SENECA MALL: BUFFALO (WEST SENECA), NY
Rick Schilling's Commentary:
Posted November 20, 2006 (user submitted)
I grew up in the South Buffalo neighborhood near the Seneca Mall. It was
within walking distance from my house and the first choice shopping
destination because of this. This was the early to mid 80's and
the mall was still thriving. I bought many 45's as well as my
first CD at Cavage's (a local music store found in most of the malls
in those days). The Hengerer's (later Sibley's) store had a restaurant
upstairs which overlooked the mall. It was a popular spot
for breakfast with Santa and from there you could see the big round
fireplace that was in the center of the mall in front of Sattler's
(a local department store that went under in the early 80's).
Every Easter they would set up incubators and hatch chickens in the center
of the mall (fascinating to a six year old).
There was also a Friendly's at the other end of the mall
near JC Penney (with its groovy blue/green 60's era Penney's signage) as
well as an outlot Ground Round.
The AT&T phone center was near the main entrance and in those days the
price signs on the phones still featured the price to rent
the phones as well as to buy them.
The McKinley Mall opened in
1985 and the Seneca Mall held on at first, but with only
one anchor (JCPenney as Sibley's moved to McKinley) it limped
along. Then the Walden Galleria came along in 1989 and
Pyramid lured JCPenney out by purchasing its Seneca Mall store.
This proved a significant blow to Seneca because after the mall was
finally closed its demolition was held up for years while Pyramid
and the town of West Seneca and countless lawyers wrangled over
who owned what.
Meanwhile potential tenants for the big-box Shops at West Seneca
(Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Old Navy) got tired of waiting and built locations
elsewhere, leading to a general retail consolidation around the area's
three remaining strong malls (Boulevard, Galleria, McKinley).
Shops at West Seneca finally opened it featured one store, a Tops
International Supercenter grocery store. This soon joined by a Big K.
The rest of the site is to this day filled with piles of dirt
surrounded by a fence.
Jack Thomas' Commentary:
Posted October 5, 2003
(with info provided by Debbie Scott, RJ Multari, and Jay N.)
This mall opened in 1969 to provide a vital link to the consumers of the
West Seneca / Orchard Park suburb area of Buffalo. This mall
was located near the inersection of Ridge Road and Orchard Park Road, one
of the busiest inersections in West Seneca. The mall's anchors were
as follows: JCPenney, which was complete with late 60's decor and the 60's style
logo, Sattler's, and a store called Hengerer's which was later replaced by Sibley's.
This mall seemed to do well in the 70's and early and mid 80's, but in the late 80's
started to falter. Satteler's closed in 81 or 82. The building was never occupied
In 1985, The Mckinley Mall opened less than 2 miles away. As expected, some stores
moved to the new mall, but the last two anchors stayed. In 1989 however, the
super-regional Walden Galleria opened for business 5 miles away. First, Sibley's closed,
then finally JCPennney closed and smaller stores went at an alarming fury.
This mall went from healthy to dead in less than two years.
The mall sat vacant until 1999 when the new Shops at West Seneca opened with
a Big Kmart and a Tops Supermarket. Other plans included a Sony 24 Screen
theater, which never materialized. A Home Depot, Wal Mart, and Lowes were also planned.
Those plans never came to fruition ethier. Piles of rubble and dirt still remain from
the demolition. They are in a fenced in area near the outlot bank, which is the only
part of the original mall that exists.
Quite obviously, the Seneca Mall is another example of what happens when
a Super Regional mall engulfs all the malls surrounding it.
Ironically today, the surrounding
properties are booming with businesses, and this dead mall is located next
to the Thruway which provides direct access to the property.