Memphis Trivia Tuesday: Thousands hit Mall of Memphis' opening day
(WMC) - When the Mall of Memphis opened its doors this week 33 years ago, an estimated 60,000 people visited on the first day of business.
On the day before, Oct. 6, 1981, the grand opening gave a sneak peek of the skating rink, mall cinema, and shopping opportunities in the one-million-square-foot mall.
Construction on the $85 million space made way in 1979, several years after development on the facility started. Click here for vintage pictures.
By the second Christmas shopping season, officials were sold on a profitable investment. Management told local papers that the mall was packed out with multiple high-volume days on a weekly basis, according to mallofmemphis.org.
Historian Wayne Dowdy writes in his book, "On This Day in Memphis History," that aside from the holidays, the Mall of Memphis became, "the city's new main street, where Memphians of diverse backgrounds mingled with their rural neighbors as they both shopped and looked for amusement."
At least, that was the case while in full swing.
Many residents took to calling it the "Mall of Murder" in the 1990s after parking lot shootings and robberies.
Despite renovations, the appraised value of the mall began to decrease by millions of dollars; tenants pulled out of the mall and foot traffic slowed.
On Christmas Eve in 2003, the mall closed.
Since its demolition, city leaders have hoped someone would redevelop the property. In 2012, Memphis City Council voted to approve a plan by a company that builds offices and apartments.
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