NORTHLAND SHOPPING CENTER / NORTHLAND MALL: JENNINGS (ST. LOUIS), MO
Toby Weiss' Commentary:
Posted January 8, 2006 (user submitted)
A little history lesson can be found here:
Toby has gone through the site and pulled some artifacts worth noting.
Ed Franke's Commentary:
Posted May 11, 2005 (user submitted)
Demolition of Northland Shopping center is underway as of 5/1/05. The shopping center will be replaced with Target, Schucks (grocery store) and several outparcels. It will take some time to demolish the large Famous Barr store. At the moment, environmental clean-up is underway. Projected opening of the new center (named The Boulevard) is fall 2006.
Another piece of mall history dies a slow, painful death.
Adam Godfrey's Commentary:
Posted April 3, 2005 (user submitted)
It's safe to say that North St. Louis County has not had very much success with shopping centers and malls since the 1980's after there was a large shift in population to affluent West St. Louis County and fast-growing middle / upper-middle class St. Charles County.
Currently, Northland Center sits almost empty with demolition and redevelopment in its future; this is also the case at nearby River Roads Mall. Other malls in North County: Jamestown Mall in Jamestown and Westfield Shoppingtown Northwest in St. Ann are also malls that are dying quickly. The only successful mall in North County at present is St. Louis Mills in Hazelwood. The St. Louis Mills mall is more a form of "shoppertainment" and also is just across the bridge from St. Charles County.
Northland holds a special place in my heart: four of my aunts as well as my late grandmother all worked at stores in this mall at some point in time over the course of almost 30 years.
Some of the stores that were in this mall over the course of its life included (but aren't limited to): Famous-Barr, SS Kresge (later McCrory 5-10), Musicland, Stuart's, Hallmark Cards, Walgreens, Foot Locker, Boyd's (a junior sized department store that specialized in men's and women's fashion), See's Candies (now Long Nails), General Cinema (upper level outparcel), Schnucks Foods (was a lower level outparcel and closed in the late 80's, by the mid-90's Aldi moved into the space), Slack Shack (a men's store that was there in the early 1980's, they also had a store at nearby River Roads Mall), Pope's Cafeteria, Northland Bowl, GNC, Lerner, Radio Shack, Bakers Shoes, Kingsbury's Shoes, Wehmueller Jewelers, Brod-Dugan Paints (upper level outparcel, now Family Dollar), Goodyear Tire and Auto, Bank of America, Burger Chef (upper level outparcel, became Hardee's in the early 1980's, now it's London and Sons Wing House), Rainbow/Foxmoor, Fashion Cents, Fashion Update, Northland Hunan Chop Suey, Staten Island Cle
I'm sure that there are other stores I have missed or never even knew about that were there. This was one of the original suburban shopping centers of the United States back in the 1950's.
Sadly, this area of St. Louis (the suburbs of Jennings, Dellwood, and Ferguson) are no longer the clean and beautiful neighborhoods they once were from the 1950's to around the mid to late 1980's. As crime from nearby North St. Louis City came inward to the suburbs, both Northland (as well as River Roads Mall) became the scenes of muggings, auto thefts, and robberies. An apartment complex near the mall on Lucas Hunt Road called Northland Village became government subsidized housing in the 1980's and the was known as a haven for drug dealers and gangs. In 1994 a grizzly drug related murder happened in the complex; the reputation of the apartments was so bad that the name was changed to Colony North. Strangely this is somewhat similar to what happened at Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois in the 1970's. In 2001 the apartments were torn down and new market rate apartments are being built. Around this same time, a new government office building was built on the upper level as an outparcel at Northland. The
The stores still open at Northland are Rainbow/Foxmoor, Foot Locker, Long Nails (which burned down in 1996 and was rebuilt), and the Ambassador Nightclub (in the former Northland Bowl spot), Fashion Cents, and Fashion Update, Bank of America, London & Sons, Blockbuster, Family Dollar, and Aldi.
I have heard no other discussion or redevelopment except that they want to tear down the Famous-Barr and mall shops and redevelop it into a big box power center like Cross Keys Shopping Center in nearby Florissant. Talk of a Target store bounded for a couple of years but have since ceased.
This area of North County is going through the early stages of what may be a renaissance. Other areas of North County are well into the redevelopment phases. Many people who lived in this area as kids whose families moved to St. Charles and West County are starting to move back to North County because housing is so much more affordable there.
Toby Weiss' Commentary:
Northland Shopping Center (at W. Florissant and Lucas & Hunt Blvd.) first opened in 1955, classic Mid-Century Modern architecture. Famous-Barr (a May Co. store) was it's major anchor (they left in 1994), and the center also featured Kresge's and an ungodly amount of shoe stores. "Outlot" buildings included a cinema (opened in 1967), post office, grocery store, dental/medical building and auto repair.
Northland is now only about 30% full.
The cinema shut down around 1997. A local development group - Sansone - now owns it and has been broadcasting plans since 1999 to level everything (save for a Blockbuster, Hardee's and...something, which are new outlots close to W. Florissant) and rebuild new. On the Sansone website, they call the redevelopment New Northland Center.
Knowing this was in the air, I went back to my childhood haunt to get pictures before it disappeared. Though plywood board-up abounds, the place is amazingly sound, structurally. Nary a rusted piece of stainless steel. It would most likely cost slightly less to rehab. I dream of a developer who is a Mid-Century Mod. fan saving it at the last minute. But it's in the wrong location for that type of progressive rehab. Hell, many people wonder why Sansone wants to sink so much money into the property, because the neighborhood would not seem to support it.
So, I've included a few shots for you to look at. If you're interested, I have plenty more photos, historical info & drawings, and such trivia. I'm just hoping to find a way to memorialize Northland Shopping Center, for there isn't a chance in hell of saving it.
About The Author:
Toby Weiss' Personal Site
Mike Batchelor's Commentary:
Perhaps just as blighted as the River Roads Mall, is the antiquated Northland Center, at the corner of West Florrisant and Lucas and Hunt in Jennings.
The open air Northland once housed a Famous-Barr store, as well as a movie theater, a Woolworths, a bowling alley, and several other major national specialty stores that you would normally find in a mall.
One of the few remaining stores in the complex is a RadioShack. Being that I am a store manager for RadioShack, I had the occasion a couple of months ago to work at the Northland store on a clean up crew, as we do when a new manager takes over. The store does a surprisingly good business despite how blighted the mall has became.
This store was a total timewarp to about 1983. Its not the old burnt orange store, but the one right after that. The signs and the fixtures are all totally retro.
Next door, there is an abandoned bookstore, another chain store, GNC still also in business.
The former bowling alley has since became a black oriented performance hall called the Ambassador.
The lightposts are rusty, the parking lot is cracked and full of potholes, and they have a 1950s vintage marquee sign, and in the area where you would normally have the goings on in the mall, they have listed the few stores that are still located there.
Matthew R. Hicks' Commentary:
Northland Mall. This center is not all that far from River Roads Mall;
it's on the other side of Jennings. Its primary anchor was Famous-Barr,
which relocated to Jamestown Mall in nearby Florissant in the mid-1990s. As
for redevelopment plans, Jennings is negotiating with developers to create a
new strip center, featuring a Target Greatland store, at Northland, and to
replace River Roads Mall with new housing.
St Louis online Shopping Guide