Skip Nav
10 Seriously Hot Romances Not For the Faint of Heart
40 Disney Princess Secrets You Never Knew Growing Up
This Couple's Love Story Began in Ireland, So They Decided to Go Back For Their Wedding

10 Uses For Dead and Dying Malls

Mall Rats: 10 Uses For Dead and Dying Malls

Empty swimming pools have always fascinated and disturbed me; they're cold, creepy holes for the better part of the year. Mall season has been coming to its end since the '90s, and more and more empty malls and shopping centers are sitting sad and stark, like inverted pools, off highways across the country.

How'd it happen? For years, developers assumed they'd make money if they built malls bigger than the last. And that assumption was correct, for a while. But they never foresaw what would happen to their big box when a bigger one was built. Now cities that house once-crowning, albeit fake, jewels struggle with lost tax revenue, vandalism and crime, and decreasing property values.

But malls don't have to go to hell. If they haven't been allowed to decay and were structurally sound to begin with (that may be a big if), then they can be retrofitted, greened, and reinhabited. Check out 10 new uses for old malls below — maybe you have something better to add!

  1. Community college classrooms
  2. Libraries
  3. Parks, especially malls built on wetlands that are now environmentally protected
  4. Senior housing
  5. Town centers, incorporated into mixed-use streets with housing, offices, and shopping

To see the rest,


  1. Public and private offices
  2. Community centers
  3. Car dealerships
  4. Nonprofit arts groups
  5. Immigrant mom-and-pop shops


Join The Conversation
Bettye-Wayne Bettye-Wayne 7 years
I like it as a general rule of principal (anti-mass-commercialism), but the retail store I was working at until recently just closed. I've decided to go back to school, so it's been a blessing in some ways, but with the way the retail world is looking right now, it might not be easy to find a job that I can fit around my schedule. The mall-shopping plaza I worked at was jam-packed about ten years ago... then the plaza started losing businesses, then the mall did, it just gets worse. There's a few empty houses, but not many, not boarded up, most just with permanent sale signs. If I go farther into the city, every other street-front store is boarded up. First it was the stores, then the apartments above the stores, then the houses. I've looked it up and supposedly 20% of the houses in the city are abandoned. And then I go out to the suburbs... it's flourishing! They call it "Crocker Park." From what I hear a lot of athletes live around there... it's a miniature city. Apartments on top of stores, cafes, community clubs, every single upper-class store imaginable, even little corner-stores. Lots of brand new and luxury cars- not a spot of rust to be found. There's even a 24 hour gym so you never have to drive anywhere except for work. I go there for the health food store... It's about 15-20 minutes away and the second closest health food store is 2 hours away. But it's disgusting. I'm 24 and sometimes I think it really used to be a lot better than this but sometimes I wonder if maybe I'm not old enough to remember properly... I have no idea what it was like 10 years ago. I guess I just wonder if there's anything more to hope for from this country or if this is as good as it gets.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 8 years
Our county government has some offices in a failed mall. I worked there for about five months. The other tenants were businesses like call centers & med tech schools. It was kind of surreal, with the functioning mall directory signs & food court. And everyone mall-walked on their breaks.
Blow them up like UnDave suggests, then till up the land and make huge community gardens. They'll go from housing material crap to producing needed food.
TidalWave TidalWave 8 years
unfortunately, they will probably not be put to good uses like this
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
Or destroy them in some action flick like in Terminator...
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 8 years
lol, exactly CG!
briglass briglass 8 years
art @ crestwood mall in st.louis, mo
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
hee hee zombies! yay zombies! I say make them into public walking and running tracks with calisthenic equipment in the center.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
movie sets for zombie movies.
Zumba Plank Jack Challenge
Best Pants For Women
JonBenet Ramsey Murder Case Information
Celebrity Reactions to Transgender Military Ban
From Our Partners
Latest Love
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds