Janesville Mall

Janesville Mall

citations missing = February 2008
copyedit = February 2008
refimprove = February 2008
infobox shopping mall
shopping_mall_name = Janesville Mall

location = Janesville, Wisconsin, USA
coordinates = coord|42|42|42|N|88|59|55|W|display=inline,title
opening_date= September 1973
developer = Janesville Properties Company
manager = CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.
owner= CBL & Associates Properties, Inc.
number_of_stores = 68 (+ kiosks)
number_of_anchors = 4 (JC Penney, Sears, Boston Store, Kohl's)
floor_area = convert|627128|sqft|m2|0
floors = 1 (the Sears anchor has 2 floors)
parking = 2,700 spaces
website = [http://www.janesvillemall.com www.janesvillemall.com]

Janesville Mall is an enclosed shopping mall located in Janesville, Wisconsin, United States. Opened in 1973, the mall currently features more than 68 tenants, including Boston Store, J. C. Penney, Kohl's, and Sears, Roebuck and Company as anchor stores.


In 1970, developer Roger Benjamin began scouting a site to construct a strip mall featuring Welles, a Midwestern discount department store chain. Flying over southern Wisconsin, he identified acres of open land in the Town of Janesville between the main downtown streets and Interstate 90, Milton Avenue. Benjamin determined that with nearly 200,000 people, the Janesville trading area had a large enough population and sufficient financial resources to support a mall. In addition, Montgomery Ward had already begun to build a store on one of the sites he was considering.

Benjamin and two partners created Janesville Properties Company, which purchased forty acres of land adjoining the Montgomery Ward site, and began planning his development. With the agreement of Montgomery Ward management, Benjamin modified his original plan for a strip mall in favor of an enclosed mall where Welles and Montgomery Ward would serve as anchor stores of an enclosed shopping mall. Within a year, Rockford-based department store Charles V. Weise (owned by Bergner's) signed on to become a third anchor; its store would be located midway between the other department stores, and a prominent central courtyard would be constructed outside its entrance. Plans to construct the $10 million enclosed mall were announced in November 1970 with groundbreaking set for spring 1971. ["Janesville Plans New Shopping Mall." Associated Press. Manitowoc Herald Times, Manitowoc, Wisconsin, Friday, November 20, 1970. Page 22.]

In early 1973, the Miller-Wohl Company (which owned the Welles chain) declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy and terminated its plans to open a store in Janesville. The sudden loss of Welles forced a search for another tenant to occupy the partially-constructed north anchor slot. Mall developers approached Sears, which operated a store in downtown Janesville. Sears declined, as it already operated a mall location in nearby Beloit Plaza; however, J.C. Penney (which also owned a small store in downtown Janesville) was chosen instead to fill the already-built Welles space.

1970s and 1980s

Janesville Mall opened in September 1973, featuring the three anchor stores and twelve other tenants. Unlike nearby Beloit Plaza in Beloit, the newer mall was enclosed, and thus considered more desirable in Wisconsin's often cold climate. The remaining interior spaces of the mall soon filled up with national chain tenants.

In 1985, Illinois-based Bergner's acquired all of the Charles V. Weise stores, re-branding them all as Bergner's that year. Montgomery Ward closed its store at Janesville Mall in the 1980s as well, with Milwaukee-based Kohl's taking its place. Mall management complemented the addition of Kohl's and Bergner's with a multimillion dollar remodeling in 1986, refinishing the mall courts with new flooring, new benches, and even live fig trees.


Meanwhile, Beloit Plaza began losing its inline stores due to competition from the newer Janesville Mall. When Bergner's declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1991, its store at Beloit Plaza was closed, and the Bergner's at Janesville Mall was re-branded as Boston Store. The mall was remodeled again in 1991, this time featuring a brighter, pastel-based color scheme; in addition, the fig trees were removed.

Meanwhile, the intersection of State Highways 14 and 26 near Janesville Mall became host to several big box chains, including Wal-Mart and Target adding facilities near existing ShopKo, Kmart, and Blain's Farm and Fleet locations. As these new stores attracted customers to the area, it also attracted new customers to Janesville Mall; the anchors were experiencing tremendous sales gains, though the mall itself suffered as tenants left the mall for less-expensive parcels adjoining the newer “big box” stores.Fact|date=December 2007

Janesville Mall's management approached the Sears chain again in 1996 in a second attempt to bring a Sears anchor to the mall. This time, Sears was offered the opportunity to shutter its Beloit Plaza store in favor of a new store at Janesville Mall; various financial incentives, including tax breaks, were also part of this deal. Sears accepted the offer and, by 1997, a new convert|110000|sqft|m2|-3|sing=on, two-story Sears was built onto Janesville Mall as a fourth anchor, while the older Beloit Plaza sears was also shuttered.

In 1998, the mall was acquired by CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., a real estate trust based in Tennessee. That same year, Kohl's expanded its store into what had previously been smaller mall shops. Also, the mall's movie theater closed, with Chuck E. Cheese's taking its place.


Additional development was built around the Janesville Mall in the 2000s, including a large strip mall anchored by The Home Depot and Wal-Mart Supercenter. Since the addition of the Sears store, the mall has been convert|627128|sqft|m2|-4 in size.


*Leute, Jim. “My, How Time Flies”. "The Janesville Gazette", 3 February 1997.
*“Annual Report 2003” and “Janesville Mall Demographics 2004”, from the CBL & Associates Properties, Inc., Website.
* [http://www.cblproperties.com/SITEPL~1.NSF/ByStateforWebSpecialNew/57D39BB763B7D6F88525667300722943?opendocument CBL Properties property sheet]

External links

* [http://www.janesvillemall.com Official site]

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