Randhurst Mall; Mount Prospect, Illinois

Randhurst Mall Promenade entrance in Mount Prospect, IL

Located in a middle class northwest suburb of Chicago called Mt. Prospect, Illinois, Randhurst Mall opened in 1962 to great fanfare.  It had a major significance in the Chicagoland area in that it was the very first major enclosed suburban shopping mall in the region whereas today there are well over 30 suburban enclosed malls in the Chicago area.  Its original anchors were Chicago-area department stores Carson Pirie Scott, Wieboldts, and The Fair.  Also notable, the mall was designed by legendary retail architect Victor Gruen, who was the father of the suburban mall in America.

As an aside, I feel that Gruen’s work went largely unnoticed during his lifetime.  A native Austrian Jew, he was born in Vienna around the turn of the century and emigrated to the United States as a commercial architect during World War II to avoid persecution from the Nazis.  He arrived in the United States as an architect with no money and spoke no english, but before long his misfortune ended.  He started designing pedestrian shopping areas and other small retail venues, but he was most famous for designing (one of) the first large enclosed suburban malls in America.  It was in Southdale Mall in Edina, Minnesota.  Gruen then went on to design several more large enclosed centers, all with very unique and interesting footprints.  Another one is featured on this site and is also magnificent: Midtown Plaza in Rochester, NY.  It’s actually possible to get lost in some of his malls because of the unique layouts, which make today’s enclosed mall designs pale in comparison.  In Gruen’s designs, different levels don’t line up, there are unique angles and shapes, grand courts with 80 foot ceilings, hallways which weave around and loop back upon each other, and more design features of malls considered nonstandard today. 

Randhurst is surely one of Gruen’s more unique designs, and quite possibly one of the most unique mall designs in the country.  Gruen’s design for Randhurst is “…shaped like an equilateral triangle, with an anchoring department store at each angle. Additional stores lined the sides of the triangle on two levels: a conventional level and a level located half a floor below the first level (down a flight of stairs), facing the first level. A floor of offices occupied the level above this “subfloor” of stores. A ring of clerestory windows was mounted in a domed area over the center of the mall; mounted just inside these windows were numerous stained glass windows in various oval and round shapes, oriented in such a way as to cast beams of colored light into the mall itself. As the mall was built at the height of the Cold War, it included a fallout shelter big enough to hold every citizen of Mount Prospect” (Wikipedia).

Now that you know about Randhurst Mall’s original design, let’s talk about its history and modifications throughout its four decades as a shopping mecca.  Throughout the 60s, 70s, and into the 80s, the mall remained largely the same.  It was extremely successful despite encroaching competition in suburban malls throughout Chicagoland, and the only major change during that time period was the replacement of The Fair department store in 1965 with Montgomery Ward, another Chicago-area brand.

Randhurst Mall in Mount Prospect, IL Randhurst Mall Carson Pirie Scott in Mount Prospect, IL 

However, in 1985, many structural changes took place at Randhurst which modified the center into a much larger retail venue.  The owners, Rouse Company, decided to convert the second level offices above the subfloor into retail space, including a large food court – one of the first in the Chicago area.  The nature of the food court’s design meant that it was atop the subfloor, in the center of the mall, and the rest of the mall’s retail space was on the main level across, about half a floor in between the subfloor and the food court.  Got it?

As if this wasn’t a cool enough design already, by 1990 Rouse decided to expand the mall even more and finish a second level on top of the mall’s main level on the outside of the triangle.  Each department store already had a second level, so it was in their best interest to have both levels opening up into the mall, and the mall also added a lot of extra retail space in turn.  In addition, the second main level was connected into the food court level in the middle of the mall (which is half a level down because it is on top of the subfloor) via a series of ramps and catwalks. 

The late 1980s and early 1990s saw continued success for Randhurst Mall and the net addition of more retail space.  In 1987, the entire Wieboldts chain folded and Peoria, Illinois based Bergner’s took over their space.  However, in 1990 Bergner’s closed at Randhurst because Bergner’s bought Carson Pirie Scott which already operated a store at Randhurst.  As a result of this empty anchor space, Carson’s moved into the much grander former Wieboldts/Bergners space and JCPenney entered the mix – opening in the former Carson’s space.  Also in the late 1980s, Elgin, Illinois-based Joseph Speiss & Company built a 61,000 square foot mini-anchor near Wieboldt’s/Bergners, and around the same time the Chicago-based Main Street Department Store chain built another mini-anchor near Montgomery Ward.  Unfortunately, the Joseph Speiss store closed in 1992 amid financial woes (The entire chain closed in 1994).  The Main Street store became a Kohls Department store in 1989 following the purchase of Main Street by Kohls, a Wisconsin retailer who would later go on to become one of the larger chains in the country, in one of Kohls’ first expansions.  In 1995, the empty Joseph Speiss store became Circuit City and Old Navy, and a Filene’s Basement occupied a large portion of the subfloor.  The mid 1990s were the pinnacle of Randhurst’s success: it had three major anchors: Wards, JCPenney, Carson Pirie Scott and four minor anchors: Filene’s Basement, Old Navy, Circuit City, and Kohls.  This was unfortunately the last hurrah for Randhurst as the next decaded proved an uncertain future for an ailing mall.

In 1996, just as Randhurst reached its biggest capacity things started to go sour. Chicago’s largest shopping center, Woodfield Mall, embarked on a massive expansion project which extended a wing of the mall, added a Nordstrom, and gave it the status of largest mall in the nation in terms of retail space for some time.  This spelled major trouble for Randhurst, being only 15 minutes away from Woodfield, and devastated its customer base.  In-line mall stores began disappearing, and the Filene’s Basement was the first of the more major anchors to close in 1999.

The early 2000s continued the downward spiral for Randhurst as two major anchor stores left at the same time in 2001: Montgomery Ward and JCPenney.  Wards left as the entire chain went out of business, and JCPenney was amid financial woes and identified the Randhurst location as an underperforming store.  Also, Chicago’s first lifestyle center, Deer Park Town Center, opened farther out into the northwest suburbs in 2000, further decimating Randhurst’s customer base.  Then, in 2003 Kohls announced they were jumping ship for a better location at a former Venture store on the south end of town.  All three of these departures were devastating to the mall, and many more inside stores closed.  Articles surfaced about Randhurst on the site deadmalls.com and although there are several glaring factual errors and the two articles seem to disagree with each other, it was not a good omen for Randhurst. 

2004 saw some resurgence of the mall with a few additions and cosmetic updates.  Both the former JCPenney and Kohls anchors were razed for a 150,000 square foot brand new Costco anchor.  Similarly, most of the Wards anchor was also torn down, giving way to a brand new entrance called the “Promenade” with new restaurants Applebees and Buffalo Wild Wings.  In 2005, Circuit City and Old Navy closed amidst the new construction, but were quickly replaced by Steve and Barry’s University Sportswear and Bed, Bath, and Beyond.  In addition, Jewel-Osco, Borders Books, and a Home Depot continue to operate on the outlots.

Today, the mall is humming along and appears to be holding its own.  The Limited, Victoria’s Secret, and American Eagle Outfitters all continue to operate, along with about 90 other stores and services (including outlots).  Hopefully, with the recent updates and continued pandering, shoppers will still frequent this outdated mall and keep it open, at least for us Vic Gruen fans.

The pictures below of Randhurst were taken in October 2005.  The man seen in one of them with what looks like a large orange cone was standing in the middle of the parking lot between Borders and the mall’s Promenade entrance spinning the orange cone on its top repeatedly.  He was middle aged and kind of looked like Mike Ditka (or one of the other Superfans) and just kept spinning that cone, like a small child would do.  Only he was a middle aged man with a moustache.  He also didn’t pay any attention to anyone driving by.  Must have been fun. 

