Woodfield Mall; Schaumburg, Illinois

Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL

This is it. In addition to being the largest mall in the Chicagoland area and one of the largest malls in the world, Woodfield Mall is the focal point of Chicago’s expansive northwest suburbs and has been an impetus for growth in the region since it opened 35 years ago in 1971. It is the number one tourist destination not only in the Chicago region but in all of Illinois. People regularly come from neighboring states to shop at Woodfield and the retail cloud surrounding it, including dozens of popular chain restaurants, big box stores, and most notably the first Ikea store in the midwest which opened in 1998. Woodfield is also the largest mall we’ve featured here on labelscar.com.

Woodfield Mall was initially a joint project undertaken by two of Chicago’s major department stores: Sears and Marshall Field’s. As such, its name comes from former Sears chairman Robert Wood and Marshall Field and Company founder Marshall Field. To commemorate this undertaking, Woodfield opened in 1971 with huge fanfare. Vincent Price entertained while Carol Lawrence sang. (Oh, to have been there…) Debuting with only 28 stores (with another 28 opening a month after the grand opening), Woodfield quickly expanded to 189 stores and 1.9 million square feet of retail space by 1973, making it the largest mall in the United States at the time. The 1973 expansion brought department store chain Lord and Taylor and a new wing, complementing Sears and Marshall Field’s. In 1991, Woodfield added 23 more stores and in 1996 Woodfield expanded again with Nordstrom, an expanded Lord and Taylor, and 50 new specialty stores.

Woodfield Mall Marshall Field's (now Macy's) from center court in Schaumburg, IL

The continuing expansion at Woodfield made for spurious growth in Schaumburg and the surrounding suburbs of Hoffman Estates, Itasca, Rolling Meadows, and beyond. Far beyond, in fact. One could argue that the placing of Woodfield cemented the economic viability of the northwest suburbs and established a growth pattern far beyond that of the economically downtrodden south suburbs or other areas. The Village of Schaumburg itself grew 400 percent between 1970 and 2000. In the 1990s, Motorola built its headquarters across I-90 from the mall. Also in the 1990s, Sears left its Sears Tower in downtown Chicago to build their headquarters on a sprawling 200-acre campus in Hoffman Estates, a few miles west of Woodfield Mall. They are still there today, and in October 2006 an 11,000-seat multi-purpose family entertainment venue called Sears Centre will debut with a Duran Duran concert.

The ‘Ordinary World’ surrounding Woodfield also contains multiple office towers of 20 stories, and a 650,000 square-foot development called The Streets of Woodfield which is situated directly adjacent to Woodfield Mall (to the south) with frontage along I-290. Streets is an outdoor lifestyle center intended to mimic upscale urban streetfront shops, and it has had major success. It opened in the early 2000s and replaced a very glassy, failed two-level enclosed shopping center called One Schaumburg Place, which existed for only a short time between 1990-2000 and was anchored by Montgomery Ward. It also had the only food court ever to grace Schaumburg, because Woodfield surprisingly hasn’t built one yet. Streets of Woodfield is flanked by major stores Carson Pirie Scott, a Chicago department store chain, Dick’s Sporting Goods, which was formerly Galyan’s since the days of One Schaumburg Place, and there are also a Lowes Theatres and a GameWorks which are very popular. In addition, numerous restaurants like Shaw’s Crab House and many popular national chains such as Starbucks and Jamba Juice flank the remaining spaces at Streets of Woodfield.

Woodfield has also affected retail development in a far reaching area. The downfall of Randhurst Mall, located about 15 minutes away in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, is mainly due to the continued expansion and domination of Woodfield. Other centers in the west and northwest suburbs also may have never reached their true potential due to Woodfield. Charlestowne, Stratford Square, and Spring Hill Malls are all within a close distance of Woodfield and all have experienced periods of problems of which I would argue Woodfield played a role.

Woodfield Mall center court in Schaumburg, ILToday, Woodfield is as popular as ever. In addition to the title of largest tourism draw in Illinois, Woodfield is also currently the fifth largest mall in the country in terms of leasable retail space. There are around 300 stores at Woodfield, including 5 very large anchor stores. Sears is 416,000 square feet, making it the largest Sears in the world, Macy’s (formerly Marshall Field’s until September 2006) is 315,000 square-feet, JCPenney is 300,000 square feet, Nordstrom is 214,000 square feet, and Lord and Taylor is only (facetious alert) 124,000 square feet. The average anchor size at most malls is about 100,000 square feet, so these anchors are big boys (or girls, depending on how you gender-assign mall anchors).

The current design of Woodfield is modern and the decor is decidedly Taubman. If you don’t know what that means, all Taubman malls share basically the same decor. It’s pretty sterile, with grooved white slats everywhere. They even have a standard plasterboard plate with etched squares for dead or ‘coming-soon’ stores. If you know what I’m talking about, great. If not, go to one of their malls sometime, they all pretty much mirror each other. Woodfield’s layout is basically a T, with a jog in the wing connecting Lord and Taylor to Nordstrom (the 1996 addition). Most of the mall is two levels with a neat exception near center court where a third level sprouts. One of the more interesting design features is at the grand center court when all the levels connect via long, high catwalks and stairways to one another. All the images were taken September 2006, right before the final conversion of Marshall Field’s to Macy’s. In some of the photos you can see the temporary Marshall Field’s signage in banners over the actual Macy’s signage that was prematurely placed. In addition, here’s Woodfield from space (thanks, Google Maps). If you scroll down (south) a little you can also see the Streets of Woodfield development. For reference, I-290 is on the right of the image.

What’s in the future for the Woodfield area? In my opinion, with a regard for upkeep it will have continued growth. In addition to Sears Centre, Sears is currently leasing many outparcels of its megasite to interested retail or office uses. In a 2005 article in the Chicago Sun-Times, outdoor destination store Cabela’s was named as being interested in opening on the site. This continued growth combined with a history of dominance will certainly cement Woodfield’s near future of continued success. But what do you think? Leave your comments about anything from the cool fish tanks full of exotic species near center court to your experiences in the mall, past and present.

