Orange Blossom Mall; Fort Pierce, Florida

Orange Blossom Mall Pylon in Fort Pierce, FL 

This one was truly amazing.  Located along Okeechobee Road in the west part of Fort Pierce, Florida, Orange Blossom Mall sat for decades.  It seems to have died a slow, drawn out retail death, leaving behind a massive hulking structure which was open to walk but not really to shop.  When I visited in May 2001 only a few stores were operating.  The mall was, at one point, anchored by Sears and a Belk-Lindsay, so says the mall’s directory.  Both were shuttered by the time I visited the mall in 2001.  Also unique about the directory is the notation of ‘future dept. stores’ and ‘future expansion’, spelling out a woeful tale of unrealized glitz and glamour.  Check it out below.

The mall’s interior corridor was shaped in a ’9′ figuration, and was listed at 423,000 square feet in 1998.  Upon my visit in 2001, Sears was closed and the east end of the mall was inhabited by a Cincinatti-based call center, Convergys Inc.  In 2005, Convergys Inc. closed their location at the Orange Blossom Mall, leaving it even more dead if that’s possible.

Orange Blossom Mall southwest entrance in Fort Pierce, fL

As you can see in the pictures below, the Orange Blossom Mall’s condition was horrendous.  The number of retail stores operating is listed beside the directory.  I count 10 of them and no anchors.  There was also a gym called Barbell’s (I think?  It was over five years ago) operating at the west mall entrance closest to the former Sears.  Of note, check out the Labelscar for The Gap!  For all who don’t know or remember, this was their ancient logo before the ‘Gap Classic’ stores emerged in the early 1990s.  Does anyone have any information about any of these older Gap stores still in operation?  I remember shopping at one as a small child in the Machesney Park Mall near Rockford, Illinois, sometime in the late 1980s.  Also, check out all the other dated storefronts.  Maybe some of you will clue us in as to what they were.

A bit more about the known history of the mall.  From what I could dig up, the mall was sold in 1998 by Met Life (who also owned many beleagured malls at the time, including Euclid Square Mall in Ohio and Rhode Island Mall) to a company called Zamias Services, who managed it for a while and then divested it.  It currently operates as Orange Blossom Office Center, but I’m not sure if any conversions or demolitions of the structure have taken place yet.  Does anyone know if most of the mall is still standing or able to be walked?  I returned to visit a year later in June 2002 and the mall was in virtually the same condition, but I have not been back since. 

Also, we’re wondering about the mall prior to present times.  I can conjecture that people abandoned the mall to shop at the nicer Treasure Coast Square about 20 miles away in Jensen Beach or the massive retail strip along Route 1 up and down the Treasure Coast.  In addition, Fort Pierce is itself a marginally depressed city, economically, and that probably also contributed to the mall’s demise.  Demographically, the city has a very diverse socioeconomic makeup much different from that of the surrounding metro area.  The metro area includes St. Lucie, Florida, which was named in 2006 as the fastest growing city above 100,000 in the country.  It shot up from 88,000 in the 2000 census to an estimated 150,000 as of early 2006.  Wow!  We’d like to hear from some people who know more about the area than we do.  When did the mall die?  Was it ever successful?  As always your comments are appreciated.

Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL

Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL

Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL Orange Blossom Mall in Fort Pierce, FL Orange Blossom Mall directory in Fort Pierce, FL

 

108 Responses to “Orange Blossom Mall; Fort Pierce, Florida”

  1. Fort Pierce’s Orange Blossom Mall opened in 1984. It’s original anchors were Sears and Belk-Lindsay. It was a very nice, very clean and modern mall for it’s time, not to mention, very successful throughout the 80′s and early 90′s. I moved away from the area around that time. I was shocked to learn over time that it had died like it had. It was always full of people, they advertised regularly on local media, and seemed to be a thriving shopping center. It pulled in customers from the North in Vero Beach (Indian River Mall) and South from Jensen Beach and Stuart (Treasure Coast Square), but when those cities got their own larger, more upscale malls, they really took their toll on Orange Blossom Mall. Breaks my heart to see those pictures.

    I still remember the jingle…”The one for all, Orange Blossom Mall”.

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    tameka Reply:

    @Jack Shell, This “old mall” is now a school board. Sad thing to say considering how successful it would have been today if they had kepy it a little longer. Teens today would of gave that mall some great buisness. Well just wanted to update u.

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  2. It just looks like everybody got up and left one day. The practically new GNC sitting empty is eerie.

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  3. In my opinion, this mall is in the worst shape out of any dying (but not yet dead) mall that has been profiled on this site to date.

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  4. Yeah, Max, this mall is definitely up there in that category. Surprisingly, we’ve been to a few malls like this: a few stores (or less) open, yet the mall is still open to the public for whatever reason. It’s quite spooky, but also kind of neat.

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  5. This mall reminds me of one that was built in the early 80s in suburban New Orleans where I grew up. It was called Belle Promenade and was wildly successful until the original West Bank mall, Oakwood, was remodeled and attracted better stores I spent a lot of time at this mall being a teenager in the 80s. Going to the mall was a major activity for me and my friends and seemingly everyone else as well. Belle Promenade was eventually torn down and partially replaced by a Super Wal-Mart and a Home Depot. I found this webpage that discusses the mall:

    http://www.deadmalls.com/malls/belle_promenade.html

    Oakwood Mall is the mall you may have heard about that was looted and set on fire in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It was a beautiful place, easily one of the prettiest malls I’ve ever visited.

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  6. I worked in the Orange Blossom Mall in Ft Pierce, Fl in 1985 in a mens clothing store called H.I.S. 21 yrs later i find myself working for the elections office as a Systems Admin in IT in the same building. http://www.slcelections.com. I remember it as a thriving mall in the 80,s, driving from Okeechobee, FL. That was a big deal in a small cow town. This week it was announced tha the mall was to be bought and demolished. Just a few weeks ago i asked Joe, the maint. man to let me see the old food court , just to bring back memories. After two hurricanes, most of the ceiling tiles are gone or moldy. The fountains are void of water for insurance purposes and the musak still sounds bad coming from old speakers. Sometimes i exit the rear office door and walk a bit. I often stop and look at the long gone GAP scare and others and remember fun times back when i thought i would live forever.
    http://www.tcpalm.com/tcp/editorials/article/0,2821,TCP_24460_5149192,00.html

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  7. Its sad to hear the trend of “de-malling” malls is continuing, but I’m not too surprised either to see that it’s happening(in favor of ‘lifestyle’ centers, which not surprisingly, I’m not fond of). It’s probably one of those trends that’ll occur for another 10-15 years(a la the trend to build enclosed malls from the 1970s on, and lasted until the mid or late-’90s).

    That “the Gap” sign is probably my favorite thing mentioned about Orange Blossom Mall, since I remember 2 old Gap stores that were built on the far north side of Chicago back when the Gap used to use that full name, instead of only calling themselves ‘Gap’(as they do now). One of them was converted to a Chinese buffet place, after Gap moved that location to Lincolnwood Town Center(an enclosed mall), and another was since turned into a new business of some sort(it escapes me at the moment what the 2nd Gap store I’m thinking of is now).

