The hollow sound of recorded music bounces off the bare storefronts of Hanover Mall as loudspeakers pump out All-4-One’s 1990s hit “I Swear.”
For better or worse, till death do us part, I’ll love you with every beat of my heart.
But there is almost no one around to hear the vow.
On Black Friday, a day of frenzied consumerism, this old mall off Route 53 will be eerily empty. It’s set to soon be torn down to make way for a complex of stores, restaurants, and apartments called Hanover Crossing. Meanwhile, the space remains open to the public, even though nearly all of its shops are closed. Most days, a smattering of mall walkers come in for exercise while a few maintenance workers make preparations for the demolition.
“It’s kind of depressing,” said Miriam Maslanik, who stopped in on a blustery day to take a stroll with her mother. “It’s like the hand of time pulling back the curtain.”
The only big retailer left inside the old mall is Macy’s, which will remain following the redevelopment planned by PREP Property Group of Ohio. The company envisions a retail area with outdoor storefronts, sidewalks, and patches of green bounded by plenty of parking. Think Legacy Place in Dedham or Colony Place in Plymouth.
Many malls have made way for this type of development in recent years — they’re sometimes called “lifestyle centers” — but Hanover, which opened in 1971, has been in suspended animation for years. It hasn’t been anywhere near full occupancy since before the Great Recession, and the stores that survived have been filing out since 2016, when its new owner announced plans to rebuild.