Outdated, dying, mostly vacant, these are all things that describe the East Hill Mall located in Bakersfield. You can visit the mall on almost any given day and see just a handful of cars in the parking lot, which means it’s a great location for those who dislike crowds, but leaves much to be desired for serious shoppers. The original anchors of this mall were Gottschalks, Mervin’s, and Harris who was owned by Gottschalks.
The East Hill Mall is located in the Central Valley of California, which is without a doubt the reason that the mall is failing so miserably as of late as the Central Valley area was impacted the most from the recent economic downturn. Another contributor to the failing mall is the high crime rate for the area it is in, the eastern side of Bakersfield is much more dangerous and more crime filled than the western side, and East Hill Mall is obviously on the Eastern side.
Reasons for East Hill Malls Decline
Although the mall did have some moderate success at the start, that really doesn’t mean much as there really has never been a mall that failed miserably even when it was brand new. However, it didn’t take long for East Hill Mall to be considered dying, even despite the fact that it is one of only two malls in the Bakersfield Metropolitan area. The problem comes from its sole competitor being much larger and prosperous, and therefore much more enticing to local residents.
The mall was also built in the late 80’s, making it extremely late to the party of enclosed malls being built which was the early 60’s to the late 70’s. For whatever reason, malls that are built in the 80’s and never renovated look much worse than malls built in the 60’s or 70’s that just receive some minor renovations throughout their lifetimes. This is definitely the case with East Hill Mall, as the interior feels extremely dated and a big contributor to the general populations dislike towards the mall.
Recent Plans for Redevelopment of East Hill Mall
In early 2009, there was a rather hopeful plan that would include a major redevelopment of the establishment. This would also bring in more tenants at the mall and make it much more enticing as a whole, for families and individuals. However, just a year later the mall would file for bankruptcy, which in turn would put an end to any of the redevelopment plans in the works.
Bankruptcy wasn’t a surprise, the dying mall had no anchor stores, making it extremely hard to survive as guests passing by would just see a building with no major names on the outside and go right by. Though the mall is still in operation, mainly driven by the United Artists Theatre, it’s not looking to stay that way for long. There are some talks of demolition of the building and a completely re-worked structure in its place.