1. Cloverleaf Mall, Chesterfield, Va.
Cloverleaf Mall opened in 1972 with 40 shops anchored by JCPenney and Sears. The mall thrived throughout the 1970s and '80s, but fell victim to alleged gang members, or at least youths who dressed like gang members, who congregated there in the '90s. As more and more customers stopped shopping there, the stores stopped renewing their leases, and in 2007 the mall closed for good. (Photo: Fireatwillrva)
2. Crestwood Court, St. Louis, Mo.
Opened in 1957, 1.1-million-sq.-ft. then-named "Crestwood Plaza" was the St. Louis region's first major mall and included Sears, Dillard's and Macy's. But by 2000, revenue was declining and major stores were leaving, caused increasing vacancies. Several redevelopment plans fell through. In 2012, the last of its tenants were told to move out, leaving only a LensCrafter store, which closed in the fall of 2013. (Photo: Dan Wampler)
3. Hawthorne Plaza, Hawthorne, Calif.
Hawthorne Plaza opened in 1977 to cater to the local middle-class. The 40-acre property included an indoor mall with four anchor stores as well as freestanding stores at its south end. Despite its initial popularity, the mall went into decline in the 1990s because of newer, competing malls and local economic decline following cutbacks in aerospace jobs. In the late 1980s, the mall had 130 occupied stores but that number dropped to 70 over the next 10 years. By 1998, only one anchor store remained. Plans to put in an AMC Theatre and convert the mall into an open-air shopping center were abandoned and the mall itself closed in 1999. But the property's southern freestanding section, redeveloped in 1998, is still open, including a supermarket, a pharmacy and some small restaurants. The mall itself and its multistory parking lots stand empty except for an administrative office for the local school district, a Quizno's and a police training center built in the former Montgomery Ward.The abandoned mall has also been used as the setting for several movies, including The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. (Photo: Kevinstanoodles)
4. North Towne Square Mall, Toledo, Ohio
North Towne Square Mall opened in 1980 on Toledo’s north side, adjacent to the Michigan state border and featured three anchor stores, over 50 shops and restaurants and a movie theater. By 2005, it was closed off except for a fitness center operating out of the former Montgomery Ward store, which is still in operation as of November, 2013. The 1988 opening of Frenchtown Square Mall in Michigan reduced the amount of traffic coming to North Towne. Anchor store Elder-Beerman filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1995. As a condition of emerging from bankruptcy, Elder Beerman reduced operations at its North Towne store. In 1997, Dillard's acquired all of The Lion Stores and converted them to Dillard's, then closed two years later. The movie theater closed by the early 2000s. Montgomery Ward closed in 2002 due to bankruptcy. In 2001, a dance club called the Energy Zone opened on Friday nights for ages 13 to 15 and Saturdays for those 16 to 20. The club became a TV show on TV5, but due to management disagreements the show’s host quit, and the club closed in 2003. By then, only 21 stores remained. In 2003, the mall was renamed Lakeside Centre as part of a redevelopment plan. The remaining tenants' leases were terminated in early 2005. Wal-Mart proposed building a store on the site of the vacant mall in 2007, but the plans were opposed by the city council. In 2010 the building was condemned. Its roofs were caving in, a water main had broken and there was mold in the building and the city demanded that the owners pay heavily for unpaid fines, or else close the mall. Delinquent taxes came to nearly $86,000. Toledo ordered the mall's owners to repair and clean up the building, but the contract seemed to be invalid the mall’s name was stated incorrectly as Lakeside Centre. The case is still pending. Demolition took place in 2013, costing $600,000. The original floors, parking lot, and lamp posts still remain. (Photo: Binkled)
5. Randall Park Mall, North Randall, Ohio
Randall Park Mall was so important to the town of North Randall that it was represented in the municipal seal by two shopping bags. Envisioned as a “city within a city,” the mall was an early exercise in mixed-use development. It was built on the site of the Randall Race by flamboyant developer Edward DeBartolo, who visited the construction site via helicopter and courted the media with lavish Italian dinners catered by top chefs. When the mall opened—with actress Dina Merrill—in 1976, it was the world’s largest shopping center, and boasted 200 shops, three 14-story apartment buildings, two 20-story office buildings, a three-screen cinema and a performing arts center. Interestingly, when the mall opened, its employee population, at 5,000, topped the town population of 1,500. The cinema closed in 1993. In 1999, Loew's opened a 12-screen Magic Johnson cinema at the mall, which was sold in 2007, becoming bargain cinema, O Theater. Poor sales caused JCPenney to close in 2001. Dillard’s closed in 2002, coincidentally after a suspected shoplifter died from injuries incurred during his apprehension. By 2003, half the mall was vacant. In 2007, Ohio Technical College acquired more than 200,000 sq. ft. of space. Macy’s closed in February 2008. In June of that year, the rest of the mall closed except for a few anchor stores like Sears. County records showed the mall’s owners owed more than $200,000 in unpaid property taxes and had taken out multiple mortgages. The mall was sold for redevelopment but the deal was never finalized. In 2009, Sears closed, and the college moved out along with two other remaining stores. In March 2014, it was announced that the vacant mall would be demolished for an industrial park. (Photo: UrbanExplorationsUS)
