By Jimmy Magahern | Valley News
This summer, Erik Pierson visited his teenage haunt, Fiesta Mall, one last time – before the once-bustling Mesa mall, now nearly vacant, begins its transformation (see sidebar). Streaming the tour on YouTube, where the Gilbert software developer hosts a channel dedicated to “dead malls” called Retail Archaeology, Pierson presses his smartphone to the doors of Macy’s, vacant since 2014.
“That’s like the only thing left, guys,” he says, as the camera focuses on 159,000 square feet of concrete and steel girders. “It’s completely gutted.”
Pierson’s eerie video paints a now-familiar narrative about the sad state of America’s malls: In the age of Amazon, our old consumer paradises are becoming brick-and-mortar ghost towns, blighting communities they once invigorated. Anchor department stores have been vacating malls en masse, with nearly 350 more closings expected this year. Smaller stores are following suit. Wall Street investment bank Credit Suisse predicts up to a quarter of U.S. malls will likely close within the next five years.