DELCO PLAZA MALL: YORK, PA
Stephen Leach's Commentary
Posted April 29, 2006 (user submitted)
Built sometime in the mid-70's, Delco Plaza Mall was located on the west side
of York, PA along the
intersection of Route 30 and Carlisle Road (Route 74). It was an odd hybrid of
strip mall and regular mall similar to the popular York Mall on the east end of
town; all of the small stores facing Carlisle Road had storefronts, and you
could walk from each storefront into the corridor that was the mall itself.
Delco was anchored by two department stores; Hills Department Store sat on the
Route 30 side of the mall, while Grant City was at the other end. The mall also
got a lot of traffic from the outlying Pathmark store which sat in a large
building right next to Grant's. Grant later became Kmart. Other stores in the
mall included a five screen UA Cinema, which was the largest theater in York
for many years and drew plenty of traffic, Bookland, a locally owned newsstand,
the International Family Restaurant and Dipper Dan, a locally owned ice cream
After the West Manchester Mall was built across Route 30 in the mid- 1980s,
Delco began its long, steady decline. The first of the anchors to go under was
Pathmark, which went under in the late 1980s/early 1990s as the chain closed
many underperforming stores. That space sat vacant for many years before
Tractor Supply moved in. Probably the biggest early hit for Delco was when the
UA movie theater went out of business. It changed hands and became a discount
second run theater, which pretty much killed the traffic within the mall, which
then led to the arcade and just about every restaurant in the mall going under.
The mall had been a popular weekend and evening destination because of that
multi-screen theater... without the theater, there was no Friday and Saturday
Delco gained a stay of execution when the post office moved in, and having a
state liquor store helped, but the kinds of people that went to those places
didn't really stick around to shop. The mall was evolving from a retail space
to a "service" space. By the mid-1990s, the mall was virtually dead; Bookland
had changed hands and the new owner closed within two years, the liquor store
moved out, and a number of local businesses, from a pet store to various
Chinese restaurants, all tried and failed to gain an audience. By 1996, there
were virtually no retail stores left between the anchor department stores...
the mall had a driver's license photo center, the post office, a dentist
office, an eye doctor, a women's-only health club, a loan store, a tanning
salon and a karate studio. Shoppers had almost no reason to walk in the mall
save for a beloved local comic book shop, a jewelry store and a very run down
D.E. Jones variety store. Mall management fired the full-time security guard
because there was no traffic for him to guard.
The shoe dropped when Hills, which had been struggling in the face of
competition from Wal-mart, was bought out by Ames department store, which went
bankrupt shortly thereafter. Within a few years of that,
Kmart closed, leaving the mall a virtual ghost town.
The mall was 95% vacant for the past several years; even the post office moved
out. However, in 2005, the last tenants went out of business, moved, or had
their leases bought out, and the owners of the mall had almost everything
leveled. In its place will be a new big box strip center, anchored by a home
improvement store. It was bizarre to drive by there at night after the mall had
been torn down, because there was a huge black space with no lights where a
busy mall had sat for over 20 years.
User comments (new!!)
(Please be respectful of other users, thanks!
For a permanent essay post, please use this link.)