TK's Commentary:

Posted Various Dates

9/1/07 - Wrecking underway!

4/10/07 - Wrecking permits applied for! Wal-Mart is going Supercenter (the 5th one in Springfield proper!) Read the application here.

1/09/07 - Its a new year we got your pictures here courtesy of the Springfield News Leader. These pictures are a nice historical account of North Town Mall and are on the News-Leader's site.

1/03/07 - Its a new year and Subway isn't here, we got your news. Subway is leaving, and appearantly not by choice! What can we say? we saw this one coming!

This gets better folks. The News-Leader wants us to know that the doors are being locked for good, leaving Wal-Mart as the only business in the mall.

8/31/06 - We're declaring this mall DEAD!. The USA Furniture Outlet has moved to a former theater about 3 miles away, and Another Comic Shop has left the mall for good, leaving Subway as its remaining tenant (Subway has an exterior entry, no way to get into the mall). This coupled with a recent change in signage to a Wal-Mart sign with the word 'supercenter' obviously covered over, we have to wonder...can this thing get any deader? Sarah Overstreet of the Springfield News-Leader weighs in. Our visit to North Town yesterday indicated a survey crew was out there, and we can only believe that this mall is toast.

3/16/06 - Recent activities at North Town indicate this mall may be demolished shortly. Wal-Mart has filed with the City of Springfield for a permit to demolish it. We are investigating this and will report further as we learn more.

Kent Ahrens' Commentary:

Posted April 14, 2005 (user submitted)

On my way home to central Missouri from visiting family in Oklahoma, I made my ceremonial stop in Springfield. I always first visit the Springfield Brewing Company and then stop at the convenience store right next to the North Town Mall to buy a soda for the last leg of my trip. So, I decided to do something a little different today. I stopped at the North Town Mall to take some pictures and see if it really has gotten as bad as everyone says it has.

This was not my first stop at the North Town Mall. My first stop occurred as a teenager in 1988 when heading back to Oklahoma after a weeklong trip to St Louis. My sister, then all of four years old, was never a good traveller, and stops all over the place were the norm. So, we were quite relieved to find a mall right off of Glenstone and Interstate 44. At the time, North Town Mall was rather small, but it had the basic necessities of a mall. I personally enjoyed it because it had a video arcade, even if it was a small gameroom.

The next time I returned to Springfield was 1998. North Town Mall definitely looked on the decline, but it also looked like it had some life to it. This was probably some of the time OTC had a campus inside the mall. During my next visits to Springfield, North Town Mall seemed to look progressively worse.

During this visit to North Town Mall, I can confirm that, yes, it has gotten as bad as everyone says it has. As I walked around snapping some pictures, I noticed the arcade is in the exact same location as it was in 1988. There also was a Radio Shack and another store that I was not able to identify in addition to the Wal Mart. The rest of the mall, including the food court, was empty, though I did notice some label scars for Maurice's. The center of the mall was indeed closed off, and several mall walkers, all older, asked if I was surveying the area to repair the ceiling that, they heard, was about to fall in. They also told me that they were not pleased that no one was moving into the mall. They said the mall will presently not sign long term leases, and that was the reason for Hallmark's departure as it really didn't want to leave the mall. When I asked them about the stores that remained, they said Radio Shack and the video arcade already had a long term lease, and Wal Mart's plans to build a Supercenter near US-65 had apparently been scrubbed as they had not heard any talk about the Supercenter in quite some time. So, Wal Mart might be staying for the immediate future, but North Town Mall looks dead. One of the mallwalkers had the very telling comment of, "Why don't they just put a prison here? With the way this side of town's going, they could sure as hell use one!"

Brian Florence's Commentary...

posted July 4, 2003 Updated Feb 15, 2005

I took a trip out to Springfield, Missouri to visit w/my friend. I went out last November and got to see this mall, but didn't really have time to look around. Made sure to make time on this visit.

First thing you notice about this mall -- a division one Wal-Mart is the only anchor. Many of these locations have been shuttered in favor of stand-alone Super Centers. Springfield has four Super Center Wal-Mart locations, yet this is the only division one Wal-Mart left, which leads me to believe that this location is semi-profitable, and, prime realestate.

Worthy of note is the fact that across the street from this mall there is a K-Mart that, just recently, the recovering chain bought out the lease and purchased the real estate. K-Mart may be aligning itself to keep Wal-Mart from coming in, or, one of my theories is they're getting the prime real estate for when they do go out of business -- they'll gladly sell to Wal-Mart at a premium.