Woodfield Mall Sears in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall parking deck and Rainforest Cafe in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall Marshall Field's (now Macy's) in Schaumburg, IL

Woodfield Mall Marshall Field's (now Macy's) in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall JCPenney in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall JCPenney in Schaumburg, IL

Woodfield Mall Sears wing from center court in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall center court in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall center court in Schaumburg, IL

Woodfield Mall Sears in Schaumburg, IL forgotten unremodeled side hallway at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall Nordstrom in Schaumburg, IL

Woodfield Mall Marshall Field's (now Macy's) in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall JCPenney in Schaumburg, IL Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL

Woodfield Mall water tower in Schaumburg, IL Nordstrom at Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL

53 Responses to “Woodfield Mall; Schaumburg, Illinois”

  1. Woodfield is wonderful as always, but there’s some signage issues. The two exterior JCPenney signs don’t match (one is white all the time [looks like a replacement], the other is black when turned off and white when illuminated [probably original] ) and the Macy’s signage is horrid. They could have at least put back the two-sign arrangement Marshall Field & Company had.


  2. Yep, definitely Taubman. I’d swear I was at Eastridge, Stoneridge, Sunvalley, or Hilltop malls here in California. They all share common attributes. I must say, though, Woodfield took the Eastridge “mystery middle level” concept and it apparently worked in Chicago.
    These are GREAT photos…


  3. Ah, the motherlode of shopping in Chicagoland. I make note to visit this mall in my yearly trek down to the area. That ‘disappearing’ middle level between the first and second floors at the center atrium is just one of those architectural quirks that boggles the mind.

    The mall entranceways were redone in 2005. I’m not sure when the mall interior was redone, but it ‘was’ redone over the years, though the side hallways going to the entries are still original.

    Sure will be different when I head down there next year. The centerpeice of that mall was definitly the Marshall Field & Co. That fancy scripted signage will be missed.


  4. I cannot agree that all Taubman malls looked the same. They mainly had a uniform style, but the architectural elements differed from one mall to another. I would never mistake Woodfield for Eastridge or Fairlane or Fair Oaks or any other.

    Woodfield was a very special place that had a huge impact on me. In many ways, I thought it was the most magnificent structure ever built. Two of my most prized possessions are two marble paperweight souvenirs commemorating Woodfield’s grand opening. No, I wasn’t there for the grand opening, but I received these as gifts from the Taubman Company at a later date. They gave me some other wonderful Woodfield mementos as well.

    Woodfield was in a class all by itself and had a mystique about it. It intrigued me that originally there was no outdoor signage with the Woodfield name on it. How did people know the name of the place? Of course, everyone knew that it was Woodfield. My last visit was back in 1998. By then, I noticed that they had put up some Woodfield signs at parking lot entrances. It’s even more surprising today to see the remodeled exterior with the name Woodfield right on the building!

    What fascinated me most about Woodfield was the architecture. I could gaze at it and analyze it endlessly. The ceiling alone was a masterpiece in my eyes. The architectural purist in me has to grimace at most of the modifications that have been made over the years. I thought of listing them, but I guess I won’t do that right now.

    Secondary to the architecture, but still of great interest to me was the tenant mix. I would love to be able to go back in time to visit “Woodfield Classic” once again, with long-gone tenants such as Orange Bowl, Konee’s, Hot Sam (three locations, incidentally), Roy Rogers, Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour, Wimpy Grills, Kresge, Cookie Factory, Kroch’s and Brentano’s, Woodfield Ice Arena, and on and on and on.

    Here are two photos I’ve posted on Woodfield from that bygone era:



  5. Absolutely a Taubman Center. This mall looks like a bizarro Westfarms Mall of Connecticut. Judging by the italian aqueducts, it must’ve been built in the early ’70’s.


  6. (sorry to post again) Another staple of the 70’s/80’s Taubman centers… check out the “ampitheater” style center court (like Stamford Town Center, CT) and modern art structures (Westfarms, CT). The mall definitely had more class in it’s “old” look though.

    Here are some pictures of Stamford Town Center (http://ccsu.facebook.com/album.php?aid=2013069&id=48807574&op=10&l=075a2). I’ve got about 100 of Westfarms but have not put them up just yet. I’ve also never had a problem with security and cameras at my Taubman Centers…


  7. I defy you to find a cooler-looking super-regional (hyper-regional?) mall.


  8. Let’s take a look at some other hyper-regionals for comparison:

    Mall of America, Minnesota: The largest mall in the country is a 3-4 level simple racetrack design, with the levels stacked on one another, and a huge amusement park in the middle. The mall itself is kind of boring, design-wise, sorry to say.

    South Coast Plaza, Orange County, CA: This mall is amazing, and has hallways zig-zagging everywhere on 3 different levels. In addition, there’s a bridge from Macy’s over to another entirely separate section of mall.

    Del Amo Fashion Center, LA, CA: This is another truly amazing one, with design elements much like the above only it is also extremely dated. However, a current/proposed renovation will take care of that and possibly might even disenclose the center, making it just like anything else out there today.

    Roosevelt Field Mall, Long Island, NY: Another hyper-regional, and while it is more interesting than Mall of America it isn’t as unique in design as the CA ones above.

    King of Prussia, PA: This one’s really cool. Its basic design is racetrack, except there are also stores and hallways which cut through the middle, which is interesting. In addition, there’s an “addendum” mall directly adjacent to the main mall which offers more a more upscale atmosphere.

    Obviously there are more, like the West Edmonton Mall in Canada which I haven’t visited yet but I hear it’s awesome.  Post your own opinions on these or others.  What truly qualifies as hyper-regional?  For some like the ones listed above it may be obvious, but for others there’s some definite gray area. 


