Inside the infamous dead mall that Amazon is turning into a 700,000-square foot fulfillment center

An Amazon facility will soon replace a dead Ohio mall.

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An Amazon facility will soon replace a dead Ohio mall.
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Seph Lawless

  • Amazon is planning to build a 700,000-square-foot facility on the site of the shuttered Rolling Acres Mall in Akron, Ohio.
  • Rolling Acres Mall fell victim to declining shopper traffic and permanently closed in 2013.
  • Former tenants include Macy’s, JCPenney, Target, and Sears.
  • Amazon’s move into the site is symbolic of a new era of retail dominated by e-commerce giants after the retail apocalypse wiped out hundreds of shopping malls.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon is taking over the site of a once-thriving mall in Akron, Ohio, that was shut down and abandoned after a decade-long decline.

Amazon is planning to build a 700,000-square-foot facility at the site of the former Rolling Acres Mall, one of two fulfillment centers the company is opening in Ohio.

Read more: Amazon is building a fulfillment center on the site of America’s most infamous abandoned mall

Poignant images of the mall’s decay over the years have come to symbolize the era of retail disruption known as the retail apocalypse. The mall was largely demolished by the city of Akron in 2016.

Here are some of images of the mall that were taken before its destruction. The photos were taken by photographers Seph Lawless and Nicholas Eckhart.


Rolling Acres Mall opened in 1975. At its height, the mall boasted more than 140 stores including Macy’s, JCPenney, Target, and Sears.

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UA757 / Wikimedia Commons

Four decades later, the mall fell victim to years of falling customer traffic.

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Seph Lawless

As the mall lost customers, several department stores abandoned their leases, and smaller tenants followed suit.

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Seph Lawless

Rolling Acres never recovered …

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Seph Lawless

… and it lost its last store tenant in 2013.

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Seph Lawless

As business slowed, the building became a target for criminal activity.

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Seph Lawless

A homeless man was sentenced to a year in prison for living inside a vacant store in 2007.

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Seph Lawless

Another man was electrocuted trying to steal copper wire from the mall in 2011.

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Seph Lawless

Source: Cleveland.com


That same year, the body of an apparent murder victim was found behind the shopping center.

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Seph Lawless

Source: Cleveland.com


Even vacant, the mall remained a safety concern.

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Seph Lawless

The mayor of Akron instructed residents in 2016 to “stay clear of the area.”

An Amazon facility will soon replace a dead Ohio mall.

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Seph Lawless

The outside of the mall decayed along with the inside. Weeds sprouted up between cracks in the parking lot.

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Nicholas Eckhart

This building originally opened in 1978 as an O’Neil’s department store.

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Seph Lawless

In 2006 it became a Macy’s, which shut down just two years later.

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Nicholas Eckhart

This cinema was added to the mall around 1977.

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Nicholas Eckhart

Storage of America at one point took over this space, which was formerly occupied by Target.

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Nicholas Eckhart

This truck unloading center also belonged to Target.

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Nicholas Eckhart

This was originally the now-defunct Montgomery Ward department store before it closed in 1986. The store became Dillard’s in 1992. In 1997, it became a Clearance Center.

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Nicholas Eckhart

The city began the process of demolishing the rotting shopping center in 2016.

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Seph Lawless

Years after it was abandoned, the Rolling Acres site is now set to become a brand-new Amazon facility.

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Nicholas Eckhart

Amazon said that the two Ohio fulfillment centers will bring more than 2,500 jobs to the area.

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Seph Lawless

Amazon’s move into the site is symbolic of a new era of retail dominated by Amazon and other e-commerce giants after the retail apocalypse wiped out hundreds of shopping malls.

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Nicholas Eckhart