Front Entrance to the Raleigh Springs Mall
Raleigh Springs Mall is an enclosed shopping mall serving the city of Memphis, Tennessee, USA. It is located on the north side of Memphis, on Austin Peay Hwy. just north of Interstate 40. Opened in 1971 as one of the city's first two shopping malls (the other being Southland Mall), owned and managed by Angela Whichard, Inc., Raleigh Springs Mall originally featured about seventy stores later to be remodeled and feature a twelve-screen multiplex, with four anchor stores, formerly occupied by Sears, JCPenney, Goldsmith's and Dillard's. The theater closed in December 2011, Sears closed in April 2011, and the other three anchors closed in 2003.
Sign for the Mall
Center Court In Front of Goldsmith's Entrance
Raleigh Springs Mall opened in 1971. Developed by the Edward J. DeBartolo corporation (now known as Simon Property Group) as one of the first two malls in the Memphis area, it featured four major anchor stores: national chains JC Penney and Sears, as well as local chains Lowenstein's (which was sold to Dillard's in 1982) and Goldsmith's. A Woolworth dime store also served as a junior anchor next to JC Penney; after the Woolworth store closed in the 1990's, it was replaced with a twelve-screen multiplex (that closed December 5, 2011).
Center Court Of The Mall
Initially the dominant mall in the Memphis area, Raleigh Springs Mall would lose several stores over time as newer malls opened, such as Hickory Ridge Mall and Mall of Memphis. Hickory Ridge Mall, in turn, has lost most of its national tenants as well, while Mall of Memphis has been demolished; both of these malls lost most of their business to the newer Wolfchase Galleria, which opened in 1997.
A Jewelry Store near front Entrance
By the 2000's, Raleigh Springs Mall had begun to lose many of its tenants. In early 2003, Dillard's announced that its location at Raleigh Springs Mall would be one of several stores closed that year. Goldsmith's parent company Federated Department Stores (now known as Macy's, Inc.), who was in the midst of significant corporate reorganization at the time, announced that the Goldsmith's location at Raleigh Springs would be shuttered by April of the same year. Finally, the JC Penney store (which had been downgraded to a JC Penney outlet center along with Dillard's) was closed as well, leaving Sears as the only anchor store.
Starting in 2005, Wal-Mart began negotiations with Simon Property Group to open a Supercenter at the mall. These plans would call for the demolition of the former JC Penney space, as well as the mall's movie theater, to make way for the Supercenter. However, these plans never materialized, and Wal-Mart signaled its intentions of staying at its current location when it started renovating it in early 2010.
In January 2011, Sears confirmed that its location in the mall was to close on April 3, 2011. This left the Raleigh Springs Mall without an anchor store.
Demolition on the former J.C. Penney's anchor store at the north end of the mall began in November 2012 due to severe vandalism and break ins. Demolition on the vacant Sears automotive store occured May 2016. Demolition of the entire mall is occurring due to the city trying to take over the mall to make way for a civic center.
Tearing Down the J C Penny's Portion of the Mall
Crews are ripping down part of the Raleigh Springs Mall.
Back Door to newest Theater and the Foundation of J.C. Penny's looking toward Austin Peay
Demolition began Tuesday on the old J C Penney.
People familiar with how vibrant the Raleigh Springs Mall once was say it has been on life support for quite some time. On Tuesday, the plug was pulled on at least one part of the building.
"There was nothing left but to tear it down," said Juanita Jones, Raleigh Springs Mall manager.
Crime and copper theft has been all too common inside the mall's abandoned buildings in recent years.
Mall manager Juanita Jones is passionate about ridding the Raleigh shopping center of its negative reputation.
Closed Order Pick-up Area
Jones says the revitalization is a part of preserving those memories while creating new ones for future generations.
New stores, government offices, and a community college are all possibilities for the space. Jones says she has been meeting with city developer Robert Lipscomb and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton about rebirth.
Closed Sears Service Center
"I'm already talking to a huge, big chain about coming in here and building their store here," said Jones.
Raleigh residents like Donald Green say any change is welcome.
"Whatever they do is going to benefit me," he said.
"This community wants this mall. They need this mall," said Jones.
Side view of Closed Dillard's Store
Jones said the demolition of J C Penney should be complete by the end of the week. She says she is soliciting community support and anyone or any business interested can stop by the mall at any time.
The part of the mall that was the J C Penny's building has been demolished and all that is left of that portion of the mall is the foundation.
Closed Movie Theater by Demolished J.C.Penny's Building On Yale Rd. Side
All of the anchor stores have closed as well as the newer movie theater. All that is left in operation are a few small stores that are still in operation near the front entrance of the mall.
There are a few new stores that have been added to the community of Raleigh but for the most the area around the mall most of the building that surrounded it have been razed.
Outside Entrance To The Dillard's Store (Glass Front is covered up)
Jan. 17, 2003--The Goldsmith's store at Raleigh Springs Mall is scheduled to close in mid-April, leaving the mall with Sears as the only remaining full-scale department store.
Goldsmith's parent, Federated Department Stores Inc., announced the closure Thursday, along with plans to close 10 other stores and cut 2,000 jobs.
Federated said it expects flat sales and earnings for fiscal 2003.
Looking From the J.C. Penny's Store toward center of Mall
Last month J.C. Penney announced it was closing its catalog outlet center at the Raleigh mall on Jan. 25, 2003.
A spokesman for mall owner Simon Property Group Inc. said it's too soon to say what will become of the store, which is owned by Simon and leased to Goldsmith's.
At Front Entrance by the Restrooms
Simon Property Group also owns Oak Court Mall and the Wolfchase Galleria, both of which have Goldsmith's stores.
Hickory Ridge isn't the only longstanding mall to undergo changes. In many ways, Raleigh Springs Mall experienced many of Hickory Ridge Mall's growing pains first.
Stores that were located near the Sear's Anchor Building
Built in 1971, Raleigh Springs Mall was at the forefront of America's mall craze. It was developed by the former Edward J. DeBartolo Corp., one of the leaders of U.S. mall design and construction.
Goldsmith's Customer Pick-up Area
"It was a bell ringer," said Gary Myers, who was the mall's general manager from 1977 to 1980. "There was only Southland and Raleigh Springs for that kind of shopping experience. It commanded lots and lots of customers."
The Sears Customer Service Pick-up area
Myers, who now owns the Gary Myers Co., noted that many of Raleigh Springs' customers diminished over the years, drawn to the newer offerings out east. The loss of shoppers has resulted in a loss of occupancy.
"There's some small shops in there, trying to stick it out," Myers said. "They're leaking ever so slowly. They'll get to a point where it may not be worth it to keep it open. But, that hasn't happened yet.
Sears outside Entrance
"Over the long haul, I would expect their business maybe to diminish a little bit unless there's some other traffic generator on the property."
Goldsmith's Parking and second floor entrance.
As to what traffic generators could salvage the mall, those aren't known at this time. Repeated calls to the Raleigh Springs Mall and to Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc., which manages the mall, were not returned.
It all grown up and looking desolate now at the front entrance of the once beautiful Raleigh Springs Mall.