    All right, I’ll really stop now will all my random comments, at least for the rest of today :)

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  8. I spent a lot of time in this mall in the 80s and 90s, I especially liked the food court, it is all very sad. It now houses county offices. There were similar “small” malls up and down the treasure coast, Stuart, Vero, etc, and they all seemed to die at about the same time, odd. I much preferred these smaller, cozier malls to the big glam malls in fashion now.

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  9. This mall looks a lot like a miniature of melbourne Square. I think this must have been built by debartolo. Melbourne also had a proposed Ruby tuesday, but it never happened.

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  10. Man CREEPY!
    Seeing this mall again in this condition sends a chill down my spine!

    I pretty much LIVED there when I was in High School, it was the only mall around the area in the 80′s.
    In its heyday the Orange Blossom Mall had Two Record Stores, Diamond Jims Video Arcade, tons of cool places to buy clothes, Schumacher Music (where I bought my first guitar), a wallgreens that was the only place around that would sell cigerettes to minors without an ID, and pretty much everything a juvenile delinquent growing up in the 80′s in st. lucie county could ask for, and Man it was BOOMIN’ back then.

    I can almost see the Ghosts!

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    Jo Reply:

    @Ian, My dad and I used to go to Diamond Jims a very long time ago, early 90s. I remember that place fondly. But the arcade is sadly becoming a thing of the past. There is still one here in OKC but I think that most of the machines have a price tag on them.

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  11. I lived in Ft Pierce from 1984-1986 and I remember this mall opening up. From what I remembered of my family talking, it was a doomed project from the start with delayed construction and other hassles.
    I fondly remember playing the LaserDisc based game “Dragon’s Lair” at Diamond Jim’s video arcade. I still have a purple velvet bag half-filled with tokens from Diamond Jim’s in my old “school memories” box in the basement..

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  12. I know this is like a year old, but I run a blog on Euclid Square Mall. Now it’s just the Dillard’s Clearance center that’s operational. I left the link to the blog so you can check it out, if you wish.

    Have a good day!

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  13. I am a 23 year old man but I remember back in 2nd and 3rd grade that my school would do Christmas plays there every year and we were shocked that it closed. About a year ago, however, there was word around this county and even in the newspaper that this mall would be revived after a lonh hiatus. I hope it does return- the citizens of Fort Pierce and even Saint Lucie County are deserving agin.

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  14. I drive by this place all the time. But, its not a mall, and there’s no way its ever going to be a mall ever again. Its the school board’s offices.
    There’s no real other area for the school board to be, seeing as its old building was taken over by the deliquent’s school. “Delaware”
    If it does, that would be amazing. I drive past it to go to wal-mart often. And the nearest (decent) mall is 45 minutes away from where I live. Where as Orange Blossom is only about 8. I wish it would open back up, but I doubt it would. I mean, I used to go see Santa all the time there with my sisters. And I even remember when they had Rudolf’s head in the wall and it would talk to you when you walked by.. that was so cool. :] But, alas, Fort Pierce is going through a pretty bad break-up and it doesn’t want to come out of its room to see the light of day for anything. Not for a while, unless someone really special comes along to see its potential. And who knows, it may die before then.
    -Linda

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  15. I live in Ft.Pierce and have been since 1979. I’m 31 now I remember when they built the O.B Mall.my mother who worked for a traveling Western wear shop called’Buck N Bum’ worked there when they rented a store during the X mas holidays.The last time i was at the O.B Mall i was assualted by gang member punks who the lack of ecurity let run rampant and thus was part of the Malls downfall.It was once a great mall that i enhoyed playing vid games at ‘Diamond Jim’s and bought lots of clothes and toys there over the years.I even bought my first tap there when i stated getting into Heavy Metal back in 1992′.Pantera’s Vulger Display Of Power’ it was.It sad that the Mall it will be no more soon.

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    Ken Reply:

    @Bart, what was your mothers name we hung out and worked a couple summers with buck and bum on the road thought we might know her thanks

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    Carol Reply:

    @Ken,

    Bart’s mom is Kathy. They were neighbors of ours when we lived down there.

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  16. Wow!
    This brought back memoires, I lived in Fort Pierce from ’86-2002 and used to have my film developed at Foto Fun.

    ….seems like only yesterday I was at the food court talking to Rudolph or skating on the dinky “ice” rink they used to set up for the Holidays!

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    Jen swilley Reply:

    I remember those little ice blocks they’d bring in for kids to skate on!one of my best memories of growing up there!and living in diamond jims:-)bring back the mall!

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  17. I lived in Jensen Beach in ’84 drove up there to shop & play Dig-Dug. That mall was booming back then. I can’t figure out why it went under. Fort Pierce & the surrounding cities got bigger. I miss 1984….it was so much nicer in Martin County.

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  18. does anyone know if this mall is still open…that is, can you still go inside, are there any stores remaining? also, i am driving down the east coast of florida and would like to see other dead malls: anybody know some others?

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    tameka Reply:

    @mozley, no, this mall is closed and now a school board. Maybe you could go in if you need to go to the school board. Good luck!

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  19. I opened a sub shop that was called ALL AMERICAN HERO when the mall first opened. I didnt see sunlight for 8 months ,it was so buzy.
    IT was the place to be at the time but as other malls open, like the one in
    Stuart. It started to die a slow death. IT IS A SHAME .

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  20. I was there at the very beginning of that mall and believe me it was jammin for the first 5 years!!! But as Walmart opened down the street it slowly died out. Belk Lidnsey, Sears, Wicks and Sticks, Zales, Gordons jewlers, All Americn Hero, Hot dog N More, Corn Dog 7, Chick Filet, NY Pizza, so many memories and so much fun!! All the managers of the food court were friends and would sit around and talk after hours. We were all young and starting out! As it died down everything changed the clientel got lousier and the stores shut down. The mall was designed to have many more stores added and a 9 screen theater was to be built but Walmart coming changed everything. Sad to see it all go away. A life time ago but the memories are forever!

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  21. I”m going to that mall today and see if it open today.

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  22. I also grew up in Ft. Pierce, and have many memories of Orange Blossom Mall. I was 14 when it opened and spent many a friday night there shopping with my family. My high school (John Carroll) was not far away. As seniors we were able to leave campus for lunch and always went to the food court to eat. My first job was at Bresler’s Ice Cream which was owned by friends of my parents. From there it was on to work at B. Dalton Bookseller whose store can be seen in one of the photos near the GAP. My last day working at the mall was Christmas Eve 1990 after which I left town to go to college. ( A few years earlier the mall actually had live deer in a pen near the fountains at the center court for Christmas!) Ft. Pierce has changed so much since then. My family, like many other middle class families that shopped there, moved south to Port St. Lucie and St. Lucie West which was much closer to the Treasure Coast Mall. I moved back to the area in 1997 and Indian River Mall had opened too, further sending the mall into decline. At that point the Gap was still open and I believe hung on until ’99 or ’00. I occasionally drive by and it is a sad sight to see and brings back so many memories. Ft. Pierce is definately a Walmart town now, long over shadowed by the wealthy counties of Indian River and Martin to either side.

