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Old 03-24-2016, 03:14 PM   #1
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Another dead mall....

Heritage Park Mall, located in Midwest City, OK. This one is really sad. Unlike Crossroads Mall, this one has been completely shut down for several years and is in an advanced state of decay.
This is where I spent all of my teen years. The flight from the city to custom homes on acreages during the oil boom was a big part of the reason for this mall being as big a deal as it was in its early years. Half the size of Crossroads, it was nonetheless a very modern and upscale mall with Sears, Dillard's, Wards, Wilsons, bed and bath shops, a grand piano store, Hickory Farms, and one of the first big video stores (where you could buy new movies in both VHS and Beta, for $60-$225 each, roughly) as well as a 3 screen theater and lots of nice restaurants, no cheesy food court.
I attended the grand opening of this place in 1981 where the cast of Happy Days among other celebrities of the time played a sports tournament as part of the festivities.
Under construction in 1978:


The skinny...
The yuppie flight back to the city after the oil bust was the first blow. Then Wilsons went under in 1989, replaced with a Service Merchandise that went under in 2000 along with Montgomery Ward, greatly reducing foot traffic. In the 90s the mall was seriously outdated compared to the big shopping plazas in Oklahoma City and smaller stores vacated rapidly. Dillard's left shortly after, leaving only Sears.
By 2007, the mall had still never received a single update and stood mostly empty:








The building of a huge modern shopping plaza with Lowes, Target, Khols, etc, and all the chain restaurants you could shake a stick at on the other side of the town rendered Heritage Park completely irrelevant.
In 2011, the few remaining shops were given notice to vacate before the power was shut off.


I had a job near there yesterday and decided to pay a visit for the first time in 20 years. I had heard the place had closed, but was shocked at the condition of it!









Continued

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Old 03-24-2016, 03:16 PM   #2
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Dead mall 2
















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Old 03-24-2016, 03:17 PM   #3
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Dead mall 3



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Old 03-24-2016, 04:28 PM   #4
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Another dead mall....

I love the economics of all of this. Cause and effect in business operations has always piques my interest.

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Old 03-24-2016, 05:36 PM   #5
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Retro...
You know, I all my many years (I'm really old), I have never, ever seen abandoned towns, building and houses like those you show in your great pictures. I've lived on 3 continents (UK, Africa and Australia) and nowhere has there been desolation as you have shown it.
Even in outback Australia where small communities tend to come and go over 100 years of mining, farming, railroads or specialised industry, nowhere exists (that I know of) that even remotely resembles the heartache and sadness that these buildings the US reflect. Somebody, somewhere has lost a boatload of money, jobs and happiness when these places close - whether it's a big mall or family home.
A few months ago an Australian car magazine had an article on the demise of the US automobile industry in Detriot (Deerborn to be precise) - talk about a ghost town. One of the most distressing parts of the article was in the value of property - I thought the magazine had made a mistake when they said that houses could be bought for less the $10,000. Quite a few readers wrote in and said there must have been a mistake regarding the values - had a 0 been left off the values? But no, house & land costs really were that low, which to the average working Joe must be devastating !!
Whatever's happening, its very sad - not you photographs, but the subject.......
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Old 03-24-2016, 07:48 PM   #6
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BigJake, It is fascinating to me learning how, for ghost towns or shopping districts, the same forces set up the pins and knock them down.

Steve, I used to have a similar conversation with a co-worker who was originally from London. It has always bothered me how wasteful Americans are, especially when it comes to structures. George Carlin once called us professional, compulsive consumers. Only problem is, when you consume a lot, you leave behind a lot of excrement. More directly, it's not at all unusual to see a new strip mall being built right next to an older failed one with boarded up windows. Why?? Because it's cheaper to build than renovate. Then the property values of the unused structures become worthless. Better to just abandon or tear down. Heritage Park was up for sale several years ago (before the owners gave up) for 3 million bucks! A fully functional (then) 600,000 square foot structure. They didn't get one offer. Just wild. And pleas with the city to help renovate and revive the mall were largely ignored, because they were too involved with the development of the new shopping mecca on the other side of town. They're following the money. It doesn't help that our economic hills and valleys are so severe and frequent.
I can see why such decisions are made, but it's still such a waste.
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Old 03-24-2016, 08:11 PM   #7
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We recently had a mall go down, it had a successful movie theater attached that kept it somewhat open for a while. There was just another newer larger mall on the other side of town that slowly pushed this one out of relevance. About 5 years ago the last stores finally closed leaving only the theater and then over the past 2 or 3 years they tore it down built a cabellas Dave and busters and anything else you can think of spurring a slew of new stores in the general area.

