Monday, June 2, 2014

Photo Essay: (Mostly) Abandoned Hawthorne Plaza Mall & Parking, Exterior


Photo: The Daily Breeze

Out of all of the abandoned places I've explored, I've never gotten to go to a dead mall. But I am fascinated by them.

After all, I grew up in malls. My dad worked at the mall. I had some of my first dates at the mall.



Hawthorne Plaza is one such dead mall in the South Bay area of Los Angeles...



...considered "partially abandoned" because its south end was redone as a strip mall...



...with an Albertson's and several fast food joints...



...and its north end has been converted into some offices (which is said to be the fate for the rest of the mall).



But in between?



A whole lotta nothin'.



Built and opened in 1977, Hawthorne Plaza was supposed to be part of the revitalization of the City of Hawthorne...



...but, when it closed in 1999 after every major retail chain pulled out (the last being J.C. Penney)...



...it only contributed to the blight of the area.



A developer bought the property in 2001, with hopes of converting it into a mixed-use lifestyle center...



...featuring condos, offices, and retail...



...but his plans were rejected by local officials...



...and the complex has really only survived thanks to a few prominent films...



...which have used it as a shooting location (including Minority Report and The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift).



Incredibly, the letters to the sign of The Broadway department store still remain (despite it having been converted to an outlet store before its closure)...



...and many of the other signs remain unvandalized.



Not all of them survived, however – some leaving a ghostly shadow behind.



Every door is locked.



Understandably, explorers want to get inside.



The most likely (illegal) way in seems to be through the abandoned part of the parking structure...




...adjacent to the mall...



...whose doors are also locked and chained.



But there are openings that allow a good enough look inside...



...while the voices of teenage boys echo in the concrete.



Train tracks split the parking structure in two.



Eucalyptus trees engulf it...



...their dropped leaves burying it.



I imagine the interior frozen in time – not in the late 90s, but in the late 70s or early 80s, the mall generation of my childhood, the malls of my memories, all brown and orange and glossy in just the right places.


Photo: The Daily Breeze (2008)

If this is what it looked like six years ago (above), I can only imagine the devastation to behold inside of it now...

Related Post:
Photo Essay: Wilshire May Company Building, Miracle Mile