  9. Steven Swain, that’s a great observation about the colors of the outdoor JCPenney signage. I never would have noticed it. Interestingly, it’s been that way for a long time. I have photos of the JCPenney exterior from the 1970s and the signs differed in color, in the same way, even back then.

    Of the other large malls Prangeway mentions for comparison, I’ve only been to Mall of America (MOA) and West Edmonton Mall (WEM). WEM was built in phases that make it seem like a few of your typical two-level regional malls connected in series. It’s the tourist attraction and other entertainment features that really set this mall apart. These include the massive indoor water park, the indoor amusement park, submarine rides, dolphin shows, ice arena, hotel, and more. MOA is like an optimized version of the WEM concept of making entertainment a larger part of the equation. In contrast, at Woodfield the emphasis is much more on pure retail.


  10. Steve Wilson… those are some spectacular pictures on your site. They have a surreal quality to them that evokes a warm fuzzy feeling. Did you take them and are you a professional photographer? I couldn’t take a decent picture to save my life.
    Anyway, in regard to all Taubman centers looking alike, it would be more accurate to state they have similar qualities and parallel designs. I suppose at first glance, they all look the same. But to anyone who appreciates them to their finest detail, they are remarkably different.


  11. Scott,

    Thanks! The Woodfield photos I took. The Eastridge photos are from a pro and the large-format original transparencies were given to me. The Eastridge photos, naturally, are better! It was Woodfield that motivated me to start learning about photography. I got my first 35mm camera with the intention of photographing Woodfield. These two Woodfield shots are among the first I’d taken. I’m not quite happy with those scans, however. I will have to retrieve the negatives again sometime and re-scan them. Mall photography became one of my hobbies. I photographed lots of malls back in those days. Some of these included Northbrook Court, Water Tower Place, Fox Valley Center, Orland Square, North Riverside Park, Hawthorn Center, Northridge, Southridge, and various others. Here are two groups of selected shots from my early mall photography days:

    (with a few current ones thrown in — they’re easy to distinguish)




  12. A 416,000 square foot Sears? Holy peel-and-stick floor tile, Batman! If I had to guess, the biggest Sears I’ve ever been in was in the 125,000 range…I can’t imagine what they fill up 3+ times that space with!


    Pseudo3D Reply:

    @Matt from CLT, me neither. I would think it has sizable Lands End/Craftsman/Kenmore areas, and apparently it had “Sears Dental” until very recently (now DentalWorks, Sears isn’t doing dentistry anymore), maybe some discount store-like departments (babies, toys, etc). Considering that my Sears is around 96,800 square feet, it does have room to expand.


    Brandon Reply:

    Take every department from your 96,800 SF Sears and quadruple it. That’s how they fill up this Sears. Triple it for the Oakbrook Center Sears (approx. 300,000 SF). Double it for my local Sears (approx. 220,000 SF).


  13. I can’t get over how much Woodfield looks like a mall near me that isn’t a Taubman center. The older section of Hanes Mall in Winston-Salem, North Carolina features the same anchors (swap out Marshall Field & Company for Belk), a similar (though less elaborate) center court, ceilings and skylights. The Belk is even a three story flagship with arched entries like Field’s, though it features red brick instead of white.

    A rather garish renovation ruined Hanes mall, but Woodfield still looks great.


    RV Walton Reply:

    @Steven Swain,

    Although this is just a guess, the Belk at Hanes Mall that looks like the Woodfield Marshall Field’s was probably an Ivey’s. Ivey’s was owned by Marshall Field’s until BATUS broke up its retail holdings.


  14. As a amateur hobbyist photographer, sometimes it’s difficult to get quality photos of malls because of excess amounts of people but more so: mall security. Sadly, most malls institute a policy where they will shut you down if you try to take photos of any kind of the property. Sometimes you just have to be quick and as a result won’t always get the right angles, empirical shots.


  15. I really wouldn’t consider going back to mall photography as a hobby. I was fortunate to be able to photograph malls extensively many years ago. I forgot to mention that back then I even took quite a bit of Super 8 film footage of malls such as Woodfield. Eventually, I stopped doing the mall photography because of changing interests and other demands for time. With all of the security hassles of today, I sort of feel like it’s not worth the bother — although with today’s digital cameras, I occasionally feel the temptation. It’s a shame, however, because prohibiting people from photographing malls means that much less of today’s mall experiences will be documented and preserved.


  16. Not necessarily, Steve. I always demonstrate a James Bond attitude whenever I take pictures at malls. Of course, I try to bog down suspicion, just enough to get pictures I intend to take regardless of overly harsh rules of mall policy.

    Basically, you just have to do it and risk the minor consequences. After all, it’s not like you’re exposing vital secrets to the world…


  17. Last I checked, malls were public spaces (Pruneyard vs, The State of California). I don’t see how it’s legal for them to prohibit photography. I know these new lifestyle villages prohibit it (and it’s outside!), but I don’t think it’s been challenged. I mean, shouldn’t security guards be securing the place, not prohibiting people from taking pictures? After all, there *IS* a camera store in the mall. Cell phones have cameras and there must be a dozen call phone kiosks in the mall. Inconsistent enforcement weakens their case. Just take a picture of the security guard… they just LOVE that. That’s legal, too. 🙂


  18. I take it back, it’s isn’t Pruneyard vs. The State of California and the issue was free speech as opposed to taking a picture. Now I don’t really know.


  19. Just to clarify things a bit:

    In most cases, it’s never actually against the law to take pictures in malls. HOWEVER, it is policy at most malls, retail stores, etc. to prohibit photography.

    Whenever you go to a restaurant, a store, a bar, a mall, or wherever, think of yourself as a guest in someone else’s house. Because these places are private property, they call the shots. You have to behave in accordance to their rules and if you don’t, they do have the legal right to ask you to stop and to throw you out for just about any reason. They don’t, however, have the right to detain you in the security office, take your camera/film away, or to have you arrested for taking photos, because taking photos isn’t a crime like shoplifting or vandalism. Now, if you became belligerent, or refused to leave or something, then they could have you arrested for trespassing on private property.

