Thursday, August 18, 2016

Six Flags/Plaza Central Mall Summer 2015

The former Six Flags Mall reopened as Plaza Central Mall in October 2014 and closed again in February 2016 after the property was sold again. I visited the mall in the Summer of 2015 in the afternoon during the short time the mall had reopened for business. This is a lengthy article with nearly 100 photos of the once again closed mall. Six Flags Mall originally opened in 1970 and by early 2005 all department store anchors closed. Dillard's reopened in March 2005 as a clearance center and closed in August 2016. The mall closed sometime after April 2012 after this article was written about the last business left in the mall.The mall was purchased in late 2012 by a local businessman who wanted to remodel the mall and donate the mall once it was successful to a Christian youth volunteer group. The new owner had several issues getting the redevelopment going due to issues with the city of Arlington, but finally reopened the property in October 2014. Sadly the redevelopment of the mall was not successful and the mall closed in February 2016 and was quickly resold.
Now we start with the interior of the mall.

Dillard's reopened the clearance center mall entrance once the mall reopened. This Dillard's closed for three years before reopening in 2005 as a clearance center. 
This Dillard's closed on August 1st, 2016, leaving the Cinemark as the last remaining business at the mall. The Dillard's clearance center will now be at the Ridgmar Mall.
We are in the Dillard's corridor, where there were two small corridors with separate mall entrances. 

This former restaurant could use a good cleaning.
The names on the above directory were not updated to show the current stores in this corridor.
In the Dillard's court, a stage for events.
A wider view of the Dillard's court and the stage.
In this set of photos I enhanced the light so you can see the images better. Some of these may be duplicates to other photos in this post. These are not in any particular order.
A real skylight.

Here is the food court area where the cinema entrance is located. From here on out, the photos will be organized into areas of the mall.
You will see a trend here in the food court area, most tables either have no chairs or the chairs are on top of the tables. Only the tables in front of the only food court vendor have the chairs on the ground awaiting customers.

The food court space with the light on was being renovated on my visit. Sadly that work was all for naught. Also you can see the games set up for children in this seating area. One of the games had a loud clown laugh that would go off every minute or so and break the quiet of the place. 
Here is what you see from the entrance to the food court.

The food court is separated with a few outlets near the cinema and others across the mall corridor. During my visit, only one food court vendor was operating and another space was being renovated presumably for another food vendor.
Looking from the food court down to the Foley's/Center court. 
The only restaurant that was open in the food court on my visit is on the left. 
The former JCPenney which was also a college and Burke's Outlet after the JCPenney closed.
The food court restrooms had been closed off to the public, but there were some restrooms near the center of the mall that appeared to be new.
The view from the entrance to the cinema inviting people to visit the mall.
Another view of the lonely food court vendor.
A former Suncoast.
Here are some of the stores in the corridor between the former Foley's and former JCPenney. 
There were a bunch of these motivational signs scattered across the mall.
GNC labelscar
This was one of the few stores open between the former Foley's and the food court.
Inside of the former Foley's/Sanger Harris. This was going to be a furniture store until the deal fell through.
The trampolines and the Dillard's corridor.
It was difficult to see which businesses were actually open. Some stores were open to walk into but had no merchandise, others had signage and merchandise but the gates were closed. Then there were the stores which were open and stocked with merchandise.
Here is the Sears corridor.

I have seen these Mercaditos before in other malls. 
The Sears corridor did not have any stores open on my visit that I could see. The salon near the Sears looked like it was in business, but the lights were off when I passed by.
Tons of real estate.
There were flyers like this one on nearly every empty store.
This business looked like it was open, but maybe nights and weekends only.
The directories are still from the Six Flags Mall era.
I could not tell if any of the former interior stores on this list came back to the mall after it reopened.
The former Sears, which was used as a haunted house near Halloween time.
A faint Sears labelscar, this was the first anchor to close at the mall.
The hallway next to Sears.

The working fountain in front of the former Sears.
Looking back from near the Sears.
More vacant storefronts

Looking back toward Sears.
A peek inside of the old school Foot Locker.

