JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – While several former enclosed malls throughout Jacksonville have found new adaptive uses, the revitalization of Normandy Mall may be one of the most unique.
The most interesting part of this redevelopment project was a mega church's decision to reopen the enclosed mall to serve as a catalyst for revitalization in the surrounding neighborhood, 13 years after it closed for good. While nonprofit entities being linked with for-profit concepts are common, it's rare to witness a project of this scale and scope being successful.
In May 1963, during a luncheon at Downtown Jacksonville's Robert Meyer Hotel, Montgomery Ward announced that it would open its second department store in the city, making Jacksonville the only municipality in Florida with two of the chain's stores. The new $2.6 million department store would be 5.5 miles west of downtown in Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation's proposed Normandy Mall.
The mall was the second enclosed mall to be developed by DeBartolo. Located near the intersection of Normandy Boulevard and Cassat Avenue, this shopping center would replace the former 37-acre Normandy Drive-In Theatre on the city's Westside.
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