Mounds Mall in Anderson, IN – Storied Past and A Hopeful Future

A Trip Down Memory Lane

Mounds Mall in Anderson, Indiana, holds a special place in the hearts of many locals. Once a bustling shopping destination, Mounds Mall has an intriguing past as the inaugural enclosed mall project by Melvin Simon & Associates (known as Simon Property Group now).

Constructed in phases between 1964 and 1965, the mall featured a 300,000 sq ft retail space and hosted approximately 30 stores and services. The original anchor tenants included J. C. Penney, Montgomery Ward, and H. P. Wasson and Company.

As time passed, Montgomery Ward was replaced by Sears, the Wasson store transitioned to Meis, Elder-Beerman, and Carson’s; and JCPenney was demolished and reconstructed as a movie theater. Sadly, after a period of decline, Mounds Mall closed to the public in April 2018, and the movie theater followed suit a year later.

A Look Back at Mounds Mall’s History

Mounds Mall officially opened its doors in April 1965, with anchor stores Montgomery Ward and H. P. Wasson and Company having launched the previous November. The original tenants were Zales, Kroger, Woolworth, and Jo-Ann Fabrics.

In 1983, Montgomery Ward closed, and Sears took its place. During the same decade, Wasson’s store shuttered, and a Meis store opened around a year later. Meis was rebranded as Elder-Beerman in 1983 and eventually became Carson’s in 2011.

Sears closed in 2012 due to low sales in the 2011 holiday season. On January 31, 2018, The Bon-Ton declared that Carson’s would close as a part of a nationwide plan to shutter 42 stores. The store ultimately closed on April 29, 2018.

Entrance to Mounds Mall of Anderson, Indiana
Entrance to Mounds Mall of Anderson, Indiana TenPoundHammer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Ray of Hope: Redevelopment Plans

In June 2021, the new owner of Mounds Mall, Mark Squillante, expressed his hopes to reopen the shopping center in 2023. He purchased the mall in 2019 and invested $350,000 into the redevelopment of the building.

Squillante aims to convert the mall into an event and entertainment center, a project that could cost up to $10 million. He envisions the food court featuring small businesses that can’t afford a standalone location and the Sears building being used for conventions.

A Setback: Tax Sale Listing

In August 2022, the Mounds Mall and the adjoining properties were all listed for tax sale in Madison County in October 2022. The outstanding property taxes on Mounds Mall totaled approximately $830,000.

A Community’s Fond Memories and Hopes

As the future of Mounds Mall remains uncertain, many locals still remember with nostalgia the bustling shopping center it once was. Despite the setbacks, there is hope that the mall will regain its former glory and become a hub for events and entertainment in Anderson, Indiana.

Mounds Mall Timeline
1964-1965 Mall construction and opening
1983 Montgomery Ward becomes Sears
1980s-2011 Wasson’s store transitions
2012 Sears closure
January 31, 2018 Carson’s closure announcement
April 1, 2018 Mall closure

The Impact on the Local Community

Mounds Mall has played an essential role in the Anderson community for decades. It served as a gathering place for families, friends, and neighbors to shop, dine, and socialize. Unfortunately, the mall’s closure in 2018 left a void for many locals who had fond memories of spending time there.

However, the closure also had economic consequences. As stores closed and businesses moved out, job opportunities were lost, and the surrounding area felt the impact. The hope of revitalizing the mall as an event and entertainment center could bring much-needed economic growth and job opportunities back to the community.

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Interior of Mounds Mall in Anderson, Indiana
TenPoundHammer, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Malls Across America: A Changing Landscape

Mounds Mall’s decline is not an isolated event. Across the United States shopping malls have faced similar challenges across the United States as consumer preferences have shifted.

The rise of e-commerce and a desire for more experiential shopping options have contributed to the decline of traditional malls. As a result, mall owners and developers have been forced to adapt and reimagine their spaces to stay relevant and attract customers.

