When its doors were opened on Aug. 3, 1972, Southwyck Shopping Center was the third major shopping mall to open in Toledo in three years, joining Franklin Park on the west side and Woodville Mall in Northwood.
For most of its 36 years on Reynolds Road, the 874,000-square foot mall, which sat on 68 acres, was a beacon for South Toledo and outlying areas. Not only was it a boon to the retail economy, it added 2,000 jobs to the Toledo market.
In addition to its three anchors — Lion Store, Lamson’s, and Toledo’s first Montgomery Ward & Co. retail outlet — Southwyck boasted 103 stores at its height. In a June, 1972, story in The Blade, the original retailers included four jewelry stores, seven stores dealing in food, eight shoe stores, seven selling women’s clothing, and six selling men’s clothing. First National Bank of Toledo also opened a branch inside the mall.
Construction of the mall took nearly 1 million man hours, according to the general contractors. The hardware included 750,000 feet of electrical wiring — enough to reach from Toledo to Columbus — and the 4,576-car parking lot was made with 20,064 tons of asphalt.
One of the jewels of the mall was the AMC Southwyck Seven Theaters, which housed seven movie screens at opening. Officials at the time said it was the first seven-screen theater in the world. Less than four years later, another screen was added, boosting the count to eight.
But the real showstopper of the mall was the 8,000-square foot glass dome greeting customers upon entering. This Blade archive photo shows workers placing the final few panes in the dome, which cost more than $100,000.
All that remains now of the mall is a vast open lot after the complex was razed after it closed in June, 2008. Demolition cost $2.6 million. After occupancy rates began to dip in the 1990s and Montgomery Ward filed for bankruptcy in 2001, less than 50 percent of the mall was occupied in 2004. The last four stores to remain were Deb, World Nail, GNC, and The Box Shoppe.