Update 10/6/08: Randhurst has closed for good after 46 years, as of September 30, 2008.  At the end of the month of October a sale of Randhurst’s holiday wares, benches, and other doo-dads that can be stripped from the mall will be for sale inside the former Steve and Barry’s location.  However, the mall’s carousel won’t be for sale; it’s already on its way to California to be used in another shopping center.  I hope they deserve it.  Look for a new development called Randhurst Village to emerge from the mall’s rubble sometime in 2010.  And finally, for some really awesome vintage shots of Randhurst check out John Gallo’s blog Stores Forever.

Randhurst Mall Carson Pirie Scott exterior entrance in Mount Prospect, IL Randhurst Mall in Mount Prospect, IL Randhurst Mall Carson Pirie Scott exterior in Mount Prospect, IL

Randhurst Mall exterior in Mount Prospect, IL Randhurst Mall man spinning orange cone in parking lot in Mount Prospect, IL Randhurst Mall parking lot in Mount Prospect, IL

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101 thoughts on “Randhurst Mall; Mount Prospect, Illinois”

  1. OK, I’m totally confused on the layout here.

  2. Think of a triangle from a bird’s eye view. The stores facing inside the triangle are one level, the stores on the outside half a level up. Then make the entire thing two floors. That’s essentially it.

  3. Actually, the really dreadful Amsterdam Mall in Amsterdam, NY (about 10 or 15 minutes northwest of Schenectady) has a similar design. Except that it’s kind of hellish inside.

  4. Oooh..Chicgoland. Starting in 2004, I finally got to do some mall crawling around there. Of course, the real reason I went down there was for this big Japanese animation convention in
    Rosemont. This was fun and all, but why not hit some malls in my downtime from that? That’s exactly what I did.

    Of course, I didn’t have time to get to Randhurst in ’04, but in 2005, I did.

    The layout is hard to describe, as I’ve noticed in this post, and many other entires about Randhurst. I have to commend anyone who attempts it, because even “I” have a hard time describing it to people. Mall floorplans only have two levels showing, (if that isn’t confusing enough). Let me try to simplify this:

    – Think of a triangle shape, all sides are the same.
    – At each ‘end’ of the triangle are your major anchors
    – Along the outside perimeter of the triangle, (we’ll call this the ‘main’ (1st) floor for reference), where shops and mall entrances were located. The entrances were usually between a major anchor store, and the outer row of shops. Having these entrances created short ‘wings’ for the mall.
    – The inside perimeter is sunken down half a floor below the ‘main’ floor.
    – The ‘main’ (2nd) floor is directly above the outside perimeter of shops. These were offices until 1985, when they were converted into more specialty shop space and the mentioned food court.
    – The ‘sunken’ 2nd floor was originally something else. I do not recall (there’s conflicting information here), but in the late 1990s, it was all ripped out and a carousel was put in place. I do not know if this is still functioning, but it was when I went there.
    – The thing that makes this mall so confusing is how everything between the two main floors, and two subfloors, is all interconnected by a network of stairs, which mostly connect the subfloors, and escalators which connect the two ‘main’ floors.
    – The ‘main’ second floor and the ‘sunken’ area of this floor (where the mentioned carousel is now) were all originally office or service space. All converted to retail between 1985-1990..

    Maybe this still won’t make sense, but I tried my best to clear this up. I ‘did’ almost get lost in here. It’s a design I doubt I’ll ever see done again…just because of its huge center area (which I can only guess costs loads to heat and cool). Gruen’s original goal with his malls was to create a ‘town center’ for these suburbs that didn’t have a ‘downtown’ area. This ‘was’ the original intent, bukt it seems the plan backfired, especially in the 1970s when the big companies themselves who built the malls (ie: Simon, General Growth), took over management of the malls from the mostly localized ‘mall merchants associations’ and started filling them with just teen apparel shops and the like. Then they just got too expensive and strict with what could be held there, event-wise.

    The last 3 years I’ve gone down there, I’ve found Chicagoland to be a rather intersting region. Seems for every still-thriving mall, I run smack into a couple dying ones, or ones that were turned into big box/strip mall developments that are thriving. It should be noted that with the exception of Lakehurst (put under by the insanely huge Gurnee Mills mall), most of the dying centers were / are smaller affairs, only being able to hold 30-60 shops or so, and served immediate suburbs that they were located in….not a huge magnet draw like the larger malls.

  5. Last time I was at Randhurst, they still had Kresge and Hot Sam as tenants. I haven’t been back since the upper level addition was made.

    The old Randhurst logo reflected the mall’s layout. It was an R inside three bars that made up a triangle, offset for a pinwheel effect. This logo was also used on the water tower outside the mall. I still have mall directories from that time with the logo and mall layout around here somewhere. There was also a lower level in the center of the mall that was called the Town Hall Level, I believe. On the Town Hall level were many small shops and a cafeteria called the Tartan Tray. One other thing that I always remember is that many locals pronounced the name of the mall as “rannerst”.

    Oh, the Woodfield expansion did not double the size of Woodfield Mall and did not add Lord and Taylor with Nordstrom. Lord and Taylor was relocated to allow the extension of the Lord and Taylor wing and the addition of Nordstrom. Lord and Taylor was actually added in an early ’70s expansion which created the original Lord and Taylor wing.

  6. Oh ok. I thought the L&T came with Nordstrom, but I was a little kid when that happened. It must have ended right at L&T then? I remember there was a restaurant at the very end, called John’s Garage. The Nordstrom wing appeared around 1996 right?

  7. As I recall, the entrance to John’s Garage was right next to the original Woodfield Lord and Taylor building on the lower level of the Lord and Taylor wing. John’s Garage originally featured a long wall of windows that overlooked the Woodfield Ice Arena. Because the Lord and Taylor store was at the end of the wing, extending that wing required the relocation of Lord and Taylor.

    If you look at the current Woodfield map, http://www.shopwoodfield.com/IM/interactive.html , the purple dot representing a stairway about a third of the way from the new Lord and Taylor towards Macy’s (they’ve already dropped Marshall Field and Company’s name on the directory) marks the approximate end of the mall before the latest expansion. The original Lord and Taylor building was just to the right of the “purple dot” stairway on the map. I don’t know the exact dates of the expansion that extended the mall, relocated Lord and Taylor, and added Nordstrom. My last visit was in 1998 and the expansion was already open at that time.

    Before the early 1970s expansion that created the Lord and Taylor wing, the mall ended just beyond the Grand Court escalators.

  8. Great post about a great mall. It really is extremely hard to describe the interior of Randhurst.
    One item of note is that Bergner’s bought Carson Pirie Scott and not the other way around. They also bought the Boston Store up in Milwaukee around the same time and moved their headquarters from Peoria to Milwaukee. Bergner’s/Boston Store/Carson’s was subsequently bought by Proffitt’s (nee Saks), which sold the chain (combined with Younker’s and Herberger’s) to the Bon-Ton. That’s a lot of change of ownership for one department store.

  9. Let’s add a little more confusion, and an ironic twist (Since Federated has made its comeback to Wisconsin with Macy’s) Boston Store was at one time, a Federated banner until 1985, when Bergner bought it out.

  10. Good article about Randhurst. The last time I’d been there was a few years back, sometime around 2002-2003(i’ll take a wild guess that it was likely around then), when Applebee’s was there in the “Promenade” section of the mall(not sure if it was called the “Promenade” then), but before Buffalo Wild Wings, Costco, Steve and Barry’s, and Bed, Bath + Beyond opened up. Also at the time, Circuit City and Old Navy were still open at Randhurst.

