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by Matthew Daneman

For 46 years, it has been a holiday tradition at Midtown Plaza mall in Rochester, N.Y., for children to ride on the monorail that circles the atrium, going past the tall, decorated tree and the area where they could later sit on Santa’s lap.

If all goes according to plan, the mall, among the first built in the 1960s to lure shoppers back from the growing suburban retail areas, won’t make it to a 47th holiday season. It is slated to be demolished this year to make way for a new headquarters for telecommunications firm PAETEC Holding Corp.

Finding a taker for downtown mall properties is an issue in many cities across the USA. In Dayton, Ohio, despite repeated proposals, the old Arcade mall has stood closed since 1991, according to the Ohio Preservation Alliance.

In Niagara Falls, N.Y., the Rainbow Centre Factory Outlet mall, blocks away from the waterfalls that are a destination for tourists worldwide, remains an unwanted eyesore since shutting its doors in 2000 after years of declining business, according to former mayor Vincenzo Anello.

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