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Author Topic: Century III Mall - West Mifflin, PA  (Read 4089 times)
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C3Nostalgia
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« on: January 06, 2009, 03:07:47 AM »

Century III Mall
3075 Clairton Rd.
West Mifflin, Pa 15122


Original Owner: Edward J. Debartolo Corporation and US Steel Joint-venture
Current Owner: Simon Property Group

Opened: Wednesday October 24, 1979
Current Status: Huh???

Number of Floors: 3
Number of Anchors: 5
1.  JCPenney - 2 Floors With Auto Center, Still Healthy today minus the Auto Center which is now a salon.
2.  Kaufmann's - 2 Floors, still exists as Macy's
3.  Gimbel's - 2 Floors, now Dick's Sporting Goods (2nd Floor), 1st floor now sits empty.
4.  Sears - 2 Floors with Auto Center, Still Healthy
5. Montgomery Ward - 2 Floors with Auto Center, now sits empty.

Current Mall Hours:
Mon to Sat: 10:00am - 9:00pm
Sun:   11:00am - 6:00pm

I am looking for photos and information on Century III Mall in West Mifflin, PA.  I have found an original directory of the mall when it opened as well as news articles and a press kit released a year before the mall opened.   I have taken many photos, and dug up a few online as well, but I would like to have some more photos and information.  The reason I am asking about this is because this semester at California University of PA, I am required to do a research paper/project on a subject of my choice.  I chose Century III.  Any information and photos would be helpful.  

I do however, have a few criteria for my requests.  They are as follows:

1. For photos of the mall, I am mainly looking for pictures of the mall in the 80s and 90s, but I do not require any pictures of the mall after the year 2002, unless you have photos of an event that occurred at the mall.

2.  For information on the mall, I am mainly looking for events that occurred at the mall, store name changes, old directories and newspaper articles (please if you give me newspaper articles, tell me the name of the paper and date if either are applicable).  But any information will be appreciated.

3.  I will also accept photos and information on retail locations/stores within a 5 mile radius.  I will take just about anything back as far as the 1950s.

You may email me, PM me, or post in this thread.  With any photos, please tell me the approximate date of the photos and what is in the photo (if it is not obvious).

Please help a guy out.

Thanks in advance

« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 10:55:09 PM by C3Nostalgia » Logged

C3Nostalgia
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« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2009, 12:04:28 AM »

I can't say much right now, but Century III mall is going to have a 30th birthday celebration later this year.

I am helping to prepare for this event by relocating artifacts from the past to a new location in the mall.  These artifacts are then to be reviewed by mall management for approval.

They are also asking for photos, menus, shopping bags, etc... from the past 30 years about the mall or any stores, restaurants, events from the general public.  I have provided them with a good amount of information myself, but they would like to have anything (and they mean anything!)

This may turn out to be Century III Mall's last big event.  It will be taking place sometime between September and Decemeber and will last several weeks.

I will provide more information soon.
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C3Nostalgia
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2009, 06:13:19 PM »

Quote
Originally posted by C3Nostalgia
I can't say much right now, but Century III mall is going to have a 30th birthday celebration later this year.

I am helping to prepare for this event by relocating artifacts from the past to a new location in the mall.  These artifacts are then to be reviewed by mall management for approval.

They are also asking for photos, menus, shopping bags, etc... from the past 30 years about the mall or any stores, restaurants, events from the general public.  I have provided them with a good amount of information myself, but they would like to have anything (and they mean anything!)

This may turn out to be Century III Mall's last big event.  It will be taking place sometime between September and Decemeber and will last several weeks.

I will provide more information soon.


I regret to say that the mall has officially cancelled this event.  The historians that were assisting them with the preparation, were told at the last minute that the event had been cancelled for reasons unknown.
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d_fife
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 01:05:06 AM »

this mall was dead when I went there
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2014, 03:21:21 PM »

This mall has been sold recently.   Literally for pennies on the dollar.

The new owners seem sincere about wanting to bring it back.  We'll see.
That's a LOT of square footage (I believe it was the largest mall in the US when
it opened) and frankly not enough chains still survive to fill it all.

Biggest challenge IMO is that two of their anchor chains, JC Penney and Sears,
are both shaky.
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Hudsons81
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2014, 09:21:40 AM »

Hot off the press: Sears is shutting down their store here in December. It was one of the mall's original anchors.

http://www.post-gazette.com/business/2014/09/22/Sears-closing-store-at-Century-III-Mall-in-West-Mifflin-Pittsburgh
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2016, 07:16:24 AM »

I have the latest hot rumor about the fate of Century III Mall.

