ST. LOUIS – Online shopping has contributed to the gradual decline of traditional shopping malls in the 21st century, and several spots in the St. Louis area reflect that harsh reality.
In the past few decades, at least seven spots that once served as bustling shopping malls in the St. Louis City or St. Louis County have shut down mall operations. Depending on interpretation, some of these might even be considered “dead malls,” due to high vacancy rates, low consumer traffic, or deterioration.
Some malls around St. Louis have taken on new life with scaled-down retail or non-retail operations. Others have come down or are expected to soon come down for good.
Inspired by a similar Riverfront Times article, FOX 2 takes a closer look into seven malls not forgotten, but no longer serving the St. Louis area as malls.
Municipality: Crestwood, Missouri
The first regional mall in the St. Louis area, Crestwood Court was once home to six different anchors (three at a time) and more than 100 stores were available to shoppers in its prime. Its last anchor (Macy’s) left in 2009, and the last-standing store shut down in 2013. The mall was demolished three years later.
Crestwood has moved forward with mixed-use development plans in hopes to revitalize the area. That includes a Dierbergs, a residential development, and several standalone stores.
Crossings at Northwest
Municipality: St. Ann, Missouri
Once considered the largest mall in all of America upon opening, the Crossings at Northwest occupied 1.8 million square feet as a primarily single-floor mall. As many as nine anchors and 200 stores could occupy the grounds at one time. After several ownership changes and an aging structure, the mall closed doors in 2010.
Some parts of the mall have been demolished, but most of the original structure remains standing in present day. One tower still serves as office space for workers. In recent years many standalone stores and restaurants, including Menard’s and Bob’s Discount Furniture, have thrived near the former mall grounds.
Municipality: Unincorporated St. Louis County, Missouri (North County)
Unlike many malls around St. Louis, Jamestown Mall was built in a giant lot without many businesses in close proximity. However, the mall wasn’t too far from major highways or north county neighborhoods, and it enjoyed a decades-long run as the most northern mall in St. Louis County. Four anchors, a movie theater, and around 100 stores could occupy it at one time before shutting down in 2014.
In recent years, even while vacant, the abandoned mall has suffered from decay and vandalism. St. Louis County approved preliminary plans last year to demolish Jamestown Mall and recently selected a contractor to bring down the mall. It’s unclear how soon demolition might start.
River Roads Mall
Municipality: Jennings, Missouri
To stand out from growing competition in the St. Louis area, River Roads Mall featured St. Louis-based anchor Stix, Baer & Fuller, plus unique mall options like supermarkets and five-and-dime stores. Shopping preferences changed, and even before the day and age of the Internet, the mall shut down before others in the St. Louis metro.
River Roads Mall sat vacant for nearly a decade before it was demolished. Some standalone restaurants and businesses operate near the defunct mall’s grounds.
St. Louis Centre
Municipality: St. Louis, Missouri (Downtown St. Louis)
Boasting unique architecture in its heyday with a glass facade and 25-story office tower, the St. Louis Centre unfortunately lived a shorter life than most St. Louis regional malls. Famous Barr and Dillard’s served as anchors for several years, and the venue could hold more than 150 stores and restaurants. Dillard’s closed in 2001, and the mall was mostly vacant after an ownership change in 2006.
Demolition began for parts of the mall in 2010. Some areas have been redeveloped into parking garages. The 25-story tower still stands, and what remains of the mall is known as One City Center.
St. Louis Outlet Mall
Municipality: Hazelwood, Missouri
Born in a time when uncertainty loomed around malls, the St. Louis Outlet Mall (formerly known as the St. Louis Mills) proved different from others due to a variety of attractions. The Ice Zone was the former site of St. Louis Blues practices. At its peak, there was also a NASCAR speed park, an indoor skate park, and a movie theater.
The mall held on longer than most that experienced cruel fate in the St. Louis area, but closed most access points in 2019. The Ice Zone and Cabela’s are among the last remaining open parts of the mall. Plans to redevelop and rebrand the site as “Powerplex” and add a variety of sports facilities have not materialized as officials initially hoped. Other future plans for the mall are uncertain.
Union Station Mall
Municipality: St. Louis, Missouri (Downtown St. Louis)
Earning national landmark status as a longtime train station, Union Station entered the mall sweepstakes as part of a $150 million renovation. Visitors could enjoy a variety of mall stores and restaurants, plus a hotel experience unlike others around St. Louis City. Like most malls, Union Station noticed that stores struggled to stay open as online shopping became more prominent.
Fortunately, a new ownership group took charge and pivoted from the mall concepted. In a large-scale transformation, the St. Louis Aquarium opened in 2019 and quickly became one of the biggest attractions downtown. The St. Louis Wheel and new restaurants were also part of the redevelopment plans.