    I remember taking a look at the mall’s website about a year or 11/2 years ago, and was quite surprised to see that several stores I’d known that were there had closed since I’d visited(such as the arcade that was there(Cyberstation/Time Out?, forget the name of the Namco arcade that used to be in the mall…), Circuit City, and Panda Express), despite Costco’s opening. I’m glad to see that its somewhat bouncing back after having a rough few years of store chains pulling out, though it probably has some slight hurdles to overcome so that it’ll remain self-sufficient on its own. To be honest, I never had appreciated the design of the mall fully until reading your entry on it, it definately has a unique design and features(namely the sub-level under the carousel and food court) unmatched by any other malls I’ve visited.

  11. Oh, and speaking of Matt’s entry, its ironic that Saks/Proffitts sold off their Proffitt’s chain(their original namesake at the time they bought Bergner’s!!) to Belk last year, not to mention Parisian too(also to Belk). Yeah, I’m too much of a geek and I just happened to remember reading that somehow…..(though go figure, I’m originally from Chicago and still live there when I’m not in school)

  12. According to the local newspapers, Randhurst is about to be torn down and made over into a “Lifestyle Center” . There will be problems with the basement. It’ll need to be filled in or utilized somehow.

  13. Gah! And when are they supposed to start this project?

    I don’t have Randhurst on my lineup of places to hit when I go down to Chicagoland late next week. I’ll ‘try’ to squeeze it in, but my main thing is the malls that have stores I want to go to, and of course the main draw being the anime / manga / videogame convention in Rosemont (Anime Central).

    The reason. Pics. And plenty of them. This was a Gruen development and one of the largest (at the time of opening in ’62) enclosed malls in the Upper Midwest.

  14. Well, once it’s demolished, they will have to destroy the acres of concrete slab that acts as a foundation for the mall. Not too familiar with the site layout but it’s likely that they will fill in the basement with tons of dirt before they get anything else built on that site.

  15. That’s too bad, even though(ironically) I first found out about this on another forum the same day someone first posted here on labelscar about the upcoming redevelopment of this mall(not to mention, I was ticked off slightly that I didn’t hear about it sooner, since it was first announced in early April…).

    I think I’m definately going to make a trip to this mall very soon, and hopefully in May, so I can get some pics of this place, before its gone for good. 🙁

  16. Allan, do your best in swinging over there to the mall. I’m not sure if I’ll get over there myself when I go down to the area late next week.

    The news came out of left field for me as well.

  17. If you go to Woodfield, you can see on the floor where the original L&T mall entrance was located. Like all malls, there were tracks

    Speaking about Randhurst, your descriptions are now making my muddled memories of that mall, circa 1986, make sense. Interesting Randhurst basement story….there was a fire there around 2002, in the basement of the then-abandoned Wards store. Within a year, the Wards was torn down and the Costco created.

    The last thing the N/NW burbs need is another “lifestyle center.” It’s Chicago–too hot in the summer, too cold in the winter–and I want climate control!

  18. The Fair already was owned by Montgy Ward’s when Randhurst opened. Wards bought the chain in 1957. The name change occurred in 64-65 The Fair had been a moderate priced store like Wieboldt’s.

  19. Elderberry Blossom wrote:

    “According to the local newspapers, Randhurst is about to be torn down and made over into a “Lifestyle Center” . There will be problems with the basement. It’ll need to be filled in or utilized somehow. ”

    Any updates on this? I was at Randhurst yesterday and everything seemed functioning normally, albeit much of the uppermost level is vacant. The place was spotlessly clean but not very busy. Later in the day I went down to the old Chicago Ridge Mall (now the “Westfield Shoppingtown – Chicago Ridge”) and the place was absolutely PACKED, with tons of shops not seen at Randhurst – Spencer’s, Aeropostale, Victoria’s Secret, Hot Topic, FYE, etc. Lots of young people spending money there, but not at Randhurst.

  20. Randhurst is pretty much finished, hopefully it can do better as a lifestyle center. I was there about a month ago and basically the only store left is Carson’s.

  21. I used to take my three sons, age 7, 8 and 10, to Wieboldt’s (about 1988) for the sole purpose of riding the elevator up to the second floor and back down again. Today, the oldest son is 30. I just got back from Randhurst. (Wieboldt’s is now Carson’s) and I rode the very same elevator up to the second floor and then down again just for old times sake. I am really going to miss Randhurst if they tear it down. One year my father worked there after he retired and he had to dress up as a Jelly Belly and walk around. Such good memories.

  22. Shopping sprees in my pre-teen years, working at the Kroch’s & Brentano’s during high school, and, in more recent years, having somewhere to let my small children run around during the long winter months to save me from going insane at home have all made Randhurst “my mall” for the past 25 years.
    I love the convenience of driving to one place to shop at a large variety of stores that a multi-story indoor mall provides, that a “lifestyle center” simply can not. Parking at one end of a strip mall and running from store to store in -20 degree weather only to have to make my way all the way back to my car when I’ve reached the end is not my idea of an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon, especially with 2 small kids tagging along.

    Check out these sites for what is planned for Randhurst’s future…




  23. i had not heard about any of this. hope it works was there today 3/17/08 it is bad real bad almost no stores it made me almost cry i worked there for three years at the bombay co. as a astant manager it was one of the best times in my life that mall was more fo a community than a shopping center every one knew everyone it was a close group people were frendly and wonderfull customers i hope this works randhurst has as meny lives as a cat. this is probably the only way to save anything oh and to clear up a few things the ancors were changed like old sox there.
    todays carsons was bergners and opened as weibolts
    the old carsons was closed and become the now gone jcpenney
    the wards was a fair and then demolished
    ther also was a chs.a. stevens that became a madigans and then was split up
    in the 80s josh.spiess opened it became old navi and circket city and is now the bed bath and beyond and steve and barrys
    and finly ther was a mainstreet dept store added in the 90 also it became kohls witch moved away
    i also know that kresges rothchileds and spiglers wer all at the mall at one time

  24. John is right… I was there a few days ago and MOST of the stores… easily more than half are completely dark. Even McDonald’s left the food court. There is little reason for me ever to go there…except that there’s NO WAITING to get to see Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny with the kids. I remember as a kid going to Randhurst there would be a wait of 2 hours to see Santa Claus.

    My favorite store there was PJ’s Trick Shop in the basement of the mall. I miss that place.

    I used to work for the old General Cinema movie theater across the parking lot from the mall. Back in 1986 it was just two screens. After it was torn down in favor of a much larger multiplex… the ownership quickly changed hands after a few years from General Cinema to ACC. I used to take my breaks at the mall when I worked there…

    Randhurst will soon be dead. Will they tear it down? It’s a beautiful building. Shame to waste a perfectly good building…

  25. I’d imagine demolition is coming within just a couple-three months? I was at Randhurst today and everything looked to be business-as-usual, althouth there was some evidence of recent closures; GNC looked to be newly-vacated and there was a “Bargain Books” store advertising a going out of business sale. Other than that the place looked to be squeaky clean and reasonably crowded, as much as would be considered since the mall itself looks to be about one-quarter occupied, approx.

  26. Sheesh, I really need to hit this mall QUICKLY, and hopefully I can find some time to do so within the next 2 weeks. Not to mention, I’ve kept telling myself I was gonna get around to making a final trip to this mall for(seemingly) like a year already….

    Are any parts of the mall sealed off yet? I really hope not, since I wanna make a special photography trip to this mall before its demolition. And of course, I’ll be sure to post a link here, when I do get my Randhurst pics on flickr.

