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Don Boyd | all galleries >> Memories of Old Hialeah, Old Miami and Old South Florida Photo Galleries - largest non-Facebook collection on the internet >> South Florida SHOPPING CENTERS, STORES, and MALLS Historical Photos Gallery - All Years - click on image to view > 1960 - Artist's rendition of the proposed Wometco 163rd Street Theatres, 1245 NE 163 Street, Miami
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1960 - Artists rendition of the proposed Wometco 163rd Street Theatres, 1245 NE 163 Street, Miami

1960 - Artist's rendition of the proposed Wometco 163rd Street Theatres, 1245 NE 163 Street, Miami

N. E. 163rd Street and 12th Avenue, Miami

The view is looking northwest at the west end of the 163rd Street Shopping Center. The Wometco Theatres were an add-on to the original shopping center which was completed in the mid to late 50's. The large Richards Department store is visible in the mid-right foreground along with the small J. C. Penney store facing 163rd Street on the right side. I believe there's a Firestone dealer to the right (east) of the theatres. The shopping center was surrounded by the City of North Miami Beach but it remained in unincorporated Dade County with the county providing police protection.

The 163rd Street Shopping Center was open-air for many years and they installed the high watertight fabric roof over all the walkways and air-conditioning in 1979. It was then renamed "The Mall at 163rd Street." There was a large Jordan Marsh department store on the east end, a large Burdines department store in the middle and the Richards department store on the west end. For many years there was a kids' amusement park in the middle between Burdines and the front parking lot where kids had a variety of rides to choose from including a miniature train. There was originally a Food Fair supermarket at the northeast corner of the shopping center and it may have turned into another supermarket chain but the location turned into a Service Merchandise for years.

The newer fancier Aventura Mall that opened in 1983 several miles to the northeast drew most of the shoppers away from 163rd Street which was suffering from a changing neighborhood. Richards had died years before and their area turned into a giant two or three level food court with a large open center around the escalators for a while. There were numerous small stores interspersed with the food vendors and it was attractive but ultimately failed. Jordan Marsh became part of Allied Stores and the Jordan Marsh Florida stores were shut down in 1991 with some of the stores merged into Maas Brothers which later became Burdines. At 163rd Street the Jordan Marsh was sold to Mervyns in 1991 and has since been demolished. Burdines resisted the move to Aventura for years but finally gave up and built a new store at Aventura years after the mall opened.

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Tony 16-Oct-2017 16:28
I remember this place in the early 80s.It was so nice
Mark 01-Mar-2015 04:41
I commented on the old Sears @ Hollywood Mall last time, but 163rd was special too. Earliest memories are the kiddie amusements w/ mini train, never actually used it as were hooked up to Mom shopping in Richards & Burdines & her favorite "ladies" stores. When my friends & I were around 11-13 years old we thought we were grown up andused to ride our bikes from Hallandale(!) to come explore here. Ojus was so many woods at the time, a few houses. A great Zayres in strip mall just east w/ a funky record store on the corner of 163 St again just east of the main mall. Kind of missed the open-air thing when they enclosed it in early 80's, but the air conditioning was relief.
Bri 17-Feb-2014 19:36
wowwww, now the mall today, is soo different especially thanks to the neighborhood, im a black girl and seeing how a lot of the black population that is here is violent, rude and bad makes me sooo sad. My dream is to own the 163 st mall and turn it back into the big beautiful mall it used to be. I pray and hope& dream that i can accomplish that!!
harold 29-Nov-2011 22:53
i lived in carol city in the late fifties and through most of the sixties in the early days carol city north dade was the boonies undeveloped and like some body siad in a post here the only shopping was the inner city i use to come here with my mother in the late fifties i loved this place i would go with her she would take me to eat at m&m cafiteria i remember the black waiters would bring your food to your table i remember i was in richards dept. store,remember the song (one horned one eye flying purple people eater) they were playing that song had a large stuffed replica of that creature that was strange!
Guest 26-Jul-2011 17:13
I loved the 163rd Street mall. One of the best things about it was the comic book store across the street. I think it was called Starship Enterprises.
Debbie (Williams) Katz 08-Jun-2011 00:31
I grew up in Ives Estates, from about 1958 until 1971, and went to 163rd Street all the time. It was the first place I went alone, my mom dropping me off early on Sat mornings to shop, go to the movies, eat lunch. Remember 3 Sisters? I then worked in the beauty salon when Jordan Marsh first opened there. I also worked in a salon in the "arcade", which was the only covered part at that time. We also could walk up and down the street to all the other shops, including Zayres. Great memories!
Don Boyd14-Jul-2010 14:42
Welcome to the site, John, and the other posters too. Well said John, thank you for posting your memories and comments.