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    Anita Reply:

    Indian River County may be a “wealthier town” as you said, but since both our outlet mall (in a steady state of decline) and our Indian River Mall (how does it stay in business??) have opened, I still feel Vero doesn’t support these malls either! Look at the parking lot as you drive by. It’s only filled at Christmas and the day after Thanksgiving. Thankfully Target is doing better than when it first opened and we know Walmart gets the business. I’ve lived in Vero since 1973 and remember having to drive to either the Melbourne Mall (or the freestanding Sears) OR the Orange Blossom Mall to go school shopping. It was a treat to go out of town those FEW times a year to go shopping. We did have a small mall here on US1 called the Vero Mall a few years later, which I didn’t mind at all. I firmly believe the opening of Vero’s new mall and outlet mall both let to the demise of the OBM and Ft Pierce’s outlet mall. It is sad. Regarding Melbourne’s freestanding Sears….does anyone remember the giant toy “room” that Sears had at Christmastime?? That was so cool. My siblings remember it.

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    Jenna Reply:

    @Michael, I went to JCHS, What year did you graduate?

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  23. Fort Pierce was ALWAYS a ‘Wal-Mart town.’

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  24. “Allan said,

    on November 29th, 2006 at 10:13 pm

    Its sad to hear the trend of “de-malling” malls is continuing, but I’m not too surprised either to see that it’s happening(in favor of ‘lifestyle’ centers, which not surprisingly, I’m not fond of). It’s probably one of those trends that’ll occur for another 10-15 years(a la the trend to build enclosed malls from the 1970s on, and lasted until the mid or late-’90s).”

    Actually, covered malls are basically an experiement in commerce. Since Ur, people have been congregating in outdoor, walking shopping districts, initially organically created by the ebb and flow of traffic in the cities, and later as planned Main Streets, downtowns and Grand ‘Champs.’

    Mall culture (and I grew up basically in one: Dadeland Mall in Miami,) is an experiement in shopping. Up until very recently, one couldn’t drive to a place specifically designed to shop at. People built buildings and placed shops on the ground floor or nearby to where the people were.

    Lifestyle centers are kind of a bridge between naturally occuring streets of shops (like M Street in Georgetown, or Lincoln Road in Miami Beach,) and malls. Most of them, as of yet, aren’t full-fledged urban centers, but are outdoor malls in Main Street drag.

    However, a lifestyle center has much more of an opportunity to become an actual Main Street down the line…much more so than a mall does. So…while lifestyle centers may be a current trend, they actually lead from A (lifestyle center) to B (lifestyle center with surrounding urbanity) to C (actual center of ‘town.’) Hopefully, this will lead to less disposing of the site when the original purpose has run its course (like so many dead malls.)

    This is why I support the lifestyle center ‘trend’ in retail. And I love the mall: I really do…but it’s interesting to note that its the places that didn’t abandon their traditional main street shopping experience, from Georgetown to Fifth Avenue to Williamsburg and beyond, that are desired places, have high property values, and create a connection with the city as a whole, rather than a separation and an isolation.

    Dadeland is a great case in point in this regard, as they (a successful, non-dead mall dating back to the 1960s,) is in the middle of a multi-year development plan to break up the mall and create a ‘downtown’ for that area of Miami. Mizner Park, a redevelopment of the very dead Boca Mall, is another example of how the ‘lifestyle center’ provides an experience the hermetically sealed environment of the mall can’t hope to approach, and that is of connection: with the environment, with other people and with life, in general.

    That’s my 15 cents, anyway.

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  25. Interesting post, Aaron, as I agree and disagree with various points you made in that post. I’m a little surprised you dug that far back to a comment I made in 2006, but where do I begin to reply:

    >> However, a lifestyle center has much more of an opportunity to become an actual Main Street down the line…much more so than a mall does. So…while lifestyle centers may be a current trend, they actually lead from A (lifestyle center) to B (lifestyle center with surrounding urbanity) to C (actual center of ‘town.’) Hopefully, this will lead to less disposing of the site when the original purpose has run its course (like so many dead malls.) >>
    You are absolutely right that a lot of malls do have the problem of running the course of later becoming dead malls, and in turn, become wasteful or ‘disposable’, especially if lower density development takes the place of a dead mall(i.e. a lifestyle center, as I’ve witnessed this occurring to several dead malls I used to patronize, such as College Hills Mall in Normal, IL, and Brickyard Mall in Chicago, IL). However, OTOH, I’ve heard of success stories too of enclosed malls improving over time, and even adapting forms of increased density development or ‘urbanism’, such as the owners of Tyson’s Corner Center Mall in Virginia building condos and office towers that are so close to the enclosed mall portion, that in essence these new portions are all but connected to the mall. Heck, even the rapid transit train system in DC, Metro, is planning to build an extension out to Tyson’s, which should speak volumes for the example I’m citing.
    (link to a site on the Tyson development: http://www.tysonsfuture.com/ )

    I dunno about you, but coming from briefly shopping at the lifestyle center that replaced Brickyard Mall(of Chicago) earlier today, there’s no doubt in my mind that the former Brickyard Mall was a much denser development, and was many times better than the lifestyle center that was built in its place. Not to mention, it’s unappealing as heck having to drive from store to store, rather than having the much more pleasurable experience of parking your car in one place, and shopping in an environment that you know won’t be too cold or too warm.

    >
    This is a point where I’ll both agree and disagree with. Wholeheartedly agree with your point about enclosed malls being an ‘experiment’ within the evolving preferences of developers and shoppers of the types of shopping centers built over the years. However, this process has been occurring, EVEN before the very first enclosed mall in America opened in 1956, Southdale Center in Edina, MN. Especially if you look back at earlier decades, when shopping centers such as Country Club Plaza in Kansas City(built 1923), and Market Square in Lake Forest, IL(built 1916, and probably most famous for being the site of one of the first Marshall Field’s stores outside of downtown Chicago) were planned developments that were way closer to traditional downtowns, or ‘Main Streets’ that you speak of, than the current trend of building lifestyle centers. Now the part where I so greatly disagree…..lifestyle centers are such a joke, if you even think they’re anywhere like ‘Main Street’. They’re just as manufactured of a shopping experience, if I will say, as any enclosed mall that has ever been built in this country, or anywhere else worldwide.

    >
    This is a point where you totally lost me on. Can you elaborate more on what you mean by lifestyle centers being a bridge between traditional neighborhood shopping districts, and enclosed malls?

    >
    Disagree, especially since many early open-air shopping centers that slightly predated the trend of enclosed malls were when the trend of building places designed for shopping really started to take root in American society. Heck, you could probably technically argue that Market Square in Lake Forest, IL, and Country Club Plaza in Kansas City were among the very first drafts of what later evolved into the trend of open-air shopping centers(i.e. Old Orchard Center in Skokie, IL), and shortly after, enclosed malls.

