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Richland Mall Redevelopment, 3400 Forest Drive: 2022 until..   30 comments

Posted at 3:28 pm in commentary

Folks, with today's Forest Acres redevelopment announcement, I thought I would go ahead and throw up a Richland Mall post, even though I don't have anything prepared, so we can discuss it here rather than in Have Your Say.

So have at it!

(Hat tip to commenter John for the heads up).

UPDATE 10 November 2022 -- A question from commenter Russell below reminded me that there commenter Dennis worked of a map of the original open-air mall, and I got the tenant lists for 1926, 1975 & 1985 here. (Also changed to post title to add the word 'Redevelopment' at the end, added the street address and added the map icon.)

Also a note to folks popping in for the first time due to this post -- If you will go to Alphabetical Closings, you may find your favorite vanished spot in the site index.

Written by ted on November 9th, 2022

Tagged with , , , , , ,

30 Responses to 'Richland Mall Redevelopment, 3400 Forest Drive: 2022 until..'

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  1. Is this the end of Barnes and Noble in Forest Acres? I didn't see anything about relocating that store in the announcement.


    9 Nov 22 at 4:13 pm

  2. There is more info on Forest Acres website. This whole thing hinges on an as yet unnamed grocery store anchor, but are there any stores that don't already have a store nearby?

    The old Parisian will be renovated for Belk (but is that going to be enough to bring that store back from the life support it is already on).


    9 Nov 22 at 4:55 pm

  3. @Matt -- I think the Kroger across the street would be a good prospect for a move. It's a dumpy old store, not at all in line with their current builds.


    9 Nov 22 at 5:11 pm

  4. Oh no!
    Not Kroger.
    I love that dump of a grocery store.
    It’s like going to Mos Eisley.


    9 Nov 22 at 6:53 pm

  5. Raize the whole place so far as I care. I worked at IASVBO on the second floor west wing for 5 years (They were contractors to Price Waterhouse Coopers)

    We had to cover our computers with plastic if any serious rain came through. There was mold everywhere. Bed-bug and Bats infiltrated the place. Birds made homes in the ceiling tiles in the lower levels.

    I remember when it was just a strip mall with a Postal kiosk, a Winne Dixie, a Hickory farms that served Ginger beer and a pretty decent pita sandwich. The Plitt theater was awesome.

    I also remember talking with a guy who claimed to be responsible for developing the property into what we see today in the late 80s at one of our local watering holes. Even then I saw it was going to be a disastrous failure with the predictions of the internet making large malls obsolete.

    Mr Bo

    9 Nov 22 at 8:24 pm

  6. Fantastic! They can put three or four new gas stations in this space!
    ……. just kidding, but I hope I didn’t give them an idea….


    9 Nov 22 at 8:51 pm

  7. Here is the WIS article (trying it from a desktop platform)...


    9 Nov 22 at 9:02 pm

  8. Like Jason, I was wondering about what will become of Barnes & Noble in this new redevelopment...

    I'm like ted in seeing this as a good prospect for Kroger to move...that store is small (by modern Kroger standards). I had an Aunt that lived nearby that liked it but the parking lot seemed tight to me and certain things about it seemed a little dated. I think it could be a Kroger Marketplace but I know my late Aunt that lived nearby would have struggled with that size.

    The 100,000 square foot estimate rules out most of the other established grovery chains (Food Lion, Lowe's Foods, KJ's Market, Publix, Piggly Wiggly) as 100K square feet is more than double the size of a typical store for those folks.

    Over the years numerous ideas have been proposed to try to breathe new life into Richland Mall. Everything from rebuilding it like it was in the 60s/70s to a complex of bars, a 'Sparkleberry Square' type of development and several more. Not only that, developers had ideas for mixed use facilites and even condos but each one falling through (including a brief stint as Midtown at Forest Acres) and hopefully this will breathe new life into a major intersection in the Forest Acres section of Columbia...


    9 Nov 22 at 9:15 pm

  9. Regarding Barnes & Noble, the City of Forest Acres says on their Facebook page that the future of B&N at the site will depend on negotiations between the company and the developer.


    10 Nov 22 at 5:49 am

  10. They should recreate the original mall. WTF is the anchor going to be a grocery store? These idiots want this thing to fail before it gets started apparently. There are 4 grocery stores in the area. Another open air setup has the potential to bring multiple different commercial entities. Both Trenholm Mall and the Devine St area prove that. No, they'll purpose build another dinosaur.

    Dan R

    10 Nov 22 at 6:08 am

  11. I laughed when I saw a grocery store was going to anchor the new development. There are already six grocery stores on Forest Dr. within three miles of Richland Mall (Kroger, Trader Joe's, Lowes, Publix, Fresh Market, and Wal-Mart). But I do like the prospect of Kroger moving out of its bad location and making a nice large store like the one on Killian @ Farrow.


