ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Teardown of the Jamestown Mall started in earnest on Tuesday. The shopping center sat vacant for nearly a decade as local leaders sought to find a new use for the property and, eventually, funding for its demolition.
For those who live just down the street, it’s something they’ve long anticipated.
“Cars parading around, driving around, everybody wants to see what’s going on,” Mike Wyrozynski said. “The locals are concerned on what’s going on.”
Wyrozynski has lived across the street nearly his whole life. Over the last decade, he’s watched the Jamestown Mall in north St. Louis County deteriorate. But Tuesday brought new excitement on the future of the property.
Another lifelong resident, Damian Simpson, has had to deal with the sights of busted out windows and a rundown building since 2014.
“I have lived here most of my life,” he said. “They built it so many years ago. And it was a big thing back then.”
The mall opened in 1973 but closed in 2014 because of crime and an economic downturn.
“It was a big field with horses and cows,” Simpson said, describing the property in the years before the mall. “There was a lake. I grew up running around there having fun as a kid.”
Wyrozynski said the former mall sits on old farmland.
“There was a guy named Charlie Sutton, that was his farm. He moved out, sold the place, and it became Jamestown Mall,” he said.
Simpson even worked at the farm, and watched as the buildings fumbled into vacancy.
“At the time, security was pretty slack, and they were losing money here and there,” he said. “People just stopped coming.”
The price tag of the demolition is approximately $7.5 million, and is expected to last well into next summer. It’s unclear what the site will become, but Simpson hopes for a return to its roots.
“A big park for everybody; I’m into that,” he said. “There’s so much land out there to do stuff with.”
Whatever the case, for homeowner Wyrozynski, he just hopes it helps the area and the houses nearby.
“It’d be nice, with property value and everything else, that they do something nice with the place,” he said. “Keep north (St. Louis County) bright.”