    >
    Could you elaborate more about Dadeland Mall’s development that you mentioned into it? I’d be curious to know if it’s like the vision that the owners of Tyson’s Corner Center are currently working to transform their mall into. Anyway, take care, and I greatly enjoyed reading your post.

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  26. Allan:

    RE: Lifestyle Centers as just as manufactured as malls.

    - That is undeniably true. Developers are merely looking for the way to all of our hard earned and rapidly devaluing dollars. At present, and for the foreseeable future, that’s going to be the ‘lifestyle center.’ Having said that, a well-built lifestyle center has the bones to become an actual center. Mind you, I’m not talking about ‘strip malls in Main Street’ drag here, but rather, buildings that can eventually integrate into the community as a whole. Many such lifestyle centers have done that. In Coral Springs, FL, for example, they redeveloped a failed strip into ‘The Walk,’ which has become the catalyst for their next project ‘Downtown Coral Springs.’

    - This is what I mean by ‘lifestyle centers’ being the bridge between the mall and the traditioal shopping district. The mall faces away from the environment, represents a remove from the surroundings. The lifestyle center, while still a manufactured experience, at least is integrated into the environment. They offer a canvas to paint future growth on, whereas the traditional enclosed mall doesn’t.

    RE: Tysons Corner.

    - I live in DC now, and I’m well aware of Tysons (in fact, I spent Black Friday there in retail bliss.) Tysons future project is very similar to Dadeland’s, but both enclosed malls (and in Tysons’ case: enclosed mall districts,) represent successful, fortress malls: the pinnacle of enclosed mall building and expansion. (http://www.cuesfau.org/studentpapers/Documents/Kendall%20Report.pdf)

    There’s nothing to say that a successful mall district can’t become a ‘downtown,’ and still retain the mall component. But, in my opinion, the mall has to already be a regional powerhouse success, such as Dadeland for Miami’s Kendall and Tysons Corner and Galleria for the Capital Region.

    The issue with most other enclosed malls is not one of this massive level of success, however, and many of them will have to be reinvented or slip into deadness. However, unlike malls, which face inward and are, in general, removed from the surrounding community by parking lots and berms and those big, ridiculous circular pathways, lifestyle centers at least represent a ‘start’ with buildings that can see repurpose, parking that can be garaged and made dense, etc. America’s rediscovery of their abandoned downtowns is no accident, and developers have seen that it’s surprisingly easy to refurbish the existing stock and get foot traffic. Georgetown is essentially one big ‘organic’ mall, with most of the shops and stores of Tysons, in a much better setting.

    My hope for Tysons is that, once the Metro connects, it will become much like Pentagon City or Bethesda: malls-to-center of town. The Metro makes the Pentagon City Mall my fave in the region.

    RE: Building lifestyle centers in the middle of nowhere.
    This annoys me as well, but I suppose it’s better than nothing. My parents live in a very removed suburb of Fort Lauderdale, and they have their own ‘lifestyle center,’ which is merely an outdoor shopping center in ‘rich-bitch-Boca’ drag. Still, it’s much more pleasant to look at than the vacant, blank wall of a Wal-Mart.

    RE: Outdoor shopping centers.

    -These are actually less of an experiement that the hermetically sealed mall. Concur and agree.

    RE: My earlier life as a mall rat.

    - I was totally raised in the suburbs of Miami. Basically, my entire childhood was spent on my bike, or in a car…on the way to a mall of some sort. I am not exactly anti-mall, exactly. I remember Just Jeans and Ton Sur Ton shirts and arcades and etc. Periodically, I still shop in malls, including a somewhat dead one (Prince Georges Plaza has the Metro AND a Target.) But you don’t really know what you are missing if you never had it in the first place. In my case, I’m tallking about the simple act of walking to stores, restaurants, etc.

    I think, for a lot of people, the lifestyle center represents a little bit of that (I got very excited over Mizner Park or CocoWalk as a teen, without being able to articulate why.) For most people, it’s too much of a leap currently to just move back into the cities our grandparents left behind (wait until the Indians build that $3000 car and gas worldwide hits $4 a gallon, however.) But there’s an real appeal to the ‘Main Street’ experience, even if it’s as fake as Disney…and even if you have to drive to it. My parent’s ‘lifestyle center’ is the perfect case in point: it’s hopping all day with activity…even if it is merely a mall in drag.

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  27. Hey, I just wrote an insightful post on the matter at hand, about lifestyle centers, and now my post is gone. What happened?

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  28. here are some pictures of the idea of ‘Downtown Kendall’
    http://www.doverkohl.com/project.aspx?id=14&type=0&image=1

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  29. I managed the Sound Shop in OBM in 1988. At that point Treasure Coast had been taking business and OBM had two or three empty storefronts. Looking at the photos brought back memories of that time in my life. Then to see the comment about Joe, the maintenance man, I can hardly believe he was still there. Way to go Joe!! Glad to know you’re still around.

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  30. I used to go to this mall all the time when I was a kid. It’s so strange now to see it converted into government offices and Indian River Community Colleges beautician school. I went there recently to fill out an application for a passport. It was eerie, really, the fact that I could still go there and name where most of the stores once were. There was a pet store that still has the big glass windows in the front where you could look in at the sad-looking puppies. A unique, blue-tiled wall marks where Diamond Jim’s, a video arcade, used to be. The front entrance of Diamond Jim’s sported a pair of televison on each side of the door, showing all the latest video games playing onscreen. The televisions are actually still there, crooked, dark, but intact. A smiling multi-colored clown on the wall brought back happy childhood memories of Kay-Bee Toys, of playing with flipping puppies and honking pigs, and those little penguins that would climb the elctronic stairs, roll down the winding slide, then climb up again in cycle. I even cheated a bit, stepping over the construction ropes to go visit a restaraunt I remember going with my late grandparents at least once a week: Picadilly. A peek inside the dead cafeteria shows a dark, dusty mess, with old signs leaning against the walls and the remains of a dining room with no chairs or tables. I remember the beautiful fountains that decorated the center of the mall walkways, where kids like me enjoyed throwing coins and making stupid wishes for new toys, video games, and a million dollars. The fountains are in pathetic condition now, drained and nothing more than an eyesore. I used to love this place when I was a kid. Now it’s like visiting an abandoned dream of childhood. Truly creepy.

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  31. This mall is also the origin of and Urban Legend that arose in the mid 1980s about kids being kidnapped in the mall and the mall goes into a silent lockdown where all the security people are looking for the missing child. They usually find the child in the bathroom in the process of getting its head shaved or clothes changed. This caused quite a stir for people that shopped there in April 1984, so much that the Miami Herald published a story discrediting this story as factual. The legend has spread a lot, and now you hear about it happening in different places like Sams Club and stuff like that all over the country. But it originated at the Orange Blossom Mall in 1984!

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    Jeff Shinham Reply:

    @Graham Brunk,

    I managed The Butlers store when that child was taken. The Kidnaper made it all the way to the parking lot. If not for the girl at the piercing pagota notifing the mall security they would have been gone!! They walked right past our front entrance and noone noticed.

