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Richland Mall Demolition, 3400 Forest Drive: February 2024 etc   37 comments

Posted at 10:22 pm in closing

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As of yet the demolition appears to be limited to taking down some parking lot lights and cutting some trees. I would guess not much interior teardown has been done, because I don't see a lot of refuse & dumpsters, but that's just a guess.

I'll keep updating this post as the demolition continues...

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UPDATE 21 March 2024: As reported demolition has started. At this point it appears mainly to be ripping the facade off the Parisian building, and poking through the wall at the corner of Barnes & Noble, for some reason. Note however that I could not get behind the mall, so who knows what is happening there. I would expect to see a story somewhere on the WIS site, as they had two news cars filming at the mall.

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Written by ted on February 26th, 2024

Tagged with , , , ,

37 Responses to 'Richland Mall Demolition, 3400 Forest Drive: February 2024 etc'

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  1. Company that owns the mall now, is the same company that develops a lot of shopping centers for Kroger. The Kroger across the street is old and in need of an upgrade. Guess we can connect some dots.

    Fred

    27 Feb 24 at 9:36 am

  2. It's probably better to move the Kroger instead of bringing another grocery store chain.

    Robin

    27 Feb 24 at 9:51 am

  3. How do I post a picture on here? I found one of the original Mall from the 60's.

    DB

    27 Feb 24 at 10:41 am

  4. @DB -- Putting pictures in the comments doesn't work for non-admin users. If you email it to me at

    closings at columbiaclosings.cmo

    I will try to get it posted.

    ted

    27 Feb 24 at 10:03 pm

  5. Thanks...will do.

    Db

    27 Feb 24 at 10:13 pm

  6. Tried to send it but it won't work. What's the email again?

    Db

    27 Feb 24 at 10:20 pm

  7. Check your email. Let me know if you got the picture. Thanks..

    DB

    27 Feb 24 at 10:24 pm

  8. Not yet. I reversed com as cmo so scrapers wouldn't find it.

    ted

    27 Feb 24 at 10:35 pm

  9. I joked for many years about this mall being dead. Sucks to see it go.

    Matthew Benjamin

    28 Feb 24 at 1:18 am

  10. I live around the corner and have been keeping an eye on the work. All I have seen is folks in the old Parasian store and a week or so ago a big tuch was at the old mall entrance. I assume they may have been clearing out stuff that was still in the stores before demo.

    Thomas

    28 Feb 24 at 1:30 pm

  11. correction * big truck parked at the mall entrance

    Thomas

    28 Feb 24 at 1:30 pm

  12. I always think it's a little sad when a mall goes away. Malls were a gigantic part of our country, and cultural identity, for a *long* time. Sadly, this one has been a bit of a mess for a while.

    I can remember when my family moved to SC and my mom would drive over an hour to come to Richland Fashion Mall. She was so happy, she brought my dad and me one Christmas to see both Richland Fashion Mall and Columbia Mall. Both were very nice and offered my family a happy time to do some shopping together. Sadly, time passes.

    I hope something good comes of this and not some nonsense "live/work/play" hipster magnet. Maybe "the Universitah" can turn it into student housing (I think I just pulled an eye-rolling muscle)

    Lone Wolf

    29 Feb 24 at 6:48 am

  13. Malls are a thing of the past. Richland Mall, Dutch Square, Columbia Mall.. I think the ONLY reason Columbiana Mall is still growing strong is location, location, location. Plus all the people that now live in and around that area. So it may do well for quite some time, but time will tell on that. I wasn't a "Mall" kind back in the 70's, but I knew people that were...it was the thing to do back then, but DSM opened 54 years ago, Columbia Mall is 46-47 years old ( I think). And the original Richland Mall opened I think in 1961 or 1962..I was too young to remember what year though..would have been 3-4 years old at that time.

    DB

    29 Feb 24 at 4:43 pm

  14. Meant to say I was never a Mall Kid...not "Mall KIND".

    DB

    29 Feb 24 at 4:46 pm

  15. Either way works, DB. 'Kind' is the German word for 'kid' (as in 'kindergarten.'

    badger

    1 Mar 24 at 9:13 am

  16. I think people are less comfortable walking through malls now. They became more Walmart-y, with people loitering, fighting, and leaving obnoxious kids and teens to roam unsupervised. My husband worked for a large retail chain that has locations in malls. There was definitely a problem with parents thinking that store employees and mall security would babysit kids.

