Bradley Square Mall opened in 1991 on the north side of Cleveland. Named for Bradley County, which it resides, the mall brought in four anchors with over 500,000 square foot of space compared to the smaller and less exciting Village and Cleveland Malls. Bradley Square took all but two of the anchors from those older malls, and the ones that remained closed shortly after. When the mall opened, Hess's came from Village Mall while JCPenney and Sears left Cleveland Mall without a reason to exist. When all was finished, the new mall featured Hess's, JCPenney, Sears and Kmart. A fifth anchor pad was also added to the mall, which I'm sure was presumed to be either Goody's, Rose's or Parks-Belk at that point in time. Rose's, of course, simply closed at Cleveland Mall as the company by that time was in trouble.
Bradley Square may be one level, but its design is rather unique. It is not a typical straight up and down mall.
Bradley Square has a very interesting layout, which made it intriguing compared to the older malls. It starts out as a normal hall, but splits off into a diamond patter similar to North DeKalb Mall. At the southern part of the diamond is a beautiful, but small fountain that sits in front of the Belk. Visible from the south court is the east entrance to JCPenney and the Sears entrance. The food court is located on the east part of the diamond. A mall entranced joined the north court, but is covered up awaiting a new theater. The west part of the diamond is a split from the main corridor, which heads to Kmart and includes the west entrance to JCPenney.
Entering the mall from the Penney's west mall entrance into the Kmart wing.
Looking back in front of Kmart along the Kmart wing.
Around the north court looking toward food court.
Detail of planter in Kmart wing.
Looking from fountain (south) court to Kmart wing.
While Cleveland Mall withered and died, Village held onto Parks-Belk oddly for a couple more years. It turned out that the Parks family planned to sell their stores, and did so in 1995 to Proffitt's, who had also acquired Hess's shortly after Bradley Square opened. With that, Parks-Belk closed and Village Mall turned into a ghost town while fast-growing and popular Proffitt's took the realm as one of the four at Bradley Square. Bradley Square also featured other elements the original malls never had such as a food court, a distinct layout and bright, detailed modern decor that the older malls could not offer. Bradley Square also offered air conditioning that open-air Village Mall didn't offer.
The fountain in center court is a fairly basic fountain, but it is still very beautiful.
For the next decade, Bradley Square was successful as the dominant mall. It was closer to the interstate and more competitive with Chattanooga...or so it seemed. The mall today has seen somewhat of a shuffle with the re-branding of Proffitt's as Belk. With that, it looks like Belk finally did make it to the mall without the help of the Parks family. Also, a movie theater is now under construction in the rear of the mall making five anchors.
Entryways inside and out on the mall are striking. The archway is a tad dated looking, but the overhead area is a very elegant touch.
All is not well at Bradley Square, though. Like its sister mall Mount Berry Square in Rome, this Crown America-constructed mall is facing similar problems. While the mall offers trendy stores and a complete anchor lineup, the mall never caught on as well as the developers originally thought. Numerous stores are dark throughout and the food court is not serving any food. This is curious as to why this is, since the mall seemed fairly busy for the off-hours I was there. It is not really known why the mall is having these problems either except that they are both too close and too far from Chattanooga...too close, which makes them have to compete with Chattanooga, but also too far in that they are not drawing the traffic of a more urban market. Perhaps also the incomes are too low in the area or unemployment too high in the area.
The food court, located next to Sears, is the most worrisome sight in the mall. Nobody's eating and no business is there to cook it either.
Nevertheless, it is really too soon to tell if the mall is actually dying or if it just that the market is just not enough to support a full line of stores in the mall. While the mall was recently listed in a report as "in danger of failure", the fact is that its sister mall in Rome never filled up fully as it was. Just because a mall has high vacancies doesn't always mean it's dying if the market around it cannot support many of its stores. However, such reports tend to be worrisome, especially with the local economy in these smaller southern towns already shaky and troubled more by the national economic crisis.
Areas like this are where the wounds show. This corridor extends from the Kmart wing to the center court. Note Belk on the right.
In all, though, Bradley Square is a very attractive smaller mall. While it is a bit dated, the nice touches it has are very nice such as the elaborate and tasteful entrances, a fountain with a pool and a large number of planters throughout to keep the mall from feeling sterile like most new malls do these days. Nevertheless, I tend not to be totally cheerful about any mall that has caused the demise of other malls. While it is a nice center, I hardly think it has the charm of Village Mall and the death of two malls for one is not easy to overlook. Nevertheless, I hope that Bradley Square can figure out what's causing the vacancies and that what is successful in the mall stays successful. Hopefully the movie theater will make a big difference and bring the dead food court back to life as well. Overall, I found Bradley County's third mall to be an enjoyable experience and a fairly attractive mall that still serves the town well.
JCPenney east entrance followed by JCPenney east entrance view from the fountain court.
Belk/Proffitt's entrance from the fountain court.
JCPenney east mall entrance from fountain court.
Sears mall entrance with vacant food court on the left.
Approaching the Kmart mall entrance.
Side view of Kmart entrance and southwest entrance corridor. Entrances come in on both sides in front of the Kmart mall entrance.
Detail of the northwest entrance, which is less elaborate than the one used in the fountain court area. This entrance mirrors the one in the last photo.
Outside view of the less elaborate southwest entrance and more elaborate southeast entrance (fountain court entrance). I can't complain about the design of these...they are quite attractive.
Outside views of Sears, Penney's, Kmart and Belk. Below is a pic of the Belk store as Proffitt's.
The Proffitt's sign just looks better, sorry. This was originally Hess's sign had a rainbow-spectrum design on the logo instead of just green. I would have loved to have seen that!
Mall sign from US 11. What did those holes above the name use to be for?
Plywood and scars of the former entrance mark the work commencing on the new movie theater.