- Seph Lawless
- Amazon is reportedly planning to build a 695,383-square-foot facility on the site of the shuttered Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio.
- The redevelopment plans are titled “Project Carney,” in an apparent nod to Jay Carney, the company’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs.
- Rolling Acres Mall fell victim to declining shopper traffic and attracted crime before permanently closing in 2013. Former tenants include Macy’s, JCPenney, Target, and Sears.
- Poignant images of the mall’s decline over the years have come to symbolize the era of retail disruption known as the retail apocalypse.
Amazon is reportedly taking over the site of a once thriving mall in Akron, Ohio, that was abandoned after falling victim to the retail apocalypse.
Amazon is planning to build a 695,383-square-foot facility at the site of the former Rolling Acres Mall, according to blueprints of the project obtained by the Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com.
The redevelopment plans are titled “Project Carney,” in an apparent nod to Jay Carney, the company’s senior vice president of global corporate affairs. Construction on the warehouse is scheduled to begin in September, according to the Beacon Journal.
The e-commerce giant’s reported plans to take over the abandoned site of the Rolling Acres Mall is symbolic of a new era in retail.
- Nicholas Eckhart
Poignant images of the mall’s decline over the years have come to symbolize the era of retail disruption known as the retail apocalypse.
These images showed crumbling department stores, overgrown parking lots, and decaying escalators.
Amazon could soon pave over the abandoned site and bring hundreds of jobs back to the area, according to the blueprints.
An Amazon spokeswoman declined to comment on the project.
“Amazon is constantly investigating new locations to support the growth and increase the flexibility of its North American network to address customers’ needs,” she said.
Rolling Acres Mall opened in 1975 to great fanfare as the premier shopping destination for the surrounding community. It once boasted more than 140 stores with anchors including Macy’s, JCPenney, Target, and Sears.
- Seph Lawless
But customer traffic started to slow more than a decade ago, several department stores abandoned their leases, and the mall began to fail. It lost its last store tenant in 2013.
Over that period, the mall was the scene of several crimes. A homeless man was sentenced to a year in prison for living inside a vacant store, another man was electrocuted trying to steal copper wire from the mall, and the body of an apparent murder victim was found behind the shopping center.
Even vacant, the mall remained a safety concern. The mayor of Akron instructed residents in 2016 to “stay clear of the area.” The city began the process of demolishing the rotting shopping center later that year.