Friday, May 29, 2020

It Looked Good on Paper

An article in this week's Sunday Times caught my eye.  It was a "today in history" type feature.  I love those things.

Anyway, the paper looked back on something that happened 34 years ago.  The Lackawanna Avenue Mall project was stuck in endless litigation.  There was a proposal to build a mall near Memorial Stadium.  Developers said there was room for another area shopping center.

I took the photos above on the morning of April 5, 1992.  Several buildings on Lackawanna Avenue were imploded to make way for the mall.

Hindsight is 20/20.

The happy retail environment lasted several years.  Then, it imploded.  It really cratered this spring, and no one knows if it will ever recover.

The Lackawanna Avenue mall seemed like a good idea at the time.  Those old buildings were shot, and no one had the money to fix them up.  Malls were still cool in the early 90's.

The mall is now home to one department store, and a branch college campus.  There is one medical facility here and another on the way.  There is a gym, a small assortment of tiny stores, a couple of restaurants, and something resembling a weekend flea market.  There is a lot of barren space.

I'm sorry the 100 per cent retail thing didn't work.  It was worth a shot, and I really liked going here when it was filled with stores.

Memorial Stadium is still there, with a relatively new high school next to it.  The old bus yard across the street is retail space.  The same goes for a plot of land on the other side of the Mulberry Street bridge and the North Scranton Expressway.  The mall in that neighborhood never materialized.  Whew!  If it was built, it would probably be empty, too.

There is no real moral to this story.  If there is one, I guess it's to make the best decision with the best available information.  Sometimes, it works.  And, other times...