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McKinley Mall
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McKinley Mall Logo
Location Buffalo, New York
Coordinates 42°47′04″N 78°48′27″W / 42.7844°N 78.8074°W / 42.7844; -78.8074Coordinates: 42°47′04″N 78°48′27″W / 42.7844°N 78.8074°W / 42.7844; -78.8074
Opening date 1985
Developer Zamias Services, Inc.
Management The Woodmont Company
No. of stores and services 54
No. of anchor tenants 5
Total retail floor area 800,000 square feet (74,322.4 m2)
No. of floors 1

McKinley Mall, which opened in 1985, is a shopping mall in Buffalo, New York, United States. The mall is located in Hamburg, New York at the intersection of McKinley Parkway and Milestrip Road (New York State Route 179) immediately east of I-90 and the New York State Thruway. McKinley Mall services the Southtowns of Erie County, New York.

The mall's anchor stores are Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Old Navy, Barnes & Noble, and JCPenney. There are 4 vacant anchor stores that were once Sears, The Bon-Ton, and 2 Macy's stores.

History

The McKinley Mall opened in 1985 in Hamburg, New York with Sears and local chains AM&A's and The Sample as anchor stores. At the time, the mall featured approximately 80 inline stores, and a food court known as "The Garden". In 1986, a six screen General Cinema Theatre opened (only accessible outside.) The construction of the mall in the early 1980s brought a wave of controversy throughout the town of Hamburg as the town was divided over whether or not the mall should be built. The land the mall was built on was largely parkland and the surrounding land that has now become fully developed was also primarily undeveloped.

1988 brought the opening of the local chain L.L. Berger opening a 40,000 square foot store on the back side of the mall. In 1989, the mall saw the opening of Sibley's, relocating from the Seneca Mall. 1989 also saw the opening of the Walden Galleria 10 miles north in Cheektowaga. A super-regional mall, the Galleria helped accelerate the death of many surrounding malls including the Seneca Mall, and the Thruway Mall. However, the Mckinley Mall continued on almost unfettered, as it served the Southtowns of Western New York. 1990 saw the relocation of JCPenney from the Seneca Mall in West Seneca, which was three miles away, effectively ending that mall's existence. 1990 also saw the conversion of Sibley's into Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania based Kaufmann's and in 1991, L.L. Berger closed, quickly being converted into a Kaufmann's Home Store.

Throughout the 1990s, the presence and success of the McKinley Mall brought enormous growth in peripheral retail surrounding the property. Surrounding the mall within the property included the opening of stores such as Circuit City, Pier 1 Imports, Media Play, Dollar Tree, and Rosa's Home and Furniture Store. Likewise, many restaurants opened surrounding the property including Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and TGI Friday's. Outside the mall on McKinley Parkway and Milestrip Road, stores such as Home Depot, BJ's Wholesale Club, Toys "R" Us, JoAnn Fabrics, Office Max, A.C. Moore, T.J. Maxx, Wegmans, and Aldi opened. Restaurants that opened outside the mall included Ruby Tuesday, Applebee's, Friendly's, and Outback Steakhouse. 1994 brought the opening of York, Pennsylvania based The Bon-Ton after they purchased Buffalo based AM&A's the same year.

The mall continued on relatively stable throughout the rest of the 1990s and into the 2000s. In 2005 when it was announced that Bed Bath and Beyond would open a store in the Sears wing on the mall's western side. One year later, in 2006, Best Buy announced they would open a store at the mall next door to Bed Bath and Beyond. Later that year, Federated Department Stores announced the acquisition of May Department Stores and Kaufmann's and its sister home store were converter to Macy's. 2008 saw the opening of Barnes and Noble. The Great Recession of 2008 hurt many malls across the United States and the McKinley Mall was no exception, seeing many chains such as The Disney Store, Kay Bee Toys, Hollister, and Reed's leave the mall. 2009 saw the opening of ULTA Beauty and in 2011, Old Navy moved into the mall where Kay Bee Toys used to be.

The 2010s saw the mall face a downturn in fortunes as many national chains including Gap, Aeropostale, PacSun, Finish Line, Deb, Radioshack and Regis Corporation, began to leave the mall in a flood. By 2016, seeing a decline in the mall's fortunes, Macy's, announced they would close both of their stores at the mall leaving almost 130,000 square footage at the mall vacant. This set off another wave of closures including Payless, Hallmark, and MasterCuts. In 2017, Sears closed their Auto Center. 2018 saw another exodus of stores at the mall as Icing, Wet Seal, and The Bon-Ton closed due to bankruptcy, and ULTA Beauty relocated to Quaker Crossing, three miles east in Orchard Park.

With the closure of The Bon-Ton, this left the mall at approximately 65% vacant with Sears and JCPenney left as the only major anchor stores. Zales moved into the mall in 2018, in the center concourse near The Bon-Ton's former store. 2019, brought about the closing of Kay Jewelers, and Vitamin World. In November 2019, after over 34 years of business, Sears, one of the last remaining original tenants at the mall, announced they were closing their store, their last remaining location in Western New York, and of the last between Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York altogether. This store closed on February 16, 2020. At 140,000 square feet and approximately 20% of the malls leasable square feet, Sears' departure dealt a huge blow to the mall leaving 45 percent of the mall's leasable square footage vacant.

Sears' closure, coupled with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, set the mall into a rapid downward spiral. The onset of the pandemic forced all malls to close in response to lockdown orders nationwide, and the prolonged closure, resulting economic downturn, and recession, left many malls including the McKinley Mall, in dire straits. Longtime tenants such as GNC, New York & Company, Parkside Candy, and Things Remembered closed during this time. Also during this time, The Garden food court, once home to nine eateries, has become completely abandoned, leaving the mall at approximately 50% occupancy. In late 2020, Academy of Sports opened an indoor sports facility in the former food court, in a space that had been unused. While not necessarily bringing in shoppers, nevertheless it helped bring in foot traffic to the mall that could be catapulted into other developments in the future. In 2021, American Eagle, a long time holdout of national chains, closed their store at the mall after many years in business due to dwindling patronage, and as a part of their liquidation, Christopher & Banks announced their closure at the mall many years after relocating to a marquee space in the center court once occupied by the Gap.

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