In America, retail stores have been on the decline for some time, with many of the old standbys getting squeezed out by online retailers. And one piece of the classic American landscape that’s on the way out is the shopping mall. Once the hub of most suburban communities, today, many once-thriving shopping malls have since gone belly up, turning from a bustling social meeting place to eerie reminders of the decline of brick-and-mortar retail.
Last updated: Oct. 9, 2020
1. Rolling Acres — Akron, Ohio
Rolling Acres, originally opened in 1975, once boasted a three-screen movie theater, full-service food court, 140 total stores and four major department stores, but things have been on the decline financially and otherwise for some time. The mall has changed ownership several times, had the lights shut off for nonpayment of its electricity bill in 2008, saw a man electrocuted while trying to steal copper wire in 2011 and, finally, the city of Akron started demolition of the space in October 2016.
Amazon purchased the site of the mall and started construction on a fulfillment center there in December 2019, the Akron Beacon Journal reported. The nearly 2.7 million-square-foot, four-story fulfillment center is expected to open sometime in 2020.
2. Cloverleaf Mall — Richmond, Virginia
The first phase of the Cloverleaf Mall had its grand opening in 1972 with 42 stores anchored by mega-retailers JCPenney and Sears, and a second phase opening a year later with what was, at the time, the largest JCPenney store in the state. However, the business began to erode in the 1990s when two clerks were murdered during an apparent robbery of an All for One store and the nearby Chesterfield Towne Center was renovated. Cloverleaf Mall closed its doors for good in 2008.
The former site of the mall is now a multiuse residential and commercial property called Stonebridge, which houses a Kroger, Subway, Sweet Frog, Krispy Kreme, Panda Express, Qdoba, Starbucks, Panera, Chipotle and more. There is also a 400-apartment complex on-site, as well as a recreation center.
3. North Towne Square — Toledo, Ohio
North Towne Square opened in north Toledo in 1980, anchored by a Montgomery Ward, Hudson’s and Lion stores, but the mall went into decline, was condemned and eventually demolished in 2013.
North Towne Square
As of 2017, the former site — which was called Lakeside Centre at the time it shut down in 2005 — has been rezoned for industrial use with an eye toward “outdoor vehicular storage.”
4. Dixie Square Mall — Harvey, Illinois
The Dixie Square Mall’s time as a retail center was short-lived: After opening in 1966, it closed just 13 years later.
Dixie Square Mall
The Dixie Square Mall should be familiar to plenty of cinema fans because it was featured in the famous scene where Jake and Elwood lead a police chase through a shopping mall in the 1980 classic comedy “The Blues Brothers.”
5. McFarland Mall — Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Opened by James Hinton, Sr. and Ward McFarland in February 1969, the McFarland Mall survived through the increased competition when nearby University Mall opened just eight years later. It had four anchor stores, a 12-screen movie theater, a food court and 40 other retail locations at its peak.
Struggling business led to the mall’s slow decline, until, as of September 2019, a Dollar Tree was the only remaining store that was open, according to TuscaloosaNews.com.
6. Manchester Parkade — Manchester, Connecticut
The Manchester Parkade opened in 1957 and has been at Broad Street and Middle Turnpike ever since. However, its lack of proximity to the highway has proven to be a problem over the years.
After the opening of the Buckland Hills Mall in 1990, business slowly eroded over the next decade. The site was torn down in 2012.
7. Macon Mall — Macon, Georgia
Built in 1975, the Macon Mall has been serving residents of Macon, Georgia, for over 40 years. However, while it’s still in business today, times have been tough. JCPenney closed in 2017, adding to the closures of Sears and Belk in 2012.
The mall remains open, with Burlington now its sole major department store.
8. Charlestowne Mall — St. Charles, Illinois
The Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles, Illinois, actually has two of its anchors — Von Maur and Classic Cinemas — still open for business, but the interior closed in December 2017. There are plans to redevelop the property for a combination of residential, retail and commercial use.
As of January 2020, no redevelopment plans had been finalized, but St. Charles Mayor Ray Rogina said during a “Tuesday’s Coffee Talk With the Mayor” event that he feels positive that redevelopment plans for the Charlestowne Mall would move forward, possibly within the year, the Kane County Chronicle reported.
9. Metcalf South Shopping Center — Overland Park, Kansas
The Metcalf South Shopping Center held its grand opening in 1967, but it has since fallen into disrepair.