6. Rolling Acres Mall, Akron, Ohio
Built in 1975, Rolling Hills once held more than 140 stores, including five anchor stores (Montgomery Ward; Sears; JCPenney, which later became JCPenney Outlet and JC’s 5 Star Outlet, before closing for good in 2013; Higbee’s, which became Dillard’s and closed in 1992; and Target) as well as a movie theater and “Prom-N-Eat” food court. Its décor was rather sumptuous and included an aquarium in its “Court of Aquarius” wing. In the 1980s, a mall-wide renovation took place, replacing its earth tones with pastels. In 1991, the mall switched from off-duty police officers to cheaper security guards. One night two movie patrons got into a fight and people nearby thought they heard gunshots, causing a panicked stampede through the mall. In 1993, the cinema closed. Also in 1993, the General Cinema was closed. The mall was sold to Bankers Trust in 2000, who gave the mall a new logo; the cinema reopened as an indie movie house, Blind Squirrel Cinema, but closed in 2002. In 2003, the cinema reopened again, this time as a discount theater. The mall currently houses Storage of America and Pinnacle Recycling. Foreclosure proceedings are currently underway, with two sheriff’s sales for over $1.3 million in back taxes scheduled for Oct. 7 and Oct. 21, 2014. If there are no bidders, the property will go to the city of Akron. The anchor stores are currently being used as storage spaces, but local newspapers report that on weekends, teens come to ride their bicycles in the mall and vandalize it. Homeless people have also been found living there. A photograph of one of the mall's dilapidated entrances appears on the cover of The Black Keys' single "Gold on the Ceiling." (Photo: Johnny Joo)
7. Turfland Mall, Lexington, Ky.
Opened in 1967, Turfland Mall was the first shopping mall in Lexington, Ky., with Montgomery Ward, Grant City and McAlpin’s. Grant City was replaced by JCPenney in 1976. Loews Theater closed in 1990, and JCPenney moved out in 1993. In 1994, the parent company of McAlpin's became Dillard's. In 1997, Rubloff Development Group acquired the mall and began $5 million worth of renovations. Montgomery Ward closed in 2000 and was converted to Home Depot. Dillard's closed in 2008. GNC, the last remaining retailer at the mall, closed July 31, 2008, and the mall itself finally closed on October 1, 2008. In 2009, Rubloff announced plans to redevelop the mall into a mixed-use property featuring offices, retail and multifamily. The redevelopment was to be called Turfland Town Center. Rubloff requested $39 million in tax increment funding for public improvement, but its plans were canceled when no replacement store was found for Dillard's. In 2012, with Staples as the only remaining tenant, Heritage Bank of Hopkinsville sued Rubloff for foreclosure. The mall was purchased by Turf Development for $6 million and demolished in February 2014. The former Dillard's department store is being renovated into a University of Kentucky HealthCare clinic. (Photo: Ron May)
8. Woodville Mall, Northwood, Ohio
Woodville Mall opened in 1969 with JCPenney, Sears and LaSalle’s as anchors. But in 1971, the new Franklin Park Mall, on the other side of Toledo, began competing with it. LaSalle’s converted to Macy’s in 1982, and in 1986 Woodville was renovated to make it more family friendly, with the center fountain area removed and a new center food court added. JCPenney closed in 1987, replaced by Andersons in 1988, which many mall retailers said boosted their sales. But when Woolworth’s closed in 1994, things went further downhill. The mall, now owned by Simon Property Group (which had merged with original developer DeBartolo in 1996), was put up for sale in 1999 and finally sold, along with nearby North Towne Square, in 2004 to developers Kahen and Kashani in California. By 2006, less than 30 of Woodville’s 100 original spaces were occupied. Renovation plans didn’t materialize, and the movie theater closed in 2009, after which, New York real estate investor Mike Kohan bought the mall. New stores opened in 2011, including a radio station, sandwich shop and furniture store. Kohan attempted to resell the mall but first needed to replace its roof, which never happened. In December 2011, the mall was ordered closed by a county judge for its structural problems, including water leakage and mold and mildew. Only Andersons and Sears remained open. The mall was scheduled for demolition in 2012, but that didn’t take place until March 2014. (Photo: Detroiturbex)
9. Acropolis Mall, Ciudad Satelite, Mexico
This outdoor mall was built to serve the middle class of Ciudad Satelite, a planned bedroom community in suburban Naucalpaz, for Mexico City commuters, which opened in 1957. But the Acropolis never gained popularity due to the area's heavy air pollution, and today it stands as one of Mexico City's most haunting landmarks. Meanwhile, not far away, Plaza Satelite, one of Mexico City's biggest enclosed malls, has undergone two renovations and is thriving. (Photo: Hector Alva)
10. New World Shopping Mall, Bangkok, Thailand
