An Ohio mall gets a second life thanks to Amazon

Old malls are an eyesore. Built cheaply and then abandoned to chic outdoor “shopping experiences” and high-end destinations, they rot on parking lots in the hearts of small cities, taking up space and reminding folks of the way things used to be.

Now, however, there’s hope. Amazon is going to repurpose what was once the world’s biggest mall in North Randall, Ohio, outside of Cleveland, into a new warehouse. The entire mall will be flattened and a large portion of the land on which it stood rededicated to the very corporation that killed the malls in the first place.

The old mall remained a ghostly presence for almost a decade, slowly decaying on the edge of North Randall. Anchor after anchor closed during the 2000s, culminating in the closure of Burlington Coat Factory in 2015. The mall almost burned down in 2016.

“I’m lost for words, because we are so fortunate to get this project,” Mayor David Smith told the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

From the article:

The e-commerce giant finalized a lease deal Thursday on a planned 855,000-square-foot building, which could open during the second half of next year on a 69-acre site at Warrensville Center and Emery roads. News of the potential deal broke in July, after the project cropped up on a public meeting agenda. But North Randall was vying against other, unidentified sites.

The warehouse is expected to create 2,000 jobs in the reason.

Sadly this sort of move – the destruction of old real estate for warehouse space – is far more likely an outcome than Foxconn’s plan to build a factory in Wisconsin. While fulfillment is always a necessary process in the ecommerce food chain, manufacturing can still be done far more cheaply outside of the US. Every little bit helps, however, and it’s good to see old malls reborn as hubs for jobs, education, and growth – especially in a town that was so proud of their old mall that two shopping bags appear on their town seal.