For years, retailers, analysts, and others have theorized that Amazon — and the conveniences of online shopping — have killed the mall. In a development that seems to bring the idea full circle, Amazon will operate a new warehouse on the gravesite of one the country’s largest former malls.
The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that Amazon will lease a soon-to-be finished 855,000-square-foot building on the site of the Randall Park Mall.
The new warehouse, which is expected to bring about 2,000 full-time jobs to the city of North Randall, is expected to cost about $177 million.
Rising From The Ashes
Randall Park Mall, once dubbed the world’s largest indoor shopping center, opened in 1976, closed in 2009 and was demolished in 2014.
The mall once housed more than 200 retailers before entering decline in the 1990s as shoppers began defecting to retailers in nearby suburbs, the Plain Dealer reported in 2014.
While consumers’ changing shopping habits — including looking online and moving to smaller stores — likely had an impact on the mall’s business, ownership played a large part in the facility’s demise.
Eventually, after the mall changed hands several times and numerous development plans fell through, the owners began terminating leases, closing sections of the building in 2008. The entire building closed for good in 2009.
A video from Bright Sun Films shows the once bustling mall transforming into an eerie, crumbling shell of retail-past.
Demolition of the mall came after the facility fell into disrepair. The Plain Dealer reports that at the time of demolition, the building had no electricity, no heat, and that floors were covered in brackish water and the remains of leaves.
A Welcome Savior
While many retailers are gearing up to fight Amazon for business, the people of North Randall appear to be welcoming the e-commerce giant with open arms.
“I’m lost for words, because we are so fortunate to get this project,” Mayor David Smith tells the Plain Dealer.
Other community and business leaders say they look forward to working with Amazon for the long-haul.
“We’re taking on the next generation of e-commerce and where e-commerce and e-retail is going. … From the local viewpoint and lifting families, we’re deeply excited for North Randall and the area,” Ted Griffith, JobsOhio managing director, tells the Plain Dealer.