Chapel Hill Mall

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Chapel Hill Mall
Chapel hill penney.jpg
Entrance to J. C. Penney at Chapel Hill Mall, 2018.
LocationAkron, Ohio, United States
Coordinates41°06′50″N 81°28′07″W / 41.113997°N 81.468655°W / 41.113997; -81.468655Coordinates: 41°06′50″N 81°28′07″W / 41.113997°N 81.468655°W / 41.113997; -81.468655
Opening date1967
DeveloperForest City Enterprises and R.B. Buchholzer
ManagementMcKinley Management Company
OwnerKohan Retail Investment Group[1]
No. of stores and services56[2][needs update]
No. of anchor tenants3 (1 open, 2 vacant)
Total retail floor area860,000 sq ft (80,000 m2)
No. of floors1 (2 in JCPenney and former Macy's)

Chapel Hill Mall is a one-story, 860,000 sq ft (80,000 m2) enclosed mall located at 2000 Brittain Road in Akron, Ohio.[2] Built by Richard (R.B.) Buchholzer and Forest City Enterprises,[3] it opened on October 12, 1967.[4] They continued to own the mall until 2004, when it was sold to the Chattanooga, Tennessee company CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.,[5] who owned it until 2014. The mall features more than 100 stores, with JCPenney as the sole anchor store. Macy's and Sears were former anchors until they closed in spring 2016 and spring 2017, respectively.


Chapel Hill Mall sits on land once owned by Richard Buchholzer's father, J.J. Buchholzer. During the Great Depression, J.J. Buchholzer became owner of a Hower's department store in downtown Akron. The Buchholzers knew Akron would grow to the north, and they felt that a Hower's store should be located on their land. It later became evident that even larger opportunities existed, and the natural choice was a climate-controlled shopping mall. Buchholzer teamed up with Forest City Enterprises to build Akron's first indoor mall. Plans were ready by 1963, but before the mall opened, Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation built Summit Mall on the west side of Akron.[6] In the 1930s, young Richard Buchholzer found what appeared to be an old Indian council circle on his father's land. Because of this, Buchholzer named the development "Chapel Hill".[6]

Expansion plans to include a Higbee's store came up numerous times in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A plan was considered in 1988 by part-owner Forest City Enterprises. It included a 90,000-square-foot (8,400 m2) addition for an additional department store.[7] Expansion was again mentioned in 1989.[8] A front-page story on the January 31, 1990 edition of the Akron Beacon Journal read "Higbee's Coming to Chapel Hill Mall". The store, along with a food court and additional retail space, would be open by Fall 1991, it said.[9]

In 1994, the mall's owners added the food court and retail expansion that exists today. New flooring and ceiling tiles, a new fountain, and new lighting were also added.[10][11]

In 2015, Sears Holdings spun off 235 of its properties, including the Sears at Chapel Hill Mall, into Seritage Growth Properties.[12]

Major tenants[edit]

Chapel Hill Mall features one anchor store: JCPenney, which opened in 1966 before the mall proper.[6] A second store, Macy's, operated in an anchor that was originally occupied by local chain O'Neil's until 1989, May Co. until 1993, and Kaufmann's from 1993 to 2006. Macy's closed in 2016. Sears was a third anchor of the mall which opened in 1967 at the same time as the mall and operated until 2017. There used to be a multi-screen cinema at the mall as well. It opened in October 1966 as a two-screen theater, and eventually expanded to five screens. In 1987, General Cinemas (owner of the mall's cinema) opened an 8-screen multiplex just west of the mall, and in October 1996, Regal Cinemas opened their 10-screen theater immediately south of the mall. Less than two weeks later, the General Cinemas at the mall closed,[13] and Old Navy took over the former theater until it closed in 2016. Woolworth also operated a store at the mall until 1997. It was later occupied by Gap which has since closed as well. In January 2017 Sears Holdings announced that the Chapel Hill Sears store would be closing the following spring due to declining sales.


  1. ^ Lin-Fisher, Betty (July 15, 2016). "Chapel Hill Mall has new owner; New York owner says he sees potential for turn-around". Akron Beacon Journal. Retrieved July 16, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Chapel Hill Mall - Fact Sheet. Archived March 12, 2007, at the Wayback Machine Retrieved August 19, 2006.
  3. ^ "West and South Side Malls" The Plain Dealer. February 22, 2004. Retrieved July 31, 2006.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-03-29. Retrieved 2009-01-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Akron Ohio Historical Timeline 1950-1999. Retrieved August 16, 2006.
  5. ^ Akron Beacon Journal, September 11, 2004.
  6. ^ a b c Nevada, Charlene. "Man Behind Chapel Hill Mall- Richard Buchholzer's Idea Defines That Part of Akron." Akron Beacon Journal. 6 July, 1997: E1.
  7. ^ Mitchell, Jacqueline. "Forest City Waffles on Plan for Chapel Hill." Akron Beacon Journal. 7 May, 1988: A8.
  8. ^ Pantages, Larry and Peter Geiger. "Another Higbee Possible; Chapel Hill Plan Studied." Akron Beacon Journal. 28 April, 1989: A1.
  9. ^ Vanac, Mary. "Higbee's Coming to Chapel Hill Mall." Akron Beacon Journal. 31 January, 1990: A1
  10. ^ Ethridge, Mary. "Chapel Hill Mall Getting A Face Lift; A 12-Restaurant Food Court, New Lights and New Ceiling Among Plans." Akron Beacon Journal. 9 March 1994: C7.
  11. ^ Adams, David. "Mall Courts Customers With Food; Dining Area Added at Chapel Hill to Keep Shoppers on the Premises." Akron Beacon Journal. 4 November, 1994: B9.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Nevada, Charlene. "Retailers to Replace Movies at Chapel Hill; General Cinema Closes 5-Screen Theater at Mall." Akron Beacon Journal. 19 November, 1996: C6.

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