10 Abandoned Malls Worth Exploring

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One would think that a lot of research is done before the construction of a huge mall. But no matter what the research shows, no one can guarantee success. We’re put together a list of abandoned malls from around the world that would be perfect for urban exploration, an epic zombie film or an awesome paintball arena.

10. New South China Mall (Dongguan, China)

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Apparently Chinese companies have a lot of cash to burn. New South China Mall has the potential to hold around 2,350 stores in its 9,600,000 square feet, but around 80% of the mall is yet to be occupied. The mall has been almost entirely vacant since its 2005 opening, even though Dongguan was thought to be the ideal location for a mall of this size. The suburbs of Dongguan are only reachable by car or bus, essentially placing it in no man’s land. The man who spearheaded the ambitious project was Hu Guirong, a billionaire who made a mark in the commercial world through instant noodles. We wouldn’t dare call him an idiot though, because one backfire doesn’t change his billionaire status. If he’s an idiot, what does that make the rest of us?

9. El Con Center (Tuscon, Arizona)

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The oldest mall in Tuscon is on life support. It was established in 1960 as an outdoor shopping center, but it’s no longer the heartbeat of the town and it currently remains home to only a handful of stores. The entire northwest wing faced demolition in 1998, and although many retailers and restaurants opened in the 2000s the mall lost tenants in equal numbers. In 2011, some of the remaining buildings were demolished to make way for a pathway to make it easier to reach the few shops that are still operational.

8. Tallahassee Mall (Tallahassee, Florida)

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The Tallahassee Mall first saw light in 1971, when it opened with the anchor stores of Woolco, Gayfers and Montgomery Ward. Currently, only a handful of stores in the mall break even — the rest are losing their investors buckets of money. Although the mall was foreclosed in January 2011, a real estate company quickly jumped at the opportunity to buy the mall’s lease only a month later. For now the mall is functioning, but it better start punching above its weight if it wants to see another decade.

7. The Glenfield Westfield Mall (Auckland, New Zealand)

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The Glenfield Westfield Mall is famous for the extensive upgrades it went through. The Westfield mall chain bought the Glenfield mall in 1996 and splashed $100 million to modernize the mall in 2000. The mall stood the test of time for around six years, but after the new mall scent wore off it couldn’t keep up with the introduction of rival shopping centers. All the high end clothing brands quickly jumped on the bandwagon and established their base in upcoming malls. Everything about the Glenfield Westfield Mall is outdated, and a future upgrade is an unlikely possibility.

6. Brookside Mall (Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada)

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Brookside Mall was established in the late ’70s, but it no longer satisfies the needs of consumers. It was built with the intent of attracting both the north and south sides of town, but when it opened it was like peanuts compared to the humongous malls of today. The fortunes of the 20 store shopping center started spiraling downwards following the construction of a rival mall three times the size. Brookside followed suit and tried to expand with the times, but to no success. The mall’s currently enduring a slow death.

5. Sobey’s Square (Mount Pearl, Newfoundland, Canada)

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Mount Pearl’s Sobey’s Square was built after the larger city of St. John’s denied it access that might have given it a different fortune. Sobey’s Square went through a major renovation in the 1990s, but all the effort that went into the expansion turned out to be fruitless. In order to curb further losses, shops started closing one after another. Currently, only the movie theaters are still operating successfully.

4. New World Mall (Bangkok, Thailand)

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The New World Mall never saw the light at the end of the tunnel. Work on the ambitious 11 story project began in the ’80s, but when the construction company was found guilty of breaching a building law work immediately halted and the mall was shut down. The abandoned mall currently serves as a humongous fish tank for a wide variety of exotic sea creatures. How did that come about? Because the roof of the mall was never completed, the basement accumulated enough stagnant rainwater to breed mosquitoes. This caused a terrible annoyance to locals, who decided to release fish in the water to stop the mosquitoes from breeding. The fish started breeding instead, and the remains of the New World Mall now sleep with the fishes.

3. Greeley Mall (Colorado, United States)

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Greeley Mall was opened to the masses in 1973 and went strong during the ’80s and ’90s. In 2004 new capital was injected into the mall for renovations. Interiors were redone, skylights were added and a new  theater was installed. Things were looking up, but the sudden closure of major clothing stores followed by the opening of a new mall in a nearby neighborhood drove off most of Greeley Mall’s customers. The mall hasn’t been able to stand as proudly as it once did, and foot traffic has been down to a minimum. The decline has caused the mall to be sold many times over the years. Most recently the mall was sold for $6.1 million in 2012, a sharp decline from its 2006 estimated value of $41 million.

2. Cloverleaf Mall (Chesterfield, Virginia, United States)

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Cloverleaf Mall was opened in 1972 to serve as the epicenter of area’s fashion community. While the mall and its initial 45 stores enjoyed unparalleled success in its heyday, its popularity was on the ebb by the 1990s. The mall developed a reputation for at best attracting kids in baggy pants and chained belts, and at worst attracting gang members. While the fears were probably overblown, the mall’s reputation went down the drain when the rumors came true. In 1996, two clerks were murdered in a robbery.

1. Randall Park Mall (Cleveland, United States)

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The well planned and easily accessible Randall Park Mall opened in 1976 to great anticipation and celebration. It had major potential and at the time was one of the largest malls ever built, but its popularity began declining following the establishment of a rival center that stole most of Randall Park’s upscale customers. Falling sales prompted shops to shut down, and an incident where a suspected shoplifter was fatally injured by mall security didn’t help the mall’s reputation. Randall Park shuttered its doors for good in 2009, while reports in 2014 suggest that the mall will be destroyed to make way for industrial buildings.

Malls aren't the only things that get abandoned.
Read our article about abandoned ghost ships, or our list of entire abandoned cities.

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9 Comments

  1. gonna assume the writer played the last of us, left behind recently lol number four looks like a screenshot of the game.

  2. #2– Cloverleaf Mall was razed a couple of years ago to make way for a grocery store, strip mall shops, and condominiums. In the 80’s, the cool thing to do was hit the mall and the Putt-Putt mini-golf arcade just up the street.

  3. Carousel Mall in San Bernardino, California should definitely be on this list. All three anchor stores left and virtually all other shops are shuttered. It stays open only because it is owned by the city. I shopped there around 1980 when it was called Central City Mall and was shocked seeing it a few months ago. The decor remains virtually unchanged in all that time except for an additional of a carousel and a rename. It is truly eerie.

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