    I’ve personally taken photos of hundreds of malls across the U.S. and Canada over the past 6 or 7 years, and have only had a couple handfuls of altercations with mall security. Most of them resulted from my carelessness. Usually I’m pretty stealthy when taking a picture inside (or even outside) a mall, but sometimes security will pop out from behind a kiosk, or from around a corner, or even in the parking lot and catch me red handed. Most of these times the security guard will just approach me and say “no photos of the mall” or something, and we’ll part ways.

    However, a FEW times it has gotten ridiculous and embarrassing. While taking pictures of the Moreno Valley Mall in Moreno Valley, CA, some women working in an urban wear store became clearly concerned when they saw me taking pictures from their store. I could see they immediately got on the phone and were staring at me and pointing, like I had commited some kind of crime. So I decided it was time to leave, and as I was en route to my exit a pimply faced teen mall-security guard intercepted me at an escalator, and physically led me aside and told me I had to leave and that I was banned from the mall for 24 hours. He then followed about 3 steps right behind me all the way to my car and wrote down my license plate. Cool, right? Pretty lame, but again it just reiterates the most they can do is throw you out. And since I wasn’t there to shop, nor did I have any further interest in being there anyway, it didn’t even matter. Just kind of embarrassing, really. See my post on this site about the Washington Mall in Washington, PA for another of those situations, which escalated even further.


  20. Thanks Prangeway. I did some research and you are right on the mark. Private property is just that, private, unless you are the government, in which case there is eminate domain or “in the name of terrorism.” Seems ridiculous that they have nothing else better to do than kick out people who likely would likely spend money. I’d like to test the cellphone kiosk theory, though. I see them test the camera phones all the time. Nevertheless, stealth mode is probably the best advice. Otherwise, we might be tempted to write bad things about the mall 🙂


  21. well a lot of malls say “videotaping, photography require prior written conscent of mall management”, so it is not 100 precent banned. I only take pictures outside, not inside because 10 yrs ago I got hastled by mall security in mall of NH and maine mall and all the bystanders there. SO I only take pictures of malls outside. IF I wanted to take a picture of something inside, I would go to mall management for permission. but in the last 4 years I have been to 50 to 60 malls and only 2 malls hastled me, the holyoke mall and great northern mall and I have heard I am not the only person to get hastled at those 2 same malls for picture taking. I find it stupid too of rules on picture taking of malls, but I heard it is because of security reseaons and they may think you are a competitor.

    I read that photography is not illegal, but if you are on private property they can restrict it. IF THE MALL HAS NO RULE ON PICTURE TAKING, SECURITY CAN STOP YOU IF THEY WANT.


  22. An error I just noticed within this article: Randhurst Mall is actually in Mount Prospect, not Prospect Heights. Though I can see why you did end up making that mistake, since Prospect Heights is just to the north of Mt. Prospect.


  23. Allan: noted and changed. That’s funny that I did that, because I have another post on here devoted to Randhurst and I used the proper city. Whoops.


  24. To end this melee of mall photography discussion, I’d like to say that both Taubman Centers of Connecticut (Westfarms, Stamford Town Center) have never hassled me before and I’ve taken many shots there as it’s (not the latter) my local mall. Now maybe I’m just lucky, I did get a bum look from a guard when I took a shot of the central court during Christmas but nothing was done about it.

    I was at Stamford Town Center twice last Summer snapping away (how could you not? The mall is wonderous) even confronted security numerous times and they simply didn’t care. Danbury Fair Mall is another, but all the other management companies have put a stop to it. I always exercise my usual precautions and try to keep alert for my own safety.

    Hey the longer they dont catch me, the more pictures I get! It turns into a game!


  25. Its funny were talking about mall photography because just a few days ago I was at the Westfarms Mall and took some pictures with no hassle. Last week I was in Boston and took some photos of the Prudential Center Mall with no problems and also have pictures that I took with no problems of the Providence Place Mall


  26. how is this mall of picture taking?

    I am freaking out about this. I was never caught, I went to the King of prussia mall on a two week road trip (I went to cleveland, erie pa, niagara falls, buffalo, rochester ny, southwestern ny, king of prussia mall, allentown, phillipsburg and I took 8,000 pictures with my digital, I drove this myself) last june and the mall was huge and I took pictures and if I was caught would I have been asked to leave, how much of the time does that happen. If I did not leave and they called the police, could I leave and then not be charged with tresspassing. if you are asked to leave, do they follow you out to your car? if your car is in the mall parking lot, would they remember the car if the saw my car and remember who the occupant is? I am freaking about if that had happened (I was even nearly paralized by this thought all yesterday and today and it took me until 5 am to fall asleep due to it). do they warn you of tresspassing if you don’t leave. I have been to 100 malls in my life and have only been caught in like 2 3 or 4. last year one happened in the great northern mall in clay ny. I know they cannot confenscate your camera, but at that time my memory stick (one of the 4 I used on that trip) had like 2,500-2,700 pictures on it (And it had pictures all the way from cleveland to king of prussia) which was hard work.

    I am stewing about that If I was caught in the king of prussia mall, what would have happeend as that was a zenieth of my trip. that mall was a big part of the trip and had 400 stores and 8 anchors. the mall was busy that day. I saw a few mall security cars. if you take pictures from within your car windows rolled up, are you still at liable for getting it for it? would they notice? are they more likely to kick you out when you take pictures inside the mall or outside?

    when it says photography, filming require the prior written consent of mall management, how much of the time do they approve picture taking? I only take pictures outside the mall because of getting nailed if I do it inside and If I want to take the pictures inside I will go to mall management for permission (I did that in towoson mall in maryland last november and the manager was hesitant to, I wanted those few pictures as the inside was unique). I was told that “you can’t take pictures of storefronts”. I know that malls are this way becfause of advertising and I GUESS THE STORES DO NOT WANT THEIR DISPLAYS TAKEN PICTURES OF. the way I take pictures, outside the mall, what if the chances that if I ask for permission they would say no. I am also an out of stater in those malls.