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  32. Wow….I moved out of Fort Pierce in 2003, and I remember the Mall was dead then. I actually worked for Convergys for over a year, and remember always finding a parking place ;) But seriously, when I was a kid, what I remember most was the arcade we used to go in, and then we would go to the food court….I also remember the Ice Rink (if u can call it that, LOL)

    Seemed like it died a slow and painful death.

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  33. I also remember when this mall opened up for the first time, as I came to PSL in 1980 from WPB (grew up around the Palm Beach Lakes Mall in WPB). I used to go there when I was in high school and graduated in 1984. We used to get our (45′s) records there and candy, go girl shopping and see my best friend at one the clothing stores there, along with the video games of course. My high school sweetheart and I bought our engagement rings at Dubose Jewelers (1985) and after I had my first child (1986) I used to have her pictures taken at Sears all the time. Having her visit Santa and later seeing the reindeers there bring back memories as well. Even taking the family to Picadilly’s for lunch. I remember when Belk Lindsey was there and they sold candy for $25.00 a pd. I couldn’t get over that! This mall used to be booming! When the Treasure Coast Mall came around, that’s when all the malls in the area went under (Stuart, Ft Pierce and Vero Mall). I never cared for the TC Mall and still don’t to this day. The new malls can NEVER compare to those that we grew up with!

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  34. I lived right behind the mall in the Sabal Chase apartment complex from 2001 to 2005. It was alaready closed by the time I got there. Had no idea it looked that good inside until I saw the pictures here. WalMart is practically next door now and seems to be doing well so there is probably no chance it will ever open again. Too bad, since it could have helped Fort Pierce econoomically.

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  35. Living in the area when the mall openned, I remember the mall being very busy for several years. Gang problems in the parking lot were said to have been the reason for the downfall as well as the new Jensen Beach Mall up the road. THe final nail was the Indian River Mall in Vero. Sears and Belk held out along with a few small stores. Hickory Farms was the biggest loss!!!
    I currently work in the old belk store as a vacation planner for Carnival Cruise Lines, how strange to go from a beautiful retail center to a re-developing commerce center. The mall also houses the St. Lucie County school board, county tax and voters offices, a call center “psi” that is insurance related and a recently openned charter school!
    Yesterday tropical storm Fay dumped 10 to 12 inches of rain, leaving the mall and the parking lot under several feet of water, future is unknown!

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  36. As Bob mentioned above, Tropical Storm Fay did a number on the old Orange Blossom, and the Carnival office will soon be permanently closed. Bon Voyage musty, creepy Orange Blossom!

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  37. Sorry to hear about the flodding and closing of your call center. Will you have a chance at another job with Carnival? The history of the Orange Blossom Mall, to current, is very sad.

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  38. To answer Nancy’s question, about 50 Carnival Reps are now telecommuting from home. But unfortunately, many of the PVPs are now unemployed. To date, there are only a few employees working in Carnival’s Orange Blossom office. Once their home computers are ready it’s bye bye! CHECK OUT THE PHOTOS FROM INSIDE THE ORANGE BLOSSOM CALL CENTER WHEN IT WAS AT FULL CAPACITY: http://www.stlucietoysfortots.org/gallery/CArnival

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  39. Luckily the mall was not around when Fay came. That’s when it would have died.

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  40. I too rememeber the Mall in all its glory days. I recently had to visit the School Board and went inside the mall. It is so sad to see the shape it is in today. Holes in the roof, mold, mildew…how very sad. This building needs to be torn down. It is a health hazard.

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    tameka Reply:

    @Nancy Forst, wow! that is very hard to hear. Thanks for the update.

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  41. I used to work at Convergys back in ’03 with the Dell Home Sales account. The mall was pretty much dead then, with only a couple of stores open. I do remember that there was a fire on the roof one night while we were at work, and the alarm systems DIDN’T go off. We were told to get off the phones by a firefighter in full gear… that was funny trying to explain to our customers that we had to call them back, lol!

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  42. Wow, this brings back memories. Sad, I remember in highschool, some buddy’s and I would hang out on the bench outside the bodyshop, just because there was nothing better to do. and even before that I remember saving my allowance to be able to go to Diamond Jim’s. 4 quarters would get you 4 tokens but a dollar bill would get you 5, and if you bought $10 I think you got 75 and $20 got you 150 and they gave them to you in little velvet bags.

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  43. I heard it was turned into a county government center now… The SLC school board is there and some other county offices. I haven’t been back there since I moved away in 93

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    Kathy Reply:

    @Jeff,

    I read your posting. Can you tell me what the store was where the school board is now? ON which end was Sears located.

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  44. I remember actually working in the mall. I worked in Diamond Jims back in 90-92 and then I joined the navy. I got out in 96 and went back to work there for about another year before I went to school. I moved out of state after school and when i finally came back OBM was dead and gone.

    It was a sad day for me. I was there from the start. I remember walking from selvitz road over to the mall everyday and was there open to close when I was not in school. I remeber it fondly going into kay Bee toys and I would get my shoes from payless. I can take a visual walkthrough in my head and remember where almost every store was and what it was.

    This place has to be on of my fondest memories as a kid. I loved OBM and because of it I love malls and always will. I would love to see it restored to its former glory but alas….those days are over. The gang crime, Wal-Mart and the TCM and Vero Mall opening really killed OBM. The only reason to go to TCM now is gamestop.

    Well, I live in Denver now and when I go back to visit I always walk through OBM just to remember the good times.

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  45. Wow! Poor Orange Blossom mall!! I have sooo many memories here as a kid…Corn Dog 7, Kaybee Toys,Piccadelly Cafe and the Ice Rink that came one year!! This was the place in little old Fort Pierce!! What’s really sad is the malls that replaced it such as the Indian River Mall are starting to die a slow death as well (and that one only opened up in 2000)

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  46. Brynn, I don’t know if you mean the Treasure Coast Mall, here in Jensen, but this one is doing fine. It’s packed every weekend. If only it were bigger, with more interesting stores. Personally I don’t really like the Treasure Coast Mall, so when I looked up the next closest mall, this one came up. And then I did a little more research, and it led me here, and I saw that the mall was no longer a mall. Truly sad.

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  47. I just moved to Port St. Lucie and had to go to the school board at this mall. It sure doesn’t look as nice as the pictures above. All store names are completely removed, can’t even see an outline to tell what it was before. Sheets of plastic covered almost all of the former store entrances. The directory was there, but all of the store names were removed. Out of curiosity, what store was where the school board is located? Which end was the Sears on ? What was the restaurant on the front? It said it was some kind of religious organization. Interesting thing, I’ve seen malls with many stores missing, but never one that had nothing left like this one. Hope someone can answer the questions about the mall.

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  48. Hey I used to work at Big Apple Pizza from Nov ’84-June 85. I remember Diamond Jim’s playing tennis and pinball. Michelle from CVS. Joe Carvelli, Scott Van Duzer, Mike Iovine. I remember Donna. Tom Brennen. Herb & and Laura with the english accent. Todd, Dara Dzus. Joanne Ludavico. Corndogs, Philly Cheesesteak Co. Chic-Filet, Chinese food. I can’t remember all, If you remember me, give me a shout.