This ironically named shopping mall in Bangkok’s old city neighborhood was abandoned in 1999 after a fire that is rumored to have been the work of an arsonist competitor. Since then, the mall flooded with several feet of water and become such a paradise for koi and catfish that fisherman flock there. This summer, travel writer/chef Jesse Rockwell, author of the blog A Taste of The Road, exposed the abandoned mall-turned-fishpond to the world. According to local sources, he says, someone deliberately introduced the fish into the empty mall, but the local police force patrols the place, discouraging visitors. In fact, Rockwell writes, he had to wait for a policeman to leave before sneaking in. (Photo: Jesse Rockwell)
11. New South China Mall, Dogguan, China
Most malls close because tenants leave due to poor sales, but New South China Mall—with 7.1 million sq. ft. of leasable space and 9.6 sq. ft. of total space—has been 99 percent empty ever since it opened in 2005. Out of its 2,350 store spaces, only 47 are occupied. At that size, it’s twice the size of the Mall of America outside Minneapolis and is the largest mall in the world based on gross leasable space, ranking second in total area to the Dubai Mall. So why is it empty? Its location would seemingly make it a sure hit. Dongguan, formerly farmland, is in the center of the Pearl River Delta between Shenzhen and Guangzhou, with 4 million people living within six miles, 9 million within 12 miles and 40 million within 60 miles. But its developer, Alex Hu (originally Hu Guirong)—a native of Guangzhou who became a billionaire in the instant ramen industry—forgot that Guangzhou has no major airports or highways. So the mall sits there with its top floors unfinished, much of its grandeur rotting and, according to the PBS documentary Utopia, Part 3: The World’s Largest Shopping Mall, regular, mandatory flag-raising and brand-building for the few folks who work there. The mall is Las Vegas, Disneyland, and Old Europe rolled into one. It boasts seven shopping zones modeled on Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Venice, Egypt, the Caribbean, and California; replicas of the Arc de Triomphe and the bell tower of St. Mark’s in Venice; a 1.3-mile canal with gondolas and an attached, infrequently attended amusement park, named, ironically, Amazing World. (Photo: DCMaster)
12. Royal Arcade, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England
This 1830s masterpiece, complete with offices, banks, steam baths, a Post Office and many, many shops, was once one of Newcastle’s decorative indoor shopping streets…that is, before it was demolished to make way for a concrete office building in the brutalist style called Swan House in 1963. As the story goes, the Royal Arcade was deemed a financial failure mostly because of its position. But in one last, sad twist of fate, the Royal Arcade’s stones were numbered and stored for reassembly elsewhere. The only problem was, the numbers were written in chalk and rain—all too common in Newcastle—soon wiped out that possibility. (Photo: Tim Pickford Jones)
13. Dayton Arcade, Dayton, Ohio
Some dead malls come back to life. Let’s hope that’s the case for the Dayton Arcade, an elegant complex constructed in 1902-04 and opened in 1904 in downtown Dayton. Conceived by Eugene J. Barney of the Barney & Smith Car Co. and designed by then-prominent local architect Frank M. Andrews, the Arcade consists of five interconnecting steel-and-concrete buildings topped by two balconied upper floors above the central hall and a glass-domed rotunda, 70 ft. high and 90 ft. in diameter, with detailing that includes oak leaves and acorns, grain, rams, wild turkeys and cornucopias filled with fruit and vegetables from Ohio. The most notable building is of Flemish design, patterned after an Amsterdam guild hall. Two other street facades are Italian Renaissance Revival. When the Arcade opened, it was hi-tech for the time, including elevators, electric light, steam heating, a power plant and a cold storage plant. The Arcade was an early example of mixed-use development, with the main spaces utilized for a food market and retail, offices and housing units on the upper floors. Through the 1940s, the Arcade was one of Dayton’s prime attractions. In 1974, the Arcade was placed on the National Register of Historical Places, and by the late ’70s, a major restoration was underway. In 1980, the Arcade reopened as Arcade Square, offering food, boutique stores, restaurants and a Coca-Cola museum. The Dayton Philharmonic performed to holiday crowds. But the central business district gradually declined and Arcade Square was closed in 1990, remaining empty since 1991. Thankfully, a not-for-profit group, "Friends of the Dayton Arcade," published a book in 2008 entitled, "The Dayton Arcade: Crown Jewel of the Gem City." The former owner owed several hundred thousand dollars in back taxes, and the tax obligation was purchased by American Tax Funding. The sheriff's sale was held in 2009 and the building was purchased by Dayton Arcade LLC for $615,106.02. The new owners promised to restore the building, but never did—nor were the back taxes paid. Early restoration estimates topped $30 million. But all is not yet lost: the Friends of Dayton Arcade won a major victory in August 2014 when Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley announced the formation of a task force to evaluate the downtown Arcade complex and provide redevelopment recommendations.