  27. woodfield is trying to hard to change. They have decided to become more upscale. They are slowly pushing out stores. I personally know of 2 stores that had both been there since the beginning that were making profit. The mall either refused to sign a new lease or asked such a large amount they knew it would be turned down. Its sad. Who do they think is looking for these “upscale” stores. These are tourists and teenagers. Not people from Beverly Hills.


  28. […] Competition from regional mega-malls like Oakbrook Center, Yorktown Center, and even Woodfield Mall combined with the onslaught popularity of Big Box-anchored strip malls have put nails in the coffin for gems like North Park. It’s definitely one of the last of a dying breed, and its current condition proves this.  How long will it be before it is flipped inside out or knocked down like many of Chicagoland’s other sMalls like it?  Take a look at the photos featured here which were taken in October 2006, and leave some comments of your own.  We’re specifically interested in the mall’s history.  When did it open, what were the anchors, and when did it fall down the stairs and hit its head?    […]

  29. It isn’t only the large malls that are photo-phobic. I even got hassled when I tried to take photos at the Trader Joe’s in Glen Ellyn, Il and at a small local produce store. They must fear that a flash will surprise someone resulting in an injury and law suit.

    I worked at the Motorola Campus in Schaumburg from its opening in 1970.
    Woodfield was just a handy place to stop on the way home to pick up a few items. Its severe decor was described at the time as “a hospital decorated like a harem”.

    Woodfield had a fountain and fish pond at one time. There was a small tunnel where the childen could look the fish in the eye. I couldn’t find it last time was there. http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=woodfield73


  30. First of all, it depends on the management of the mall. If you have connections to the mall, chances are that you can take as many pictures as you want without getting in trouble. If you know a security guard, you could just ask them and they will usually not care, just as long as you don’t take direct pictures of any stores. It also depends on the security guards too. Some of them will simply not care if you take pictures. If I was a security guard, I could care less if someone takes pics of the mall. They aren’t hurting anybody, so why stop them?


    At one time taubman had 30 malls half owned like woodfield & short hills, the others were joint owned GM’s pention fund. A few years ago gm took over these malls & sold them to the THE MILLS corp. We all know what happend to mills. Last year Simon baught mills for $25.25per share.Simon tried to buy taubman in a failed hostal take over bid. MI GOV. signed alaw designed to prevent sucha takeover, because taubman hates simon to keep it simple.


  32. A few quick things…One Shaumburg Place opened more like 1990, not 1999. It was one of the first two Chicagoland theatres to show Schindler’s list in 1994 (the other being in the city).

    The fountain/fish pond was drained and covered up, now housing a Comcast kiosk (how fitting). After not going into Woodfield in several years, I just discovered that.

    As for Woodfield going upscale, I always found it to be upscale for the NW burbs, with stores that only existed there and downtown Chicago. However, I think when they built the addition and added the Nordstrom’s anchor, you did see an increasing entrance of high-end retailers. There is definitely a market for those retailers, and it keeps it competitive with Deer Park Town Center.

    BTW, my first memory of Woodfield is watching the skaters at the rink. 25 years later, I am a figure skater….and have skated at a “mall rink.”


  33. AT 416,000 square feet, the Sears sore at Woodfield is certainly not the ‘world’s largest’. The sears store at the Eaton Centre in Toronto took over the 1,000,000 square foot Eatons store and although a couple of floors were closed down, it has to be over 600,000 square feet now. Also Sear took over the Eatons store downtown Vancouver must be close to 500,000 square feet as is the Sears downtown Calgary store, another former Eatons.


  34. The retail depression of 2008 in on. Visiting Woodfield last Saturday, I noticed about 10-15 vacant spots throughout the mall. Highly unusual for this place. Many had “Coming Soon” signs hanging on the storefront covers. The A&W on the middle concourse was closed and being turned into an Arby’s, but that has been there since last summer. This retail shakeout will be interesting since these magemalls can’t stay filled anymore


  35. Anyone remember when you could buy a bong at the Alley, ninja throwing stars at Otaka of Japan, the new Ozzy album at Disc Records, then go ice skating?


  36. Is Woodfield in a bit of trouble?

    Stores try creative ways to drive up holiday sales: Woodfield plans to bus tourists from Chicago to Schaumburg mall

    Sandra M. Jones

    October 31, 2008

    Oct. 31–As the holiday season draws closer, retailers are dreaming up ways to entice reluctant shoppers into stores, including later hours and literally driving consumers to the mall.

    Shoppers have stayed home for the past two months, brooding over their pummeled 401(k) plans and other dismal economic news. And now retailers are worried because consumers historically curtail trips to the mall in the weeks leading up to a presidential election, according to Chicago-based ShopperTrak RCT Corp.

    So, Woodfield mall, one of the nation’s largest shopping centers, thinks it may have an answer.

    It plans to round up tourists staying at downtown Chicago hotels and bus them to the Schaumburg mall. The effort, a first for the giant mall, begins Saturday and runs through the holiday season.

    The notion of visitors leaving the Magnificent Mile for the quintessential suburban mall may have seem far-fetched a year ago. But this year, with retailers bracing for a brutal holiday, desperate measures are in order.

    Overall retail traffic fell a stunning 9.3 percent in September from the same period a year ago, according to ShopperTrak. Meanwhile, the Commerce Department reported a 1.2 percent drop in September retail sales, the biggest drop in three years, and on Thursday said gross domestic product shrank at a 0.3 percent annual rate for July through September as consumers cut back on spending by the biggest amount in 28 years.

    Dan de Grandpre, founder of DealNews.Com, a Web site that tracks promotions, predicts holiday deals will come fast and furious this year, and consumers will see all types of “crazy promotions” to get them shopping again.

    “The retailer can’t succeed unless they get people into the store,” de Grandpre said.

