MISSION CENTER / MISSION CENTER MALL: MISSION, KS
Nick Brim's Commentary:
Posted December 2, 2006 (user submitted)
Mission Center Mall turned 50 years old this year, which also was the year this mall was demolished.
Mission Center Mall was located wedged between Johnson Drive, Roe Avenue, Shawnee Mission Parkway, and Roeland Avenue in Mission, Kansas. The mall was opened in 1956, featuring a huge 2-story parking garage, which took made up one-half of the area. There were 2-stories, 2 department stores, and approximately 50 stores.
In recent history, the mall did very well. The mall always stayed at about 65-75% occupancy, stores filled the places of stores leaving. Mission Center was anchored by Dillard's and Macy*s, although the Macy*s pulled out when Macy*s left Kansas City. Dillard's took advantage of the extra space, and divided into a Dillard's North, which housed their men and children apparel, and a Dillard's South, housing the women apparel and jewelry/house goods. The mall housed many recognized chain stores, including Pretzel Time, Regis Hairstlyist, Foot Locker, Kay Bee Toys, Bath & Body Works, Electronic Bouqtique (EB Games), and others. They also held a great deal of local stores, such as The Kansas Sampler, which sold sports wear.
I remember going to this mall at a very young age. I'd get a pizza-by-the-slice at a pizza parlor, which I forget the name of it. I would go look in Kay Bee Toys at games and toys. I've had a few field trips to the Mission Center's live theatre, Theatre For Young America. This mall was beautiful, sporting a well-designed sky-light roof, banners, and a fancy staircase with a pool of water below it.
I am sad that the mall had to go, it still was doing good business, but the owners, Copaken White & Blitt sold it, as the elderly couple didn't want the burden any longer. The new owners immediately planned on tearing it down for a mixed-use development, which would be called The Gateway. The stores started to close from around the time they made this deal in August, 2005 to February, 2006. The Brentano's Bookstore closed in later 2005, and Bath & Body Works closed after Christmas. The last stores to close where Wolf Camera and Christopher & Banks, who remained open until the day the mall was closed down.
I went there one day in mid-February, planning on going to Mystic Golf, but I found the parking garage empty, and a small paper tacked up to the door, stating: "MISSION CENTER MALL IS CLOSED". I looked inside to see storefronts empty and the inside dark, only the staircase under the skylight shined. This was not such a Happy-Birthday for Mission Center, but it lasted 50 years in good condition.
The previous owners haven't removed the Mission Center website, and not a word on it mentions it being closed and demolished.
Shop Mission Center official Web site still up