Metcalf South Shopping Center
The mall, largely vacant since 2014, was torn down in 2017 in favor of a Lowe’s and an office building.
10. Frederick Towne Mall — Frederick, Maryland
Frederick, Maryland’s Frederick Towne Mall has been vacant since 2013, but there are plans to bring back the location, which sold for more than $6 million in early 2017, as a Warehouse Cinemas.
Frederick Towne Mall
Warehouse Cinemas, described on its website as “an eclectic mix of roughed out décor and architecture, first-run movies and interesting menu items,” is expected to open its flagship location at the former mall site later in 2020.
11. Blue Ridge Mall — Independence, Missouri
When the Blue Ridge Mall first opened in 1958 it was an open-air shopping center, but it transitioned to an enclosed space in the 1970s. However, fleeing retailers led to a long decline, and the mall was torn down to make way for Blue Ridge Crossing in 2005. Stores at the new shopping center include GNC, Lowe’s and Starbucks.
12. Nanuet Mall — Nanuet, New York
The 900,000-square-foot Nanuet Mall had some 120 stores in operation as recently as 1999, but it fell on hard times not long after that when the Palisades Center opened in nearby West Nyack and drew away business.
The mall closed in 2012 for redevelopment into an outdoor shopping center. It’s now The Shops at Nanuet, a Simon Mall.
13. ShoppingTown Mall — Dewitt, New York
The ShoppingTown Mall in Dewitt, New York, first opened in 1954 as an outdoor strip shopping center only to convert to an enclosed mall in 1975. At the time of the enclosure, 72% of the 99 tenants were retail stores, jumping to 122 tenants by 1991. However, that dipped to 64 tenants by 2016, only 37% of which were retailers.
The ShoppingTown Mall filed for bankruptcy in August 2019, Syracuse.com reported. According to the plan it filed with the bankruptcy court in January, 144 of its 191 store spots are vacant, but the owners hope to continue to operate the mall and open it up to “non-traditional tenants,” such as healthcare, education and entertainment tenants.
14. Innsbruck Mall — Asheville, North Carolina
Built in 1966, the 213,000-square-foot Innsbruck Mall still had a 100% occupancy rate on its ground floor as recently as 2015.
As of October 2018, the mall was mostly vacant, and a commercial real estate firm was marketing the mall property as a mixed-use lifestyle center that would include townhomes, retail and a grocery store, Ashville’s local ABC affiliate reported at the time. A Candlewood Suites is also being built nearby the formerly thriving shopping mall.
15. Eastland Mall — Tulsa, Oklahoma
Eastland Mall near Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a dead mall until Gerry Chauvin — who has converted at least six dead malls into new businesses — redeveloped it into the Eastgate Metroplex. As of 2016, the space had an occupancy rate of 72% for its 900,000-square-foot facility.
According to the facility’s website, Eastgate Metroplex is currently undergoing a major renovation and is seeking new leasees for the space. Current tenants include Coca-Cola and HireRight.
16. Century III Mall — West Mifflin, Pennsylvania
The opening of Century III Mall in 1979 marked the end of a decade-long project to build a 1.6 million-square-foot retail hub that was, at the time of its completion, the third-largest enclosed mall in the world. However, the mall — named for the U.S. bicentennial in 1976 (the nation was entering its third century) — went into bankruptcy in September 2018 and was temporarily shut down by West Mifflin officials in February 2019 because it was deemed “unsafe and uninhabitable” after its sprinkler system was damaged, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.
Century III Mall
As of October 2019, JCPenney was the only store remaining in the mall, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported. At that time, the owner of the Century III Mall had agreed to revise the plans to redevelop the property. The new plan involved building a mix of commercial, residential, office and entertainment venues on the property, Pittsburgh’s WPXI News reported.
17. Richland Mall — Columbia, South Carolina
The Richland Mall, first built in the 1980s, actually replaced another open-air mall, the Columbia Metropolitan reported. It became the home to a number of national chains including Dillard’s, Berry’s and Belk. A third floor was added in 1988 and a seven-screen movie theater opened on the mall’s rooftop in 1990. That same year, mall owners rechristened the facility Richland Fashion Mall. The mall struggled in this new iteration, and it was eventually purchased by new owners in 2005, who gave the property a new name — Midtown at Forest Acres — and opened the property up to other types of businesses, including a Verizon Wireless call center. In 2010, it was sold and purchased again, this time by owners hoping to breathe new life into the original mall concept. They reverted it back to its old name as well.
