Ben Kizer's Commentary

Posted May 3, 2011 (user submitted February 18, 2009)

When the Crossroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska opened in the 1960s, it was an historical event. The mall happened to be one of the first in the "modern" style indoor malls to open in the United States: Escalators, food courts, anchors, etc. The mall attracted huge crowds on the weekends and was the place for shopping and entertainment in the Omaha area.

The 1970s came and a new mall opened in West Omaha aptly enough called Westroads Mall. The mall took away people from the Crossroads, giving the young families who moved to the more suburban west part of Omaha a closer destination for shopping. Westroads had many of the same stores as Crossroads and it made sense logically for people in the West part of Omaha to do their shopping there.

In the 1980s, Westroads and Crossroads both thrived. Dillards opened their first Nebraska location in the late 80s in Crossroads, helping to bring back traffic to the mall. It joined the other anchors Sears and Younkers to make the mall a legitimate shopping center, along with Woolworth, Walgreens, a food court, an arcade and some specialty restaurants.

However, after that brief rebound, the Crossroads has had a long, quiet death. The opening of the Oak View Mall in Southwest Omaha in the early 90s added more competition to a relatively small market. Von Maur, a Midwestern version of Nordstrom, opened at the Westroads in the mid 1990s, attracting many higher class shoppers to head to Westroads instead. Village Pointe, an outdoor shopping center, opened in the early 2000s, taking away more shoppers. The changing demographic of the area, with many families moving West throughout the 1990s and lower income demographics settling around the area, is reflected. The Woolworth and Walgreens both closed and were replaced by a Barnes and Noble. Younkers shuttered their Crossroads location in the early 2000s and it was replaced by a Target store. Dillards turned their Crossroads location into a discount center before giving up and closing down the location in 2008. Chili's restaurant closed their mall location in 2008 as well. Stores such as Sam Goody, KB Toys, Gap, and Limited have pulled out of the mall over the years. Discount stores have moved into some of the empty storefronts, with many remaining abandoned. Only two restaurants remain in the food court.

Presently, the main anchors are Sears and Target. At it's peak, the mall had over 100 stores. Today, less than 40 stores remain in the mall (37 at last count). Slowly the mall has decayed and with the competition it has (Westroads/Regency, Oak View, Village Pointe), that'll likely continue. The city has talked to developers about selling the property or remodeling it, but nothing seems to have happened with that. My take is it'll go the way of the Center Mall and Southroads Mall and turn into an office complex.

Paul Schleck's Commentary

Posted May 3, 2011 (user submitted March 2, 2010)

Crossroads Mall in Omaha, Nebraska is being put up for auction after Simon Properties defaulted on its mortgages. It had been in slow decline for many years, with the upper level empty and cordoned off, and less than half of the spaces occupied. Anchor stores Sears, Barnes & Noble, and Target with direct outside entrances are doing OK and have no plans to move, but most of the inner space, including the food court and smaller spaces, are declining rapidly from reduced foot traffic.

This was one of the first indoor malls in Omaha (the defunct ex-mall and parking garage "Center Mall" being the first) opening about 50 years ago. I recall as recently as the early 1990's, the Christmas shopping being practically "elbow to elbow" in the common spaces. It was done in by demographic changes, the well-heeled population of Omaha moving westward (it's 72nd and Dodge St. location going from western edge of developed Omaha to somewhere around the center), the opening of new western and southwestern malls including Oakview, Village Pointe, and Shadow Lake (the latter two with the newer "open street" design).

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