The Creepiest Abandoned Mall Was In Missouri & What’s There Today
You can't visit the creepiest abandoned mall in the world anymore, it's no longer there. Yet for a short time back around 2016 this abandoned mall in Kansas City was known as the creepiest abandoned mall to visit.
In fact, while the mall site has been redeveloped, it still topped a list of the "Top 10 Abandoned Malls That Will Creep You Out" on Listverse.
I'm talking about the old Metro North Mall in Kansas City's Northland near Highway 169 and Barry Road. It's not the only old abandoned, now demolished mall in the Kansas City area. It's one of many malls that made the Kansas City area over-malled in the 1990s that eventually went away.
Photojournalist Seph Lawless who documented abandoned malls all over the world was quoted in the Listverse article as saying that Metro North Mall in Kansas City was the creepiest place he ever set foot in.
According to Wikipedia Metro North Mall opened in September 1976 with 125 stores and four anchors on two levels.
Wikipedia says at one point during the holidays, the mall was so popular that the mall borrowed trams from Worlds of Fun to help chauffer folks from far-out parking areas to the mall.
I don't know if Lawless' video truly captured the creepiness of the mall. Or the creepiness he felt filming there. I mean this is about as creepy as the photos get. Yes, the dead foilage, the decay of the building, and the darkness, all play somewhat into the creepy vibe. Yet, it doesn't look all that more creepy than any other abandoned place where the elements have penetrated the building.
Wikipedia says by 2000 the mall's owners were developing a competing set of strip malls called the Zona Rosa. They increased rents at Metro North Mall, which pushed businesses to their new development. Anchor Montgomery Ward closed in 2001. Followed serval years later by Dillards, the movie theaters, and JC Penny.
Plans to redevelop the mall as a lifestyle center were developed in 2007, yet the tough economy and the death of the mall's owner scuttled those plans. In 2010 there were plans to redevelop the mall to cure the anemic 17 percent occupancy rate. These plans included tearing most of the mall down, or all the mall down and building or redeveloping it into a much smaller one-level enclosed mall.
In the end, the owners decided to close the mall on April 15, 2014. At the time the only stores left were Macy's, GNC, and the Wig Shoppe according to Wikipedia. The owners sold the mall to another developer who planned to build a much smaller open-air mall, along with apartments and possibly offices. Keep reading to find out how the mall was actually redeveloped.
So what is where Metro North Mall used to be? Today it's home to T-Shotz, a golf-themed entertainment complex and driving range that according to KSHB-TV serves as the anchor of the redeveloped property. Apartments are right next door. There's still a little bit of the old mall in the redevelopment's DNA though. You can still shop at the Macy's, which had been one of the mall's anchor stores.
Today there are four shopping centers that still exist in the Kansas City area, five if you count Country Club Plaza which is facing its own challenges these days. The shopping malls that still exist are Independence Center, Oak Park Mall, Crown Center downtown which I hesitate to lump into a traditional mall paradigm, and The Landing.
At the height of the pandemic, Kansas City magazine published an interesting article on the state of Kansas City's malls including the surviving malls, the death of the mall, and what became of all of Kansas City's dead malls. You can read that here.
Here's the YouTube video Seph Lawless shot of Metro North Mall which he called the creepiest place he ever set foot in.