CORPUS CHRISTI (KIII NEWS) - Sunrise Mall has been thrust into the spotlight by a viral video that's making its rounds on social media. The video features the Corpus Christi mall on a YouTube channel called "Dead Mall Series."
It's a series dedicated to showing what the creator describes as the most depressing shopping malls in the country, but at least one business owner says he can see potential.
The producer of the video, Dan Bell, said he has documented over 30 such "dead" malls. The video featuring Sunrise Mall has racked up over 100,000 views since it was uploaded.
Bell spoke with 3News by phone and said when he walked through the entrance to Sunrise Mall, it felt like he was taking a step back in time.
"When we went to the mall, I absolutely couldn't believe it," he said. "I was standing there in awe."
In the video he narrates, Bell reports there have been attempts to revitalize the mall, but none of those attempts have worked out. Barren store fronts and empty hallways are shown in the video, but it also highlights the mall's preservation of the 1980s. Bell uses comparisons of the 80s classic movie, "The Legend of Billie Jean," which was filmed at Sunrise Mall.
"If you just put people in there and open the stores, it would be the same," Bell said. He believes the location is quite special, and so does the George Fennema, the owner of the brand new Chelsea's Pub and Grill located in the Sunrise Mall.
"The ghost town feel of it would go away if new businesses would come in and take advantage of the great space they have here," Fennema said.
While other business owners might be discouraged, Fennema saw potential to shake things up. He opened the new bar and grill with a familiar name, telling us it was the mall's location and vintage charm that attracted him.
"That is what sold me on it," Fennema said. "I wanted to go with the nostalgia of the old Chelsea's Street."
Chelsea's patron Felecia Self said she remembers a time when Sunrise Mall was the go-to mall in town.
"Would I give anything for this mall to be thriving? Absolutely," Self said.
"If everyone would get the negative connotation out of their thoughts," Fennema said. "Come in and look at it, and see it's a really nice place."
3News reached out to the management of Sunrise Mall for their response to the video, but we did not hear back by news time.