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An empty Collin Creek Mall makes for a cool Instagram photo-op

Anna Barden pays tribute to the mall that served as a social hub during her teenage years | Photo credit: Catherine Maggard

At the end of July, Collin Creek Mall will officially close its doors, marking the beginning a $1 billion renovation project by Centurion American. Not much is left of the east Plano mall; stores like Victoria’s Secret and Foot Locker have held on strong, while local food vendors are serving as tent poles for the food court. However, Plano residents have still managed to find a way to pay tribute to the forsaken shopping center.

Upon hearing the news of the Collin Creek Mall’s closure, Plano resident Anna Barden and her friends planned a vintage-style photoshoot as a means of saying goodbye to a place that provided her both enjoyment and employment.

Read more: A look at the new Collin Creek

“I think we can all agree that the architecture of Collin Creek is pretty unique, even in a deserted state,” Barden says. “Plus it’s nostalgic, so a photo shoot was needed to commemorate a part of my childhood in Plano.”

Anna Barden rides the elevator one last time at Collin Creek Mall | Photo credit: Catherine Maggard

Barden spent her teenage years at Collin Creek Mall, whether she was shopping, having lunch with friends, or even working at Bath & Body Works, which closed its Collin Creek outpost last week.

“I was proud of Bath & Body Works for holding out as long as they did under the circumstances,” Barden says.

While Barden says the closing of Collin Creek Mall is bittersweet, she is looking forward to the changes to come.

“The new renovation is promising and the update has been a long time coming since the previous renovations never really held promise to expanding its traffic,” Barden says. “I hope they will restore the creek element as well because that’s what made it so unique in the past.”

While Barden and her friends used an iPhone 6S to take pictures in Collin Creek Mall, some former Collin Creek shoppers have taken it upon themselves to hire professional photographers to help them recreate memories of the mall they once loved.

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Plano residents Kali Ah Yuen and Shabby Talebi enlisted the help of photographer Amanda Bayacal for a photoshoot inside the barren mall.

“We wanted to do a shoot to kind of relive the nostalgia of our childhoods, so to speak,” Bayacal says. ” We rallied some of our friends and chose to do a shoot as one last hoorah at our old stomping grounds.”

Shabby Talebi poses in front of Collin Creek Mall’s food court in a behind-the-scenes look at Amanda Bayacal’s Collin Creek Mall photoshoot | Photo courtesy of Kali Ah Yuen

For Barden, Bayacal, Talebi and Ah Yuen alike, Collin Creek Mall served as the social hub for their teenage years. For some of them, it was their first shopping experience.

“Collin Creek Mall was the first mall I ever stepped into upon moving to Plano,” Ah Yuen says. “It was where my grandma and I would always go hang out, go shopping or get her hair done.”

Kali Ah Yuen plays a retro arcade game in a behind-the-scenes look at Amanda Bayacal’s Collin Creek photoshoot | Image courtesy of Kali Ah Yuen

Some of Ah Yuen’s favorite memories of Collin Creek Mall include spending her weekly allowance at Claire’s, buying her first pair of designer jeans and having lunch at Panda Express and Frullati. While she cherishes her childhood memories, Ah Yuen believes that the renovations will prove beneficial.

“All good things must come to an end, and although I will miss those memories, I am excited to see what becomes of Collin Creek Mall,” Ah Yuen says.

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Collin Creek Mall will close its doors on July 31, with renovations to begin by the fall. Centurion American estimates that the renovations will take five to six years to complete.

Alex Gonzalez
Alex Gonzalez is a writer at Local Profile. He is a lover of food, music, sports, art, and world cultures. Alex was born and raised in Plano and graduated from University of North Texas in 2017. When he is not writing, Alex enjoys hiking, attempting to cook, going out to happy hours, and playing board games with friends.

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