NorthTowne Mall Cinemas 5
343 North Towne Square,
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NorthTowne Square Mall was the Toledo area’s fifth enclosed shopping mall launching in 1980 and was the furthest north in the city just a half-mile from the Michigan border. The placement seemed curious except that there was hope that the mall would attract some of the nearly 24,000 potential consumers from nearby Monroe, Michigan less than 20 miles away.
AMC Theatres decided to open its second Toledo multiplex theatre there after having success in the Southwyck Mall. It launched its AMC NorthTowne Square Cinemas 5 on November 21, 1980 with the films, “Song of the South", “Bear Island", “Blue Lagoon!, “Borderline", and “Apple". The fates and fortunes of the NorthTowne Mall and the cinema were linked. The mall got off to a promising start and the theater began to pressure aging cinemas on Toledo’s north side including the North-Point Cinema 75, the Greenwood Cinés in Greenwood Mall, and the Bedford Cinema which all closed during 1986 and 1987.
But bad news occurred as Toledo’s economy down-trended as the auto industry suffered. In Monroe, Michigan, a new shopping mall, the Frenchtown Square Mall opened within twenty miles providing competition including a new movie theater. AMC downgraded the NorthTowne to sub-run, discount status. By 1996, AMC had bailed on the Toledo market altogether. National Amusement took on the NorthTowne lease rebranding it under its Super Cinemas discount moniker and calling it the NorthTowne Mall 5 Cinemas. It also took on the exterior Southwyck Mall three-screen theatre under its Showcase Cinema’s nameplate calling it the Southwyck Art Cinema. The interior Southwyck multiplex was closed.
Even with National Amusements having a near-monopoly in Toledo film exhibition, the NorthTowne cinema was doomed as three of four anchors closed in NorthTowne Square leaving just the financially-strapped Montgomery Ward’s as the last anchor. The mall had reached greyfield status, a term synonymous with a “dead mall". National Amusements noting the lack of foot traffic left the property fulfilling a 20-year lease agreement. The discount Super Cinema closed on November 12, 2000 with the films, “Men", “The Comebacks", “Scary Movie", “The Original Kings of Comedy", “The Perfect Storm", and “Hollow Man". Rumors of a new-build cinema never occurred and the Showcase Cinema nameplate began a retreat in the Toledo film marketplace.
As for hopes to find a new operator of the NorthTowne cinema, Ward’s declared bankruptcy leaving the mall with about 20 interior stores in early-2002. The mall was renamed Lakeside Centre in 2003, a concept that failed quickly as the mall was mercifully shuttered in 2005 as its owners considered new uses for the property. Things went from bad to horrific as black mold, flooding from water pipes and falling hunks of ceiling doomed the complex. The property was condemned by the city and the AMC/Super Cinema property was demolished in January of 2013 along with the rest of the complex.
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