Okay, I’m calling it – Staunton Mall is toast.

May 2, 2009, 1:36 PM

Okay, I’m calling it. Staunton Mall is a dying mall, if not already basically a dead mall. I was in there on Friday with Katie, and I believe there are now more empty locations than there are full ones. Steve and Barry’s, in an anchor spot, is gone. Books-A-Million is gone, in another large spot. KB Toys is gone, as part of the chain’s complete closure earlier this year. The former Piece Goods location has never been filled for any appreciable length of time since Piece Goods left. The old CVS/Pharmacy location is still empty after more than two years since CVS moved to a freestanding location nearby.

Additionally, Peebles, while open, is in deplorable shape, with visibly worn tiles, stained and worn carpet, and stained ceiling tiles. That location needs to be renovated badly, but I doubt that Stage Stores (which owns Peebles) will invest in it, considering that all they did when it changed to Peebles from Stone and Thomas was change the nameplate, change some interior signage, and wall in a gift-wrapping counter. Meanwhile, the Belk store in Staunton Mall has never been remodeled since I’ve been there, aside from changes related to when the store changed its nameplate from Leggett to Belk in 1997 or so. It, however, looks to be in better shape than Peebles, but partly because the lighting is somewhat darker in there, and thus it hides the aging. Still, it certainly says a lot about what a company thinks about certain locations when they don’t bother to ever remodel or update them, while remodeling and updating other locations, sometimes multiple times.

I believe I’m to the point where I can honestly question what the point is of going there anymore, since Staunton Mall has very little left in it worth going to. And when Katie and I go there, it’s not even really to shop – more to goof off, and if we buy something in the process, then great. I think it might be time to think about what can be done with Staunton Mall in other formats. Something tells me that Staunton Mall would probably do very well if they sealed the mall entrances to JCPenney, Belk, and Peebles, demolished the rest, and rebuilt it as an open-air shopping center, with a new movie theater building somewhere on the property. Considering the size and shape of the property, though, it likely could not be a town center style shopping center (too narrow), but rather a strip-style facility similar to Waynesboro Town Center or Harrisonburg Crossing.

Maybe with a new development to replace Staunton Mall, it will give Greenville Avenue a boost, and give all the businesses along Staunton’s southern gateway a little boost…

Web site: Staunton Mall

Song: Unrelated, but this is a video of someone riding the elevator at the Best Western in Staunton.

Quote: And I remember when this mall was at one time healthy and happy, but nowadays, it's a relic with nothing much to do or see in it. I wonder if Jones Lang Lasalle knew what they had gotten themselves into when they bought the property from Colonial Properties. That was amusing - the mall used to be "Staunton Mall", then Colonial bought it and renamed it "Colonial Mall Staunton" (a name that never really caught on), and then Jones Lang Lasalle bought it and returned it to the old name.