  27. No, nothing has been sealed off. In fact, there’s no sign anywhere of the impending demise of the mall portion of Randhurst, so who knows, maybe it won’t be quite so quick. But, yes, its probably best to get your pictures soon just in case. I took a few today but was a little hasty since I kept seeing the same two security guards every time I looked around. I need to get back there when its quieter for more.

    Allen, do you have pics on Flickr already?

  28. The stores continue to melt away at Randhurst. Comix Revolution and Bargain Books have left in the past two weeks, and there are several more with “Moving Sale” or “Mall Closing” signs. The end is coming!

  29. T-Mobile is gone; the Limited closed this past weekend…. Today is the last day for Lenscrafters and Pagecom Wireless. Gala Tea and others have “Moving” signs up…

  30. Big time suck. This was an amazing-sounding mall, with a unique floorplan and unusual anchors. What else killed the mall besides Woodfield?

  31. Yeah, this is an especially sad one. I know many of us bemoan malls lost, but this one is especially prescient because it was a Gruen design, amazing for not only uniqueness but for captivating the retail essence of the time period in which it thrived. Gruen-designed malls ought to be listed in the Historic Register, an opinion which would get me laughed at everywhere else but here. I hope I can get there again before they close the doors for good.

    Jonah, while Woodfield is probably mostly to blame, it’s probably more of a combination of that and the fact that mid-tier malls are largely outmoded and unnecessary. When constructed in the 60s-80s, mid-tier malls like Randhurst were never the huge behemoths like Woodfield which draw from a multi-state area. Instead, they focused on providing an intensely local experience, drawing shoppers from the adjacent suburbs. As shoppers have trended toward online retailers, “lifestyle centers” and whatever else you would like to call strip malls, these type of establishments get left out of the collective retail future. While the Rand Rd/US 12 strip is still huge and viable, serving the localities through which it passes, people don’t want to take a break from their hectic lives to go visit this mall. And furthermore, people from far-flung areas certainly aren’t going to come here either, unless they’re like us, because Randhurst never really offered anything unique that far-away people couldn’t get in their home shopping mall/retail strip. Additionally, Randhurst is relatively far from the expressway/interstate system of Chicagoland, making it even more improbable that it would survive as a regional mall. This is mostly the same reason why Brickyard Mall, Crystal Point Mall, and Woodmar also died in the area.

  32. My only visit to Randhurst in 2004 showed that this mall already past the point of no return. Carsons was the only active full anchor. Costco was being built, the old Carsons was walled off, Old Navy was still there, but Circuit City was gone. Most in-line stores were selling used books or video games (one has games for my old Atari 5200!!). The sub-level was dark and forlorn, I didn’t go down there. But the mall had a pretty good crowd that day, esp. at the food court. I thought this mall could very turned around with the right people running it.

    Randhurst was just another million-square foot mall that litter the Chicago area. With Woodfield down the road, this mall had no chance after Ward’s died and Kohl’s left. Many malls in Chicago that had Wards as an anchor have suffered (see Jefferson Square or Orland Park Place). Only 3 former Wards malls are still functional (not counting Evergreen Plaza): Chicago Ridge Mall in Oak Lawn is a top tier mall, Yorktown in Lombard remodeled the Wards wing into an outdoor center, but the main mall is still strong (despite having an empty Wiebolds in center court for nearly a decade before Von Maur moved in), and the badly outdated Strafford Square in Bloomingdale. However, not being near the interstate is not a death sentence. Fox Valley Center (I refuse to used Westfield in the name) in Aurora a several miles away from I-88 and still does very good business. The problem with Randhurst was its too close to Woodfield, poor luck with anchors, didn’t keep a good mix of retail shops, and didn’t stand out a a good-to place in the crowded big mall catagory of Chicago

  33. Exactly, Chip. The Ward’s malls for the most part were the malls that seemed to die around Chicagoland. Chicago Ridge was never really a Ward’s mall though. It was built in 1981 with a Sears, Carson’s, MainStreet (Kohl’s), and a Madigan’s. Ward’s opened up in the former Madigan’s space in the early 1990s. The other old Ward’s mall that seems to be doing somewhat well is, oddly enough, Ford City. But, Stratford Square seems to be really hurting as well. It and Charlestowne Mall seem to have overmalled their area.

    For those not aware, there seem to be a few phases of mall building around Chicagoland. There were the early malls that had almost any anchor. Then, starting about 1960 came the outdoor Sears malls. In the mid 60s, after Ward’s converted all The Fair stores, came a lot of indoor Ward’s malls. In the early 1970s, it switched back to indoor Sears malls (starting with Woodfield). In the very late 1970s and early 80s came the last of the Ward’s malls. Sears responded with a couple more after that: Northfield Square and Charlestowne Mall.

    Sears and Ward’s were never seen in a mall together in Chicagoland until 1990 when Sears opened up in Stratford Square. A couple of other bits of trivia: Field’s shared only two malls with Ward’s: Old Orchard and Stratford Square, and only one with Wieboldt’s: Stratford Square. Sears and Wieboldt’s never shared a mall.

    A short listing of Ward’s malls (not The Fair conversions): Dixie Square, Belvidere Mall, Ford City, Lincoln Mall, Yorktown, Century Consumer Mall, Calumet Square, Jefferson Square, Orland Park Place, Stratford Square, Deerbrook Mall, The Brickyard, One Schaumburg Place.

    Conversions from The Fair: Randhurst, Old Orchard, Evergreen Plaza.

    Many of the Ward’s malls had Wieboldt’s as the other major anchor, thus contributing to their downfall. Only time will tell about the Field’s to Macy’s conversions in the Sears malls.

  34. One other Ward’s mall I forgot about because Sears came in and took over the Ward’s location in 2002, North Riverside Park Mall. Because Sears took over the location, it is doing very well.

  35. Actually, I’ve found that almost *any* mall anywhere that once had a Wards seems to be struggling.

    Just in Michigan alone, the only malls that once had Wards and are still doing fine seem to be Genesee Valley Center in Flint and Westwood Mall in Jackson. (Lansing Mall in Lansing is doing okay too, but it’s lost a *lot* of stores to big box — in the past ten years Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, Dunham’s Sports, and TJ Maxx have all gobbled up fair chunks of space).

  36. I remember visiting Randhurst in its prime, shortly before Woodfield opened. It was busy, even on a weekday afternoon. I suspect that the reason it has failed has to do with changes in what malls were all about. Randhurst bumped along because it had anchors that Woodfield lacked and price points that trended a little lower. It’s heyday was at a time when malls were filled with cheap but middle class stores like Thom McAn, Richman Bros, etc. The people who shopped there and at Wards and Wieboldt’s go to Marshall’s, Target and maybe Kohl’s and JCPenney. If I go to a target or a “respectable” off-price place like Marshall’s in a subrub with decent demographics, I see the people who used to spend a lot of time in malls—young adults, families with yourng children, etc. They still go to malls, but not nearly as often. The expansion of Woodfield may hev been less important than the tendency for malls to be come more like Woodfield and for the stores that would have populated Randhurst to have slowly disappeared. The off-price stores generally don’t go into malls, that’s part of how they keep costs down. Because people go to malls less often and the price points have moved higher, a lot of malls aren’t going to make it–big malls that can draw relatively affluent people are the ones that will survive. Randhurst is in a stable middle class area that has continued to grow. If it couldn’t survive, it’s easy to see why so many malls in areas more stagnant or with declining demographics, have died, too.

  37. Great story on the history of Randhurst. I loved it.

    As a native of Mount Prospect, it was THE place to hang out and also I had a job not only at the Child World (which was the old ice skating rink in the parking lot, which is now gone and a Home Depot has taken its place) but also at Things Remembered (when it was a kiosk in the mall’s center area) and at Carson Pirie Scott (in the old Wiebolts store).