Today, the Richland Mall is home to such stores as Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Regal Cinemas, as well as Belk, one of its original tenants.
18. Fort Henry Mall — Kingsport, Tennessee
Originally opened in the mid-1970s, the Fort Henry Mall has changed its name back to the original after existing as the Kingsport Town Center for some time. The Hull Property Group purchased the mall in June 2016 with plans to renovate it and shift to an apparel-based retail strategy.
Fort Henry Mall
After taking over the property, Hull demolished the Sears store in hopes of attracting new retailers, grocers and restaurants to the space, the TimesNews reported. New additions to the mall since the rebrand include Sweet Spoon Frozen Treats and Charley’s Philly Steaks.
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19. Westside Pavilion — Los Angeles
Los Angeles’ Westside Pavilion opened its doors in 1985 and was known to locals as the “Clueless” mall after the hit ’90s movie filmed many of its scenes there. The mall was already declining when one of its major tenants, Nordstrom, relocated to a newer mall in 2017. By November of that year, the owners of the 755,000-square-foot property had put it up for sale, Curbed and the Wall Street Journal reported.
In March 2018, Hudson Pacific Properties, which bought the mall, announced that it would be turning the Westside Pavilion into a “creative office space,” and in January 2019, it was announced that the property would be turned into Google offices. The construction project is expected to be completed in 2022, Curbed reported.
20. Hickory Hollow Mall — Antioch, Tennessee
Now known as the Global Mall at the Crossings, the two-tier Hickory Hollow Mall opened in 1978. However, after years of relative success, the mall started losing its anchor stores, with JCPenney exiting in 2006, Dillard’s in 2008 and then Sears and Macy’s in 2011.
Hickory Hollow Mall
In October 2019, a local developer presented plans to the community to turn the mostly vacant mall into modern technology offices and shops. However, just a month later, he decided not to move forward with the plan due to “previously undisclosed entitlement issues related to the property itself,” the Tennessean reported.
21. Berkshire Mall — Lanesborough, Massachusetts
Constructed in 1988, the Berkshire Mall once had 100 stores and restaurants. As of March 2019, the once-popular shopping destination was down to just 17 stores, including a Bounce House and a Victoria’s Secret. The mall’s department stores had been closing over recent years: Macy’s closed in 2016, and JCPenney and Sears closed the following year, Mass Live reported.
In March 2019, the mall closed “indefinitely” after the Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield issued a writ of execution against the mall’s owners, Berkshire Mall Realty Corp., for the collection of $298,000 in back taxes and interest dating back to 2018, Mass Live reported. As of that time, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission was working on a redevelopment plan for the Berkshire Mall site that would suggest housing, agriculture or research and development uses instead of retail.
In July 2019, the mall was sold to a new owner for $1 million, though it appears to still be closed.
22. Burlington Center — Burlington Township, New Jersey
The Burlington Mall was built in 1982 and was an economic driver for Burlington Township for many years, the Burlington County Times reported. But when the Great Recession hit, the mall began to struggle, and its financial issues became insurmountable as more and more shoppers moved to online shopping. By 2014, two of its major anchors — Macy’s and JCPenney — had closed, and its nearly 100 other stores and restaurants soon closed as well. The mall shut down permanently in 2018.
Real-estate investment firm Clarion Partners bought the mall in January 2019 and proposed a redevelopment plan in November of that year that included retail, restaurants, 400 to 500 housing units and several large warehouses, the Burlington County Times reported. As part of the plan, the existing, 670,000-square-foot mall would be demolished.
23. Brookdale Mall — Brooklyn Center, Minnesota
Built in 1962, the Brookdale Mall once housed an A&W drive-in, Woolworth’s, Macy’s, JCPenney and more, but all had closed over the years until the mall shut down and demolition began in 2011, the Star Tribune reported. The former mall site was purchased by Gatlin Development Co., which converted it into an open-style “town center” commercial development called Shingle Creek Crossing.
Today, Shingle Creek Crossing is home to a number of restaurants and retailers, including Applebee’s, Foot Locker and Michael’s.
24. Carousel Mall — San Bernadino, California
Opened in 1972 as the Central City Mall, the mall was renamed in 1991 for the 36-foot carousel it housed, CBS Los Angeles reported. In its heyday, the Carousel Mall had over 50 stores and three major department stores. But in 2001, Montgomery Ward closed, followed by JCPenney in 2003 — and since then the mall has become internet-famous as a ghost mall for its post-apocalyptic feel.
