The Glory Days of Greendale Mall
During its prime, the Greendale Mall was a well-loved shopping destination in Worcester, Massachusetts. With its convenient location near the intersection of Interstates 290 and 190, the mall attracted locals and visitors alike.
Its anchor stores, including Best Buy, Big Lots, DSW, and the combination of TJ Maxx and HomeGoods, offered a diverse shopping experience for everyone.
For those who remember its opening in 1982, the mall was a bustling hub of activity with anchor tenants such as Lechmere and Marshalls. The addition of TJ Maxx ‘N More in the late 1990s expanded the mall’s offerings even further.
A Timeline of Greendale Mall’s History
- 1982: Mall opens with Lechmere and Marshalls as anchor tenants
- The late 1990s: TJ Maxx ‘N More is added
- 1997: Lechmere closes and is replaced by Best Buy
- 1999: Simon Property Group purchases the mall
- 2007: Marshalls closes and is replaced by Big Lots in 2010
- 2015: Simon Property Group stops paying the debt on the mall, leading to a takeover by the noteholder
- 2016: The mall is sold at auction to Seyfarth Shaw LLP for $11.8 million
- 2016: KeyPoint Partners announces that the mall will remain open
- 2019: Big Lots and Best Buy announce closures
- 2020: The mall is purchased by a Boston developer, and plans are made for demolition and replacement with an Amazon distribution center
- 2021: TJ Maxx/HomeGoods relocates, leaving the mall entirely vacant and officially closed
- 2021: Greendale Mall is demolished in Summer
Greendale Mall’s Struggles and Closure
Despite its early success, the Greendale Mall faced many challenges. In 2015, Simon Property Group stopped paying the mall’s debt, and the noteholder took over. By this time, the mall’s appraisal value had plummeted to $14.7 million, a far cry from its $45 million loan value.
The mall’s decline continued with the closure of Big Lots in January 2019 and Best Buy in November 2019. Then, in December 2019, a Boston developer purchased the struggling mall and planned to demolish it for a mix of retail, apartments, and office space.
The plans later changed to an Amazon distribution center, and the mall closed permanently in 2020.
Greendale Mall’s Last Tenant
TJ Maxx/HomeGoods, the last tenant of the Greendale Mall, relocated to Lincoln Plaza on April 24, 2021, leaving the mall vacant and officially closed for good.
The Future of the Greendale Mall Site
In the summer of 2021, the Greendale Mall was demolished for the new Amazon distribution center. However, as of April 2023, constructed Amazon warehouse at the former Greendale Mall site remains unopened.
In addition, it is 175,000 square feet smaller than the original mall. The Amazon facility’s future remains uncertain.
Though the Greendale Mall may be gone, its memory lives on in the hearts of the local community who once gathered there for shopping, dining, and entertainment.
The mall’s story serves as a reminder of the ever-changing retail landscape and the importance of adapting to new trends and consumer needs.
A Look at the Retail Industry and the Decline of Malls
The Greendale Mall’s struggles were not an isolated incident, as malls across the United States have faced similar challenges in recent years. The rise of e-commerce, changing consumer preferences, and economic factors have contributed to the decline of malls and the retail industry.
- E-commerce: Online shopping giants like Amazon have made it increasingly convenient for consumers to shop from their homes. This shift in shopping habits has reduced foot traffic in malls, making it difficult for brick-and-mortar retailers to compete.
- Changing consumer preferences: Shoppers increasingly prioritize experiences over material goods, leading to declining demand for traditional mall offerings. Additionally, consumers are gravitating towards more specialized boutique stores and outdoor shopping centers rather than the enclosed malls of the past.
- Economic factors: The 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic have significantly impacted the retail industry, leading to store closures and bankruptcies. These economic challenges have made it difficult for malls to maintain profitability and attract new tenants.
Despite these challenges, some malls have reinvented themselves by offering unique experiences, such as dining and entertainment options, and hosting community events.
This adaptive approach may serve as a blueprint for the future of retail and mall spaces as the industry continues to evolve in response to changing consumer habits and preferences.