The Greendale Mall is Losing Best Buy

Could this be the end of the Greendale Mall?

Rebecca Levine, Contributing Writer

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In 2016, the Simon property group, the largest shopping mall operator in the United States, foreclosed on The Greendale Mall. Since the foreclosure, Worcester residents have been asking themselves, “Is the Greendale Mall still open?” The answer, on the mall’s own website, is “YES, WE ARE OPEN!”

The Greendale Mall is now managed by a Burlington, Massachusetts based real estate leaser, KeyPoint Partners. However, they have failed to re-invigorate the mall, and it is losing shops and customers at an alarming rate. It doesn’t help that the mall hasn’t been updated in many years. The mall’s website does state that a few general repairs are being made, however, it may be too little too late.

Best Buy, the mall’s largest tenant, recently announced that it would be closing its Greendale mall location in November. Company spokesman Jeff Shelman said, “I think our customers have shown that they prefer to shop other retail areas in the Worcester area.” The news of the closing didn’t come as a shock to many Worcester natives. For most, was seen as a matter of time before another one of the anchor stores of the dying mall left. In January of this year, Big Lots, a former anchor store at the mall, closed.

Best Buy had occupied its location at the Greendale Mall since 1999. Currently, 35 full-time employees work at the location, all of whom will be transferred to other locations. Unfortunately, that same promise does not cover part-time employees. The store’s communications team has declined to say how many part-time employees will be losing their jobs.

Could the closing of Greendale Mall stores mark the end of the retail era? Probably not. The Greendale Mall has a lot of factors other than online competition causing the loss of customers. For one, there are a plethora of other shopping centers in and around Worcester, such as Lincoln Plaza, The Shoppes at Blackstone, the Auburn Mall, and Solomon Pond Mall. With all those other places to shop, it is hard for Worcester residents to justify going to a mall that is constantly too warm and has a leaking roof.

As of September 16th, the Greendale Mall management has yet to make a formal statement about the departure of their biggest anchor store. The website for the mall reads “Best Buy, the Mall’s largest tenant, has renewed its lease.” The website also still has pictures of the former Big Lots store and former mall kiosks that no longer reside in the mall, showing the management’s lack of attention towards the dying mall.

There is currently a City Council proposal for the city to buy the property and use it for the Department of Public Works offices. This proposal is headed by City Councilor Sean Rose and supported by many people who don’t have much hope that the mall will ever return to a popular retail space.

The closing of Best Buy might mark the final days of the Greendale Mall. As of November, the closest Best Buy to Clark University will be at the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley. If the other major stores at the mall close their doors, Worcester residents will have to travel to the Auburn Mall and the Shoppes at Blackstone Valley more frequently to be able to visit a DSW, TJ Maxx, or Bath and Body Works. The Greendale Mall is a much more convenient location to visit, however as Best Buy stated, customers prefer to shop at other retailers.