I took a trip to Suncheon's dead mall last week. No, not Choeun Plaza, the huge building in "New Downtown" that used to hold a department store, there's another one. Unlike other dead malls, that linger after enjoying years of popularity and productivity, this one has yet to be occupied.
I've written about Suncheon Outlet (순천아울렛) before. It sits below Lotte Cinema, and the plans called for the first three floors to be retail space, with the fourth floor a dining area, the fifth and sixth floors and entertainment area, and the ninth floor a "Sky Lounge."
Currently the only tenants besides Lotte Cinema are on the first floor. Of all the spaces, ten are occupied, one was closed for the day, four had closed up shop for good, and the rest looked like they had never been used. Floors 2, 3, 4, and 6 were completely unoccupied, save for some cigarette butts and other pieces of litter. Anyway, please indulge me (and you can cut through the crap by just visiting the Flickr gallery, though it still lacks captions):
You'll see a lot of banners advertising sales. Some stores had stuff marked down 70%.
This store looked closed for the day. Look, there's me!
Others were closed for good.
And had moved.
There were ten stores open on the first floor: a Nike outlet, an Adidas, a Ben Hogan, a couple other golf clothing shops, and a few others that I can't remember. I only saw two actual customers that day. A few other people were going to and from the elevator to the movie theater. The employees were just sititng at their computers.
I do like the layout, though, which you can see from the drawing at the top and can surmise from the photos. If you stand in the middle you can see straight up to the fifth floor.
The second floor was empty.
As was the third.
They planned to have a family restaurant on the 4th floor.
On the fourth floor there are two small courtyards on either side.
There is a long room in the middle of the 4th floor, stretching almost from one side of the other, which would hold the restaurant.
Unlike the other rooms, which were locked, this one had two open doors. However, on the 4th floor there was a small office with a couple employees doing I don't know what, so I didn't loiter too long.
The fifth floor is the ticket office. The sixth floor was intended to be part of the "entertainment zone." It was open, but vacant.
Actually, if you're on the 5th floor you can take an escalator to the 6th, where you'll find some arcade games. The 6th floor was empty but very noisy with the noises of the games and the elevators, hidden presumably by the doors and the temporary walls.
The room narrowed into a small hallway about two feet wide.
The 7th and 8th floors are the theater. This staircase goes along the front of the building.
On the 9th floor is the "Sky Lounge."
I'm not sure what was planned here, but it doesn't look like it'd hold much more than a little coffee stand.
Guess you have to pass the time somehow.
I learned about "dead malls" a while ago from Wikipedia. Suncheon's dead mall makes me feel right at home because we have quite a few in Pittsburgh. The mall nearest my house used to have an "Oriental Festival" back in the day.
That was way before my time, though. I remember going to that mall to see Santa and the Easter Bunny, and to check out the huge bird cage.
Go ahead and explore deadmalls.com to find some in your area. Dead Malls are a little depressing to me because I can't help but think of the vitality and happiness that used to be there. In Suncheon Outlet's case, I guess it's the vitality they haven't quite captured yet.