The mall officially closed in the summer of 2017, and a year later, the mall auctioned off its contents, including its famous carousel. The city of San Bernadino is hoping to redevelop the 42.7-acre site of the Carousel Mall as a mixed-use development.
25. Cortana Mall — Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Cortana Mall opened in 1976 and it was grandiose for the time. At roughly 1.3 million square feet, Cortana was the largest mall in the South at the time of its opening, Baton Rogue local news station WAFB 9 reported. It later expanded to 1.6 million square feet and housed over 100 stores, including JCPenney, Dillard’s and Macy’s. By 2009, the mall was struggling, and by 2017, both Macy’s and JCPenney had closed.
Cortana Mall closed for good in 2019, WAFB 9 reported. Local reports have speculated that Amazon will acquire the space and convert it into a fulfillment center, but no official announcements have been made.
26. Great Northern Mall — Clay, New York
The Great Northern Mall opened over 30 years ago. It’s been on the decline in recent years, and with many of its tenants leaving, the mall owed over $3.2 million in back taxes and penalties for 2018 and 2019 as of August 2019, Syracuse.com reported.
Great Northern Mall
In recent years, Macy’s, Sears, Victoria’s Secret, Spencer’s Gifts, Yankee Candle and AT&T have left the Great Northern Mall, Syracuse.com reported.
27. Four Seasons Mall — Plymouth, Minnesota
This mall closed in 2011. The Four Seasons Mall had been sitting vacant for eight years before a redevelopment plan was approved in November 2019, the Star Tribune reported.
Four Seasons Mall
The Plymouth City Council approved plans for a mixed-use redevelopment project for the site, which includes three affordable apartment buildings — two for families and one for seniors — plus four commercial buildings and a park-and-ride ramp, the Star Tribune reported.
28. Knoxville Center — Knoxville, Tennessee
The Knoxville Center mall, also known as East Towne, was once a community staple, but it officially closed in January 2020, Knoxville’s 10 News reported. At the time of its closing, only two stores remained: Regal Tuxedo and LensCrafters.
Its anchor shops — Belk and JCPenney — had already moved out as the mall’s traffic slowed. The mall had been open for 35 years, Knox News reported. It remains to be seen what will happen to the site.
29. Logansport Mall — Logansport, Indiana
The Logansport Mall — which dates back to 1968 — had lost nearly all of its tenants by the fall of 2019. Sears closed in 2013, Staples closed in 2014, and GNC Nutrition and JCPenney — the last major store to leave the mall — closed in 2017, the Pharos Tribune reported. That left only two stores remaining: Dunham’s Sports and Oak Tree Lane Blades, a sword and knife shop. Oak Tree Lane Blades closed in April 2019, leaving Dunham’s as the only remaining shop. In October 2019, the mall was sold to a new developer who hoped to bring in more tenants, as well as build a hotel on the mall’s property.
30. Northgate — Seattle
Northgate, the oldest mall in the Seattle area, began shutting down in July 2019. The mall is the future home of Seattle’s new NHL team, and the site will include three ice rinks, new offices, housing and a grocery store, KUOW reported.
Construction was set to begin at the center of the mall, so the stores located in those sections closed first. That included major department stores, like Macy’s and Nordstrom, and smaller businesses, such as Alana Jewelry, which told KOUW that it would be closing for good.
31. Ponce de Leon Mall — St. Augustine, Florida
When Ponce de Leon Mall opened in 1979, it was the first enclosed shopping center in the county and home to the only Belk department store in the area, Metro Jacksonville reported. In addition to Belk, it was anchored by JCPenney and a six-screen Regal Cinemas.
The mall faced its first challenges in the 1990s with the opening of two other nearby malls and even more competition with the opening of a newer shopping complex in St. Augustine. The mall was also dealt a financial blow when it began implementing a curfew for patrons under 16 in an attempt to make it a more family-friendly spot. In 2010, a newer movie theater opened that put the mall’s Regal Cinemas out of business, and Ponce de Leon was now down to two anchors.
Ponce de Leon Mall
By 2015, most of the mall’s storefronts were empty, and its owners decided to permanently close the interior walkways. In 2016, The St. Augustine Record reported that a local church was attempting to buy and revive the mall, but it does not seem that they were able to raise the money to do so.
