50 haunting photos of abandoned shopping malls across America

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Debris inside Cloverleaf Mall in Chesterfield, Virginia. Flickr/Will Fisher

American malls are dying out.

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

Retailers have announced more than 8,600 closings so far in 2019 and according to a report done by Credit Suisse in 2017, between 20% to 25% of malls will close by 2022.

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 article was first published in January 2018.


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.

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Source: Business Insider


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

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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 centre in its place. That fulfillment centre has since opened.

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Source: Crain’s and Scene


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

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Elizabeth Taylor reportedly shopped here.

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Source: The Washington Post


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

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

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Source: Seph Lawless


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

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Source: Business Insider


But in the months before it closed, it was home to just 40 businesses.

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Source: The Chicago Tribune


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

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

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

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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.

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

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

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

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Source: Kansas City Star


It was shut down in 2014.

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

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It’s completely run down and leaking.

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

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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.

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Source: Kansas City Star


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

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Source: Kansas City Star and Biz Journals


The Randall Park Mall in Cleveland has been empty since 2009.

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Source: Fox 8


The site was bought by Amazon to be converted into a 800,000-square-foot fulfillment centre, which opened this fall.

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Source: Crain’s and Cleveland.com


Rolling Acres Mall in Ohio was once packed with visitors.

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

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JCPenney was once the anchor store of the mall. It even had its own auto centre, which is pictured below.

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

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Source: Seph Lawless


The inside of the mall was covered with snow …

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… and had been left to crumble.

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

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Source: Cleveland


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

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Source: Cleveland


Demolition began in May 2016.

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

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

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Source: Chesterfield Observer


But it closed in 2008.

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Once a buzzing hub, the inside looked completely barren.

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In 2011 the building was demolished.

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

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Source: KLTV


Hawthorne Plaza in California closed its doors in 1999.

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Since then it’s made for an appropriately spooky spot for filming.

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

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Source: Business Insider


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

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

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Today, it is just a shell that’s covered in graffiti.

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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.

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Source: Business Insider


But these pop-ups were short-lived. Later that year, the city of Hawthorne agreed to demolish the building and replace it with a $US500 million open-air development, but this still hasn’t happened.

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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.

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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 JCPenney and Walgreens, was left vacant for 33 years before being demolished in 2012.

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Source: Chicago Tribune