17 December 2023

Beachwood Place, Beachwood, OH

 An extant asset

Say what you will about Cleveland, but I actually really enjoyed my time there during a 2022 visit.  Despite what a viral YouTube video satirically says about CLE, I did slow down in east Cleveland (Cleveland Heights, actually) and didn’t die when I stopped to explore the Severance Town Center.  But the further east one goes from there, the area actually improves until reaching the town of Beachwood, home of Beachwood Place, one of the area’s most dominant extant shopping malls as it caters to the metro’s most affluent customer base.

1- Dillard's and the main entrance.  2- Saks.  3 to 6- A walk around the snow covered exterior.

I love the footprint of malls like Beachwood Place.  Even though designed and built during the seventies, the blueprints forgo straight lines and right angles for a labyrinthine collection of corridors running at varying inclinations towards a greater center court.  Shaped somewhat like a stylized Y, the main concourses for the most part each lead from there to one of the three traditional department store anchors- Nordstrom, Dillard’s and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Beachwood Place lease plan ca. 2011. View the full PDF version here.

In addition to being the home of the Cleveland metropolitan area’s only full-line Nordstrom, upscale retail names such as Coach, Kate Spade New York and Tommy Bahama take up residence in the twin tiered complex.  But, surprisingly enough, the actual property itself is not part of a larger retail district running for miles down a major thoroughfare.  Besides another unrelated retail complex catty-cornered from Beachwood Place, Legacy Village, the vicinity kind of seems more neighborhood-y.  And that seems to fit the vibe of Beachwood.

The interior corridors of Beachwood Place.

Beachwood Place, a development of The Rouse Company, was planned to be the upscale retail center for Greater Cleveland.  Upon its debut in 1978, Cleveland’s legendary retailer Higbee’s and Ohio’s first Saks Fifth Avenue anchored the complex along with just over 100 smaller stores.  Dillard’s took occupancy of the Higbee’s space in 1992 as a large expansion was in the works.  Though neighborhoods in proximity to the shopping center objected, the expansion went ahead.

Around the Nordstrom end of Beachwood Place.

The newly enlarged Beachwood Place made its entrance into the Cleveland retail scene in 1997, with Seattle-based Nordstrom joining the line-up.  Along with the new anchor, Eddie Bauer added a flagship store while the extant department stores, Saks Fifth Avenue and Dillard’s, added to their square footage.  Beachwood Place saw another renovation in 2004 when the property was under new management and the food court was moved to its present location.  These designs are what we see Beachwood dressed in today.

Beachwood Place Mallmanac ca. 2022. View the full PDF version here.

Referencing an extremely high occupancy rate and their having to turn away potential retailers, another expansion was proposed about a decade before this writing.  Again, nearby residents and businesses voiced their concerns.  Eventually, however, the expansion was permitted, though the addition only amounted to about sixty percent of the additional square footage that General Growth Properties were seeking.

Center court at Beachwood Place.

Beachwood Place’s, well, place in the Cleveland market is pretty much set in bedrock.  I find it amazing that this oasis of upscale shopping was located so close to the likes of Randall Park Mall and Richmond Town Center, both of which have closed due to the deterioration of their surrounding communities.  But there is a market for all of its glitz and glamour, despite what many observers may think they know about the area.

The distinct ceiling and floors of Beachwood Place.

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