50 haunting photos of abandoned shopping malls across America

Flickr/Will FisherDebris inside Cloverleaf Mall in Chesterfield, Virginia.
  • American malls are closing all over the US.
  • A report done by Credit Suisse estimates that 20% to 25% of malls would shutter over the next five years, largely because of store closures.
  • In 2017, 6,400 stores closed– a further 3,600 are expected to close in 2018.
  • These photos show how malls were forced to shutter as key anchors such as Sears and Macy’s left.

American malls are dying out.

Retail complexes all over the US are being clobbered by store closures sweeping the country.

In 2017, more than 6,400 stores closed and another 3,600 are expected to shutter in 2018. According to a report done by Credit Suisse, this will result in 20% to 25% of malls closing in the next five years.

A national retail apocalypse has crippled US malls as anchor stores such as Macy’s and Sears, which take up large retail spaces and drive foot traffic, have shuttered stores and left malls with enormous gaps to fill.

For many malls, this is an impossible task.

Take a look at some of these haunting photos below that show how badly America’s malls have been hit:


This is the Carousel Mall in San Bernardino, California, which closed in 2017. The mall had been hanging by a thread after it lost its two main anchors, Montgomery Ward and JC Penney, several years before.

Source: Business Insider


Euclid Square Mall in Ohio had a similar fate and shuttered in 2016.


It was temporarily used by religious congregations who held services in old stores. In September 2017, Amazon announced plans to build a 1.7 million square foot fulfillment center in its place.

Source: Crain’s


This upscale mall in White Flint Mall in Bethesda, Maryland, which was once home to a Bloomingdale’s department store.


Elizabeth Taylor reportedly shopped here.

Source: The Washington Post


But this wasn’t enough to keep it going — it shuttered its doors in 2015.


Photographer Seph Lawless has become famous for his photos of abandoned malls. Here, he captures Chicago’s Lincoln mall, which closed in January of 2015.

Seph Lawless

Source: Seph Lawless


In its heyday, the 700,000-square-foot mall had the capacity to host four anchor stores and 100 smaller shops.

Seph Lawless

Source: Business Insider


But in the month’s before it closed, it was home to just 40 businesses.

Seph Lawless

Source:The Chicago Tribune


In 2013, the mall’s owner told The Chicago Tribune that the mall was losing $US2 million a year.

Seph Lawless

The same year, a court-ordered receiver was appointed to force the location to pay taxes and fines, as well as make necessary repairs.

Seph Lawless

The mall’s tenants did not generate enough in rent to pay for the improvements or repairs, according to an attorney for the owner.

Seph Lawless

Source:The Chicago Tribune


The mall reportedly failed to make these changes, which included creating new exits to comply with fire codes and replacing electrical and air conditioning systems.

Seph Lawless

In November 2014, Cook County judge ordered the closure of the mall following the holiday shopping season.

Seph Lawless

Photographer Seph Lawless also captured the Metro North Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Seph Lawless

The mall opened in 1976 and covered over 1.2 million square feet, which housed more than 150 retailers.

Source: Kansas City Star


It was shut down in 2014.

Seph Lawless

Already, the interior looks like it’s been deserted for decades.

Seph Lawless

It’s completely run down and leaking.

Seph Lawless

Lawless has said it was “by far the creepiest mall I’ve been in.”

Source: The Daily Mail


Developers had planned to renovate the mall but the makeover was slated to cost $US200 million — the plan was ditched in 2015.

Seph Lawless

Source: Kansas City Star


The mall is now being demolished to make way for a new part-commercial, part-residential development.

Seph Lawless

Source: Kansas City Star


This mall in Randall Park Mall in Cleveland has been empty since 2009.

Source: Fox 8


The site was bought by Amazon to be converted into a 800,000 square foot fulfillment center.

Wikicommons/Eddie~S

Source: Crain’s


Rolling Acre Mall in Ohio was once packed with visitors.


In 2008 it faced a similar fate to other struggling malls and shuttered its doors.

Flickr/Mike Kalasnik

JC Penney was once the anchor store of the mall, it even had its own auto center, which is pictured below.

Flickr/Mike Kalasnik

After the mall closed, photographer Seph Lawless captured these photographs showed how this abandoned complex had been left to rot.

Source: Seph Lawless


The inside of the mall was covered with snow…


… and had been left to crumble.


In June 2016, the city deemed it unsafe for locals, issued warnings for people to stay away, and increased police presence.

Source: Cleveland


After several rounds through the bankruptcy courts, it was acquired by the city of Akron.

Source: Cleveland


Demolition began in May 2016.


These photos were taken of Cloverleaf Mall in Chesterfield, Virginia in 2011.


This was the area’s first large-scale, regional shopping center.

Source: Chesterfield Observer


But it closed in 2008.


Once a buzzing hub, the inside looked completely barren.


In 2011 the building was demolished.


In its place, a Kroger supermarket was built on its former 28-acre site.

Source: KLTV


Hawthorne Plaza in California closed its doors in 1999.


Since then its made for an appropriately spooky spot for filming.


Gone Girl, The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, and Minority Report were filmed there.

Source: Business Insider


The mall was originally home to national department store chains such as JC Penney.


In total, the space was 900,000 square foot with a five-acre parking lot.


Today, it is just a derelict shell…


…covered in graffiti.

Paul Szoldra/Tech Insider

In 2016, drone enthusiasts transformed the space into a drone racing track, where users could race their remote control drones around the building while it was lit up in fluorescent lights.

Paul Szoldra/Tech Insider

Source: Business Insider


But these pop-ups were short-lived. Later that year, the city agreed to demolish the building and is replacing it with a $US500 million open-air development which includes a mix of stores, housing, and offices.

Paul Szoldra/Tech Insider

Sources: Curbed


Maple Hill Mall in Kalamazoo, Michigan was closed and demolished in 2004. It was rebuilt and transformed into the Maple Hill Pavilion, which is now home to Target and discount stores Marshalls and Dollar Tree.

Source: Business Insider


Some of these mall closures are less recent. Dixie Square Mall in Chicago, which was once home to 60 different stores including JC Penney and Walgreens was left vacant for 33 years before being demolished in 2012.

Source: Chicago Tribune

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