Parkway Center Mall, Pittsburgh, PA: From Glory to Ruin

The Birth of Parkway Center Mall

Kossman Development opened Parkway Center Mall on November 4, 1982. The mall had 80 stores, including Gold Circle, Giant Eagle, Zayre, Thrift Drug, and a David Weis catalog showroom.

Located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the mall spanned 450,000 square feet, costing $22 million to build. An exit from Interstate 376 serviced the mall, boosting accessibility.

Gold Circle, a key anchor, became Kmart in 1986. Other stores included Chi-Chi’s, K·B Toys, RadioShack, Payless ShoeSource, and Jo-Ann Fabrics.

The mall created over 1,400 full-time jobs and became a retail hub. Giant Eagle provided groceries, while Thrift Drug offered pharmaceuticals. Zayre, another anchor, catered to a broad customer base.

David Weis, a catalog showroom, diversified the mall’s offerings. The early years saw high foot traffic, with families enjoying shopping and dining options. Chi-Chi’s, a Mexican restaurant, attracted diners.

The mall’s strategic location and varied stores made it a popular destination, enhancing its status in the community. Parkway Center Mall was the place to be in Pittsburgh, PA.

Parkway Center Mall in 2016, before the demolition

Changes and Challenges

The early years of Parkway Center Mall were marked by growth and transformation. However, changes were not always smooth. The mall faced its share of challenges, some of which were unique.

In 1986, Gold Circle became Kmart, a change followed by a foundation shift resulting in a crack in the floor. Though addressed with steel plates, this incident hinted at underlying structural issues.

The late ’80s and early ’90s saw stores like Zayre and David Weis close. New businesses emerged in their place, reflecting the mall’s adaptability and shifting retail landscape.

The mall’s building had foundation problems that caused it to shake. Vibrations were sometimes felt, attributed to truck traffic passing by on the nearby Interstate.

These issues were more than mere inconveniences; they were signs of deeper problems that would eventually contribute to the mall’s decline.

Decline and Closure

The turn of the century marked a decline for Parkway Center Mall. Once bustling with activity, the mall began to lose its luster, and vacancies started to appear.

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By the early 2000s, significant stores like Syms, Phar-Mor, and CompUSA had closed. These closures left gaping holes in the mall’s retail landscape, impacting foot traffic and overall appeal.

By 2006, the mall was largely vacant. Tenants were consolidated to the second floor, and the once-vibrant atmosphere had faded.

Kmart’s closure in late 2012 dealt the final blow. The last day of operation was January 6, 2013, and the remaining tenants soon followed suit.

Once a beacon of prosperity, the mall permanently shut its doors.

Parkway Center Mall Demolition

Parkway Center Mall’s story did not end with its closure. The mall’s structure evolved significantly, reflecting the community’s changing needs over time.

In August 2016, the mall’s demolition process commenced, signaling the conclusion of a significant chapter and the dawn of a new phase.

While most of the mall was razed, the Giant Eagle building remained intact, along with the unoccupied space that once housed Kmart, as a solitary reminder of the past.

Demolishing Parkway Center Mall wasn’t merely physical; it symbolized change and the community’s shifting preferences.

Recent Developments

As of 2023, the site of Parkway Center Mall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, remains in the same condition after the demolition in 2016. Only Giant Eagle supermarket and pharmacy are working in the former mall spot.

The absence of new plans for the site heightens the nostalgia and sense of loss surrounding the mall’s story.

The empty mall area continues to evoke memories of the past, reflecting the dynamic and often unpredictable nature of retail and community spaces.

While the future of the Parkway Center Mall site remains uncertain, its legacy continues to resonate with those who remember its heyday.

The mall’s tale extends beyond retail; it captures the essence of community, transformation, and the passage of time.

Though now quiet and unchanging, the site still holds a special place in the hearts of many Pittsburgh residents.


Parkway Center Mall‘s legacy is rich and multifaceted. From its birth as a modern shopping destination to its decline and closure, the mall’s story reflects broader societal trends and the ever-changing nature of community needs.

For many, Parkway Center Mall is a place of nostalgia, a reminder of times spent with loved ones, shopping sprees, and shared experiences.

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