    Sears Holdings Corp., which under controlling stakeholder and Chairman Edward Lampert had made a concerted effort in the past to cut back on promotions, is stepping up the deals this year. Its game plan for getting shoppers into its stores revolves around offering extra unadvertised deals, starting Thanksgiving weekend, that can only be found if shoppers come to the store.

    Kohl’s Corp., for its part, is taking a more-is-better approach. The discount department store chain increased its marketing budget, invested in new promotions that start on Nov. 7 instead of the typical Thanksgiving weekend and is doubling the amount of e-mail it sends customers throughout the season. The retailer also plans to extend store hours earlier in the season and unveil on its Web site a different feature deal, good only for that day, through November.


    I wonder what is really going on behind the senes when an article like this pops up about one of the nations most influential malls going to such extremes trying to get shoppers in the door. Things must be tougher than we all think.


  37. SEAN,

    I don’t really think Woodfield specifically is in trouble. I think what the article is trying to convey is that retail across the board is losing shoppers due to the economy and even centers like Woodfield are being forced to be even more creative with their marketing to make money, doing things they never had to do before like bus people from downtown Chicago.

    I don’t really understand, though, why anyone staying in downtown Chicago would want to make a 30 minute bus trip (more in traffic) each way to visit a huge mall in the suburbs. Most, if not nearly all, of the stores in Woodfield have a location downtown somewhere and there are even several traditional malls on Michigan Avenue. The only real benefit I could see is saving a few bucks by not having to pay the city’s tax? I’d really like to see if people are really going to be using this service and if it is worth it in the long run for Woodfield.


  38. When were these pictures taken? I could almost swear that my wife and I are in picture 8 (lower level in the orange shirt). Its too far away to tell for sure.


  39. Prange way,

    Personally I don’t think Woodfield is in trouble either, I just posed the question when I saw the article. I also agree with you that if you are visiting Chicago you are not rushing out to Woodfield to shop. However, on the other hand GSP is a 15 minute drive from midtown Manhattan & gets a fair percentage of tourests, so it’s possible that this could work in that mannor. Also remember ORD is only a few miles away.


  40. Woodfield Mall is not in trouble. How can the largest mall in Chicago, Illinois, and placing 9th nationwide (behind Sawgrass Mills, Aventura, KOP, MOA, Roosevelt Field, Millcreek, South Coast Plaza, and the Galleria).

    Woodfield’s approach does seem a little strange, but for a while now hotels have shuttled people to local malls. Since the malls were tied in with the economy: overspending and borrowing cash fueled malls since the 1970s, and the party is very close to a tumultuous end. So maybe malls were meant to die. But we can’t tell for now.


  41. Woodfield’s approach does seem a little strange, but for a while now hotels have shuttled people to local malls. Since the malls were tied in with the economy: overspending and borrowing cash fueled malls since the 1970s, and the party is very close to a tumultuous end. So maybe malls were meant to die. But we can’t tell for now.


    You may have hit the nail on the head, but let me ask you a question. If the mall dies then what? It’s not a simple one to ask, but a nessessary question none the less.

    Personally I don’t think the mall is going away, but is transforming into something totally new. The strongest malls will remain like the ones you sited above, but there are just to many weak players right now. over time those undercapitalized mall companies will get forsed out to allow the survivers to return to profitability with better ballencesheets.


  42. As a person living within five minutes of Woodfield, I was really surprised that so many non-locals regularly come to Woodfield! I had no idea the mall was so popular that it would attract so many tourists.

    What’s fascinating is that Woodfield was pretty much built with farms surrounding it, and within a short twenty-thirty years, the area has exponentially grown from agriculture to suburbia. The juxtaposition of Woodfield and a farm is incredible to think of today, but normal to see some thirty years ago.

    Anyone have any more pictures of Woodfield’s interior, or even exterior and surrounding neighborhoods from the olden days? I cannot find any promising links from my investigations. I know it’d be interesting to see the farms that have been so replaced so many years ago!


  43. As someone in my late 20’s now, I’ve grown up in the area and literally “grew up” in Woodfield – Like most malls, it was the major hang-out spot growing up and I have many fond memories of watching the mall grow, expand and change over my 20+ years of shopping here. I would love to see any interior photos of the mall from early to mid 90’s – I love remembering the old stores that have come and gone! While I am just a bit too young to remember the ice skating rink, I do remember the theatres that took its place (not to be confused with the free-standing twin theatres on the outskirts of the mall, which have since been torn down and replaced with additional surrounding retail).

    For some reason, the inside theatres played second-run movies and then eventually only indie, art-house type movies before shuttering. I always thought it strange that such a popular mall, teeming with families and teenagers, would choose to show less well-known movies – I definitely think it led to the theatres’ decline. The location of the interior theatres was always a bit odd as well – Ticket booth faced the mall but you had to walk fairly far back to reach the snack counters and theatres and, being young at the time, I remember it being dark and sort of creepy :).

    After the interior theatres shuttered, there was a Mars 2012 outer space-themed restaurant there which only lasted a few years at most. It was VERY over-the-top and, while I only ate there a couple of times and don’t remember much outside of the crazy decor, I remember a lot of very poor reviews on the food itself.

    Now that area is, I believe, a Hawaiian jewelry store – Not sure if it was renovated or what, because I doubt a jewelry store alone could fill up that entire huge space.

    What else, what else? Oh! I remember when the additional two-level wing (where Nordstrom’s is now) was built in the mid-90’s. While they were building it, there was a temporary interior hallway that you could walk down and it was pitch-black except for these crazy neon laser lights that would light up as you walked down it – Being a kid at the time, I thought that was too cool and was almost disappointed when the temporary hall came down to reveal the impressive addition :).