    The only factual error (and I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure I’m right) is that the food court started on the second level and then moved to the middle floor (i.e floor 1.5 where the carousel is now). Then they added the other stores on the second floor, including removing the low ceilings and adding skylights, etc. (I remember this because my dentist had an office on the second floor and the food court appeared, and, when the offices were changed into stores, he moved his office to the new area available in the old Mount Prospect Bank part, off of Carsons). A few years later they added the walkways from the second floor to the second floors of all the main anchors. (I do remember that because I was working in Carsons at the time when they added the walkways and thought it was a lot easier to go from where I worked to the food court to take a break).

    Ah this story though took me back! If you need any further information, my aunt used to work for the management for many years, so I could see if I could coax some info out of her.

    Scott Fack
    Christchurch, New Zealand

  38. I live in Virginia now, so I am out of the loop about local Chicago news. I just read Randhurst is closing and I am in tears. Randhurst was not just a mall for me – it was where I went with my sister and brother every Christmas to see Santa, every Easter to visit the Easter Bunny, and fireworks on July 4th in the parking lot. I grew up in a neighborhood just across Rand Road (my parents bought their house on Garwood in 1959) so I watched Randhurst being built from my backyard. We were able to walk to the mall in less than 10 minutes and did so probably twice a week. At least once a month my grandmother would take me to lunch at The Corned Beef Shoppe, which is where I acquired my obsession for pastrami and corned beef! My first two jobs were at Hickory Farms and then Carsons. I could go on and on about my favorite mall memories, I just wish I had known it was going to be demolished so I could have gone to visit one more time.

  39. Lots of new closings at Randhurst since my last update. US Cellular, Gala Tea, Great Clips, Paint & Party, Bath and Body Works, Four Seasons Menswear, and Victoria’s Secret have all closed up in May/June.in addition to those I mentioned earlier. This leaves just American Eagle, Jean Action, Children’s Place, Claire’s, Door County Confections, Vitamin World, Pretzlemaker, Fashion Plus, The Smile Place, Trendy, Your Choice Gifts, Xin Xin Asian Gifts, Big Toy Express, Fred Astaire Dance Studio, a nail salon and the food court operating inside the mall itself (the anchors are open, obviously).. I think I named them all. Time is running out for those interested in seeing an interesting and unique mall before the wrecking ball arrives.

  40. Scratch Pretzelmaker, The Smile Place, Xin Xin Asian Gifts and Jean Action from that past post; all have closed in the past five weeks. Big Toy Express will probably be next. Just a small handfull of stores still operating inside the mall now.

  41. I don’t know if they still manage this mall, but this used to be a Rouse Mall. I had kiosks in it in 1990. Same management company that originally destroyed GAM.

  42. Great post. I lived in Mt. Prospect for a year as a kindergartner, and even though I was just a little kid, I have vivid memories of going to Randhurst on a regular basis. I visited again about 15 years ago, and now I’m kicking myself for not stopping by a few months ago when I was in Chicago and made a trek out to the old neighborhood. (I drove by the site, but I didn’t stop in because it was a bit before noon on Easter Sunday and I wasn’t sure what, if anything, would be open.) Now it looks like I’ve missed out on one last trip through that unique layout.

    Incidentally, I was very impressed with how well-kept Mt. Prospect was as a whole; you never know what it will be like when you visit the old neighborhood after a long time away. My old house (on S. Emerson) has definitely held up well.

    It’s funny–I’m a big fan of New Urbanism, “lifestyle centers” or whatever you want to call them (there’s a great one out here in my part of Dallas), but it’s still pretty sad to see Randhurst be demolished in favor of one. I hope it at least succeeds in bringing more business to the area.

  43. Wonderful story about Randhurst! I came to the internet looking for more info!

    I visited my mother last week and we went to Randhurst. I was completely depressed… I have not lived in the area for many years.. but I would say about 80% of the mall is empty. Carson’s is still operating, and maybe a couple small stores in the mall: that’s it. There is apparently a Costco there but the store is separate (does not open into the mall) so the mall itself was rather dead. We went into the Nutritiion/health store (forget name) and the lady there said they would be leaving at the end of august. she did not know what is happening with the mall, or when, exactly.

    I have fond memories of shopping at Kresge’s and having a snack at the lunch counter back in the early 70s when i was a kid! i also used to work at Mid America Research as a teenager.. remember the people in the mall who used to hold clipboards and stop you and try to ask you survey questions? 🙂

    Very sad about this mall.
    I visited Woodfield the same day and it seems to be thriving, although I didn’t recognize most of the stores there anymore….

  44. CoryTJ, I’d like to take to question your comment about Rouse “destroying” GAM and this mall (presumably with high rates). However, this claim cannot be certain because Rouse owned Cherry Hill for years and did not de-rail the mall, in fact, it’s extremely successful today. What say you?

  45. Jonah,

    There are many factors to consider when fixing rents for commercial/retail real estate, as you know. The rents must be congruent with the demographic to support the sales per square foot that the retailer feels they need to generate. Grand Avenue exceeded the level of resistance with regard to how much they could charge, but they ignored it. They thought that the market would correct itself, and they gambled. They lost.

    Rouse didn’t look forward enough to consider the possiblity of many chains failing. Case in point: Merry-Go-Round. In GAM alone we had Merry-Go-Round, Chess Kind, Dejaiz, and Attivo. That’s four vacancies with one single failure. Rouse kept strongarming the local merchants while pissing off national chains.

    Their management was very talented, collectively speaking. But even they saw the writing on the wall and left for greener pastures. General Growth was happy to hire Steve Smith. When the sweethart leases expired, GAM experienced a mass exodus. Example: GAP had a 15 year lease that expired in or around 2005, and when that date came, goodbye GAP. Many of these leases were signed at the inception of the mall in the early/mid 80’s when the center opened. That is why things started to dwindle in the mid-90’s.

    Perhaps Cherry Hill can support a higher tier rental structure. GAM cannot. But the mismanagement of GAM doesn’t just pertain to rent. They made other fatal errors in judgement. When they “allowed” certain retailers to leave (example: local vendor Goldi) by their arrogant attitude, they lost the right tenant mix and did nothing to correct it. They would rent to whomever could fog a mirror, with no regard for the merchandise mix. This was not the case under the original management team of Smith, May, Ash, and Faulkner. I know firsthand how stringent everything had to conform to the use clause in my lease.

    Another thing that Rouse didn’t consider in the grand scheme of things was that in a soft market like Milwaukee, you cannot charge people for parking. They will buck it as if they were being asked to donate a kidney upon exiting the mall. ‘This is a local attitude, and it is the most stubborn resistance I have seen, anywhere in the country, with regard to parking. Now, when I shopped today at the Dallas Galleria, I parked for free. I fellow Milwaukean was driving. His comment: “oh, if we have to pay for parking in this ramp, let’s keep looking for street parking. I’m not going to pay for parking”. It was 102 degrees here in Dallas today. Does that tell you something about the WI attitude? Do the math.

    The other thing that Rouse did that was rather arrogant is that when your lease came up for renewal, they packaged properties together for the purpose of filling space at both GAM and Randhurst. That is very effective when dealing with a national brand with deep pockets, for stores with high volume. But it doesn’t translate within the context of a small business owner operating his local buisness. For example, I was a Marquette student at the time, and lived in Milwaukee (still do). For me to take on Randhurst just didn’t make sense when I had other local alternatives. I moved into a non-mall strip on the east side of Milwaukee, before graduating from school and selling my business.

