Located about 50 miles north of Hong Kong in Dongguan, China, the New South China Mall is the largest mall in the world by gross leasable area. Twice the size of United States’ Mall of America, it was opened with room for 2,350 stores in 7.1 million square feet of leasable space.
No mall in the world can rival New South China in any category, except perhaps number of tenants.
Despite having every amenity a shopper could want, the mall has been 99% vacant since it’s opening in 2005.
In 1927, the state of Illinois purchased over 1,000 acres of land earmarked for a massive mental health complex to become known as the Manteno State Hospital. By 1929 the dedication ceremony took place with Illinois announcing Manteno as the tenth such hospital to be “dedicated by the State of Illinois to the welfare of its people for their relief and restoration, a place of hope for the healing of the mind and body where many may find health and happiness again.”
After World War II plans were conceived by the U.S. military to construct a massive outpost in Alaska, due in part to the growing concern of suspected Soviet activities next door. Whittier was strategically chosen and construction on the 273,660 square-foot facility would begin in 1948. Five years later the Buckner building was operational. At the time it was the pride of Alaska, the largest building in the state.
The pride would be short-lived. When the Great Alaskan Earthquake struck in 1964 the facility was permanently damaged, leaving it exposed to the elements for the next 50 years. Read more…
In late October 2012 the east coast of the United States was pummeled by Hurricane Sandy, the largest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded. Sandy swept through the entire eastern seaboard, killing over 250 people in seven countries. Financial losses were over $74 billion; Sandy was in fact the second-costliest natural disaster in United States history.
What happened to the flood-damaged vehicles? One company had the foresight to sign a lease on a seldom-used airport just before the storm hit the coast. Thanks to photographer Doug Kuntz, we have aerial photographs of their salvage progress. Read more…
Dixie Square Mall has quite a history, despite standing in ruin for more than double the number of years it was in operation. Most recently classified as a “dead mall” (a shopping mall with a high vacancy rate or low consumer traffic), Dixie was perhaps most famous for being the mall used in the chase scene in the movie The Blues Brothers.
Located in Harvey, Illinois, it stood vacant for over 30 years before finally being torn down in May of 2012. Here is the story of the Dixie Square Mall. Read more…
Nothing highlights the Spanish financial problem like an abandoned airport.
Opened in 2009 at a cost of €1.1bn, the Ciudad Real Central Airport saw light use before being shut down in April of 2012. Ciudad Real is a Spanish city about two and a half hours south of Madrid. The airport was to be the first linked to the Spanish high-speed AVE rail system, making the trip to Madrid only 50 minutes.
Alfred Beach was an inventor and editor of Scientific American magazine. He was also a visionary for subterranean rapid transit. By 1849, New York was already a bustling hub of activity. Beach saw a need to ease the congestion on the city streets, so he penned a piece proposing an intricate system of underground tunnels for transit.
When he learned of the advances being made in pneumatics, Beach adopted the technology for his underground transport concept. It was an innovative concept, but ultimately costs would be too high for it to be practical. The concept would ultimately be little more than an attraction, and it would quickly be forgotten when the novelty wore off. Read more…
The United States has many ghost towns scattered throughout the West. Most have the same story: A deposit of some precious metal is discovered, then a town is set up and people flock to the new town in search of riches. Eventually the natural resources of the area run out and if the town had no other industry, it would die.
A unique story is that of Eagle Mountain, California. A rich iron ore deposit brought Henry Kaiser (of Kaiser Steel and Kaiser Permanente fame) to the area in 1948. The mining produced iron ore for 35 years before the land was exhausted and operations shut down.
Eagle Mountain was not done, however. Numerous attempts to bring industry back to revitalize the town have tried, and failed, to resurrect the old mining site. So what is standing in the way of progress? The answer might just be surprising. Read more…