Dead Malls

More dead malls from around the United States and Canada.

East Hills Mall; Bakersfield, California

The East Hills Mall in Bakersfield, California is the smaller of the two malls serving this central valley city, and is one of California’s most troubled malls. All of the anchor stores–Harris, Gottschalks, and Mervyn’s–in the 415,000 square foot center have shut, and it serves an area of Bakersfield that is impacted heavily by both crime and the housing crisis of the late 2000s.

Winrock Shopping Center; Albuquerque, New Mexico

winrock02In response to its tremendous growth, Albuquerque decided to jump on the mall-building trend and began planning the state’s first mall in 1960. Due to development patterns favoring the sprawling east side, combined with the pending completion of Interstate 40 across Albuquerque around the same time, a centrally-located site was selected along Interstate 40 at Louisiana Boulevard – about 6 miles east of downtown.

Once the site was selected, Victor Gruen – the Grandfather of malls – was hired to design Winrock Center, which opened in March 1961. It opened with 42 stores, anchored by Safeway, Kresge, Walgreens, Fedway discount mart, Montgomery Ward, and JCPenney. Wards and Penneys flanked the eastern side of the center, and the rest of the anchors were located along the western side with a semi-enclosed mallway in between. The semi-enclosure consisted of a roof with open grillwork to allow the free flow of air into and through the center. In addition, two completely open-air plazas existed on the east and west ends of the center.

Lincoln Mall; Matteson, Illinois

lincoln-mall-matteson-10Recently I’ve been following coverage of some pretty extensive renovations taking place at Lincoln Mall, a long-beleagured super-regional mall in south suburban Chicagoland. Initially I was excited at the prospect of even a modicum of success here, especially considering I’ve never seen the mall even close to its potential. I first visited Lincoln Mall about a decade ago, after it fell in the toilet but before it drowned. I recently re-visited for the first time after some of the renovations have materialized, and was extremely dismayed – both by the progress of the renovations and also by a personal, not-so-fun experience I had there.

Highland Mall; Austin, Texas

Highland-Mall-08 Austin’s Highland Mall has become one of 2009’s most famous dying (though not yet dead) malls due to some high profile craziness and catfights. What’s going on down in the Lone Star State?

Westminster Mall; Westminster, Colorado

  Our third Denver-area post comes to us from reader Jacob Doherty.  The following commentary, as well as the photos here, are his.  Thanks for the contribution, Jacob, and the multitude of pictures!  Maybe some of our commenters can help us label some of the “unknown” dead stores? (mouseover for the photo tags) Westminster is […]

Forest Park Mall; Forest Park, Illinois

forest-park-mall-04Forest Park Mall was a 400,000 square-foot enclosed mall located along Roosevelt Road just west of Harlem Avenue, and about a quarter of a mile south of I-290. Helmed by the same developer who created Ford City Mall on Chicago’s southwest side, Forest Park Mall – just like Ford City – was also a redevelopment project that converted an old factory into a shopping center – albeit on a smaller scale.

Southwest Center Mall (Formerly Red Bird Mall); Dallas, Texas

southwest-center-mall-08Located 10 miles southwest of downtown Dallas, at the interchange between US 67 and Interstate 20, Southwest Center Mall is both an anachronism and an eyesore. But what an amazing eyesore it is. One needs only to take a look at the photos to understand what a unique specimen this is, in terms of design, decor, and blatant inadequacy. But let’s dig a little deeper and try to figure out what happened.

Tower Square (Baystate West Mall); Springfield, Massachusetts

Baystate West Mall photo from Architectural Record, mid-70sTower Square–which was born as the Baystate West Mall–is a prime example of a common attempt 1970s at reviving an urban downtown. The mall linked the city’s two flagship department stores–Steiger’s and Forbes & Wallace–along with a 30 story Marriott hotel while adding two levels of shopping.

Carson Mall; Carson City, Nevada

carson-mall-08Carson Mall is the only enclosed mall serving Carson County, Nevada, home of Carson City, the state capital. Anchored by a soon-to-be-dark Gottschalks and Boot Barn, this tiny mall was almost completely deserted on the Sunday afternoon I visited. I mean, literally, creepily deserted–see these photos? Notice that there’s no one else in most of them? Yeah, I was in there all by myself. There were a *few* other people; an older woman with a Florence Henderson haircut windexing the slot machines in a tiny slot parlor in the middle of the mall, a few oversized men pumping quarters into said machines, and one lone elderly gentleman limping down the center of the mall.

Bedford Mall; Bedford, New Hampshire

Bedford Mall in Bedford, New Hampshire
The Bedford Mall opened along Daniel Webster Highway (US3), just three miles southwest of downtown Manchester, sometime in the 1970s. The mall was originally anchored by Purity supermarket at the northern end and WT Grant’s at the southern end, these would be replaced by–respectively–Alexander’s Supermarket and Montgomery Ward in the coming years.