    Then when things got desperate, Rouse decided to try to “bargain” with former merchants. I received a call from this gal from Texas that they hired to lease space in GAM, asking me to come back for a reasonable rent. (Boy, did they b.s. her to take on this postion. She soon moved back to TX.) I did go back to GAM with a one year lease on a kiosk to test the waters. I made a decent margin. But when it came time to go inline or renew, Rouse decided it would be better to let me walk away than to be competitive. Fine. They needed me more than I needed them.

    I hope this gives you a picture of how Rouse operated. It was always a case of too little, too late. They genuinely pissed people off locally. And where the national chains didn’t need a presence or could find more value somewhere else, they did. GAM and Randhurst were no longer a good ‘value’. Maybe Cherry Hill still is. It would make sense that Rouse would capture national chains only where they could generate enough sales per square foot and units per transaction.

  46. Thanks, CoryTJ. Still though, one wonders if any local Cherry Hill Mall vendors were driven out by Rouse’s mismanagement.

  47. With regards to Cory TJ, my aunt worked for Rouse during its change, and particularly at Randhurst. The mismanagement and bad management attitude towards stores was something she had expressed was the reason she left Rouse, and pretty much implied that is why Randhurst is the way it is now: bad and arrogant mismanagement.

    Coming back from a visit at Randhurst where my partner and I were taking a few “final” shots before they tore it down — I now live overseas, so it’s not like I can visit the mall any ol time — the attitude of the employees of the mall itself was still shocking!

  48. Randhurst now has signs posted that they will close on September 30…. Latest closings include Claire’s, American Eagle, Door County Confections and Big Toy Express, as well as junior-anchor Steve & Barry’s which closed on September 1.

  49. The AMC Theatre at Randhurst is in its own separate building north of the building. It’ll be unaffected by the redevelopment. Same with Costco, Jewel, Borders, etc; they’ll all stay the same.

  50. Wow, in the 2005 pics this mall looks alive and well. What a quick decline!

  51. CoryTJ: The reason Randhurst declined quicker than usual was mall management incompetence (they didn’t do a thing to save it) and the redevelopment announcement. And now, my question: Does anyone have a good lease plan/map of the mall pre-demolition?

  52. Jonah–It’s not very easy to read, but someone posted a picture of the mall directory. (I’m still looking, but this is the best I could find for now.)

  53. It looks EXACTLY like a PREIT directory! That’s a good hint, and now I might be able to find it now.

  54. Unfortunately, it seems it was never a PREIT mall…shame, shame…that’s strange, though…maybe Urban Retail Properties might know about it…

  55. CoryTJ, 2005 is when I wound up getting out to this mall. I can say for sure having seen it in person then, that it was thriving, save for the stray vacany here and there (mostly along the walls heading down towards the former Speiss > Old Navy / Circuit City anchor), and keeping in mind, there was no access to the mall from Costco’s end. They tore down an entire wing and the former Wards to build out their massive box.

    Don’t know if PREIT ever had the mall, but I do know it went through several ownership changes through the latter half of the 1970s on through the 1990s until it finally settled under Urban Retail Group’s umbrella. I just know they’re the most recent prior to demolition, and the first (original ownership in the 1960s) were obviously the folks under Victor Gruen’s leadership.

  56. Correction: I said ‘ownership changes through the 1990s’.

    Disregard that. I had to go read the dozen or so comments above mine. So this was a Rouse mall at the same time Grand Ave. in Milwaukee was run by them.

    After reading such horrible stories of mismanagement by Rouse, I don’t think I can slam longtime owner (Simon) of my local mall (Forest Mall) anymore.

    What a shame.

  57. Randhurst will be closing its doors this Tuesday to be demolished for a lifestyle center. The anchors will remain.

  58. Very sad………
    This mall was a major hangout when I was @ Prospect HS in the early 70’s. Lots of good memories there.

  59. No demolition yet at Randhurst and the interior is still fully intact. The carousel is gone. The Mount Prospect police are using the interior of the mall for training exersizes and have signs posted at Carson’s telling people not to be alarmed if they see “police or police activity”. Interestingly, I went inside Carson’s, and in the back where the mall entrance was, is still fully open, with just some caution tape and benches placed to keep people out of the main part of the mall! I fully expected to see the entrance fully sealed, but not yet.

  60. Can’t forget Randees for a Burger and Fries, Downstairs Tart and Tray Cafe, Downstairs S&H Greenstamps outlet, P.J.s Trickshop, Kresges for eating at the counter or window by the mall, the old Jewel attached to the mall 1960’s it closed along with the Camp Mcdonald Jewel to open the other old Jewel outside of the mall by Golden Bear Pancakehouse. Remember the copper like figures in the mall that kids use to climb, they were animal figures? I heard they were donated to a Dist.214 School? How about the Shoe repairman in the mall he was downstairs then moved up by the bank he was a short Italian fellow.Gapp shoes, Florsheim,Baskin,and the Tuxedo rental,
    Randhurst Ice Arena, I saw the Chicago Cougars play there in grade
    school, in High School Ted Nugent, UFO, Blu Oyster Cult,and many more played there.

    Many memories of Randhurst especially shopping with my late Mom.

  61. Suppose we turned back the clock to 2001, shortly after JCPenney and Montgomery Ward left (but before Kohl’s, Old Navy, or Circuit City). What could’ve been done to turn the mall into a viable mall that would’ve let it be an alternative to the Woodfield Mall? Also, kudos to John Gallo for the great old pics.

  62. As of today one of my coworkers said she shops there all of the time and that it is still open. I guess she needs updated.

  63. Must be talking about Carson’s; the main part of the mall is definately closed and inaccessable.

  64. In response to Jonah Norason, I think Von Maur should have remodeled the old Penney’s/Carsons and opened a store their. (Instead of having it torn down for Costco). I would have done the same thing to the Wards anchor that they ended up doing. (Tearing it down except for a small piece that was remodeled into a MainStreet Commons with a Southwest Entrance to the mall). I would have also updated the malls decor, remodeled the Carson’s and added a fountian to the middle. How about that?

  65. This news of Randhurst saddens me greatly! I was born on February 4th, 1962 and although I don’t remember it, I was at the grand opening of Randhurst. My father had a polka band when I was growing up and they played at the Randhurst Grand Opening. Over the years, my mother and I shopped there quite a bit, driving from my hometown of Elmhurst. Later on, I saw Randhust make a downturn in the ’70s and then, after moving to Arlington Heights in 1988, saw Randhurst make a wonderful comeback. I started shopping there on a regular basis. I even took my father there once, just so he could see how nice it had turned out. In 1996, I moved to Charleston, SC and even though I returned to “The Burbs” for visits, I didn’t spend time in the Mt. P./A.H. area. This is the first I’ve heard about to closing of Randhurst and it’s brought back a flood of memories. Tartan Tray Restuarant with the great hot dogs and the cool wire wire chairs with the orange cushions (thanks too whomever mentioned the name I couldn’t remember!), Wieboldt’s, “Monkey” Wards, the cement goldfish ponds and the modern sculptures I would climb on as a kid. I now live in Austin, TX, where enclosed malls have pretty much died off. Most here are the “lifestyle centers” with condo complexes built right amongst the stores and offices. Like little towns. One still being built here, called the Hillcountry Galleria, has the Bee Cave, TX city hall in it.

    I will think great, but sad thoughts of Randhurst. My parents are both gone now and this is like another part of them being taken away.

    Goodbye old friend.

  66. For anyone interested, it seems that there is some minor inner demolition that may be occurring. I could feel/hear a rumbling from inside the adjacent Costco. Additionally, sections of parking lot are stripped and have construction equiptment and temporary office trailers in them.