    For as long as I can remember, Woodfield has been a thriving, busy mall even as stores have come and gone. There used to be a Merry-Go-Round near where Express is now, a Jimmy’Z where Ragstock is now, THREE bookstores (B. Dalton, Crown Books and a Cooperstone or Copperstone Bookstore with a crazy dark green exterior and big gold lettering) – Sad to think of now since you’ll be hard-pressed to find a bookstore outside of Barnes & Noble anywhere inside or around a mall – There was also a Cacique, 5-7-9, Petit Sophisticate, Juxtapose, Tape World, Sam Goody’s, Love Sac (not as gross as it sounds – Short-lived but sold beanbag chairs I believe) and many other stores that ring a nostalgic bell with myself and my friends.

    Former restaurants have included Hot Sam’s, John’s Garage, Todai Seafood Buffet (which has recently closed), Ruby Tuesday’s (which I was sad to see also recently closed!), Vie De France and I’m sure there were many others but I can’t think of them. I believe there was an ice cream parlor at one point there too, but I don’t remember it myself.

    There was also a Lucky’s Diner – Not sure if there are any others still in existence, but it was the coolest place – Over-the-top retro 1950’s diner with glittery red vinyl seats, chrome throughout, photos of old movie stars and singers plastering the walls and loud doo-wop music. If anyone else remembers this place, let me know!! I think it closed in the early or mid-90’s but it was a childhood favorite and I still miss it to this day! It’d be great if anyone else remembered this place too.

    The nice thing about Woodfield is that, because of the diverse population and steady traffic, it is often used for “prototype” stores. There have been many experimental stores, usually owned by more popular chains, opened and sometimes closed here so the corporate bigwigs could get a feel for the market and how well or poorly the brand could do if launched on a larger scale.

    I was so sad when the big fountain and “underground” fish tanks were built over – There was a very short, dark brick hallway that crossed beneath the fountains in the center of the mall and had three or four fish tanks filled with exotic fish that kept me entertained for hours as a child. It’s so nice to see that the memories of these malls, even ones that have since closed, are being preserved in a corner of the internet.

    If I think of anything else or come across any old photos, I will be sure to get in touch.


    Bob Reply:

    I’ve been around a lot longer….at 63 I now walk around Woodfield for exercise before the stores open.
    But I remember the 70s, when the mall was brand new. As a young man, I occasionally sat on the cushioned bench built into the gray bricks and watched the cute young girls walk by. I wonder if some of the old gals who trudge around the mall with me in the morning are the same cute girls from back then!
    John’s Garage had a picture window along the back wall so you could watch the skaters from your table. I remember a restaurant called Olga’s Kitchen that served a primitive version of gyros. It was located where the Tuxedo joint is now…near the former location of Lucky’s Diner. Yes, that was a good place. I also remember Beer and Brat and Magic Pan, both in the first floor wing near Sears.
    I’m surprised you remember the water feature….it seems to me that it was taken out before you were born (I have a daughter a few years older than you.) Do you remember the little slide that ran along the short stairway by A&W? After they took it out, my daughter used to try to slide down the bricks…unsuccessfully.
    In the 70s, there were a few truly independent stores…tea shops and smaller home decor stores. But some original elements are still in place…the modern artwork, like that huge metal construction in front of Sears and that weird yellow thing at the bottom of the escalator outside Penney’s. These days, security measures are becoming more obvious. Two years ago, all the lockers were permanently removed, and recently the new owners have posted a “code of conduct” plaque at each entrance. These are the times we live in. I never expected Woodfield to be an important part of my life well into my retirement years, but that’s fine. Taking a ride to Woodfield was kind of exciting back in the days when I got lost driving there from Chicago, even with a map, and it’s still something to look forward to in the morning, even though it’s only 10 minutes from home now.


  44. Shopping Center Business

    Yorktown Mall Changes Hands for $196 Million

    Chicago — Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., together with its affiliates KKR, in partnership with YTC Retail, has purchased the Yorktown Center Mall for $196 million from a consortium of individuals, including Bob Long, son in law of Ed Pehrson, the developer who built the mall in 1968.

    The 1.5 million-square-foot mall is in Lombard, about 20 miles from Chicago. The super-regional mall collects $280 million in annual revenue. Its retailers include The Capital Grille restaurant, AMC Theatres, Cap, American Eagle Outfitters, and department stores JC Penney, Carson Pirie Scott and Von Maur. YTC Pacific, a partnership between Pacific Retail Capital Partners, Collarmele Partners and Peter Fair will manage the day-to-day operations of Yorktown. The group is also a co-investor. Physical upgrades are planned, including lighting, signage, food court and entrance improvements. Yorktown has been under private ownership since it opened.


    SEAN Reply:

    Continuing the suburban Chicago theme… Arrow Buys 700,000-Square-Foot Project In Illinois
    The Streets of Woodfield in Schaumburg is anchored by Whole Foods, Crate & Barrel and others.SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — KF Schaumburg LLC has sold The Streets of Woodfield, a 700,000-square-foot retail project in Schaumburg.

    Arrow Retail purchased the property, which is 98 percent leased and anchored by Whole Foods, Crate & Barrel, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Carson Pirie Scott. The shopping center also includes a 20-screen AMC Theatres and the U.S. flagship store for Legoland Discovery Center.

    The property is adjacent to Woodfield Mall, a 2.2 million-square-foot super regional mall. Daniel Kaufman, Matthew Lawton, Jim Batjer and Barry Brown of HFF represented the seller in the deal. Trey Morshbach and Tim Joyce, also of HFF, arranged a $100 million, 4-year acquisition loan for the property through CIBC World Markets.


    SEAN Reply:

    Cyprus equities now owns Streets of Woodfield.



  45. Sale of GGP Warrants Headlines Spurt of Retail REIT Activity to Ring in New Year
    Jan 3, 2013 10:04 AM, Staff Reports

    The new year is less than 72 hours old and already Simon Property Group, General Growth Properties, Federal Realty Investment Trust and DDR all announced major transactions ranging from asset purchases to a joint venture to the acquisition of warrants.