Here is the front of the Foot Locker.
The Sears corridor looking towards the center court and Foley's.
You can see some water damage above this store near the ceiling.
One more shot of the Foley's entrance, this could possibly be the last Foley's sign still intact since Macy's pulled all the name plates off of the Foley's stores.
Looking at the businesses near the center court in the Dillard's corridor. This corridor had the most stores open on my visit.
Signs like this one were all over the mall.
The name of this store about sums up what mall management tried to accomplish with the mix of stores. 

A lot of businesses such as this one kept limited hours.

Some ceiling damage.

Former Champs sports

The leasing office just ahead.
Another directory.
This furniture store was located next to the leasing office. There was a sign that said if you want to purchase furniture from this store go to the leasing office for assistance.
Looking back towards the Dillard's court.
A closer look at the above signs to the leasing office.
One of the many signs on the empty store fronts.

The Dillard's court featured a stage for events.
Looking at the Dillard's corridor with Foley's in the distance.

A look at some of the events that were here on the weekends to draw people here to shop.
We will make one more pass through the JCPenney corridor and food court.

An obvious former Bath and Body Works.
The JCPenney store and food court are at the end of this corridor.

Labelscar for Limited Too
Kids of the 70's, 80's and 90's will easily recognize this Kay Bee Toys storefront.
Inside the former Kay Bee Toys.

Inside the former Suncoast store.
Inside the former JCPenney.
Looking at the mall from the former JCPenney entrance.
Food court and the corridor to the cinema.
Kay Bee Toys again.
Suncoast again.
Looking down towards the entrance to Cinemark.
The lone food court vendor.
This clown was referred to above, I wonder how many people freaked out when it would randomly laugh in the quiet mall.
What is it with this section of the mall and clowns?
Tables without chairs.

This is an interesting store entrance near the food court. 
Now for the outside of the mall. As you can see the former JCPenney has been painted.
The entrance to the food court.

More food court entrance shots.

One of the mall entrances next to Dillard's.
The former JCPenney with a new paint job.
Good luck seeing this sign from the freeway, I could barely see it from the edge of the parking lot.
The last remaining retail anchor Dillard's closed August 1st, 2016.
Former Firestone at the back of the mall.
The cinema stands in stark contrast to the rest of the aging mall property.
The former Sanger-Harris/Foley's.
Which photo is better? You just don't see details like this on stores these days so I had to take two photos of this one.
Another view of the former Sanger-Harris/Foley's with overgrown trees blocking most of this side of the store.
This was the unlocked and open mall entrance next to the former Sears. 
Not a single car at this entrance.
The back of the former Sears.
The Sears building is crumbling.
The main entrance side of the former Sears looking towards Dillard's. 
 The main entrance side of the former Sears store.

It was hard to tell if this store was open or not. The store had newish looking signage inside and outside of the mall.
May 2016 after the mall closed again.

So what went wrong?
From my observations of the mall, it was not a comfortable shopping environment. The A/C was barely working even in the occupied sections of the mall. Several sections of the mall had very few stores or none at all. The vast emptiness and lack of customers is great for exploring, but terrible for repeat business. Only certain areas of the mall had music as well, while others were completely silent. They should have started by opening up just the section near Dillard's to see how those businesses would do and expand from there. The rent prices could have been better, but at least they were giving 5 months free rent to the tenants. Bringing back a mall that is dying is tough enough, but bringing back a completely dead mall with local retailers is a challenge not many business people will take on. Sadly this development did not work, but that does not mean other similar ventures will not. 

The mall was mostly sold off earlier this year and the entire mall with the exception of the Cinemark will be demolished soon. The rumor is that GM has bought most of the property and they will either expand their facility or create new warehouse space. Cinemark is fighting the redevelopment and has stopped the demolition for now with a lawsuit. The entrance to the cinema is attached to the mall and will more than likely require extra precautions to ensure the safety of the customers during the demolition.

 I guess they forgot to remove the mall hours signs when they closed the mall.

Looking through the glass of the Dillard's mall entrance into the closed mall. The stage is gone, but the mall still looks nice.
 Dillard's had removed the register at this entrance and placed clothing racks mostly blocking the former mall entrance.