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Richland Mall Redevelopment, 3400 Forest Drive: 2022 until..   24 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

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Regal Columbia Cinema, 3400 Forest Drive Suite 3000: 6 February 2022   9 comments

Posted at 11:08 pm in closing

13 July 2008:

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8 February 2022:

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9 February 2022:

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The last movie I saw during the pre-COVID era at Regal Columbia Cinema was Frozen 2, in which I was highly disappointed (though my niece liked it). I know that I saw at least one movie there after the theaters re-opened, but for the life of me I can recall what it was right now. On both occasions the experience was fine (apart from the actual movie..), but you could tell that the place was definitely an older auditorium which hadn't kept up with all the new trends.

That was not at all the case when these cinemas opened. As I have written before this location was not the first theater at Richland Mall. The old open-air mall had a free-standing duplex on an out-parcel where I saw many a "summer movie" during those old "drop off the kids & shop" promotions. It also famously had a time capsule, though commenter Del says it eventually came to naught.

When the old mall was razed and the current mall was built, the new rooftop cinema opened as part of the Litchfield Theaters chain, and it was classy. There were real cloth curtains over the screens which would be closed between the trailers and the main feature, which would start after the famous "Sea Oats" logo. I'm a little hazy on what happened to Litchfield Theaters. I think perhaps the head guy perished in a plane crash and the chain fell into hard times without him, but I couldn't swear to that.

Anyway, after that, it became part of the Regal chain, and I always looked forward to the "policy trailer" with the animated monorail riding along a track of 35mm film (and the Kernel of Doom! popcorn). The trailer was updated many times over the years with increasingly elaborate train redesigns, state of the art CGI and audio effects. Most recently, it has lost a bit of its charm as people have forgotten what "film" was, and the 35mm tracks have been replaced with actual rails.

As you can see from the 2008 pictures, in the beginning, you could take the escalator from inside the mall to the roof and walk to the theater from there, and there were also "Now Playing" & "Coming Soon" posters in displays on the walls of the mall in a couple of places. Sometime after Belk closed its entrance to that side of the mall, they stopped running the escalator, and the only way to the theaters was to drive to the rooftop.

As I mentioned elsewhere recently, my impression in years past was that this theater and the theaters behind Golden Corral had a gentleman's agreement to not book duplicate movies in most cases, and it was usually the case that if you were in Forest Acres, your movie would be at this theater or that one, but not both. In recent years this broke down, especially with so few movies available recently, and I don't think that helped the bottom line for this place. Certainly being closed for months on end during the darkest days of the pandemic did not.

During that closure, the mall management put up traffic cones and sawhorses to keep you from driving back into the theater area, and as you can see in the 9 February pictures, those are now back. However the cones were set aside today as a number of vehicles were back in the theater area, perhaps getting ready to clear it out, as was a news crew from WOLO.

With the mall currently under contract to be sold and possibly razed, I doubt that any second operation or dollar cinema will move in here, but as predictions about the mall have always been iffy, we'll just have to see.

Here are stories from WLTX, The State & The Free Times.

(Hat tip to commenter Jeannette)

Written by ted on February 9th, 2022

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LensCrafters, 3400 Forest Drive Suite 2050: Fall 2020 (Moved)   5 comments

Posted at 9:58 pm in closing

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LensCrafters in Richland Mall was on the upper level across from the barbershop, in the far left of the first picture. I had another picture of the facade, but it didn't come out, and Richland Mall is locked on weekends now, so it will be a while before I can get another.

They moved to Cross Hill Market in an outparcel across from Duck Donuts sometime in the fall. I believe that with this move, the barbershop is now the only business in Richland Mall which does not have outside access.

AFC Urgent Care, 3304 Forest Drive: September 2019   2 comments

Posted at 10:47 pm in closing

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This urgent care beside Richland Mall had been up for sale a number of months, but continued to operate while that was ongoing. At this point it has either sold, or they have given up. At any rate AFC is now closed, and the building is undergoing renovations. The permits are made out in the name of a medical company, Prisma, so it is not clear to me if this is a completely new business coming in, or if AFC is part of Prisma and will be back after the upfit.

UPDATE 22 January 2020 -- Well, the construction is done (apparently), the branding is down, and the real-estate sign is out. The interior still looks like a doctor's office though:

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Written by ted on October 28th, 2019

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JackSon's Southern Kitchen, 1213 Sunset Boulevard: 24 August 2018   8 comments

Posted at 11:09 pm in closing

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Well, here's a bit of synchronicity. Friday 24 August 2018 was the first time I had ever happened to be in West Columbia, near JackSon's Southern Kitchen at (my) lunch time, so I decided I would finally check the place out.

