The Aroostook Mall Just Closed, Could Bangor End Up In the Same Boat?
When I was a kid, malls were at the absolute zenith of their popularity.
Everything about a kid/teen's life revolved around the mall in the 80's. I remember it was almost like low-key Disneyland. Any kid in the 80's would've taken just about any opportunity to head in to the arcade, or the toy store, or Spencer Gift. Now just known as Spencer's. But it's still in the Bangor Mall to this day.
Back then, the Bangor Mall's tagline was they had "over 80 fines stores...". It was in all their commercials. At last count on the Mall's website, there are barely over 30. And what's in there is unique, to say the least. There's a laser tag bar hosting Winger next month, two competing live action theaters, and a church. Not to say there's anything wrong with any of that, but it's a far cry from the glory days.
Sad times up in Aroostook county this week.
The Aroostook Centre Mall shut down this week, according to WABI. Largely due to a pile of unpaid utilities. General Manager Bruce Brigman, said the owners of the mall haven't paid the water and electric for the whole building and that those are now being shut off. Some tenants, like JC Penney, pay their own utilities but still aren't entirely sure of their future.
In Bangor just last year, part of our mall was condemned. The old Sears spot had no working sprinklers, so the city had no choice but to shut it down. Also last winter, a huge chunk of the road was also closed and folks had to detour around, due to huge amounts of ice on the already sketchy road.
Things have definitely improved at the Bangor Mall, but...
The road around the mall these days is like a boulevard, with brand new surfacing almost all the way around it. There's still some potholes here and there, but nothing like before. And most of the businesses that are currently in the mall seem to be thriving. so it's not all gloom and doom.
But it is a huge facility that can't be cheap to run. With less than half capacity, how long will it be sustainable? Ownership has changed several times, which probably hasn't done the mall any favors. Only time will tell what happens next here. With the Aroostook Centre Mall closing, it must make all the others shake in their boots a bit.