In some cases, this has led to the transformation of malls into mixed-use spaces featuring residential, office, and entertainment components. Mounds Mall’s proposed redevelopment plan aligns with this trend, emphasizing a focus on events and entertainment to create a more engaging and dynamic space for the local community.

A Vision for Mounds Mall’s Future

If the redevelopment plan for Mounds Mall comes to fruition, the new space could become a local hotspot for events and entertainment. By offering a range of activities and experiences, the mall could cater to diverse interests and age groups. Some potential ideas for the redeveloped space include:

  • Indoor sports and recreation facilities
  • Art galleries and studios
  • Live performance venues
  • Family entertainment centers (arcades, bowling alleys, etc.)
  • Local artisan markets
  • Co-working spaces

The revitalization of Mounds Mall would boost the local economy and reestablish the mall as a central gathering place for the Anderson community.

Conclusion

Mounds Mall has a rich history in Anderson, Indiana, and while its future remains uncertain, there is still hope for a revival. The local community holds on to their fond memories of the mall, eagerly awaiting its potential transformation into a vibrant event and entertainment center.

As shopping malls across America continue to adapt and evolve, Mounds Mall may soon join the ranks of those who have successfully reinvented themselves.

Potential Redevelopment Ideas
Indoor sports facilities Recreational options for all ages
Art galleries and studios A hub for local artists and art enthusiasts
Live performance venues Bringing diverse entertainment to the community
Family entertainment centers Fun for the whole family
Local artisan markets Showcasing local crafts and products
Co-working spaces A modern workspace for professionals

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Comments: 10
  1. Avatar of Tom
    Tom

    Who precisely will move in? What is their plan to do so? Who is going to pay the tax debt off for this to happen? This report sounds more like guessing.

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Regarding the tax debt, it is the responsibility of the mall’s owner to address this issue. While the report does not provide every detail of the redevelopment process, it highlights the owner’s vision and the potential benefits the revitalized Mounds Mall could bring to the Anderson community. The hope for Mounds Mall’s future is grounded in the owner’s investment and efforts to reimagine the space.

      Reply
  2. Avatar of
    Anonymous

    We need clothing stores, Christopher Banks, Penny’s, Macy’s, etc. We don’t need all this entertainment. We don’t like to go out of town to shop.

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      It’s essential to communicate your preferences and concerns to the mall’s owner and local officials, as community feedback plays a crucial role in shaping the future of Mounds Mall. Your input may help guide decisions regarding clothing stores and other retail outlets within the redeveloped space.

      Reply
  3. Avatar of John Birch
    John Birch

    Madison Heights’ Class of 1965 was the first group to use the Mall for a gathering.

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      I appreciate your comment on Mounds Mall and its connection to Madison Heights’ Class of 1965. It’s wonderful to hear about the mall’s role in bringing people together over the years.

      Reply
  4. Avatar of Heidi Fitzgerald
    Heidi Fitzgerald

    I hope they bring back the game room sorta like a carnival or putt putt golf earn tickets get prizes and who don’t miss the old go kart track was so fun. on that note city trends love that clothing store Maurices too.

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      Thank you for sharing your fond memories and suggestions for Mounds Mall! I agree that bringing back entertaining features like a game room or putt-putt golf would add to the mall’s appeal. Your enthusiasm for these aspects is truly inspiring.

      Reply
  5. Avatar of Regalwoman
    Regalwoman

    We do need clothing stores I could never understand OLD Navy closing down we needed that store
    Macy’s & Jc Penny.
    Seriously we don’t need an entertainment venue the casino is enough
    Do something that makes sense
    I don’t like having to leave town to shop for clothing shoes etc.

    Reply
    1. Avatar of Spencer Walsh
      Spencer Walsh (author)

      I appreciate your perspective. It’s important that the mall meets the community’s needs, and your point about the need for more clothing stores is well-taken.

      Reply
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