At this point it is just a rumor, but it is coming to me from generally informed sources.

Right now the mall sits abound 1 mile north of Jefferson Regional Hospital.
Jefferson is the major regional hospital for the Route 51 corridor and southeast Allegheny County.
In most of the Pittsburgh area UPMC has a very strong presence, nearly a monopoly.  The one
part of the county where they are not the dominant player is the area around Jefferson.

UPMC had proposed to build a new hospital on an undeveloped parcel along Route 51,
directly across the road from Jefferson Hospital.  This was met with strong opposition by local
residents.  They did not want the noise, the traffic, anything else surrounding the new hospital
intruding on their quiet residential lots.   Plus there was a lot of fear that two large hospitals across
the road from one another would just drive each other out of business.

After Jefferson Hills Council repeatedly refused to issue the permits, UPMC decided to drop
this plan.  However, they still have designs on competing with Jefferson.  The latest rumor
now is that they are going to make an offer on Century III Mall, demolish it, and build their
new hospital there.   This would still keep them within a mile of Jefferson, and since the
property is in West Mifflin Borough, that council seems much more likely to approve such a plan.
(the decline of the mall and surrounding retailers has put a severe crimp in their budget in
recent years).

Like I said, no proof yet that this is going to happen, but rumblings are strong.
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danfifepsu
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2017, 04:57:48 PM »

I have the latest hot rumor about the fate of Century III Mall.

At this point it is just a rumor, but it is coming to me from generally informed sources.

Right now the mall sits abound 1 mile north of Jefferson Regional Hospital.
Jefferson is the major regional hospital for the Route 51 corridor and southeast Allegheny County.
In most of the Pittsburgh area UPMC has a very strong presence, nearly a monopoly.  The one
part of the county where they are not the dominant player is the area around Jefferson.

UPMC had proposed to build a new hospital on an undeveloped parcel along Route 51,
directly across the road from Jefferson Hospital.  This was met with strong opposition by local
residents.  They did not want the noise, the traffic, anything else surrounding the new hospital
intruding on their quiet residential lots.   Plus there was a lot of fear that two large hospitals across
the road from one another would just drive each other out of business.

After Jefferson Hills Council repeatedly refused to issue the permits, UPMC decided to drop
this plan.  However, they still have designs on competing with Jefferson.  The latest rumor
now is that they are going to make an offer on Century III Mall, demolish it, and build their
new hospital there.   This would still keep them within a mile of Jefferson, and since the
property is in West Mifflin Borough, that council seems much more likely to approve such a plan.
(the decline of the mall and surrounding retailers has put a severe crimp in their budget in
recent years).

Like I said, no proof yet that this is going to happen, but rumblings are strong.


I want to do my shopping in this mall! I am coming this weekend
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2017, 07:48:05 AM »

Well you'll have it largely to yourself.

The only sizeable stores left are JC Penney and Dicks Sporting Goods.
Other than that, lots and lots of square footage and boarded-up storefronts.

Completely the opposite of how it looked when I lived nearby in the 90's.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2017, 01:30:59 PM »

Maps here showing vacancies at Century III.    Orange is vacant.




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TheFugitive
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« Reply #10 on: April 03, 2017, 11:49:19 AM »

The rumor that UPMC was going to buy this mall and tear it down to build a hospital
was apparently not true.

UPMC just announced that their new hospital in South Pittsburgh will be in South
Fayette Township, about ten miles west of the mall.   The first site they proposed
(which was rejected by the local council) was less than a mile away.

At the same time the Penney's store there was not on the latest closing list,
so it's still status quo at Century III.
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mixedday
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2017, 09:13:31 PM »

I had a chance to visit this mall finally!

It was quite a hike from north of Pittsburgh area,  Cranberry where I was coming from but I've been wanting to come out here.

What I observed is the JCPenney faces the road so has that strength but the store was dull and old looking inside. It's a large JCPenney.

The Dicks is in the back of the mall and in general not a good location.. I tried driving around the mall first and it's not easy doing a full round around the mall since there is an old parking deck that I had to go through. Good it was not dark.

Once I got in the mall, it was dead but there were still several stores including Finish Line, Foot Locker, Champs, Shoe dept and Dicks all in one center.

I walked towards the back but the third floor was not open to the public but I so badly wanted to go up there. No eateries were open in the foodcourt but the tables and chairs were all there. I wonder why they don't try to sell the furniture? The mall also closes at 8 which is an unusual time.

Outside the mall there are a number of stores like Best Buy. I don't know the mall area that well but I assume it's better than average.