Pulling in, it seemed to be dark, and there was a sign taped to the door, so I was going to get out and look at it, but then I noticed that the lunch hours during the week were only until 2:30, and it was 3:00, so I figured I had just missed it and drove on. I got home that evening, and people were already posting in Have Your Say that the place had closed down due to legal woes.

Here's the story from WIS (For some reason, they seem to have trimmed most of the text that was originally there).

You may recall that JackSon's started in Richland Mall and moved to Sunset Boulevard in 2016

UPDATE 4 May 2021 -- As reported by commenter Barbara reports, this storefront is undergoing a major upfit. Unfortunately, the construction sign is singularly unhelpful in telling what is to come:

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Also adding a map icon.

Gymboree, Richland Mall: Summer 2017   7 comments

Posted at 12:33 am in closing

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Well, there has been speculation for a while, what with Gymboree's Chapter 11 filing, but the other shoe dropped today:

SAN FRANCISCO – Children's clothing seller Gymboree Corp. is closing 350 stores as its works to restructure in bankruptcy.

The San Francisco-based company said Tuesday that it's mostly closing Gymboree and Crazy 8 stores. It also operates Janie and Jack stores. The company will have more than 900 locations after the stores are shut down.

The full closing list is here, and includes, unsurprisingly, this Richland Mall store, as well as the one at Sandhill. The closing sales are supposed to start on 18 July.

I took these pictures back in early June and even then, the whole store was 50% off -- I don't think this is a big surprise to them.

I have to admit I had never heard of Janie and Jack or Crazy 8.

UPDATE 3 February 2021 -- Here's another picture I just came across apparently from 26 April 2013:

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Also adding a map icon.

Wine And Design, Richland Mall: March 2017 (moved)   no comments

Posted at 9:29 pm in closing

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Today's closing comes from commenter Mr. BO, who says:

A strange eclectic shop right across where I enter the office in the Richland Fashion mall. Wine & Design apparently was a place where you can tip a few glasses and do some painting. (odd combo). Some of my fellow workers noted that there were times when the paint would be tracked outside of the door. (Guess things got messy there) I was suspicious about a month ago when I mall maintenance taking out a sink.

Now I see this in pic # 2.

At least it's a move and not a closing.

I admit I was entirely unaware of this place though I have walked the whole Mall at least once or twice in the last year.

What wine goes best with abstract expressionism?

(Hat tip to commenter Mr. BO, obviously)

Written by ted on April 10th, 2017

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JackSon's Southern Kitchen, Richland Mall: 28 November 2016 (moved)   16 comments

Posted at 12:41 am in closing

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Since S & S moved out of this Richland Mall slot, nothing has stuck, with both Sadie's and now Jackson's moving on.

In this case we have a move instead of a closing, and JackSon's should now be open at 1213 Sunset Boulevard, which is, of course, the former location of Ms. B's Southern Kitchen and The Southern Skillet.

Man, this wing of the Mall is creepy empty now!

And

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I think they want you to go left.

(Hat tip to commenter Mr. BO)

UPDATE 23 January 2017 -- I got by the new location on Sunset last weekend. Apparently they are still not quite open:

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Written by ted on December 8th, 2016

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The Seafood Academy, 3400 Forest Drive #1014: 6 September 2016 (moving)   26 comments

Posted at 12:02 am in closing

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The Seafood Academy was the follow-on operation to the much lamented (by me, anyway) TGI Friday's in Richland Mall.

Since I'm not a fan of seafood, I never partook of this new incarnation, which, according to their sign, is now relocating to East Point Plaza at 7535 Garners Ferry.

Getting inside the mall for some of these pictures was kind of sad. More than half the doors to the interior were marked as out-of-order-use-next-door. If they can't afford to fix the doors already, losing a front facing store is just adding insult to injury.

(Hat tip to commenter Bobby)

UPDATE 9 August 2017 -- Looks like the new location is finally about ready to open:

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Written by ted on September 26th, 2016

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Bank Of America, 2095 North Beltline Boulevard: 29 July 2016   1 comment

Posted at 12:11 am in closing

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Well, after mailing out the flyers in May, the Richland Mall Bank Of America is finally closed. As you'll recall, they closed the drive-through in March 2015 at which point the writing was probably on the wall.

I don't know why, but I had it in my mind that the ATM would remain, though in the event that turns out not to be the case. At any rate, I believe that Trenholm Plaza is now the only Forest Acres BOA location.

UPDATE 8 May 2018 -- This building has now been sold, though there is no indication of what is planned there:

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UPDATE 30 August 2018 -- As commenter Dennis Craighead notes in Have Your Say, this building is being razed. I guess building something there demonstrates some belief that the whole Richland Mall property will not just be plowed under at some point..

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