John Barty 14-Jul-2010 09:26
In 1957 we moved from Pa. to North Miami Bch. NE.162nd St. & NE. 6th. Ave. They called this area plesant village about a 5 min walk to the shopping center. In 1958 I attended Oak Grove Elem. which consisted of wooden portable buildings. I remember as a kid watching them build the 163St. shopping center. This area devoloped rapidly after the shopping center was built. I can remember Woolworths having a lunch counter. They also had white and colored restrooms and water fountains. Something that I wasn't used to seeing back in old Pa. at that time. After the theater was built I can remember going to the movies there on saturday's for a quarter . North Miami Bch. grew even more during the 70's. I left Miami in 1971 and returned to Pa. When returning for a visit to Miami in 2007 I found it hard to comprehend how this area had depreciated. I took a trip thru the old neighborhood only to find it extremely run down and houses with bars on their windows. This was a great place to grow up but I don't think that I would want to live there now. I had some really great times there but time marches on and all good things come to an end. All my best to those of you who grew up here in the hay days of this great area.
Arlene S. 27-Jun-2009 12:20
All we needed was 163rd St shopping center for birthday parties for the little kids. The rides ice cream and cake was the highlight of the parties, with Moms and kids in the little birthday house they had there. I still miss that mall and the Hollywood Fashion Center.
Wes 01-Jun-2009 14:30
Lived a mile west of here, remember 163rd street shopping center, the lobster tank in the Food Fair, the White Castle on 12th Ave & 163rd with those small-square hamburgers, they were good, the arcade in the shopping center, being an aviation enthusiast I used to get airline timetables from the travel agency there, still have them, they're collectors items now! Like to see a picture of the Jefferson Store down the street with store letters that lit up one by one & flashed & swirled at night.It would probably be against some city code to have a sign like that today. Also remember the Stevens at 6th & 167th, later became Grand Way/ Grand Union and the fruit stand across the street before Krispey Kreme.
Celia Meyerholz 25-Feb-2009 17:59
My first job was in 1966 at Wometco's Dadeland Twin Theater - which I was told was the first of it's kind - two theaters under one roof! My husband was the Asst. Mgr. and since he had experience opening a "twin" theater, he was sent to help with the second "twin" theater, the Byron & Carlyle.
Don Boyd20-Dec-2008 17:17
Fred, thank you much for the correct years - I corrected the above text to reflect the exact years. I appreciate it for historical accuracy.

Fred 20-Dec-2008 13:53
This shopping center was enclosed in 1979, Aventura Mall opened up in 1983 and Lohemann's Plaza in Aventura opened up in 1980.
Randy 12-Oct-2008 06:50
I lived in Ives Estates as a previous poster did. When the family went to the shopping center we called it "going to 163d Street". I remember the movie theater had summer matinees for 15 cents a ticket. Can you imagine a couple of thousand kids in that theater at one time! There were strip stores across the street from the center. Remember Army - Navy Stores? My brother worked at Richards. That was a wonderful store. I also remember that there was a tank farm not too far away from the shopping center, a little to the south and east near Biscayne Dodge. I always thought it strange to drive among those huge tanks of gasoline. My family left Dade for Hollywood when the crime and changing neighborhoods chased us away. There will always be a fondness for this place and if I could, I would eat lunch at Woolworth's one more time and ride the kiddie train.
Andy Moore 03-Aug-2008 03:57
Man, these pics and comments really bring back the memories! I lived in the Scott Lake area, well we lived on the lake at NW 16th Ave.. I spent many a day at the 163rd St. Shopping Ctr. The Sat. matinees (I even remember a bunch of the movies I saw), the kiddie amusement park, White Castle, Walgreens, Richards, Burdines, Pennys,...there was hobby shop but I can't remember the name, and a record store in the mini-mall. My family would go out to eat at Wolfie's quite a bit (I remember the cheese blintzes). Corky's down the street, Jefferson's, thumbing home from Haulover, or Greynolds Park on Sundays after being at the "love-ins". Used to take the 32 or 33 bus from NW 17th Ave. & 175th St. out to the Ctr. or Haulover. Wonderful memories!
Susan 26-Jun-2008 02:17
During the late eighties I attended a local travel school for the summer and the 163rd Street Mall was the greatest thing , the movie theater was huge and my friends and I would spend Friday nights after class shopping and having dinner at the mall. Without a car at the time the walk to and from our apartment was long but very much worth the effort. Burdines was our favorite store.
Don Boyd16-Apr-2008 13:24
Wally, thanks for posting those memories of the Walgreens on the corner of the shopping center at the center square in front of Burdines and next to the kiddie amusement park. I had forgotten all about it and you rekindled those memories. 163rd Street was THE place to be for shopping way back when.

