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Photo not of dilapidated mall in South Africa, but from the US

A photo is circulating on Facebook in November 2020 with the claim that it shows the dilapidated state of the Carlton Centre, a shopping mall in downtown Johannesburg, South Africa. 

It shows two floors of an abandoned building, joined by a non-functioning double escalator. Rubble is strewn all around and many of the ceiling’s tiles are missing. 

“Carlton centre where the ice rink used to be,” the caption reads. But the post does not provide a source or any details on when the photo was taken. Is it really from what used to be prime real estate?

Photo of Ohio mall

A reverse image search revealed that the photo was first shared online in July 2020 by a Reddit user. Reddit is a US-based discussion website and community forum. 

Comments to the post suggested that the photo was of an abandoned mall, known as Rolling Acres, in the US state of Ohio. 

Africa Check searched for more photos of the Rolling Acres mall and found matches very similar to the one in the Facebook post. 

According to an article by Business Insider, a financial and business news website, the Rolling Acres mall opened in 1975. After years of low customer traffic, department stores and tenants began abandoning their leases. The mall lost its final tenant in 2013 and has stood empty since. 

While not as ritzy as when it opened in the 1970s, the Carlton Centre is still a busy retail precinct, and not dilapidated, as can be seen in this stock photo from 2018. 

The ice rink stood empty for many years, but in 2017 Skyrink Studios, a TV and post-production company, took over and converted the premises. 

All available evidence points to the mall in the photo shared on Facebook being located in the US, and not South Africa. The claim that the photo shows Johannesburg’s Carlton Centre is false. – Africa Check


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