Q. When does the mall open?

A. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is set for 9:30 a.m. today, with stores opening at 10 a.m.

Q. Why is it called the Mall at Fairfield Commons?

A. The new mall might've been christened the Wright Place Mall or any of several other suggested monikers. Officials of the Glimcher Co., the mall's Columbus-based developer, decided on "Fairfield" to remind people to take the North Fairfield Road exit off Interstate 675 to get there (the mall is at North Fairfield and New Germany-Trebein roads) and "Commons" because it has a modern ring. Future developments at the site may incorporate the name - "The Such-and-Such Hotel at Fairfield Commons," for example.

Q. Can the area really support another mall?

A. Glimcher says yes. The company's feasibility studies show that while the range of retail space per capita in most major U.S. markets is 3.6 to 6 square feet, the Dayton market has just 2.2 square feet. "That's what's so exciting about the Dayton market - it's one of the few markets that are under-retailed," said Sally Dunker, Glimcher's vice president for marketing. "Dayton definitely is the right market at the right time for us as developers."

Q. What's different about this mall?

A. Because the Dayton Mall and Salem Mall don't have a lot of turnover of stores, Dunker said, it has been difficult for some retailers to break into the Dayton market with a mall store. About 45 percent of the Fairfield Commons retailers are new to the area.

Q. Are all of the stores open?

A. No. About 100 stores will be open today. Another 10 to 15 will open before Christmas. By the time the Lazarus store opens in fall 1994, Glimcher expects to have almost complete occupancy - about 150 stores.

Q. How many people will show up for today's grand opening?

A. That's anybody's guess. Mall employees are taking a pool on how many folks will pass through the electronic foot-traffic counters at the entrances. Dunker said the range could be 20,000 to 50,000.

Q. Will I have to dodge orange barrels to get there?

A. No. The Ohio Department of Transportation announced Tuesday it has opened all northbound and southbound lanes of I-675, finishing road work just in time for the mall opening. A $10.3 million road project began in June. Work will resume in March and continue through July 1994.

Q. How long have they been working on this?

A. The Mall at Fairfield Commons has been in the planning for eight years. Some neighbors vigorously opposed the project, and lost a court battle to scuttle it. Construction of the $100 million complex, which has 1.2 million square feet of shopping space under roof, began in spring 1992.

Q. What does it look like?

A. Glimcher officials say the new mall has three museum-quality bronze sculptures at the entrances near J.C. Penney, the Parisian and the not-yet-opened Lazarus store site. Forty-five percent of the flooring is marble, staircases have mahogany handrails with brass fixtures, and there are 30,000 square feet of neon-trimmed skylights.


*Compiled by staff writer Tom Beyerlein.