    In the most significant transaction, Brookfield Asset Management Inc. acquired General Growth Properties Inc. warrants from affiliates of Pershing Square Capital Management L.P. for $271.9 million. The warrants represent the right to acquire 18,432,855 shares of GGP common stock, par value $0.01 per share. Brookfield, in turn, has offered General Growth’s board of directors the ability to acquire, in the next 30 days, the same warrants for the same purchase price paid by Brookfield.

    In connection with these transactions, Pershing Square delivered certain undertakings to Brookfield relating to GGP. Pershing Square agreed that, for a period of four years it will refrain from undertaking any of the types of transactions with respect to GGP that are subject to disclosure under paragraphs (a)-(j) of item 4 of Schedule 13D. Pershing Square has further acknowledged the 9.9 percent ownership limitation in GGP’s certificate of incorporation and agreed not to acquire shares of GGP, directly or indirectly, that would cause its ownership to exceed that limit.

    Pershing Square intends to commence filing further reports regarding its ownership of GGP shares as a passive shareholder.

    What that all means is that Pershing Square, a hedge fund run by William Ackman, will drop its recent campaign calling for General Growth to put itself up for sale. Last August Ackman said that Simon Property Group had shown interest in acquiring General Growth and he lobbied for the two firms to begin talks. But no deal materialized.

    In addition to the development with Pershing Square, Brookfield agreed that for a period of four years it and its affiliates would limit their right to vote shares in excess of 38.2 percent of the then-outstanding common stock. Brookfield and its affiliates will participate in future repurchases of common stock by GGP so as not to exceed its 45 percent ownership cap. And Brookfield and its affiliates will not participate in any GGP dividend reinvestment plan unless first requested by GGP’s board of directors.

    Simon Forms JV on Two Malls

    Meanwhile, the nation’s largest regional mall owner Simon Property Group formed a joint venture with Institutional Mall Investors and the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) formed a joint venture to own and operate the Shops at Mission Viejo in the Los Angeles suburb of Mission Viejo, Calif., and Woodfield Mall in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Ill. Simon and IMI will each own 50 percent of Woodfield. Simon will own 51% of Mission Viejo and IMI will own the remaining 49 percent. Simon is providing management and leasing services to the joint venture.

    Institutional Mall Investors is a co-investment venture owned by an affiliate of Miller Capital Advisory Inc. and CalPERS, the nation’s largest public pension fund.

    Prior to formation of the joint venture, Simon owned 100 percent of the Shops of Mission Viejo and IMI owned 100 percent of Woodfield Mall. The Shops at Mission Viejo is a 1.2 million-sq.-ft. center anchored by Nordstrom and Macy’s. Woodfield Mall is a 2.2-million-sq.-ft. center anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney and Sears.

    The Shops at Mission Viejo is currently unencumbered, however, the joint venture expects to place a mortgage on the property in the next two weeks. Woodfield Mall is encumbered by a $425 million mortgage loan which matures in March of 2024 and bears interest at 4.5 percent.

    “As a result of this transaction, we have added the iconic Woodfield Mall to our portfolio,” Simon Chairman and CEO David Simon said in a statement. “This premier mall is located in one of the country’s largest markets and we welcome the opportunity to enhance its productivity and value through our leasing and management efforts.”

    “We are pleased to expand our strategic relationship with Simon – other malls owned jointly include The Galleria in Houston, The Fashion Centre at Pentagon City in Arlington, Va., and The Westchester in White Plains, N.Y.,” Miller Capital President & CEO Andrew Miller said in a statement. “The transaction also increases our presence in the important California market with the addition of The Shops at Mission Viejo to our collection of high quality retail properties.”

    DDR Acquires Two Centers for $151M; Sells $255M in Non-Core Assets

    Shopping center REIT DDR Corp. announced that during the fourth quarter it acquired two power centers for $151 million and disposed of $255 million of non-prime operating assets and $61 million of non-income producing assets during the fourth quarter. For the full year, DDR closed $2.1 billion in acquisitions and disposed of $347 million in non-prime operating assets and $107 million of non-income producing assets.

    In its most recent acquisitions, DDR bought the 852,000-sq.-ft. Carolina Pavilion in Charlotte, N.C., for $106 million from Blackstone Real Estate Partners VII. The asset is 94 percent leased and features tenants such as Target, Kohl’s, Nordstrom Rack, Ross Dress for Less, buybuy BABY, Bed Bath & Beyond, Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores and AMC Theatres. It also purchased the 434,000-sq.-ft. Poyner Place in Raleigh, N.C., for $45 million.

    Federal Realty Acquires East Bay Bridge Shopping Center

    Lastly, Federal Realty Investment Trust acquired the 438,000-sq.-ft. East Bay Bridge shopping center, which spans two municipalities, Emeryville and Oakland, Calif. The trust paid a cash consideration of $53.7 million and assumed an existing $62.9 million mortgage loan secured by the property.

    East Bay Bridge is anchored by a 60,000-sq.-ft. Pak ‘N Save by Safeway supermarket, a 140,000-sq.-ft. Target and a 100,000-sq.-ft. Home Depot, with 14 additional retailers including Sports Authority, Michael’s, Pacific Sales Kitchen and Bath and Office Max.

    The property was constructed in 1994, and sits within a larger mixed use site of 50 acres with additional retail, a hotel, and an apartment complex

    “East Bay Bridge shopping center is well located in a very supply constrained trade area in the densely populated East Bay market with top tier, top performing national tenants that draw from a wide trade area,” Jeff Berkes, Federal Realty president – west coast, said in a statement. “We were attracted to the investment because of the strength of its location, the strength of the tenancy, and the fact that most of the leases were negotiated nearly 20 years ago and, as a result, are substantially below today’s market rents.”


  46. been looking everywhere for photos of the old One Schaumburg Place. anyone know where to find some?


  47. There are still Olga’s Kitchen restaurants in Michigan Malls. I think the restaurant is headquartered somewhere around Detroit.

    PS I sure remember the fish tanks. We moved to Schaumburg in 79 when I was a toddler.


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