TYRON MALL: CHARLOTTE, NC
Chris Edward's Commentary:
Posted June 21, 2005 (user submitted)
Tryon Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina would make a great dead mall museum, as it is a well-preserved 1960s or 1970s mall that has not been substantially updated since its original construction. Even its parking lot, consisting of crumbling asphalt scarred by potholes, could be original.
The mall was apparently built in the late 1960s or the 1970s and is a great specimen of malls of that era: anchored by Woolco, a long-defunct discount department store chain and a grocery store and other mid-market tenants.
Its exterior is beige brick and its interior is beige brick and tile. The mall looks almost exactly like Bell Tower Mall in Greenville, SC did before Bell Tower closed in the 1980s; apparently Woolco had standard designs for malls that it anchored. The developers obviously spared a lot of expense in building the mall; it's interior was probably not particularly fancy even by 1960s mall standards.
Tryon Mall apparently originally died in the 1980s or 1990s after Woolco closed and suburbanites in neighboring subdivisions moved away. Even replacement anchors, such as the Furniture Liquidators store that filled the vacant Woolco, closed. It apparently sat nearly vacant for years. While it was likely a blight on the neighborhood, surpassed in decrepitude only by a neighboring cement factory and a chain restaurant that burned to the ground, the lack of investment in the mall kept it frozen in time, with probably no significant renovations since its construction.
Recently, Tryon Mall came back to life. Some savvy Asian investors bought the mall and transformed it into "Asian Corner Mall," leasing its vacant spaces to Asian-themed stores and adding Asian-style architectural features to its exterior. There is also a Family Dollar discount store in part of the vacant grocery store space. As the mall's interior air conditioning was set at 85 degrees during a recent visit and as its dilapidated state is not easy to see from the attached pictures, the mall's profitability is doubtful, so perhaps it will continue to be an unrenovated example of 1960s mall design for many years to come.