These photos of abandoned malls and golf courses reveal a new era for the American suburb

https://www.businessinsider.com/american-suburbs-dying-photos-2017-10

In March 2017, Business Insider reported a series of stories on “The Death of Suburbia,” declaring the end of the suburbs as we once knew them.

By examining the plummeting value of McMansions, the increasingly blurry line between city and suburb, and the shuttered shopping malls across the nation, we saw that the once-flourishing suburbs were no longer what they used to be.

Read more: Millennials are following in baby boomers’ footsteps and heading for the suburbs – but there’s a key difference in how they’re doing it

Ahead, see a collection of photos from Seph Lawless and Business Insider reporters, showing the relics of America’s suburban past. Some of these structures are now abandoned while millennials move forward with alternative ways of living.


It’s been a rough couple of years for the retail industry, and malls are shutting down across the country. Chicago’s Lincoln Mall, pictured here, shut its doors in January 2015.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Business Insider

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It had originally opened in 1973.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


The 700,000-square-foot mall had the capacity to host four anchor stores and 100 smaller shops.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


Closer to its final months, the mall had just 40 storefronts in business.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


In 2013, the mall’s owner told The Chicago Tribune that the property was losing $2 million a year.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


The closure of the mall’s Sears was a major blow to its business.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


The same year, a court-ordered receiver was appointed to force the location to pay taxes and fines as well as make necessary repairs.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


The mall’s tenants did not generate enough in rent to pay for the improvements or repairs, according to an attorney for the owner.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


The mall reportedly failed to make these changes, which included creating new exits to comply with fire codes and replacing electrical and air conditioning systems.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


In November 2014, a Cook County judge ordered the closure of the mall following the holiday shopping season.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


For nearly two years, the mall sat empty.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


Its shops’ signage stayed intact, however.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Seph Lawless


Some banners also remained hanging.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Seph Lawless


Demolition began on the property in May 2017.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Chicago Tribune


The Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio, had a similar fate.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Ohio.com


This mall originally opened in 1975.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Cleveland.com


With JC Penney as one of its anchor stores, this mall’s parking lot was packed with visitors in the early 1980s.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Ohio.com


It officially closed in 2008.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Cleveland.com


Demolition of the mall began in 2016.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: Ohio.com


The Metro North Shopping Center in Kansas City, Missouri, has also shuttered.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: KansasCity.com


This mall opened in 1976.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: KansasCity.com


The mall was massive. Sitting at 1.2 million square feet, it once housed more than 150 retailers.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: KansasCity.com


The mall officially closed in 2014.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: KansasCity.com


Originally, a $200 million makeover was in the works, but the developers ditched the plan in 2015, citing difficulties attracting tenants.

Foto: sourceSeph Lawless

Source: KansasCity.com


Even some malls that are still open for business look like ghost towns. Here’s the Regency Square Mall in Richmond, Virginia, in March 2017, for example.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Empty storefronts lined the halls.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Similarly, Valley View Mall in Dallas, Texas — which opened in 1973 — was mostly empty of both people and stores when Business Insider visited on December 23, 2016.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Dallas News, Business Insider


The mall flourished in the 1970s and through the 1980s.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Labelscar.com


However, as early as the 1990s, after one of its anchor stores, Bloomingdale’s, closed, it began experiencing financial trouble.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Some of Valley View’s original shops had been taken over by what looked more like a neighborhood garage sale than a store.

Foto: A garage-sale like store front in Valley View Mall, in Dallas Texas, December 2016.sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


It also seemed that many of the shops had been repurposed.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Valley View Mall officially closed in July 2017.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Dallas News


Demolition of the mall began in May 2019. The site will be replaced with mixed-use high-rise buildings that will include office space, retail space, entertainment space, and residential units.

Foto: An empty food court inside Valley View Mall, December 2016.sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: WFAA


Many retailers have struggled to adapt to changing consumer behaviors. As for the anchor stores that are still open in malls, such as this Sears store in Glen Allen, Virginia, the lack of products can be alarming.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


In July 2017, Business Insider correspondent Hayley Peterson visited the Glen Allen Sears and found empty shelves in the shoe department.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


A broken display shelf was found in the appliances department.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


A corner of the store featuring travel items had the same products hanging on multiple hooks in a likely attempt to fill space.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


A department devoted to curtains also appeared to be missing some inventory.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


This section was better stocked than other departments, but it also lacked wall signage.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Ripped carpet lined the walls below empty shelves.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


The men’s department was also very empty.

Foto: sourceBusiness Insider/Hayley Peterson

Source: Business Insider


This Sears location in Woodbridge, New Jersey, which we visited in February 2017, didn’t look much better.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


This Richmond, Virginia location was also lacking merchandise.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


In November 2018, Sears announced that 40 Sears and Kmart stores would close their doors. This news came at a time when 142 stores were already set to close by the end of the year.

Foto: sourceHayley Peterson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


The number of store closures announced in 2018 brought Sears’ total store count down to around 500 — a major decrease from 2,000 stores in 2013.

Foto: sourceBusiness Insider/Hayley Peterson

Source: Business Insider


In July 2016, we visited the flagship Macy’s store in Manhattan, only to find messy shelves and lots of sales. Macy’s closed 68 locations in 2017.

Foto: sourceMallory Schlossberg/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


The apparel department was also a mess.

Foto: sourceMallory Schlossberg/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


It’s not just the malls’ anchor stores. Crocs closed 158 locations in 2017.

Foto: sourceMarina Nazario/Business Insider

Source: Yahoo.com


In 2017, nearly everything was on sale at RadioShack as they prepared to close 1,430 stores nationwide.

Foto: sourceMary Hanbury/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


In 2017, Wet Seal announced the closing of all 171 locations.

Foto: source/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


In 2018, Mattress Firm announced that it would close up to 700 stores across the United States.

Foto: sourceShutterstock

Source: Business Insider


Malls and shopping aren’t the only things that have changed in suburbs across America. Once a community staple in many American suburbs, the golf course is also now a slowly dying breed.

Foto: The closed Apple Ridge Country Club in Mahwah, New Jersey.sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


More than 800 golf courses have shuttered across the US in the past decade, and data from the Sports & Fitness Industry Association has shown that millennials between the age of 18 to 30 have a lack of interest in playing the game.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


The Apple Ridge Country Club, located in Mahwah, New Jersey, opened in 1966.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Complete with an event space, 18-hole golf course, swimming pool, and tennis courts, Apple Ridge was a place the whole community could enjoy.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Since it officially closed in late 2015, the country club has seemingly remained uncared for.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


This is how it looked when we paid a visit in February 2017.

Foto: sourceSarah Jacobs

Source: Business Insider


Today, millennials are doing everything they can to live in cities rather than traditional neighborhood homes.

Foto: Heather Stewart and Luke Iseman have joined the tiny house movement in San Francisco.sourceMelia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


In lieu of traditional housing, some millennials are turning basements, boats, and vans into homes.

Foto: The couple converted this shipping container into a tiny house.sourceMelia Robinson/Business Insider

Source: Business Insider


Young homebuyers with different attitudes towards conspicuous consumption are also killing off the McMansion, a sprawling, often architecturally mismatched home boasting several thousand square feet of space.

Foto: sourceScott Olson/Getty Images

Source: Business Insider

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