Don’t Worry, Teens Still Go To The Mall

by MR Magazine Staff

It’s a steamy Friday afternoon in June, and West County Center is busy. The mall, in a western St. Louis suburb, is filled with people, and those people’s hands are filled with shopping bags. Every single store (except for Apple, of course) is on promotion — some are hosting semi-annual sales, some clearance sales. Signs boasting 40, 50, 60, even 70 percent off deals hang in window after window. West County Center is not a dying mall. Sure, everything might be on sale, but people are taking the bait. Lots of people. And at a time when malls are seeing a record number of store closures, West County has actually added tenants this year. The shopping center is both newish and not, having been built in 1969, then demolished in 2001 to make way for a nicer construction the following year. The $230 million-dollar project resulted in 1.2 million square feet of leasable space anchored by the high/low/medium mix of Nordstrom, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s. West County reopened a month shy of my 15th birthday, but I was partial to the area’s other mall offerings. There was Chesterfield Mall, which was closest to my high school and arguably the most teen-friendly, with its Big-A triple threat of Abercrombie, American Eagle, and Aéropostale, and the Saint Louis Galleria, which had an Urban Outfitters and a MAC. A decade and a half later, the city’s mall landscape looks quite different. Unlike West County, Chesterfield is a dying mall. Its foreclosure was supposed to be finalized by early 2017, but its fate remains unclear. When I was in college, the Galleria implemented a curfew on Fridays and Saturdays; starting at 3 p.m., those 16 or younger must be accompanied by an adult. Read more at Racked.