Inside the FYE (For Your Entertainment) store at Paddock Mall.

The Paddock Mall is the only enclosed shopping mall in Marion County. Located on an 82-acre site on State Road 200, just east of Interstate 75, the shopping center was developed by the Edward J. DeBartolo Corporation. Ground was broken in 1978 and the 650,000-square-foot mall opened in August 1980 at the cost of $30 million.

Originally anchored by Maas Brothers, Belk-Lindsey, and JCPenney, the mall’s interior was designed to feature waterfalls, lush landscaping, and sculptures, enhanced by wood detailing, quarry tile and atrium skylights. Former Tampa mayor Dick Greco, then employed by DeBartolo, was the master of ceremonies at the mall’s grand opening.

At the height of the regional mall craze, a $16 million, 168,000-square-foot wing anchored by Sears was added in 1991. In addition, in 1991, the Tampa-based Maas Brothers department store chain was absorbed into Burdines. The Winner’s Circle, a 380-seat food court, was added to the mall’s south entrance in 1997. Then adjacent to a Morrison’s Cafeteria, original food court vendors included Villa Pizza, Kelly’s Cajun Grill and Yeung’s Lotus Express.

In 2005, the mall’s Burdines department store became Macy’s when that chain was absorbed. In 2014, the Paddock Mall was acquired along with Boynton Beach Mall, Seminole Towne Center, and Melbourne Square Mall by Columbus, OH-based Washington Prime Group.

A year later, it was announced that Sears would close its location at the mall, along with another 142 stores nationwide. While many malls across the state have struggled to survive after the closure of anchor stores, the Paddock Mall has continued to prosper. Within a 30-mile radius, it is the only enclosed mall and it attracts 3.4 million annual visitors from surrounding counties.

In October 2022, plans for the redevelopment of the former Sears store were announced. That site, acquired for $3.2 million by BSD Capital, will be redeveloped into a mixed-use project, that could possibly include big-box retailers, a grocery store and entertainment operators.

Now anchored by Belk, Macy’s, JCPenney and more than 90 specialty retail stores, the Paddock Mall is located at 3100 SW College Road in Ocala, Florida.

Paddock Mall photo tour

Belk was originally known as Belk-Lindsey when it opened in 1980 at Paddock Mall. Belk-Lindsey was a chain of 35 stores in Florida and Puerto Rico, formed as a partnership with Henry Belk’s North Carolina-based chain. Following the death of Colin Lindsey in 1993, the Belk family bought out all of its partners and dropped the surnames.

Paddock Mall’s former Sears, Roebuck and Company department store is slated for redevelopment.

Founded in 1904, Lane Bryant is the largest plus-size retailer in the country.