TOPEKA (KSNT) – As demolition on the White Lakes Center has nearly reached the one-month mark, the abandoned Topeka mall is now split in half.

Building owner KDL, Inc.’s contractor, McPherson Wrecking, started demolishing the mall on March 8, around 15 years since the former hub for Topeka business lost its last tenants. KSNT 27 News sent the SkyTracker up to show just how far crews have gotten in wrecking the property.

Use the slider on the right side of the picture below to compare photos from before and after the demolition started. Zoom in on this page to see more detail.

The White Lakes Mall, or White Lakes Center as it was formally named, was marked for demolition in August 2021, after the City of Topeka said it condemned the property a year prior. Just after condemning White Lakes, an arson fire erupted inside the building on Dec. 29, 2020, causing $100,000 in damage.

Fire crews fight a December 2020 fire from the roof of White Lakes Mall in Topeka. (KSNT Photo/Mark Feuerborn)

A 2020 estimate before the fire put the White Lakes Center property value at $811,000. After the fire, the Shawnee County Appraiser’s Office valued the property at $743,620, the same as its land value, making the building itself worthless.

A City of Topeka spokesperson said the city reached an agreement with KDL, Inc. for the owner to handle the demolition process. While people have been entering the work zone and delaying the demolition efforts, Topeka Mayor Mike Padilla said in a previous press conference that the demolition should take three months to complete, with April marking two months left.

White Lakes Center officially opened Oct. 15, 1964, according to Abandoned Kansas. Business went on in the mall for 43 years before it lost its last tenants in 2007, and KDL, Inc. bought it in 2009. Mainline Printing remains as the last company there, and uses a sectioned-off part of the property.