It's just the pushes and pulls of the free market, always a joy to watch.
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Old 03-25-2016, 01:52 AM   #8
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We had a mall here that was going the way of the one in your pictures. The city ended up buying it and turning it into a community college complex. Not all of them end in a sad story.
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Old 03-25-2016, 02:39 AM   #9
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True, not all. Shepherd Mall in central OKC is one of those. It went down in the 90s, but instead of being abandoned or torn down, it was purchased by the city, remodeled and turned into an office complex. I still miss it being a mall, but at least it didn't go to waste. There are a few eateries salons and general shops in there, mostly for the convenience of the office workers, but it's open to the public as well as far as I know.
Crossroads is still in limbo, investors keep coming in and wanting to do something with it, but it's mostly an Albatross.

Heritage Park is the saddest case I know of in Oklahoma. When I stood in the broken door above to take the interior picture, this ice cold, moldy wind was washing over me with the faint sound of a low howling and creaking coming from inside. It was downright eerie.
The supposed worst case in the U.S. (and the one that got me interested in this) is Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, OH.










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Old 03-25-2016, 04:33 AM   #10
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Rolling acres is crazy. If you like this stuff, there are quite a few you tubers that regularly explore these malls. The imagery is powerful. I'm not going to post any links, but one guy I watch a lot is thisisdanbell. He's got a whole series on dead malls.
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:38 AM   #11
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I recently discovered Dan Bell. Interesting stuff he puts out. I enjoyed the video where he got caught by a squadron of police (was that the Rolling Acres vid?).
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:47 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroman1969 View Post
BigJake, It is fascinating to me learning how, for ghost towns or shopping districts, the same forces set up the pins and knock them down.

Steve, I used to have a similar conversation with a co-worker who was originally from London. It has always bothered me how wasteful Americans are, especially when it comes to structures. George Carlin once called us professional, compulsive consumers. Only problem is, when you consume a lot, you leave behind a lot of excrement. More directly, it's not at all unusual to see a new strip mall being built right next to an older failed one with boarded up windows. Why?? Because it's cheaper to build than renovate. Then the property values of the unused structures become worthless. Better to just abandon or tear down. Heritage Park was up for sale several years ago (before the owners gave up) for 3 million bucks! A fully functional (then) 600,000 square foot structure. They didn't get one offer. Just wild. And pleas with the city to help renovate and revive the mall were largely ignored, because they were too involved with the development of the new shopping mecca on the other side of town. They're following the money. It doesn't help that our economic hills and valleys are so severe and frequent.
I can see why such decisions are made, but it's still such a waste.
Your first line sounds like Detroit. I bought my wife a $300 or so book called :The Ruins of Detroit. Could have bought 3 properties there for that book's cost, but it's a great book with tons of dead and abandoned properties. Google it.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:04 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroman1969 View Post
I recently discovered Dan Bell. Interesting stuff he puts out. I enjoyed the video where he got caught by a squadron of police (was that the Rolling Acres vid?).
Yeah that is the one. Rolling acres is an unreal disaster. Really speaks volumes for our American culture of build it big and throw it away.

Speaking of Detroit ish, take a look at the Pontiac silverdome where the Lions used to play. Huge abandoned nfl stadium. In complete and utter decay now. The dome fell in, there's a jungle growing on the field. It's crazy the way we throw stuff away.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:32 AM   #14
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Always enjoy seeing your journeys Retro.

This conversation reminded me of the Phoenix Trotting Park in Goodyear, AZ. The first time I saw it from I-10, I thought it was new construction that had temporarily been halted. It was amazing to learn that it was built in the 1960s, opened in 1965, closed in '66 and has sat unused since then. Beautiful and ugly.

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Old 03-25-2016, 02:25 PM   #15
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Sounds interesting, I'll look that up! Thanks Timco!
I totally agree jdraupp!
Thank you 78F350! Wow that place is amazing! Looks like a future world exhibit from the 1939 Worlds Fair.
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Old 03-25-2016, 04:33 PM   #16
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There are a surprising number of these big, abandoned malls everywhere in this country. Not to pick on Oklahoma, but in my limited number of visits there, it seems like there are more abandoned structures there than I've seen in most other states. Not just malls, of course, but lots of other vacant buildings as well.

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Old 03-25-2016, 04:46 PM   #17
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I guess this is why we're so crazy about keeping our cars on the road!
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Old 03-25-2016, 05:19 PM   #18
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My oldest Son graduated with a mechanical engineering classmate that took a job outside Detroit with one of the "Big Three" back in 2011.

At one pont, Just for the H_ll of it he bought a crappy Pontiac 6000 off CL and set it on fire in the parking lot of the Pontiac Mall (abandoned, of course). He took a few pics of the Pontiac ablaze, with the mall in the background. He wasn't concerned about 'running away'....There was no one around, no police, no fire dept.

He still lives and works up there and now, as a more mature 26 year old (or so) owns over a dozen homes, all on the same block. He lives in one and rented out the other to young coworkers who just pay utilities and for the upkeep of the home.


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