EDITOR’S NOTE: This story originally reported that the City of Topeka was demolishing the White Lakes Center property, and would seek reimbursement from its owner, KDL, Inc. A city spokesperson said KDL, Inc. is handling the demolition, contracting with McPherson Wrecking, Inc.

TOPEKA (KSNT) – The long-awaited demolition of White Lakes Mall has started.

After standing in Topeka for 57 years, the White Lakes mall building was scheduled to be destroyed in August of 2021, a city spokeswoman confirmed.

(KSNT Photo/Mark Feuerborn)

In September of 2021, the Topeka City Council voted to demolish White Lakes mall, or White Lakes Center as it was formally named. City officials pointed to the structure having many property code violations under its owner, KDL, Inc. within the past five years. A city spokesperson later told KSNT News that KDL, Inc. agreed to demolish the building itself, and contracted McPherson Wrecking, Inc. to do so.

Prior to marking the White Lakes mall unsafe, a Dec. 29, 2020 fire erupted inside the building causing $100,000 in damage. The City of Topeka confirmed it condemned the White Lakes mall in August 2020, which meant the Topeka Fire Department had to avoid going into the building for its firefighters’ safety. Instead, they tried to put out the mall’s interior fire from the roof.

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

Officials had said December of 2021 was the target date to start the demolition, and it could be finished by the end of the year. First, they needed an asbestos study as well as for crews to pump water out of the structure’s basement.