    10 Nov 22 at 8:39 am

  12. I'm excited about the redevelopment. Maybe this one will stick, unlike the last 5 times they attempted it and it ended in tears. And an indictment for one of the companies, if I recall correctly.

    But... another grocery store? There are 5 currently on Forest Drive. You can double that to 10 if you expand a mile or so in either direction to Devine/Garners Ferry or Two Notch. As others said, maybe Kroger will move.

    Still, it'll be nice to have something done to the Richland Mall corpse. I'll miss B&N if they leave. I like the fact they're reducing the footprint.

    And based on pictures I've seen on this site of Richland Mall in the 60s, it would've been amazing to go back to that style! Mid-Century is "in" right now, and the original look would've fit. But nope, based on the render on the FA website we're getting the style "Publix circa 2008."


    10 Nov 22 at 8:42 am

  13. All I have wanted for years is a Super Target. You can't tell me that we can't support two in our market, especially if one has a grocery store. There are months out of the year I just don't bother going to Target on Garner's Ferry due to the crowds. College move in and Christmas are literally unbearable. If you can find a space in the lot, prepare to wait in lines backed up to the electronics section.


    10 Nov 22 at 10:08 am

  14. Over the summer I tried to find the blueprints for the original Richland Mall but had no luck. I don’t know who the architect(s) was. I’m also still searching for pre-2001 Columbia Mall pictures. Having original plans for both developments would be wonderful. I know they probably exist in some form somewhere, the question is where.

    I will say that there are enough photographs of the original Richland Mall that you could easily replicate the perimeter of the structure and have larger spaced stores within the complex.


    10 Nov 22 at 9:04 pm

  15. @Russell -- Please see here for commenter Dennis's reconstruction of the layout of the original mall, and the tenant lists for 1962, 1975 & 1985.


    10 Nov 22 at 10:41 pm

  16. @ted Thank you


    10 Nov 22 at 10:59 pm

  17. Dan R

    11 Nov 22 at 11:12 am

  18. Very cool! (And if you hit the expand button, you can zoom even closer with the mouse wheel).


    11 Nov 22 at 11:22 am

  19. Looking at the aerial construction pictures, I was surprised at the number of business on Forest Drive that were there before the mall. Zesto's doesn't surprise me, but the strip mall across the street that is anchored by the Prisma office does.


    11 Nov 22 at 2:19 pm

  20. In addition to the Internet, an increasing problem for indoor malls was crime and loitering. Basically the same issues as Walmart.


    12 Nov 22 at 7:25 am

  21. Dan R

    12 Nov 22 at 7:48 am

  22. One thing nobody has mentioned that I think would do GREAT there because the closest one is very far away....Home Depot or Lowes. You have Lowes out on Garners Ferry and Two Notch. Then you have Home Depot, 2 on Two Notch. Home Depot would do great right there. Unlike other retail outlets, neither one of these will go out of business because of the Internet.


    12 Nov 22 at 12:18 pm

  23. @ Dan R -- I was wondering how they were able to show Gone WIth The Wind in 70mm stereo in 1968. Here's how.


    12 Nov 22 at 3:29 pm

  24. Thanks for the link Ted,a fascinating read.


    13 Nov 22 at 7:43 pm

  25. As we embark on our 2023 journeys I have this WIS story indicating that the sale of this 32 acre propoerty is now official (I also was thinking that this page should be somehow be incorporated into the alphabetical list)...


    10 Jan 23 at 8:42 pm

  26. Whatever they do or build there will be a waste of space and time just like it was when the current Mall was built. The only successful Mall in Columbia is Columbiana and that's because it's in a great location. Richland Mall may have been the thing in the 60's and 70's but that was years before Walmart and others came along and changed things around a bit. I read where just Phase One is gonna take 4-5 years or so? why? By the time everything is done, it'll be the year 2525 and no one will care. Whatever they do with the property will be another disaster and will have been a waste of money.


    12 Jan 23 at 3:07 pm

  27. For those of you wondering about how Belk's closure will impact the Richland Mall Redevelopment: I found a WLTX report at that talks about the future of our local malls in general and it indicates that Southeastern Development plans on announcing something before year's end so stay tuned.

    In the meantine, prepare for Barnes & Noble to move to the former Bed Bath & Beyond at Woodhill...


    6 Oct 23 at 10:56 pm

  28. Yep, I'm pretty sure Barnes & Noble will close sometime in February of 2024.


    8 Oct 23 at 9:14 am

  29. Folks, WIS has this story about how the plans to demolish this and move forward with plans to move forward on this property are being accelerated...


    5 Feb 24 at 9:54 pm

  30. This Coladaily article contains a rendering as well...


    6 Feb 24 at 10:11 pm

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