The Transformation of Raleigh Springs Mall, Memphis, TN: From Decline to Civic Center

Raleigh Springs Mall was a once-popular shopping destination in Memphis, Tennessee that opened in 1971.

The mall served as a gathering space for locals and a source of employment for many in the surrounding community. However, over time, the mall began to decline, losing tenants and closing its doors in 2016.

Memphis redeveloped the site into the Raleigh Springs Civic Center, a new community hub that serves as a model for repurposing abandoned spaces.

Raleigh Springs Mall

History of Raleigh Springs Mall

Raleigh Springs Mall was one of the first two malls to open in the Memphis area, and it quickly became the dominant mall in the region.

At its height, the mall boasted over 70 stores, including four major anchor stores, and was a popular destination for shopping and socializing.

However, as newer malls opened in the area, such as Hickory Ridge Mall and Mall of Memphis, Raleigh Springs Mall began to lose many tenants.

Decline

The decline of Raleigh Springs Mall began in the early 2000s, with many of its anchor stores closing down, leaving only Sears as the only remaining anchor store.

Plans for redevelopment and renovation were discussed with Wal-Mart, but these plans never materialized, and the mall was eventually left with just a few stores operating.

The mall’s decline reflected changing consumer habits and competition from newer, more modern shopping centers.

Raleigh Springs Mall
Raleigh Springs Mall” by Sean Davis is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Demolition and Redevelopment

In November 2016, the City of Memphis officially purchased the Raleigh Springs Mall property, with plans to demolish the mall and redevelop the space into a civic center.

The city recognized the potential of the site to become a new community hub and invested approximately $32 million in capital to create the Raleigh Springs Civic Center.

O.T. Marshall Architect designed the redevelopment, and construction was underway between 2017-2019, with the official ribbon-cutting ceremony occurring on November 19, 2020.

Features of the Raleigh Springs Civic Center

The new Raleigh Springs Civic Center has many exciting features for the local community, including a skate park, playground, splash pad, and sports fields.

The center also has a fully equipped community center, which includes classrooms, a computer lab, and a fitness center.

In addition to the recreational facilities, the center also features a library, traffic precinct, police precinct, an 11-acre lake, green space, and a one-mile walking trail.

Raleigh Springs Civic Center

Impact on the Community

The Raleigh Springs Civic Center has significantly impacted the local community, providing a much-needed gathering space for residents to come together and engage in recreational and social activities.

The center has also helped to revitalize the surrounding area, providing new jobs and attracting new businesses.

The new facilities have brought a renewed sense of community to the area, and the center has become a central hub for residents to come together and enjoy all that their city has to offer.

Conclusion

The transformation of the Raleigh Springs Mall into the Raleigh Springs Civic Center is an excellent example of how cities can repurpose underutilized or abandoned spaces to benefit their communities.

The project has created a space that will continue to serve the community for many years, providing a central hub for residents to come together and enjoy all their city has to offer.

The redevelopment of the site has significantly boosted the local economy, creating new jobs and attracting new businesses.

The Raleigh Springs Civic Center serves as a model for cities nationwide looking to revitalize their communities and repurpose underutilized spaces.

Avatar of Spencer Walsh

I'm Spencer Walsh, a professional traveler who loves to help people discover new places and learn about different cultures. I've traveled worldwide, from Europe to Asia and Africa to South America. My favorite thing about traveling is getting lost because it allows me to discover unexpected gems—finding a hidden museum or stumbling upon a beautiful park in the middle of the city.

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