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  49. Wow, I feel so old now.. I used to work at the Friedman’s jewelers and the DeBois Jewelers from about 1985-1992…..all I can say is it wasnt the 80′s wothout this mall. I worked all over that mall, the new Sears when it first opened. I remember fondly the women of the Barnie’s coffee shop..The kept me awake many a Christmas season. I thought of myself as a self proclaimed mall rat..lol…The Colony, and BIG APPLE PIZZA!!! Ha..many a meal from there….wasnt there a Taco Viva too? next to corn dog 7?…and the smelly reindeer they would torment through the Christmas season..lol…and what about the Raffles restaurant that was there originally…I got engaged in that restaurant…and the flower shop at the other, …must say I am sad to it go down the tubes…it was the happening place back then, and yeah I think Walmart helped to kill it, and the PSL people like me, started going to the Treasure Coasst Mall, same stores as OB but way closer…stuff always changes the older we get, maybe that’s why they are memories now..oh, and I have been gone from the area since 1996…miss home heard its all different now.

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  50. can you still walk in and walk around this place?

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  51. this is very sad, my family use to work there at picadilies and i spent alot of time in this mall as a child.. it was the “cool place to be” :) i miss it alot!!

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    sheila Reply:

    @ameera, Can you tell me when the Picadilly closed in the mall?

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  52. The opening of the Treasure Coast Mall 15 miles to the south killed the Orange Blossom Mall. The tenants of the tiny Stuart mall moved to the new Treasure Coast Mall situated at the north edge of Martin County near fast growing Port St. Lucie in southern St. Lucie County. Ft. Pierce isn’t as nice an area and isn’t growing like Port St. Lucie. The Treasure Coast Mall is a standard large regional mall in the center of the Port St. Lucie/Stuart population area. The area wasn’t big enough to support two malls so the smaller mall in a smaller and less desirable area died.

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  53. Where was the mall in Stuart? Haven’t seen anything there that looks like it was a mall.

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    brian Reply:

    @Kathy, the mall in stuart used to be called the martin square mall.it was located were home depot and sears essentals is now.right beside indian street and us1. it is now called the martin square center. the sears building is the only thing that is left of the original mall.

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  54. Oh, should have asked in the above comment, does anyone have a mall map or layout of where the stores in the OB mall were located? This mall is creepy to walk through, but the Palm Beach Mall is even worse! I guess it’s closing January 31, 2010. That was really weird feeling walking around in it….maybe it was the fact that you could see the food court where the guy was murdered!

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    mike Reply:

    @Kathy, when did the murder take place? I am doing research on a guy who was killed in 1985 in that area. Thanks

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  55. There’s a pic of the mallmanac but i can’t read the numbers on it.

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  56. Ah the Orange Blossom Mall was a fixture in my life from 1985 until the early 2000′s. In the early years when this mall was alive my mom would buy me GIJOE figures at the Sears. In the end days we use to skate board all over the place. Security was so lax or non existent it was a young punks dream.

    It reminded us of Old Detroit from the Robocop movies.

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  57. Kathy I just ran across this blog. Sears was where the school board offices are now. Belk Lindsay was at the complete opposite end. Convergys moved into Belks after the mall closed.

    There was a really nice baby clothing store next to Sears, and Kay-Bee Toys was on the other side of the hallway, also next to Sears. Also down at that end was a greeting card store (American something or other), Radio Shack, and a store that I think was called Bed Bath and Kitchen. (not Bed Bath and Beyond). I think the owner was Karen Kane who now has a store in historic area of downtown FP. Further down was a Lechtners (not sure of spelling) which was a kitchen gadgets store.

    This mall was killed by the mall that opened in Vero Beach on SR 60 – they enticed the businesses out of there with offers of really low rent and a much bigger mall and more affluent population. Once they started moving out, it had a snowball effect which caused fewer to shop there and more stores to go. Treasure Coast Square in Jensen had an effect on it but not nearly as much as the one in Indian River. Right after that, a new discount Outlet Mall on the same road in Vero Beach killed our Outlet Mall that was down the road from Orange Blossom and was on the west side of I-95. That discount outlet mall in Vero is now in bankruptcy after killing ours off. Grrr.

    I do think that Orange Blossom was originally a deBartolo mall but could be wrong. TC Square in Jensen was. Walmart had a different clientele and in my opinon, did not affect the shopping at OB Mall that much, although it did affect Sears to some extent. But not so much Belk’s which was a more expensive store.

    In Fort Pierce we have never had a decent place to shop since Orange Blossom. Sure we have Walmart, and somehow Kmart survived on US 1 but that’s it. Sam’s was a help but then they moved to Port St. Lucie, leaving us with no discount club either, and Lowes moved out in the early 2000s too, leaving us just Home Depot by Walmart.

    One thing, though, that’s good is that the downtown Fort Pierce area on Second Street has turned into a great place to find really nice merchandise, restaurants and services, and not necessarily sky high prices, either.

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    jack favorite Reply:

    @kDoes anyone remember what was there before the mall. Just a plain old pasture, but several times each year, there would be a carnival, or a small circus held on that plain old pasture. That, Too is a very good memory!

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    Kathy Reply:

    @kelli, Thanks! I was really curiousbecause I never saw the mall when it was open. It did spark an interest in dead malls and why it happened. I’m originally from Indiana and have seen malls with few shops, but they were all revitalized and still open. I had never seen one completely closed and it feels erie to walk in these old malls. I stopped at the one in West Palm; it was worse! Just wanted to say thanks for all the history. I love to learn about the towns I move to and their history.

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  58. The best thing about the Orange Blossom Mall…
    The Piccadilly Cafeteria!!!! My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

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  59. New York Men’s Clothing was where I got my first suit for Homecoming, my Sophomore year in high school, in 1991. I found a picture of me in it the other day… no wonder I had no date. Thanks Mom.

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  60. I ask again…is it possible to still go here and go inside and walk around?

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    Richard Reply:

    @Graham,
    You can still go an walk around the mall. If you want to vote early in an election you can do it at the Mall. The keep the lights on for the businesses which are left there. One being a Labcorp blood collection center. The school board bought what was the Sears store and there are offices there for the local college and I think their school of cosmetology is located there or part of it.

    While the Treasure Coast Mall in Jensen and the Indian River Mall in Vero did siphon off customers I think the biggest reason the Orange Blossom Mall didn’t manage to hang in there is because they never built the multiplex movie theater that was promised. The other regional malls have them and that helps keep the traffic of teenagers and customers for the food courts alive and drives older movie goers to shop in the stores too. A lot of major retailers that put a store in every mall they could have tanked over the years for various reasons. The economic demographics for the Fort Pierce area also limited the amount of customers able to pay Mall prices especially with a Wal-Mart 2 miles further up the road.

