Lying ten miles (16 km) south of downtown Dayton, the mall has attracted millions of visitors since its grand opening in 1970. It has become the hub of the region. The mall is one mile (1.6 km) from Interstate 75 and two miles (3 km) from Interstate 675.
The one million-plus square foot, bi-level shopping center held the distinction of being the largest in southwestern Ohio for many years. Several more stores were added when Dayton Mall underwent two major renovations of its existing structure in 1984 and 1995-1996. In the first renovation, the interior of the East and West Concourses was remodeled, as was the two-level Main Entrance. The Central Atrium area was also improved with a Food Court installed on its Mezzanine.
Later, in the mid-1990s, a fourth anchor store was added, in front of what had been the Main Entrance. It was occupied by J.C. Penney, which moved from its former location at the west end of the mall. The original Penney's became a Cincinnati-based McAlpin's in 1996 and a Dayton-based Elder-Beerman in 1998. After these renovations were completed, the Dayton Mall had nearly 150 retailers under one roof.
Changes in the retail industry over the past 20 years left an impression at the shopping center. Rike's, owned by Federated Department Stores, was placed under the Shillito-Rike's nameplate in 1982. The store changed nameplates again in 1986 to Lazarus. The store fully adopted the Macy's name in 2005.
The Greene, a retail and entertainment complex, opened in Beavercreek, Ohio in August 2006, forcing the Dayton Mall and The Mall at Fairfield Commons to extend the properties to attract more visitors. A , open-air, "lifestyle component" was added in the Dayton Mall's north parking lot, along Ohio 725. Known as The Village At Dayton Mall, it added twenty-five tenants to store directory and was dedicated in early 2007. With the completion of this addition, Dayton mall encompassed 1,300,306 leasable square feet.
In 2006 a tornado was spotted on Dayton Mall property causing minimal damage on and around the property.