South Miami’s Shops at Sunset Place has suffered low consumer turnout and a plague of store closings since its opening in 1999. This trend was originally set by its predecessor, the Bakery Centre Mall, which closed in 1996 after a decade providing a movie theater, 9 acres of perpetually vacant shop fronts, and one fully-functional TCBY Yogurt. A document recently leaked to The Plantain reveals that the beleaguered shopping center may be suffering from setbacks of the metaphysical variety: it was built on an ancient burial ground.
The leaked document dates back to surveys of the original Bakery Centre site, stating: “Archaeological consultants strongly advise against building on this property after groundbreaking unearthed interment mounds of a previously-unknown indigenous tribe. Building here is strongly discouraged due to high likelihood of an enduring curse.”
The anonymous informant found the Bakery Centre zoning report after researching the site’s background following complaints from Michael Stevenson, Sunset Place’s night security.
“I’d monitor the halls at night and I’d hear shrieks and my spine would just freeze,” said Mr. Stevenson who was recently turned down for the third time from the police academy for “personality reasons.” “At first I thought the noises were just from some kids, likely Black, that were leaving the movie theater, but there was no one there except for some very suspicious and ethnic looking poltergeists,” said the 33-year-old security guard who plans to apply for the police academy again in September. “I shot the unarmed ghost a dozen times, but the bullets went right through it.”
Mr. Stevenson’s account matches other complaints from Sunset Place employees and visitors, who have also reported hearing footsteps where no one has traversed, experiencing feelings of emptiness and purposelessness when patrolling the western portions of the mall, and witnessing apparitions in the former Virgin Megastore/Bodies Exhibition/Furniture Showroom/Seasonal Halloween Costume Outlet installation, despite it “totally not being October.”
An official statement from Sunset Place management announced that plans are underway to rectify the situation and, hopefully, provide mall-goers with incentives to visit attractions other than the movie theater and restaurants.
Improvement plans include raising the volume on mall PA systems while they loop Gloria Estefan’s 1985 album “Primitive Love” to drown out the wails of distraught ghouls who tend to haunt the former Hot Topic installation. The mall’s owners are also planning to commission several murals, statues, and toilets by local mall artist Romero Britto, to “brighten the landscape with imagery that inspires visitation” and to cover up any walls that are consistently dripping blood.
The mall also plans to convert the continually-failing west wing formerly housing a Virgin Megastore into a permanent museum and education center celebrating “whoever it was that left their dead people here.”
The Plantain, in its dedication to journalistic integrity, sent several staffers to Sunset Place for a midnight seance, equipped with pendulums, dark candles, and a Ouija board. While no spirit arrived corporeally to give an interview, the board did channel one terse message: “Shut. Those. Fucking. Teenagers. Up.”