Why can't the mall owner pay JCPenney out like how it has been done in Owings Mills, MD? Both Macy's and JCPenney were paid to close their stores so that the center owner could restart from new.

What I like about this property is the mountain to the side and tree privacy in the back, which could be ideal for a residential setup. Could it be redone as a mixed use center or just drastically downsized retail with some residential in the back?

 Maybe Dicks could stay or relocate and the plaza could be mixed residential and some retail like Hunt Valley Town Center MD. Or just all residential with new starter homes. It seemed the area had a lot of retail conveniences like Giant Eagle, Aldi, Best Buy, Toys R Us that it could be a desirable place with access to stores. Then again I don't know this town well enough, but it didn't seem like straight up ghetto either but I realize it's not a hot area like somewhere in Bay Area.

It was one of the larger dead malls I have been to. The Macon Mall is also a very large dead mall but modern inside.

Any other large dead enclosed malls worth checking out?
« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 09:35:58 PM by mixedday » Logged
TheFugitive
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« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2017, 02:13:13 PM »

The "mountain" is not really a mountain.  It is a slag dump.

This was one of several areas around town where the steel mills used to dump their slag.
(Slag is the remnant iron ore after the iron has been melted out of it).  They would send
railcars full of the used ore out to dumpsites and toss it on the pile.  After years and years of this some of those piles got to be mountain-sized.  The one behind Century III now finally has some vegetation growing on it, but for years it was barren, and looked like something out of the Arizona desert.  (I used to drive family from Michigan past Century III, point at the slag and say "see, they're bringing the U.P. here one rock at a time!)

Over the years the slag dump has been carved up, and various retail establishments were built on it (including Century III Mall).  If you go to the very top there is a street called Mountainview Drive, which takes you up into the parking lot of a Super Walmart.  It is some of the highest ground in the county, and on a clear day you do get a gorgeous panoramic view of everything from the Airport over to Downtown Pittsburgh out to the Oakland/University section, and even Chestnut Ridge, some fifty miles away (hence "Mountainview").

Economically the area is mixed.  Some nearby suburbs like Pleasant Hills and Jefferson Hills are quite nice.  But not much further are distressed and depressed former mill towns like Clairton, Glassport and McKeesport.  Southland Shopping Center, along Route 51, is actually much older than the mall, and at this stage is much healthier.  Some merchants that used to be in the mall, like Philip Pelusi Hair Salon, have  relocated to Southland, where they have a better shot at getting some actual foot traffic.  There is a Mexican restaurant in the mall that soon will be moving to an old Chinese restaurant further up Route 51.  At that point I don't believe that any food will be served inside the mall any longer.  (when I first moved back to the area in the early 90's the mall had three full-service restaurants, and the food court was full)
« Last Edit: May 23, 2017, 03:57:59 PM by TheFugitive » Logged
mixedday
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« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2017, 02:22:39 PM »

Thanks for the info. I did notice signs of that Mexican restaurant moving to the Chinese restaurant' location.

I just wonder how long Dick's will stay put where it's at?

As a polar opposite of Century III, I did go to Ross Park Mall which is closer to Cranberry, and that place is very nice and successful and not too overwhelmingly large, like King of Prussia in the Philly region. In Cranberry itself, there is a small center called, The Streets of Cranberry, that is nice as well.

Next time, I'll have to check out the Pittsburgh Mills. Are there any other dying or interesting malls in Pittsburgh worth checking out?
« Last Edit: May 25, 2017, 02:28:10 PM by mixedday » Logged
TheFugitive
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« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2017, 09:08:26 AM »

Well you missed your chance with Parkway Center Mall.
It was torn down earlier this year (except for the Giant Eagle store
which was left standing at the far end).

The Washington Mall in Washington, PA is quite dead.  Not to be confused
with Washington Crown Center a few miles to the west.

I have not been there in a long time, but I would imagine that the
Fort Steuben Mall in Steubenville, Ohio is quite dead too.
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Brammy
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2017, 12:33:44 PM »

The guy who does the "Ace's Adentures" Youtube Series is having a meet-up at the Century III Mall on Sunday June 4th.
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Brammy
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« Reply #16 on: May 30, 2017, 08:28:38 AM »

Unfortunately I have to attend my nephew's high-school graduation on that day.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2017, 09:24:04 AM »

One of my co-workers has a 4 year old son.   His mom took him for his big
moment last week to sit on Santa's lap.

Not wanting to stand in long lines at South Hills Village or the Mall at Robinson
she opted to take him to Century III.  Good call.  She said there was no wait.
Mainly because they appeared to be the ONLY people in the mall, 3 weeks out
from Christmas!
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