32. Promenade Mall — Tulsa, Oklahoma
In January 2020, JCPenney announced that it would be leaving the Promenade Mall, Tulsa’s News on 6 reported. The department store — which planned to close in April — was one of the only big names left in the troubled mall.
Many stores closed their doors in 2019, including Victoria’s Secret and Charlotte Russe. The Promenade Mall’s movie theater also closed that year.
The property’s value has declined steadily in recent years, from nearly $26 million in 2016 to about $4.5 million in 2019, according to court filings obtained by News on 6.
33. Rapids Mall — Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin
After nearly 40 years in business, the Rapids Mall closed its doors in January 2018, the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reported.
The mall site was purchased by the John E. Alexander South Wood County YMCA and Boys & Girls Club of the Wisconsin Rapids Area, who planned to convert the Rapids Mall into the site of a new, shared facility, the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reported.
34. Regency Mall — Augusta, Georgia
When the Regency Mall opened in 1978, it was the largest mall in Georgia, The Augusta Chronicle reported. It once held over 70 stores, but within 25 years of its opening, all of its stores had closed, Metro Spirit reported.
During the ’90s, nearly all of its anchor stores closed, beginning with the closure of Upton’s department store in 1993, Metro Spirit reported. Belk closed in 1996, and J.B. White and Piccadilly Cafeteria followed in 1998. Montgomery Ward was the last major store to close, leaving the mall in 2001.
Some areas of the mall had been converted from retail into office space, but even expanding to new types of tenants couldn’t save the Regency Mall. In 2004, the mall’s last remaining tenant, the Richmond County Marshal, moved out.
The mall was gutted in 2013, but as of October 2017, the vacant mall structure remained intact, according to the SkyMall blog.
35. Silver City Galleria — Taunton, Massachusetts
The Silver City Galleria opened for business in 1992, and at one point had as many as 100 tenants, the Taunton Gazette reported. When the mall property was purchased in May 2019 at a foreclosure action, there were only around 40 tenants.
Silver City Galleria
In February 2020, mall tenants with license-at-will agreements received notice that their leases were being terminated, the Taunton Gazette reported. Other tenants had already made plans to leave at their own accord, including Victoria’s Secret. The mall owner stated that the mall was not closing — despite the front entrance being officially closed — but did confirm to the news outlet that a “physical consolidation” of the mall is underway.
36. Three Rivers Mall — Kelso, Washington
When the Three Rivers Mall opened in 1987, it had four anchor tenants: JCPenney, Sears, Macy’s and Emporium — but only JCPenney remains today, The Daily News reported. In 2003, Emporium’s parent company went bankrupt. Sears closed next, followed by Macy’s in 2016.
Three Rivers Mall
The Three Rivers Mall was purchased by new owners in July 2019, The Daily News reported. The new owners’ plans for the mall are not public, so it remains to be seen what will happen to the space and its 36 current tenants.
37. Vallco Shopping Mall — Cupertino, California
Vallco Mall opened in the 1970s and became a popular Silicon Valley shopping destination. But the 60-acre shopping complex fell on hard times in recent years, and by the time it closed, nearly all of its tenants had left, Cupertino Patch reported.
Vallco Shopping Mall
The demolition of the mall began in the fall of 2018. Redevelopers are moving forward with plans to convert the former Vallco Shopping Mall site into a mix of office, retail, entertainment and housing, San Francisco’s ABC 7 News reported.
38. Valley Plaza Shopping Center — North Hollywood, California
The Valley Plaza Shopping Center dates back to the 1940s and was a centerpiece of commerce for the San Fernando Valley through the 1970s, the Los Angeles Times reported. The 47-acre shopping center sustained heavy damage in the Northridge earthquake, and since then has had difficulty keeping many of its storefronts filled.
Valley Plaza Shopping Center
Sears, which was one of the few major tenants remaining in the mostly empty shopping plaza, announced in November 2019 that it would be closing its Valley Plaza location, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
39. Wayne Hills Mall — Wayne, New Jersey
The Wayne Hills Mall was built in 1974 and was showing signs of struggle by the mid-2000s, NorthJersey.com reported. In 2006, the county commissioned an urban planner to study how to reinvigorate the dying shopping center. Five years later, only four tenants remained in the mall.
Wayne Hills Mall
Demolition of the mall began in February 2019, NorthJersey.com reported. The Wayne Hills Mall will be replaced by a new ShopRite supermarket and other retail outlets.
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