Forest Fair Mall opened in 1989 with upscale anchors that included Bonwit Teller, B. Altman, Parisian, and Sakowitz. It also included Bigg’s and Elder-Beerman as anchor stores. It consisted of 1.5 million square feet; the third largest mall in the US at the time. By the mid 1990s, all of the high-end stores left the mall (B. Altman and Sakowitz ended up going out of business altogether).
By the time 2008 rolled around, all of the original anchors had closed. Through the years, the mall had a handful of owners and was renamed at least 3 times over the years. It was known as Forest Fair Mall until 2004 when the Mills Corporation reopened it as Cincinnati Mills Mall after a $70 million renovation project which booted all of the inline stores and kept the theaters and what anchors had remained.
Simon Malls acquired the Mills malls in 2007; in 2009 the mall was sold again and was renamed Cincinnati Mall, as the mills name didn’t transfer with the sale. The mall’s fourth name, Forest Fair Village, was announced in 2013, but that name appears nowhere on the building. It could be argued that this mall should never have been built, as two other well-established malls (Northgate and Tri-County) are within 15 minutes of this mall and a third (Kenwood Towne Center) isn’t too far away.
Added to that is the fact that the blue-collar communities of Forest Park and Fairfield, where the mall is situated, were not able to support the high-end retail this mall originally featured. Finally, the exit where this mall is located did not develop the supporting retail as the aforementioned areas did. The shops show various degrees of closure – some have their gates pulled down, some have the gates pulled with plastic or tarp covering them and the store windows, and some have even had their entrances drywalled off.
In 2022 there were plans to demolish the mall and also negotations for redevelopment plans, with one potential plan being to convert the property to light industrial use. Arcade Legacy, one of the last remaining tenants, will be moving out of the mall (and relocating to Sharonville, Ohio) in September 2022. Pictures were made by Ryan in 2016. Ryan is an urban explorer and he made stunning photos from the inside of Forest Fair Village Maill.