions.
Weber: Hopefully it'll — the business park — will take off. So, hopeful.
Hagans: My mother always said that Springfield is going to become a highway and byway,
somewhere you just ride through. People actually would come from out of town to come to our
mall. There’s really no reason to come to Springfield.
Sutherland: I came today because my best friend wanted some of Mark Pi’s orange chicken.
They're closed though, so.
Beard: I just came, wanted to walk around. Like I said, I haven't been here in forever, for real.
But, it's crazy. It's really, everything's empty and dark.
Moats: Just to take one last look. It’s sad, it really is.