    Robin

    1 Mar 24 at 11:10 am

  17. Dutch Square Mall and that entire area was a jumpin' hot spot from the early 70's through the mid 80's, but it started changing after that. Same for Columbia Mall...it was a jumpin spot too. RIchland Mall was more of a Community Mall for people that lived in that area that didn't want to fight the down town crowds back then..but it was rather busy in 60's and 70 and had some great stores to go to. I'm surprised Columbiana Mall is still doing good after being there for 30+ years now. I worked at Musicland there originally before leaving it after 3 years of the Mall crowd.

    DB

    1 Mar 24 at 3:33 pm

  18. While the decline in malls was probably inevitable, especially with the advent of the Internet, you can thank Columbiana Centre for both the Richland Mall enclosure debacle and the death of the Bush River Road/Dutch Square retail corridor. The incredibly stupid and short-sighted decision to enclose Richland Mall was made in late 1988, about the time construction started on Columbiana Centre, and I'll bet (but can't prove) that the clown who came up with the idea was trying to follow suit with Harbison, to "update" Richland Mall and make it "relevant". Once Columbiana Centre was opened Bush River and Dutch Square spun rapidly into decline, further evidence of the fickle nature of Columbians and their unwavering devotion to only patronizing "cool" new spots, and abandoning anything that came before. This fickleness is a big part of why the average life expectancy of a commercial building in the Columbia metropolitan area is about 20 years, after which time the commercial building will be demolished and either ends up a parking lot/vacant lot, or a "cool" new business. Rinse, lather, repeat.

    59 Ford Wheelman

    1 Mar 24 at 7:12 pm

  19. 59 Ford Wheelman - It doesn't help that much of Columbia life revolves around college students and whatever they currently find "cool". I think this is a big reason for all of the new development in Lexington County and Kershaw County - people leaving Columbia.

    Robin

    2 Mar 24 at 9:15 am

  20. I took a commercial real estate class at Carolina in the late 90's, and the instructor used Richland Mall as an example of not properly understanding area demographics before creating a big retail center. You need a couple of things to make a mall work. One is a local population with plenty of disposable income. Forest Acres was a great match - probably one of Columbia's most affluent communities.

    The next thing you need for a mall is young adults. Young people are frequently replacing clothes for their growing children, buying new outfits to keep up with the latest fashion trends, etc. Older folks have found their style, and the tend to shop at a mall when something wears out - or maybe one shopping trip at Christmas to buy stuff for the grandkids. Unfortunately for Richland Mall, Forest Acres is an older population. Combine that with no visibility from a major interstate to draw in people from outlying areas, and the mall was doomed from the beginning.

    Even then, he was predicting the extinction of malls in general, but we didn't fully understand the impact of online shopping at that point.

    I watch "abandoned mall" videos on YouTube sometimes, and the general thinking of the creators that follow this corner of the world is that it's not if, but when, all malls will be gone.

    Heath

    2 Mar 24 at 11:18 am

  21. There was a time I could walk Columbiana and maybe see a friend or 2 (and it would typically brighten my day to do so) but that gradually became less likely and my interest waned in that...sometimes I'd walk the mall and not buy anything except my lunch. Plus mall stores struck me as being on the high side it seemed.

    It is my understanding that Columbia Place Mall opened in 1977 while Dutch Square opened in 1970.

    Richland Mall's 1988/89 overhaul stems from an Australian real estate venture called LJ Hooker trying to venture into the US that didn't work out to well.

    Andrew

    2 Mar 24 at 3:58 pm

  22. Dutch Square Mall opened in the summer of 1970, Columbia Mall opened in 1977 and the original Richland Mall was demolished in 1989-90. Columbiana Mall opened in 1990 or 1992 I think. I helped open Music Land there, but started at the Columbia Mall location near Sears in 1990. Malls were a 70's to a mid 80's thing. Woodhill Plaza, Bush River Mall and Decker Mall all opened around 1977 I think, but they all died off by the mid 80's too. Walmart is what took the Mall crowds away pretty much, but Columbiana Mall is still going strong due to it's location. I started working retail in 1982 at the old Service Mds. store right after it had changed its name from Sam Solomon...but it was a jumping area at that time also.

    Db

    2 Mar 24 at 10:40 pm

  23. Columbia is nothing but one big College Party Town. USC is buying ALL the property it can get its hands on. Columbia is trying to be "relevant" but it falls short, so that's why you see USC catering to all the young crowd and enticing them with all these hip places, condo's and other places. It's funny because Columbia has never been close to "hip". Sure, there were all the Head shops and other Hippie Hangouts like the "UFO" on North Main where the original Manifest Records took over in the early 80's, but still Columbia is Columbia, and more College kids are going to USC than ever before. If people are leaving Columbia, it's because to too many kids running around loose in the downtown area and other places.

