St. Louis Mills (formerly St. Louis Outlets and currently Powerplex STL) was built well after the golden era of American shopping malls, at a time when mall underperformance and decline had begun to settle in. Despite this, the mall opened with over 200 specialty stores and 8 anchors onboard, although it would soon find itself struggling to maintain occupancy, eventually transitioning into an outlet mall in 2012. In late May of 2019, the remaining tenants were given a 30 day notice to vacate, as plans to redevelop the property into a youth sports facility were announced.
I’ve already made my appreciation for Mills Corporation’s unique design aesthetic abundantly clear in other posts, so I will not belabor the point here. Suffice to say that when it comes to character, St. Louis Mills was exemplary. From its polished, inlaid wood floors to its custom lighting fixtures, sculptures, and store facades, there was, nor probably will be again, a place quite like it. Where Cincinnati’s Forest Fair could impress on sheer vastness alone, this center doubles down on its aesthetics, paying tribute to the 1904 World’s Fair in its arena-like food court and adorning its empty storefronts with an array of shopping-related quotes to amuse and inspire.
My first visit here was in May of 2017, and I stopped by again in May of 2019, unaware that the mall’s closure would be announced just a few weeks later. I believe that all of the photos included here were taken during my first visit, although other than additional vacancies, I don’t remember it having changed all that much when I returned.