These photos of abandoned malls and golf courses reveal a new era for the American suburb

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Inside Chicago’s shuttered Lincoln Mall. Seph Lawless

In March 2017, Business Insider reported a series of stories on “The Death of Suburbia,” declaring the end of the suburbs as we once knew them.

By examining the plummeting value of McMansions, the increasingly blurry line between city and suburb, and the shuttered shopping malls across the US, we saw that the once flourishing suburbs were no longer what they used to be.

Read more: Millennials are following in baby boomers’ footsteps and heading for the suburbs – but there’s a key difference in how they’re doing it

Ahead, see a collection of photos from Seph Lawless and Business Insider reporters, showing the relics of America’s suburban past. Some of these structures are now abandoned while millennials move forward with alternative ways of living.


It’s been a rough couple of years for the retail industry, and malls are shutting down across the US. Chicago’s Lincoln Mall, pictured here, shut its doors in January 2015.

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Source:
Business Insider


It had originally opened in 1973.

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


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

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


Closer to its final months, the mall had just 40 storefronts in business.

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


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

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


The closing of the mall’s Sears was a major blow to its business.

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


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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Source:
Chicago Tribune


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:
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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Chicago Tribune


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

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


For nearly two years, the mall sat empty.

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


Its shops’ signage stayed intact, however.

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Source:
Seph Lawless


Some banners also remained hanging.

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Source:
Seph Lawless


Demolition began on the property in May 2017.

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Source:
Chicago Tribune


The Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio, had a similar fate.

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Source:
Ohio.com


This mall originally opened in 1975.

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Source:
Cleveland.com


With JCPenney as one of this mall’s anchor stores, the mall’s parking lot was packed with visitors in the early 1980s.

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Source:
Ohio.com


It officially closed in 2008.

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Source:
Cleveland.com


Demolition of the mall began in 2016.

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Ohio.com


The Metro North Shopping Centre in Kansas City, Missouri, has also shuttered.

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Source:
KansasCity.com


This mall opened in 1976.

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Source:
KansasCity.com


The mall was massive. Sitting at 1.2 million square feet, it once housed more than 150 retailers.

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Source:
KansasCity.com


The mall officially closed in 2014.

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Source:
KansasCity.com


Originally, a $US200 million makeover was in the works, but the developers ditched the plan in 2015, citing difficulties attracting tenants.

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Source:
KansasCity.com


Even some malls that are still open for business look like ghost towns. Here’s the Regency Square Mall in Richmond, Virginia, in March 2017, for example.

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Source:
Business Insider


Empty storefronts lined the halls.

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Source:
Business Insider


Similarly, Valley View Mall in Dallas — which opened in 1973 — was mostly empty of both people and stores when Business Insider visited on December 23, 2016.

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Source:Dallas News, Business Insider


The mall flourished in the 1970s and through the 1980s.

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Source:
Labelscar.com


However, as early as the 1990s, after one of its anchor stores, Bloomingdale’s, closed, it began experiencing financial trouble.

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Business Insider


Some of Valley View’s original shops had been taken over by what looked more like a neighbourhood garage sale than a store.

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A garage-sale-like store front in Valley View Mall, in Dallas in December 2016. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider


Source:
Business Insider


It also seemed that many of the shops had been repurposed.

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Business Insider


Valley View Mall officially closed in July 2017.

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Source:
Dallas News


Demolition of the mall began in May 2019. The site is being replaced with mixed-use high-rise buildings said to include office space, retail space, entertainment space, and residential units.

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An empty food court inside Valley View Mall in December 2016. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider


Source:
WFAA


Many retailers have struggled to adapt to changing consumer behaviours. As for the anchor stores that are still open in malls, as in this Sears store in Glen Allen, Virginia, in July 2017, the lack of products can be alarming.

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Source:
Business Insider


The Business Insider correspondent Hayley Peterson visited the Glen Allen Sears and found empty shelves in the shoe department.

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Business Insider


A broken display shelf was found in the appliances department.

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Business Insider


A corner of the store featuring travel items had the same products hanging on multiple hooks, most likely an attempt to fill space.

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Business Insider


A department devoted to curtains also appeared to be missing some inventory.

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Business Insider


This section was better stocked than other departments, but it also lacked wall signage.

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Business Insider


Ripped carpet lined the walls below empty shelves.

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Business Insider


The men’s department was also very empty.

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Business Insider


This Sears location in Woodbridge, New Jersey, which we visited in February 2017, didn’t look much better.

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Business Insider


This Richmond, Virginia, location was also lacking merchandise.

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Business Insider


In November 2018, Sears announced that 40 Sears and Kmart stores would close their doors. This news came at a time when 142 stores were already set to close by the end of the year.

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Source:
Business Insider


The number of store closings announced in 2018 brought Sears’ total store count down to about 500 — a major decrease from 2,000 stores in 2013.

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Business Insider


In July 2016, we visited the flagship Macy’s store in Manhattan, only to find messy shelves and lots of sales. Macy’s closed 68 locations in 2017.

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Business Insider


The apparel department was also a mess.

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Source:
Business Insider


It’s not just the malls’ anchor stores. Crocs closed 158 locations in 2017.

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Source:
Yahoo.com


In 2017, nearly everything was on sale at RadioShack as it prepared to close 1,430 stores nationwide.

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Business Insider


In 2017, Wet Seal announced the closing of all 171 locations.

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Business Insider


In 2018, Mattress Firm announced that it would close up to 700 stores across the United States.

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Business Insider


Malls and shopping aren’t the only things that have changed in suburbs across America. Once a community staple in many American suburbs, the golf course is also now a slowly dying breed.

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The closed Apple Ridge Country Club in Mahwah, New Jersey. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider


Source:
Business Insider


More than 800 golf courses have shuttered across the US in the past decade, and data from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association found that those ages 18 to 30 had a lack of interest in playing the game.

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Source:
Business Insider


The Apple Ridge Country Club, located in Mahwah, New Jersey, opened in 1966.

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Source:
Business Insider


Apple Ridge had been complete with an event space, an 18-hole golf course, a swimming pool, and tennis courts.

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Source:
Business Insider


Since it officially closed in late 2015, the country club has seemingly remained uncared for.

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Source:
Business Insider


This is how it looked when we paid a visit in February 2017.

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Source:
Business Insider


Today, millennials are doing everything they can to live in cities rather than traditional neighbourhood homes.

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Heather Stewart and Luke Iseman have joined the tiny-house movement in San Francisco. Melia Robinson/Business Insider


Source:
Business Insider


In lieu of traditional housing, some millennials are turning basements, boats, and vans into homes.

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The couple converted this shipping container into a tiny house. Melia Robinson/Business Insider


Source:
Business Insider


Young homebuyers with different attitudes toward conspicuous consumption are also killing off the McMansion, a sprawling, often architecturally mismatched home boasting several thousand square feet of space.

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Source:
Business Insider