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Chesterfield Mall Future in Limbo

Gabby Abowitz, Staff Writer

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 The future of Chesterfield Mall is unknown as of now, but there have been a few theories announced.
In a story published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on July 17, 2017, Chesterfield’s Economic Development Director Libbey Malberg-Tucker said that eventually the mall will likely change.
“We know it can’t remain all retail, and we’re open to it becoming a mixed-use development. Whether that’s office, hotel, living space, all of those things we’d embrace,” Tucker said.
Malls all across the country have been going bankrupt and Chesterfield Mall is just one that has been affected. More people are leaning towards going to outlet malls for reasons such as more selection, cheaper prices, outdoor environment, and much more. Malls are becoming less popular and Chesterfield has done many things to try to save it.
According to American Public Media’s Marketplace, “More malls are struggling as anchor stores close and online shopping continues to dominate. But at least one part of the bricks-and-mortar retail industry is still thriving: outlet malls. These centers are a surging source of profits for retailers and pitch themselves as shopping destinations for tourists and cost-conscious brand hunters.”
Chesterfield Mall is not just a store. It’s full of memories for some.
“Chesterfield Mall is dead now but I miss it cause I used to go there when I was little,” freshman Ann-Marie Razny said.
The mall had a major setback in September 2017 when a water main ruptured, flooding Dillard’s, causing it to close. There have been many signs showing that Dillard’s will not likely reopen.
As stores are closing it not only affects the amount of sales for the mall, but also many employees who work in them have lost their jobs. Sears worker senior Richard Waitz has only been working at Sears for about three months now.
“Depending on the day, on average 100-150 people come in each day. Overall, the decrease in customers hasn’t really affected sales that much,” Waitz said.
Senior Alexis Morkisz works at Claire’s at the Chesterfield Mall and she has heard rumors of the mall’s future.
“I’ve heard that the mall is going up for auction in February and that whoever buys it is going to tear it down and build something like apartment buildings,” Morkisz said. The Corral has not confirmed this information.
Morkisz has been working at the mall since this past Halloween.
“It’s been super slow and I used to work at Journeys before that. It’s across the hallway and it used to be pretty busy and now you see it gradually just slowing down,” Morkisz said.
Every week more closing announcements are being made, a recent closing of a popular restaurant, California Pizza Kitchen.
“I’m mad it closed. Now I have to go to the West County location which is farther away but it’s worth it,” freshman Ellie Mueller said.
American Girl is celebrating it’s 25th birthday but the Chesterfield Mall location won’t celebrate a 26th. American Girl will be closing February 21. It used to be one of the top selling American Girl Doll stores. “The decision was based on the current challenges facing the mall property, which have adversely impacted our store’s business,” said Susan Jevers, a brand spokesperson.
Store closings also mean lost jobs. With American Girl’s closure, it affects 10 full-time employees and 27 part-time employees.
In April, the mall’s value was halved, from $63.5 million in May 2016 to $30.2 million, according to the latest data provided by securities and investment analytics firm Trepp.

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Chesterfield Mall Future in Limbo