Saturday, August 09, 2008

Dead Malls

Via Mitch, a story on new ubanists and dead malls here, and the interesting website, here.

The first dead mall I knew was in Chickopee, Mass., near school. I remember it as dimly lit and decorated in 70s earth tones. That's where the K-Mart-ish store (Bradlees? Caldor? I forget) was. And not much else. Well, the first Gap I ever knew, and an Izod discount or outlet store. I remember buying a number of things at both for just $10, as there is (was?) no sales tax on clothes. If the sign said Wool Sweaters $10, that was it. Of, course the Wal-Mart effect means that 20 years later, sweater still aren't much more than that, but at the time it seemed like a great deal.

Locally, Azalea Mall got flattened years ago, though the sign still stands. Someone entered Fairfield Commons (ne Eastgate) on the Dead Malls site, but in order to proclaim it has some potential and life signs.

Cloverleaf's entry on that site hasn't been updated -- there was the business with a church wanting it, and I think it also appeared in some new urbanist-like dream, but maybe would be razed before housing and shopping would emerge. I have lots of memories of Cloverleaf, the Nice Mall of my childhood: Girl Scout uniforms from Penny's, going into LaVogue's village street with Mom, buying enless "belt strips" and buckles at the Papagallo section of Thalheimer's to give as gifts to girl friends. The Girl Scout council even held some of those every-one-set-up-a-booth kind of events there.

Then there's my neighborhood Little Mall That Could, wonderful Willow Lawn. A recent renovation made out-parcel shops healthier than ever, with Panera customers taking up most of one end of the parking lot. It lacks a real department store, and CVS just fled across Willow Lawn Drive, but there's a lot of useful stuff there. If I could just get a nice pair of pantyhose there, I wouldn't go farther afield.

OK - low battery, and I gotta go to work. I'll post this, though it may get revised.

1 comment:

Georgi said...

We notice, too often, the many vacant buildings in our neighborhood that once held movie theaters, grocery stores, even a swell bakery-cafe at the end of our street. We had our hopes up last month when some fellows were looking at the old grocery store building on 25th Street. We thought we might actually have a grocery store close to us. Alas, it didn't happen. Michelle and I are always talking about opening something in our neighborhood. I wonder why shoe-string singles (as we are classified on our zillow listing) aren't a group of folks who would need a grocery store? I think the crime (and, eh, violence) are always in the forefront of folks minds. Thats my rant.