I has truly amazed me how very fragile enclosed mall shopping centers have become in the past decade or two. What was once a crowded and sometimes attractive gathering place of shopping, mingling and plain old people watching of the post-WWII era can come crashing down within a breathtakingly short time.
The latest case in point is the former Port Plaza Mall, now called Washington Commons, in downtown Green Bay, WI. It was opened in 1977 as a very large two-level new construction downtown mall, added on to a few years later (about 1984), and throughout that time was a fun place to visit, wander around and buy a few things, even for someone who lived here in Appleton.
Fast-forward to February, 2006:
An aerial image of it is at:
Sad to say it, but the best thing that I can see for it is to remove the mall, restore the street grid and sell off the reformed blocks to private developers for new projects. Port Plaza served its purpose well for much of a quarter-century, but it is time to move on and to look at this as a new beginning opportunity for the otherwise resurging downtown Green Bay area.