  67. I just found this write up on Randhurst in the January 2009 issue of Shopping Centers Today, very interesting.

    Center Stage: Randhurst Shopping Center, Mount Prospect, Ill.
    By Dees Stribling

    Randhurst Shopping Center, vintage 1962, is as much a part of that period as one of Jackie Kennedy’s outfits or a Mercury space capsule. But unlike those items, the Mount Prospect, Ill., enclosed mall is no museum item to be preserved in its original state ad infinitum. Owner Casto Lifestyle Properties began redevelopment this fall to bring the mall into the 21st century as an open-air lifestyle center.

    As the first enclosed regional mall in the Chicago area, the 1 million-square-foot Randhurst was a retail marvel. “About a million people came to see it in the first year,” said Greg T. Peerbolte, executive director of the Mount Prospect Historical Society, back when the total population of metro Chicago was roughly 6.8 million. (Now it is about 9.5 million.) “It was very large for the time, but what probably drew more people was the fact that it had stores that were previously only located in downtown Chicago.”

    Randhurst Development Corp., which developed the mall and was an arm of department store chain Carson Pirie Scott, spent about five years in site selection and the development phase, at a cost of about $21.5 million (roughly $148 million in today’s dollars).

    Austrian-born architect Victor Gruen designed Randhurst. Gruen had already made his name in the U.S. as a designer of retail space. Most famously, he had designed Southdale Center, in suburban Minneapolis, which is generally considered the first air-conditioned enclosed regional mall. Gruen’s mall designs proved so influential that he is called the father of the modern shopping mall.

    Randhurst featured nearly $100,000 (in 1962 dollars) worth of artwork, including stained-glass windows and sculptures. Anchor department store Wieboldt’s went even further to create luxury in its women’s washroom, spending about $60,000 on imported marble basins, mosaics and gold-leaf outlines, according to the Mount Prospect Historical Society.

    Randhurst’s three anchors constituted something of a novelty. “The early malls tended to be linear, with anchors at either end,” said Peerbolte. “Randhurst had a unique triangular design, which allowed for another anchor but also made for a shorter distance between the anchors without reducing the number of in-line stores the mall could have.”

    Also, though probably largely forgotten now, few offices and stores at the time had air conditioning. But Randhurst could be kept at a constant 72 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer.

    In those early days, demographics favored Randhurst. Large numbers of burgeoning families showed a preference for suburban living. Mount Prospect itself had grown from about 4,000 residents in 1950 to 19,000 in 1960, but the trade area was larger than that. The egg-shaped zone encompassing Mount Prospect and Arlington Heights, Palatine and slices of other northwest suburbs had about 31,900 residents in 1950, and that had grown to 143,700 in 1962, according to the developer.

    “Mount Prospect and the surrounding suburbs were boomtowns in those days, so it’s no surprise that a mall thrived in that location,” said Peerbolte. Randhurst is at the junction of Rand and Elmhurst roads, hence the name. Elmhurst was and remains a major suburban street, but Rand was the real prize in terms of traffic. As U.S. 12, Rand went from downtown Chicago through the growing northwest suburbs. With the interstate system still in its infancy, any part of the U.S. highway system counted as a major road with a high traffic count.

    Thus retailers were eager to get in, and the mall leased up quickly. The original lineup included anchors Carson Pirie Scott, along with Wieboldt’s and The Fair, all noteworthy Chicago-based department stores looking for a piece of the action in the northwestern suburbs. Of the three, only Carson Pirie Scott lasted through Randhurst’s entire run as an enclosed mall, with Wieboldt’s and the Fair disappearing into retail history. The Fair lasted only until 1965, when Montgomery Ward bought it. (Montgomery Ward itself played a role in the mall’s decline when the storied retailer went under in 2000.)

    When the mall opened, the in-line stores included a raft of names unfamiliar to today’s shoppers; some were unique to the mall: Randhurst Heel Bar, Randhurst Music Center and Randhurst Tie Rack. More recently, it housed a Steve & Barry’s, which closed in September.

    “This is a historical event,” John Korn, a Mount Prospect trustee, told a local paper. Korn presided over the town’s approval of the redevelopment in September. “We are losing a history-making mall where people came from as far away as Wisconsin and Minnesota to shop. But it is time to build a new concept. We welcome Randhurst Village and look forward to its completion.”

  68. I think it’s weird that we preserve certain landmarks citing ‘historical value’ but not others, like shopping malls, which are apparently disposable. People would crap a brick if that guy said ‘it’s time to build a new concept’ about some historical courthouse or house on the national register of historic places.

  69. If you ask what is their #1 memory of a Chicago shopping mall Randhurst is on the top of the most special. The sign infront states that the mall will be closed for redevelopment until 2011.

    There are rumors of a site Oakbrook Mall to appear there. I wish it would remain an indoor mall due to I know a lot of MS people love an indoor one and not all outdoor.

    This mall should remain as a historical landmark that should remain. Legendary designer that the current cannot replace. The theatre is still one of the best theatres out there. This should be moved to the mall, not detached. What do you do when you want to see a movie with an hour 1/2 to wait. You shop, You eat. Randhurst would be wonderful for this.

    Maybe put a Chucky Cheese in the center to attract large crowds to flow in a celebration location. This is what I would do. You would see the retailers coming back with enhanced sales.

    Bring back the original Randhurst expanded to meet todays requirements and needs. The movie theatre attached or in the mall or both with different blended entrances.


  70. Did not see it mentioned but Randhurst was the biggest indoor air conditioned place in the WORLD when it opened. Also the biggest mall for a few years. I woudl love to see pics of the early mall but cannto seem to find any excpet for one with a police convention in the sixties which does not show much. i only remember from 1986 to the present.
    To anyoen who remembers, wasn’t teh basement much bigger inthe 60s and 70s? Did it sprawl out most of the mall area?
    I remember Moondawgs Comics, Record Town and the Tiedie shop in the basement but that was late 80s.

  71. Swung by Randhurst this morning; Brandenberg Demolition is on the property and they’ve knocked down the “services” area north of Carson’s – its the small wing with State Farm Insurance, the travel agent and the show repair place. They have a long way to go but now that they’ve started it’ll go quick.

  72. Does anyone know the name of the electronics/video game store that was in randhurst during the late 80s and early 90s?
    Its been bothering me all day. I think the outside was gray and I bought genesis games there.

  73. Joe –

    Could the video game store you’re thinking of be Funcoland? I think they were there before GameStop bought them out.

  74. How about the “Electronics Boutique”

  75. Can anybody who lives or lived in chicago or the chicago suburbs help me solve this mystery?

    In the mid 90’s, when I was younger, my mom used to take me to this arcade. It, I believe, was located in Ranhurst mall in Mount Prospect or the old Town and county mall/shopping ceter in Arlington heights. Im leaning more twords Randhurst, I know there was an arcade in Town and Country, but I know that was called “Just for Fun.” Anyways there was an arcade or entertainment center their that I remember being Jungle themed or maybe like enchanted- ghostly woods themed. I remember it was always dark in there as part of the theme. They had a fairly large space and had sky tubes. I guess it was like Rainforest Cafe and Chuck E Cheese put together. I believe they had random animationics scattered around the store. Not like the singing ones just life-like stuff. I think they had a water display in the corner of the arcade as well. They also had tickets and prises and I know its not Aladdin Castle or Chimpy’s Pizza.

    This Arcade has long been closed down. So After all that, does anyone out there remember what Im talking about? And does anyone have any history on it? Ive been trying to remember for the longest time!


  76. Does anyone have information on a possible “time capsule ceremony” for Randhurst. I watched a youtube video that mentioned in June of 2009 there would be one prior to the demolition of the center court area.