Wally 16-Apr-2008 01:42
In the late 1960's the Walgreen's had a lunch counter with additional booth-style seating that ran along the west, north and east walls of the small (maybe 30'x30') eatery. The lunch counter itself ran along the south interior wall complete with swivel chairs and classic soda fountain hardware. The west and north walls were 18" "kneewalls" with giant 8ft plateglass windows through which booth diners could watch passing shoppers and enjoy the best burgers and chocolate Cokes in all of Dade county! The COLDEST air-conditioning on the planet and a superb view of the "Kiddieland" mini amusement park but only if you were fortunate enough to get a booth on that west plateglass wall! Many fond memories of Mom, Aunt "Keck" and cousins Jack, Chuck and Becky squeezing into one booth with me and my age 7 physique! Oh my! Rick Shaw, Ralph Renick, Arnie Warren, weatherman Charlie Baxter, Zayre's, Wolfie's, Royal Castle, Lum's, Ranch House, Jonny Quest, my red Schwinn Sting-Ray, Ludwig Von Drake, Curt Gowdy and most-of-all My Dad! How dearly I treasure them and miss them so! Tell your folks how much you LOVE them every day! You'll never-ever regret it! Thanx to you all for these wonderful memories!
Richard 07-Mar-2008 15:21
My brother and I had a few birthday parties in the kiddie park as well. I remember the helicopter ride being my favorite. We got all our Cub Scout paraphernalia at the Burdines there. We moved away in 1970.
EJH 07-Feb-2008 20:08
I grew up in Ives Estates and this was the mall we shopped at. My friend, little Sharon, used to have her birthday parties there at the Kiddie Park every year. My parents and I would eat at the M&M Cafeteria. The theater is where I saw Planet of The Apes and saw a man's naked butt for the first time!
Guest 25-Nov-2007 04:00
In the mid 80's a movie "Making Mr. Right" starring John Malkovich filmed some scenes at the Mall. They used the West side parking garage, the elevator and ecalators in the old Richards (now Marshalls) building and in the Barons Mens Store.
TonyR 02-Nov-2007 22:41
Truly, this brings back memories. I used to work in that Burdines' store from 1969-'70 or so, and I was in my late teens. I was a porter first, and then a stock boy.
I used to have lunch in the Walgreens now and then and enjoyed it. I remember that old kids park and train.
When me and my sisters were very little, my parents used to take me there when they went shopping. I remember my dad used to walk me and my sisters around that place so that my Mom could grocery shop in Food Fair. While doing that we went into the arcade room next to the old Walgreens, and I remember there was a wall sized mural with a large painting of a Chinese dragon. I was scared to death of the thing.
miamicrg11-Oct-2007 20:06
In the mid 60's my family would drive from Hollywood to go eat at the M & M Cafeteria--where they had African American waiters bring your food trays to your table--their service was so classy. My grandmother would dress up to the nines--with white gloves--etc and my grandfather would have on a 3 piece suit--hat & cane to go there--much to the displeasure of my dad. My grandparents on my dads side were so old fashioned prim & proper. He had worked for The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in Akron Ohio for 50 years--retired to Plantation in '66. They ate out every night--always dressed to the nines. I once came over for a visit--Arby's had just opened up in the middle to late 60's--I was going to take out some for everyone--told my grandmother that all we needed were paper plates--nothing fancy--and when I came back with Arby's take out--she had her china--cloth table linens--candles--etc on the table! My brother & I could not believe it! Some guy had a cool record store there and in Ft Lauderdale--and his name escapes me....
Marc F. 05-Sep-2007 16:52
I remember Dukes restaurant. They had the best egg creams and french fries!
My mother worker at the Gordon's Jewerlry store there.
karen Hansen 30-Jul-2007 18:16
I grew up on 157th street...and the 163rd street mall was a great place. I went to lots of afternoon matinees at the movie theater and got burgers at White Castle. I too rode the train, ate cotton candy, etc at the kiddie park. They also had these wheels (like potter's wheels) with paper attached that you dripped paint on to create abstract 'art'. In the late 60's there was a head shop across from the shopping center called 'The Back Door' with all kinds of cool clothes, parapanalia, and ZAP comix. Also, who can forget 'Wolfie's' deli type restaurant across the street from the east end! You could catch the H bus at 163rd and 12th Ave to go to the beach.
Jeff 14-Jul-2007 03:29
A very thorough overview of the mall...

I have a few additional things to note...

It was built by the Friedlander family that owned Food Fair, and opened in 1955. They moved to that patch of unincorporated Dade land after North Miami rejected plans for the shopping center to be built on NE 125th Street. (Another shopping center - to be called the Griffing Plaza - was also rejected, but the site became the Colonial Shopping Plaza on 125th and West Dixie Hwy. in the 1960's)...

The rides at the shopping center were originally run by Fun Spots of Florida. Some of the more memorable tenants were Walgreens, M&M Cafeteria, Chase Federal Savings, Drug Fair, Baron's Mens Fashions, The Hub, Harmony Music, The Photo Center, Woolworth's...

A White Castle operated for a short while across from the West side of the shopping center, and Zayre had a store across from the East Side...

Remember the old jingle? "163rs Street the ginat shopping center - Giant choice and value - from the time you enter - 163rd Street Shopping Center!"
B 02-Jul-2007 21:36
I grew up very close to this mall. I remember riding the train and the helicopter rides when I was small.
Mar 25-Jun-2007 02:20
They had a little train for kids to ride when it was the open-air mall. My uncle was the "engineer" for a time!