    Besides building a “regional” mall every 15 to 20 miles on the east coast of Florida wasn’t the brightest idea when the per capital income of the average Floridian was dropping as more “refugees” were moving in. Florida is mostly a service oriented economy with retirees with pensions and social security as main sources of income. And when I use the term refugees I mean people from all over the country, not just foreigners that moved to Florida for the weather and affordable housing. We had a population growth spurt that couldn’t the past 30 years that no area could handle well. Jobs and services still can’t keep up with the pace.

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    Troy Reply:

    @Richard, for real? I need to head down there and make a video and take some pictures and post them to Facebook thank you for sharing this post it really helped

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  61. You can only walk through a small portion of the mall. Most is blocked off or turned into other offices now.

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  62. My fondest memory of the O.B. Mall was the Class of 91′s project graduation. OB Mall hosted a lock in event where Fort Pierce Central, Westwood, Port St Lucie High and Lincoln Park got together to have a pre graduation party. Dimond jims stayed open along with i think 4 food places in the food court. (92.7FM) Which was Star 93 was there to play the music. Everyone said it couldn’t be done because the 4 schools were huge rivals. We sure proved them wrong…GO CLASS OF 91!!!

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  63. I came across this about Orange Blossom Mall and am sad about its demise. I worked at the Sears on US1 and then on the switchboard at the OBM Sears while it was being built and the entire mall was under construction. I continued to work there for several years after. I loved Belks too. Got my haircut and permed at Regis Hair Salon. Bought all my trendy clothes usually at Rave. My roomate worked at Barnies. I still have some of the cassettes of the great 80′s music that I bought there. Oh, the memories. Thank you OBM. We were so fortunate to have such a great place to work, eat and just hang out.

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  64. I stumbled across this site while looking up the old chain Corndog 7 I used to eat at when I worked retail. I managed a store in Orange Blossom for a few years. I was on the mall board when we brought in Richard Simmons and packed the place out. Hate to see it totally dead now. But since leaving retail, I don’t even go in malls anymore. I don’t know a lot of people who do spend time in malls like you used to when there was nowhere else to go, or nothing to do.

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  65. When I was a child I remember holding hands with my mother as she and my brothers and sisters walked the halls. I remember a thick painted horizontal line across the walls of the mall. Oh and the water fountain!!! My brother and I would throw pennies there. A LOT of memories are there. Maybe if it was open today I would be a hudge success, because teens have drive all the way to PSL to go to the mall. This way we would only be 5 mins away:)

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  66. I went by this Mall today. It is still open for anyone to walk through it. In fact I took quite a few pictures. I was surprised to see that this mall looks relatively the same as it does in these pictures…aside from the fact that the store fronts are mostly gone and just boarded. I found it interesting that The Grove Food Court sign still lights up with all its neon glory, though the food court is completely blocked off with a wall just beyond the sign. There was time period music (1980s Music) playing through the malls stereo system. One downside was that they do not turn the air conditioning on and the mall has a musty smell that reminded me of the Palm Beach Mall just before it closed.

    Probably the most significant aspect of this mall is the fact that it is literally a piece of the 1980s sitting right in 2011. This mall has not seen any sort of renovation at all like it might have by now if it had in fact survived. It still has its brown brick like floor, floor based plant holders, and point triangle like concourse ceilings (similar to the Boynton Beach Mall). Therefore it still has its VERY large non energy efficient fountain with bridge in the center, something you wouldn’t find at most malls any longer because of maintenance and electric costs.

    Interestingly they do seem to be keeping the mall concourse up as fresh mulch and trees had just been put in many of the floor based plant holders, the directories are all up to date. All in all there was roughly 3 people probably in the entire concourse while i was there. Me, some lady sittin on a bench and a maintenance woman who was quite friendly and said hello! There is lots of good retail space in here and even with the center being a office complex they could easily bring in some food retailers and such since there did seem to be several 100 cars around the mall for people who have jobs there.

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  67. @Graham, That’s amazing! Thanks for sharing that the mall is still accessible. I actually sort of assumed it wasn’t, and I haven’t been inside since 2002. I was amazed even then at the condition of the mall, and they were still trying to operate it as such then.

    If you post the pictures you took somewhere, please share the link. We’d love to see what it looks like now, even if it’s the same.

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  68. Wow, looking at those pictures and reading these comments bring back A LOT of memories of the Orange Blossom Mall. I have not been inside the mall since 1998, I think, after the mall pretty much closed, for a high school history fair. It was very eerie and creepy and I remember feeling as if the ghosts of the past were still bustling down the corridors. The fountains were no longer on and nearly all of the lights were off…only the sunlight from the skylights lit up the old food court. I moved out of the area after high school, but my family is still there. My mom had to get something from one of the state offices in the mall a few years ago and said it was a mess. This was after the hurricanes, and she said it was moldy and musty. She did point out that most of the old directories and signage was still there and lit up…and even an old advertisement from the late 90s on the backside of one of the directories. I think the last time I shopped at the mall before it’s total demise was early 1995 and already a lot of stores had closed or soon closed in preperation for the Indian River Mall in Vero.

    I would love to walk through this place now to see what kind of old evidence I could find to rekindle the memories of going to the OBM as a kid – singing Christmas caroles with girl scouts on the little stage by the center fountains, waiting for my mom to get her coffee at Barney’s, eating superman ice cream at 31 flavors (I think that was the name, correct me if I am wrong), cheese dogs at Corn Dog 7 (I have yet to find these anywhere else!), tacos at Taco Viva, cheese and mushroom pizza at Big Apple, spending hours at Diamond Jims while mom or friends’ moms shopped, buying my 8th grade prom dress at Sears, begging to go into Kay Bee Toys and actually buying that yappy dog toy with my birthday money, standing in line for hours to get C-list actors and soap stars to sign autographs, spending allowance money at Clair’s and so much more. Also, every time I smell fresh flowers at a flower store, it always reminds me of walking past the little flower shop next to Belk’s.

    It’s so sad to hear the slow decline of the mall, but nice to know that so many people have fond memories of the place.

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  69. I wasn’t even born when this mall was opened. I live in Stuart, and I never really had a reason for going to Fort Pierce until I started going to Indian River State College. My friend and I got out of class early and decided to explore the area. We saw a giant building and got all excited because we thought we found a mall! Turns out it was the Orange Blossom mall, but no longer in business. It was really weird seeing that it was for a school board. Looking at the pictures it looks so creepy, like one day everyone just disappeared.

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  70. here is a gallery of the pictures I took back in May when I posted here.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/94041894@N00/sets/72157627466200598/

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    Nicki Reply:

    @Graham,
    I tried to see your pix on flickr but your profile is private. I lived in PSL from 1982-2006 & i remember when the OBM was the “new mall”!! I graduated from FPC in 91 & so, of course I have TONS of memories of the mall!