Located off the northern end of Glenstone, the retail corridor of Springfield, this mall is quite empty. Wal-Mart graces it's east side, there's a Radio Shack, a Hall-Mark card store, an arcade set up in a hallway, and a nice looking food court that has no "open" signs to be seen. Across from the food court is a Subway that can only be accessed from outside the mall. Also, an old grocery store in the mall building on the front now houses a furniture store, again with no access from inside the mall.

Down the street about 3 miles to the corner of Glenstone and Battlefield is a Simon-owned superregional mall, "Battlefield Mall". I walked around this mall while there and could very easily see how North Town became dead. Continue further south on Glenstone or go west on Battlefield and you'll find another Wal-Mart Super Center, and many of the usually expected retail Big Boxes.

Springfield is a booming mid-western city. They're building more Wal-Marts, with a sixth Super Center in the works. New infrastructure is coming in, with a new 4 lane highway skirting the south side of the city. They're located 30 miles north of the bustling tourist trap of Branson, Missouri, or as I like to call it, where washed up country singers park their RV's.

For the history of this mall, see TK's write up.

TK's Commentary...

posted July 4, 2003 with updates 4/16/2006

North Town Mall was a good idea in theory and when it opened in 1977 it had everything. It had 2 dept stores (the wal*mart was 8,000 square feet!!!!), a grocery store (which folded in 1998), theaters, and lots of stores, including Waldenbooks, Maurices, and other stuff typical to a mall.

This mall also had a bank in the parking lot, which recently relocated down the street because they got tired of it getting held up. North Town's demise started in the early 90's when they lost tenants to the decline of the north side town (population has shifted to southern Springfield), and merchants closed stores. Radio Shack is the only original tenant other than Wal*Mart (which has expanded three times in this mall, the last time being 1995).

North Town had a small resurgance in 1992 when Ozarks Community Tech College opened, and needed a campus. North Town took one wing of the mall and converted into office and classroom space (and got $750,000 a year for it!), and it was used for about 6 or so years until OTC's downtown campus was built and opened in the late 90s. This happened while North Town was in receivership by the federal government. North Town was involved in the Savings & Loan scandal of the late 80s/early 90s. Wal*Mart bought the mall 6 months after OTC signed the lease.)

After OTC pulled out, everyone else followed suit. As leases have expired, stores including Waldenbooks have just let them lapse. However, one bright spot is the Applebees in the parking lot. Its about the only thing this mall has going, and it came in early 1999.

If the rumors around town are true, Wal*Mart is heading for the hills. They're looking to relocate the store that is there, #138 to another location. When the grocery store failed (Wal*mart owns the mall), the decision was made not to release it to another grocer, presumably to protect Wal*Mart's interests, which makes me wonder why they didn't put a neighborhood market in there to begin with. The space was there.

The Wal*Mart is worth noting it has no snack bar, and until the mid 90s didn't have a pharmacy (there was a drug store in the mall prior to 1994, and when the store was rebuilt, directly behind the original store, they then put the pharmacy in at that time.

There was Heer's Department store in the mall, which took the former drug store space, and more (they had a wing comperable to OTC's), which displaced the Merle Norman and just about every other business to the 'back 40' of the mall, which effectively killed them.

The 'back 40' wasn't overly desirable. It was far from wal*mart, and the grocery store and theaters had no access to the rest of the mall. The only anchors who did were Heer's and Wal*Mart. Heer's went out of business in 1995, and the space was re-leased to Goodwill, who closed their thrift store there a year ago primarily to cost. (I'm guessing Goodwill's lease was comperable to OTC's)

As for the food court, It never really had anything in it. There was an arcade which was moved back to the area near the food court. The owner was a nice lady who shut it down as the lease got more and more expensive.

The biggest problem NT has is that they don't actually try to lease space. The same leasing company did lease South Oaks Centre (which Wal*Mart tore down and converted it to a SuperCenter (Store 444 opened in 1984, converted to SuperCenter in 2002).

The Wal*Mart has literally no competition (there is a K-Mart across the street), and there is no grocer even close to this mall, which makes me think SuperCenter is definately coming.

This is a textbook dead mall. You're not going to find deader than it.

2/15/2004 North Town is even deader (if such a thing is possible) Wal*Mart has closed off its mall enterance, and Radio Shack and a b-rate arcade are all that are left. You're probably wondering why they closed off the mall enterance? Simple! The roof in centre court is falling in! I didn't see any noticabale signs of it, but all accounts I get is that this mall is falling apart due to lack of upkeep.

9/04/2005 We've got a winner. Radio Shack is gone. Long gone. We can only guess the lease wasn't renewed. Radio Shack doesn't close a location unless it either loses a LOT of money, or the lease doesn't get renewed. Its pretty evident to me Wal*Mart isn't interested in keeping this mall afloat.

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