Dead Malls

More dead malls from around the United States and Canada.

Crossroads Mall; Omaha, Nebraska

One of the earliest enclosed regional malls in the country, Crossroads Mall opened in September 1960, a vision of the development arm of Omaha’s Brandeis department store chain, who purchased the land and organized the mall’s construction. When it opened, Crossroads consisted of two main anchors: a three-level, 110,000 square-foot Brandeis, flanking the eastern end of the mall, and a three-level, 113,000 square-foot Sears on the west end. In between the anchors was an enclosed, climate-controlled hallway called the Arcade Level, featuring about 24 stores and services. According to Mall-Hall-of-Fame, early stores included Walgreens, Goldstein-Chapman apparel, Haney’s Shoes, The Spot Snack Bar, and Woolworths.

Mountaineer Mall; Morgantown, West Virginia

I’m talking about Mountaineer Mall. Located in Morgantown, West Virginia, Mountaineer Mall is the kind of mall dead mall fans dream about, with all sorts of retail antiquities and dated accoutrements. We’re talking about wooden railings with tarnished, aging brass fixtures, brick facades, tile- and wood panel-laden planter fixtures, intact dead store facades from 20+ years ago, and more. Mountaineer Mall was once the dominant – and only – mall in the Morgantown region. Located 70 miles south of Pittsburgh, Morgantown is home to West Virginia University and has the healthiest economy in the state. It has a population of around 30,000 residents, which nearly doubles when the University is in session, and a metropolitan area of 115,000 to boot. Morgantown has a quirky, progressive college town feel, and with its low unemployment and unique culture feels mightily juxtaposed to the rest of the state, or anywhere for that matter. One example of this is the fact that the small city has its own rail-based mass transit, a people mover called the Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system, which connects downtown Morgantown to the WVU satellite campus located a few miles away.

El Con Mall; Tucson, Arizona

El Con Mall was Tucson’s first mall, borne of necessity in 1960. Tucson didn’t have a mall yet, and its population grew 368 percent between 1950 and 1960 – from 45,000 residents to well over 200,000. Developer Joseph Kivel decided the best spot for the mall was in midtown Tucson, in the middle of the growth, next to the storied, posh El Conquistador Hotel, a Spanish Revival structure which opened in 1928 (and should never have been torn down). When the mall opened it was initially outdoor, and anchored by a three-level, 60,000 square-foot Levy’s Department Store, which moved from downtown Tucson, as well as a 2-level, 180,000 square-foot Montgomery Ward; Woolworth and Skaggs Drug were mini-anchors.

Fiesta Mall (Indio Fashion Center); Indio, California

Fiesta Mall is Indio’s enclosed shopping mall, and one of three enclosed malls in the Coachella Valley. It was built in 1974 as Indio Fashion Mall, and aside from minor cosmetic updates has the same layout as it did then. Sears and San Bernardino-based Harris were the original anchors, and a small single-level mallway connected them with only 225,000 square feet of total space. Indio was a much smaller city then, with a population under 20,000, and had a caucasian-majority demographic.

Peach Tree Mall (Feather River Center); Linda/Marysville, California

The Feather River Center is located just southeast of downtown Marysville, in the unincorporated community of Linda. Originally constructed in 1972 to serve the rural Yuba-Sutter metropolitan area an hour north of Sacramento, the 400,000 square foot center was dubbed simply “The Mall” at the time and is to this day the only major retail […]

Brickyard Mall; Chicago, Illinois

Brickyard Mall, which opened in March 1977 on Chicago’s northwest side, was one of two regional, suburban-style shopping malls constructed in the city – the other was Ford City Mall on Chicago’s south side, which opened in 1965. Three other regional malls are, however, literally within a stone’s throw of the city limits – Lincolnwood Town Center, Harlem-Irving Plaza, and Evergreen Plaza all are located either directly across the street from the city or just blocks from it. Brickyard Mall enjoyed a modicum of success through the 1980s, but in the 1990s its viability met opposition as neighborhood demographics changed and competition from other malls outmoded it.

Hickory Ridge Mall; Memphis, Tennessee

Located approximately 20 miles southeast of downtown Memphis, Hickory Ridge Mall opened in 1981 at the corner of Winchester and Hickory Hill Roads. At the time, this was the farthest mall from Memphis’s core, and indicative of a shift in population away from the city and into the suburbs. 1981 was also the same year the larger Mall of Memphis opened, closer to the center of population and near the airport. Over time, both malls failed: Mall of Memphis succumbed due to a perception of crime after some high-profile incidents, and Hickory Ridge Mall faltered due to the wrath of overbuilding and demographic changes before being snuffed out by mother nature.

Eastgate Consumer Mall; Indianapolis, Indiana

College Hills Mall (The Shoppes at College Hills); Normal, Illinois

In the mall-crazy late 1970s, a developer decided that one mall wasn’t enough for little Bloomington-Normal, and made plans to build a second enclosed mall on the same strip. Located just a mile north of Eastland Mall along Veterans Parkway/Old Route 66, the College Hills Mall opened in August 1980 with anchor Carson Pirie Scott and a single-level T-shaped corridor of stores. The second anchor, Montgomery Ward, opened about a month later, also in 1980, and a third anchor, Target, opened in 1982.

Brookdale Center; Brooklyn Center, Minnesota

Located in Brooklyn Center, an inner-ring suburb 10 miles northwest of Minneapolis, Brookdale Center is a behemoth of a mall living on borrowed time. Opened in 1962, Brookdale debuted to a new, sprawling post-war building boom which eventually levelled off as the area became built out. Over time, many original residents serving the mall’s purpose moved up and out to newer and better suburbs, and were slowly replaced by those with a different socioeconomic status. Today, Brookdale is in serious decline, existing as as an ever-dwindling collection of stores inside the husk of a super-regional mall on the precipice of closure.