  77. The arcade was for birthday’s and it wasn’t really a themed place, for the life of me I can’t remember what it was called but it was a fun a time. The Power Zone i think

  78. TIme Capsule Info:
    Ceremony to be held August 21st at Bogie’s Ale Barn in Mt. Prospect, across from the mall on Kensington Rd. It’s a fundraiser for the Mt. Prospect Historical Society, tickets are $15. The time capsule was put in the center of the dome. Currently the center dome is the last thing standing; it’s to be demolished too after the capsule is retrieved…too bad they can’t preserve feature in the new center. Carson’s is going to be the only original store left. (Go Carsons!)

    PS. Does anyone know what happened to the old sculptures? They weren’t there in my day.

    As an aside–I drove near the demo area earlier this week and was surprised to see the trees in that were in the food court area still there, in their huge planters! They must have survived by gettin light from the skylights. It was kind of sad to see all the railings and Rouse-era lights exposed, since I remember eating there so much in the 80’s and 90’s. Still, since it’s in a good area I hope the best for the new randhurst. Here is an article written up the in Daily Herald, the local area paper:


    Randhurst dome time capsule to be opened Aug. 21
    By Shelia Ahern, Daily Herald

    Back in 1962, Mount Prospect residents sealed up a time capsule and secured it inside Randhurst Shopping Center’s 64-foot dome.

    High above the mall’s merry-go-round, the capsule sat for more than 40 years while most residents forgot it was even there. But on Aug. 21, the Mount Prospect Historical Society will reopen it.

    “At this time, the full contents of the time capsule are unknown. As such, we are hoping this will not be another Al Capone’s vault,” said society Executive Director Greg Peerbolte, alluding to journalist Geraldo Rivera’s famously anti-climactic 1986 opening of an empty safe allegedly belonging to Capone.

    Currently, the capsule is still in the very top of the dome, which will be demolished in the next week, said Village Manager Michael Janonis.

    “Other than the dome, pretty much everything else is gutted,” he said.

    In 1962, the mall designers wanted their structure to defy convention in every possible way, including the placement of a time capsule. At the time, the $20-million project was called the “world’s largest shopping center under a single roof,” according to a March 8, 1962, Daily Herald article.

    So instead of the traditional cornerstone ceremony, officials opted for a “dome-stone” ceremony, hoisting the large copper capsule into Randhurst’s massive dome.

    The public is invited to the capsule’s reopening at the Mount Prospect Historical Society’s annual fundraiser at Bogie’s Ale House, 303 E. Kensington Road, on Aug. 21. Tickets are $15 and include a pizza buffet.

    The new Randhurst mall is slated to open in Spring 2011.

    In January, crews ripped down the outer portion of the mall after working for months gutting the inside, which once housed about 80 shops. The main anchor stores will remain and are currently open.

    The mall is being redeveloped into what will be called Randhurst Village at a cost of about $150 million. It will include a new theater, hotel, restaurant and retail and office spaces.

    The redevelopment plan calls also for a number of restaurants and 25 smaller buildings to be scattered around the site. The plan allows for rental dwellings units to be built some time in the future if the developer chooses.

  79. I should add: I remember going to an Arcade in the Town and Country Mall near the movie theater, and I think it was “Just For Fun”. But there also was a big Arcade built in the 90s at Randhurst, located between the Ward’s and JC Penny.

  80. @Mount Arlington Prospect Hts Child, I think thats the one I am thinking of, but I cant remember their name.

  81. was the name of the arcade built in the 90’s at randhust called haunted Trails?

  82. All these posts bring back such good memories. We moved into Hasbrook in 1960, and I remember visiting Randhurst every Christmas. There was a huge tree in the mall (I don’t really remember where, but maybe in front of Carson, Pierie, Scott & Co.) where Santa listened to all of our Christmas wishes. My mom bought my school clothes at The Fair and my cold-weather outerwear at Wards. I remember Wards’ Electric Avenue when I visted my dear friend Tom every summer (we moved to Atlanta in 1965). The Tartan Tray was where my mom took us when my dad was gone (pilot for Eastern Air Lines) and I really enjoyed all the stores there from 5th to 9th grade. Good memories!

  83. Concerts at the Ice arena: UFO with Michael Schenker, was great.
    The band Montrose (Rock Candy), with Ronny Montrose on guitar and the Leslie speakers, and Sammy Hagar (mas Tequila, “Van Hagar”, “I can’t Drive 55”) kicked;
    Don’t forget Heart, with their encore of Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll, and finally, a spacey band called Nektar with fog filling the entire area. You can’t get “all ages” shows like that any more for 5 bucks a ticket.

  84. “Just for Fun” was inside of Town and Country in Arlington Heights.

  85. @Jacob, I remember the arcade at Town and Country. Not sure if remember one at randhurst though. I thought Aladdin’s castle was the one in Town and Country, but i wouldnt bet on it.

    Galaxy world in Palatine was not too far

  86. @Jacob,

    Did you ever find the answer to this question?! I was JUST THINKING the same thing!!! I can’t remember what this place was called! HELP!!!!!!!!

  87. AMC to open a state of the art theatre at the new Randhurst Village 4-25-11.

  88. I miss Randhurst – Used to come here often just for a change of pace from the constant Woodfield shopping. It was definitely a memorable place and easily the most unique layout I’ve ever seen in a mall. Up until the early 2000’s, traffic and mall activity seemed to be holding its own. I remember there being many cool stores here that catered to the teens, such as Hot Rags, Spencer Gifts and, for the life of me I can’t remember the name, a really small store with all kinds of punk/head shop type of stuff like incense, body jewelry, rock posters, tyedyed gear, etc. It was really, really tiny so it might’ve been located in one of the converted stores – Would’ve been in the mid to late 90’s.

    There was also a Rave, Lids, Bath & Body Works, The Limited, Aeropostale, New York & Company, etc but the stores were always much smaller than the ones at Woodfield and, therefore, had less of a selection so I’m sure that’s why eventually people migrated over there instead of going to Randhurst, even if it was closer.

    It was definitely sad and nostalgic when Randhurst closed its doors for good. Very sad to see such a unique place be torn down. I went just for kicks shortly before it was permanently shuttered and it was a changed atmosphere, to say the least. Very sad to walk around and see nothing but either complete vacancy or a few stubborn Mom-&-Pop shops and Asian gift stores hanging on. Randhurst died a very slow death and I wish they could’ve kept at least a portion of the mall up but I know realistically that wouldn’t fit into their new “lifestyle center” plans for the property.

  89. @Henry, that short italian fellow is my grandpa lol for real he has worked there for ever it seems like

  90. @Brian, Party Zone my uncle worked there

  91. Hello, great article you wrote. I came across it on google. I’m really sad that Randhurst is no longer there. It was really a great design and I loved shopping there because it always put me in a good mood. So much nostalgia. I’m sad to see that they took down the entire mall and replaced such a great piece of artwork, with one of these so-called life style centers. I really wish they would stop building these life style centers, especially in cold places like the Chicagoland area. Gruen was really a great man. I miss mall culture. I hate the lifestyle center take over and the Westfield takeover.

  92. @Terri,

    Jungle Jim’s Playland?

  93. So I was curious about what was found in the time capsule that was mentioned earlier. According to the Daily Herald, it’s AWoL! That’s pretty wild.

  94. Does anyone anyone happen to have a list of the jewelry stores that were in Randhurst around 1994-1995. Really need to know
    Thanks if you do.

  95. @Pseudo3D, Oh! how sad 🙁 This mall was so legendary, so many memories happened here 🙁

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