Wrecking ball Headed for Empty Mall in San Bernardino

by John Carlucci - December 13, 2022

San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia with Carousel Mall (City of San Bernardino, Google Maps, Getty)
San Bernardino Mayor John Valdivia with Carousel Mall (City of San Bernardino, Google Maps, Getty)

A long-shuttered indoor mall in San Bernardino will face the wrecking ball.

Five years after it closed, the City Council voted to spend $8 million to demolish the Carousel Mall at 295 Carousel Mall in Downtown, the San Bernardino Sun reported.

The two-story mall, which opened as the Central City Mall in 1972 with 53 stores, including three anchors, closed in August 2017. The 43-acre shopping center is owned by M&D Properties, based in Buena Park. The land is owned by the city.
Mayor John Valdivia, who pushed hard for demolishing Carousel Mall after a three-alarm fire there in the summer, called the demolition decision “a moment to celebrate.”

“This is a step forward,” Valdivia said after the vote.

City dollars set aside for capital projects will be used to cover the demolition contract with Cerritos-based Resource Environmental. Proceeds from a sale of the property would replenish those funds.

It wasn’t clear when demolition would begin.

Leaders of the Inland Empire city laid out plans to overhaul the onetime gem of the city’s central corridor in 2019.

In March 2021, Renaissance Downtowns USA and ICO Real Estate Group, both based in Los Angeles, were chosen by the city to redevelop the mall into a mixed-use residential, entertainment, commercial and office development.

The developers proposed replacing it with a Downtown urban village, with 3,500 homes inside an urban-retail complex with river paths and thousands of trees. Lincoln Property, based in Dallas, was added last August to the redevelopment team.

But in October, Lincoln withdrew from the revamp project, citing “economic” reasons.

A report issued last year by Coresight Research estimated that a quarter of the nation’s roughly 1,000 malls will close by 2025. Many are being converted into housing, retail and offices.

In May, nearby Redlands unanimously approved replacing its derelict mall with a 173,000-square-foot shopping, restaurant and housing village, while the owner of the Moreno Valley Mall has proposed a similar makeover.

— Dana Bartholomew

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