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  71. Wow, was just there today never having been prior and I had no idea it was ever so populated. Seeing those pictures compared to the way it is now, that fountain looks gorgeous. Now there are small vines overgrowing into it, as though someone is still showing them mercy and watering them. There are a few offices set up and they seem to be renovating it, but it’s depressing seeing all the stores with their original names faded. Air conditioning is of course nonexistent. The only reason I was there was for my sister’s billiards tournament. Passed the rest rooms the back area was open so I took a peek back there to see a couple signs labeled ‘Big Apple’ and ‘Taco Viva’. Before reading the above posts I had no clue just how old those signs probably were. Looking down its halls now it’s difficult to imagine it was once a typical looking mall, seeing as all the old entrances are blocked up.

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  72. “The Living Dead Mall”. Not an easy find. Dieing ones are common, but the dead but still open ones not so much. We had one around where I live, the South Hills Mall, for quite a while.

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  73. I used to go to Florida a couple of times every year from my native Norway. Even if I used to land at Miami or Orlando I quite often took a drive up the coast, and the Orange Blossom Mall was always on my “list” when I did.
    I was there in 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 91, 92, 96,97 and 99.

    In 96 there were several empty storefronts , more in 97, and in 99 maybe half of the regular stores were gone.
    But there were some “clearance booksellers” that had leased som space, and i was able to buy around 100 books at little more than 100 dollars, three-to four year old books.

    In 2001 and 2002 I just drove past, as I gathered the place was shut.

    I was in Philadelphia in 95 when the King´s Mall opened, and then they said that this was probably the last megamall to be opened in the US.

    In Norway, malls are still being constructed, but I say that in 10 years they are getting out of fashion here as well.

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    Graham Reply:

    @Per,

    That may be so that that mall was the last megamall to be built, however there have been some large malls that have opened here in South Florida in the last decade, two being Taubman Centsr Dolphin Mall in Miami and its sister mall The Mall at Wellington Green in Wellington.

    Also I work in a mall, and contrary to what many will say, they are not dead at all…we just have too many.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Graham, From what I understand The Mall at Wellington Green has really underperformed since opening & I’m not sure how well Dolphin Mall is doing. The best performing malls in that area to my knowledge are
    Aventura & Bal Harbor Shops.

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    Graham Reply:

    @SEAN,

    I think you are right. The company I work for has 8 stores in broward, miami and palm beach counties, and by far Wellington is the lowest of them. We do not have a store in the Dolphin Mall so I canont say for sure on that one. Aventura on one hand is quite interesting in the revenue it drives, and the Boca Town Center, The Gardens Mall and Sawgrass also I believe are all pretty well off.

    Bal Harbor is almost similar to Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. I don’t know if I would say that is well performing, just things are very expensive, and therefore there are high margins in those places.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Graham, Since you both work & live there, you have more insight on what the retail sene is really like. As for me, I have to go on based on what I know & read from the business publications.

    As for Aventura, the traffic levels around the center & the city in general are such that if that mall is struggling, then there’s something completely wrong.

    Last night I spoke to a former executive director of the NFP where I currently work & she told me that the traffic is so bad, the roads around there cant handle the volume. Namely Ives Darry Road between I-95 & Biscayne Boulevard, not far from where Aventura Mall is located.

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    Graham Reply:

    @SEAN,

    Yes! Ives Dairy Road and Biscayne Blvd (US1) is awwwwwful (drove on it today in that area) and because that area was a community with streets planned in the 1960s, I don’t think such traffic levels were ever thought of! Ives Dairy Road are wide right up to front doors of the houses on it pretty much, so i don’t anticipate that ever getting better unless they create a direct flyover to i-95 or if MetroRail ever finally makes its way up there like it is suppose to.

    Unlike other megamalls which were built on the outskirts of the city and progress happened around it, Aventura was already a fairly urban area in the 1980s when that mall opened.

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    SEAN Reply:

    @Graham, Your description is right on, since the mall was the capstone of the inicial development plan for Aventura. Over the past 20-years, it’s been one infill project after another & I have the map to prove it. Just look at the number of highrises & subdevisions east of Biscayne Boulevard & along the Country Club Drive loop up to inlets that leed to the intercoastal waterway. Artech residents & Aventura Lakes are just two such developments that come to mind.

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  74. I worked at the OBM when it opened! I remember being one of the employees who was permitted in to set up. My job was a clerk at Cutlery World right on the edge of the fountain at the center. My homecoming date eventually worked at Regis Hairstyling (she recently was the head make up artist for Scrubs!) In my college years, I returned to work at B. Dalton Booksellers and eventually had a 3 year gig to come back to Raffles restaurant across from Piccadilly’s. I worked there summers and winter break. I even worked for the Raffles in Miami immediately after college!

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  75. I bought my first Joy Division album at the record store in the OBM. Ah, memories.

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  76. Oh Yea, I remember ditching school and playing Excitebike and Punch-out all day at the Diamond Jim’s arcade

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  77. I remember going there as a child, Diamond Jim’s Arcade lock-ins, KB Toys, the Ice skating rink and reindeer’s/santa during winter, trick or treating on Halloween. It was a great place in the 80′s and early 90′s doing brisk business. Many great memories of my childhood were had there. Saddly I also remember watching it’s slow steady decline, to a point where there was virtually nothing operating there aside from Convergys, and a Sub shop, and maybe one or two other places (2003 maybe). Now like most of Fort Pierce, I imagine (I moved away 3 years ago to Va) it is a sad reminder of better times before rampant crime, drug epidemics, and desperate jobless citizens.

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  78. I did visual display at Belk Lindsey there for a while, in the early 90s. The mall was still strong then. Sad to see that it’s declined so much…

    The coffee place (Barney’s?) used to be my daily break destination…

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  79. I loved going to the orange blossom mall when I was little so many memories let me tell you. Jim’s diamond arcade was a blast I loved going every day after school and play all day and never get tired. that mall was thriving and it had a lot of customers its breaks my heart that it took a steep decline and it had too much potential to become revived. I remember the stores they had which was Belk- Lindsay, KB toys, sears, Convergys, plenty of toy stores, and too many to list. fort pierce used to have a lot of nice stores but now it don’t have much of anything now. I remember Jim’s arcade on the outside had those pretty dark blue blocks.

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  80. What was the name of the bar and grill in the front center enterance of the mall to the left of the enterance?

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  81. Crazy stuff! My husband & I were talking today trying to remember the name of the store that dropped half its name in the OBM & I jumped online & found this thread… memories just FLOODED back! Diamond Jims got rich thanks to my poor video play & I think every Christmas present I ever bought for my parents growing up was purchased there. Roller Skates down by the fountains was amazing because the floor elevations changed in gradual slopes going to and from the bridge across the fountain! I remember the hubub all about the “new mall” coming to Saint Lucie County… we were going to be as “big stuff” as WPB finally. I remember the reindeer in the court with santa & Taco Viva rocked (of course I thought any fast food was gourmet then). There was a cookie shop on the corner of the food court too. Wow. Crazy crazy stuff!

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  82. p.s. does anyone remember “Denta-land” in the OBM or am I just making that memory up?

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  83. My very first job was a live mannequin in that mall in 1986! It was always so packed. It is also where I discovered Orange Julius and Tunnel Hunt

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