    Db

    2 Mar 24 at 10:49 pm

  24. Robin and Db, you both nailed it. As a lifelong resident of Columbia I am perpetually amazed at the constant marketing of this city and surrounding area to a transient population who will spend 4-8 years getting their degrees, then move somewhere else. And trust me, precious few college kids are completing their studies and staying here, and that has been the case for decades. The only population Columbia can consistently attract is retirees from up north, but that is a whole different issue.

    59 Ford Wheelman

    3 Mar 24 at 8:04 am

  25. It is my understanding that Columbiana opened in 1990.

    I believe Woodhill opened in 1978 (then it was redeveloped into its current form in 2004).

    Both Bush River Mall as well as Decker Mall opened in 1977.

    I remember shopping the Bush River Mall Target in the 90s during my Elementary years and vaguely remember other parts of Bush River Mall...seeing Hercules with my grandmother in the theater and I also remember Ben Franklin Crafts and Burlington Coat Factory...then by 1998 Ben Franklin Crafts had closed up and Burlington had moved to Dutch Square...Target moved out to Columbiana Station in 1999 and Bush River Mall sat vacant until it was demolished for Walmart #4379 in early 2006.

    I remember going in Richland Mall's Belk and Barnes & Noble a few times over the years and even remember browsing Dillard's and Parisian during their respective liquidations. I made it in Blacklion once and saw it still had some of the same flooring patters of Dillard's but only made it once. Last few times I was in Belk it seemed like about half the upstairs was curtained off and naturally that lead to the closure thereof.

    Andrew

    3 Mar 24 at 1:45 pm

  26. One thing that is not being mentioned that led to the demise of Richland Mall was the parking garage which reportedly turned off a nother of would be tennets because it blocked the view of the mall from the road.

    Tom

    3 Mar 24 at 2:48 pm

  27. I agree about that parking garage, Tom; in addition to the reason you cite, it was just sketchy, and I always felt uncomfortable when I had to use it. I almost always parked in the terribly designed Barnes and Noble lot.

    Payne

    3 Mar 24 at 3:19 pm

  28. It has been mentioned here before that the parking garage did dissuade many potential tenants from moving in...

    Andrew

    3 Mar 24 at 10:44 pm

  29. Same here, Payne - I disliked both parking options, but the B&N lot was less creepy.

    Robin

    4 Mar 24 at 8:42 am

  30. Odd memory here: Did anyone else go to Barnes & Noble and see a guy, probably in his 20s, who sat on the floor beside the magazine racks and pulled magazines out, while muttering weird phrases? He would make a pile of magazines on the floor. I saw him two or three times. One time the pile was quite large, almost big enough for an adult to lie down and nap on. I wondered if maybe he was autistic. Even so, I felt bad for whoever had to clean up those magazines after he left.

    Robin

    4 Mar 24 at 8:53 am

  31. Follow up on B&N discussion, the new location at Woodhill will open this Wednesday - March 6th.

    Larry

    4 Mar 24 at 10:01 am

  32. Depending on where you parked in the Barnes & Noble lot, you were either testing your brakes, or your door hinges!

    ted

    4 Mar 24 at 10:24 pm

  33. Folks WLTX has this story discussing how the City of Forest Acres is seeking public input as to what people would like to see in the new Richland Mall Park...they're having a drop in meeting from 6-8 PM on March 19 at Kathwood Baptist Church or the WLTX article linked herein has a link to an online form you can fill out if you're unable to make said meeting...

    Andrew

    12 Mar 24 at 10:33 pm

  34. Folks, apart from the current issues, definitely look at Andrew's link for some vintage pictures of the original mall.

    ted

    12 Mar 24 at 11:28 pm

  35. WLTX has a video at https://youtu.be/LkU_qDIsIBA showing the demolition beginning (and it'll lead to a couple of others)...

    Andrew

    20 Mar 24 at 9:01 pm

  36. A news story showing further progress is available at https://youtu.be/_P9u2YVWTc0.

    Andrew

    20 Mar 24 at 9:08 pm

  37. I'm sure there will be a story on WIS as well, as there were two WIS cars onsite Wednesday.

    ted

    21 Mar 24 at 1:02 am

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