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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

DEAD: The Great Mall of the Great Plains- Olathe, Kansas

          Never getting to visit a mall before it closes sure is a bummer, never going to a mall before it is demolished is an even bigger blow. In the case of The Great Mall of the Great Plains outside Kansas City, I made it just in the nick of time. I took a trip out to Kansas City in late August to finally see The Great Mall, not getting to the mall the first time around July 2014, never getting to see the inside of the mall, or the outside as a whole.

          I made it to the mall just in time, as the demolition had started weeks earlier, I think about 15% of the mall may have been gone already, I know for sure is not much was gone.

          The Great Mall opened with great fanfare in August 1997, becoming the largest mall in the state of Kansas. Planning to open in March, the mall officially opened in August because of leasing issues, not finding enough stores to open in time (already tempting the fate of the mall).

          Some of the original anchor stores included Linens 'N Things, Burlington Coat Factory, Oshaman's SuperSports USA, Marshalls, Group USA Clothing, Foozle's Books, and even a Dillard's clearance outlet and about 150 inline tenants. A Jeeper's family fun center opened, later becoming a Zonkers. A movie theater and food court were added later in the malls development.

          Off 5th Saks Fifth Avenue opened in 1999, and not long after that, the mall saw its first round of closures with Dillard's leaving in 2001, replaced by a VF Outlet. Oshman's and Linens 'N Things, as well as Off 5th all closed in 2002. Marshalls left in 2005, and Steve & Barry's opened that same year. Although you can guess it closed in 2009. A famous Labels store opened around 2007, but closed in early 2009.

          In February 2015, the malls owners announced that the mall would close in the summer or fall of 2015, and in September, the day came the malls doors closed to the public. Burlington Coat Factory was the last remaining anchor, and Toys R Us and an out parcel.

          The mall officially began demolition in July 2016, and will reed during the next several months. The Burlington Coat Factory will remain open, but will have to relocate as there anchor will be coming down by the end of the year.

Here are the photos of the mall I took in August 2016:

Burlington Coat Factory is still open.

Most of the mall in fenced in, hindering me from getting closer to the former anchors.

Toys R Us adjacent to the mall.

So far away...

Blocked off entrance, reminds of Jamestown Mall outside St. Louis.

Where the demolition begins...

It was so nice of Steve & Barry to leave there sign up for me to enjoy, so cool to see one still up, I don't have too many pictures of that.

From the looks of the sign, you think the mall is thriving, at least until you enter.

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