The Foundry at South Strabane

The Foundry at South Strabane is a former shopping center near Washington, Pennsylvania. Portions of the mall were abandoned and later demolished after the ground settled.

The Foundry at South Strabane, a 575,000 square-foot shopping center, was proposed by Premier Properties USA in 2005 on an abandoned strip coal mine. 7 The first major tenant to locate at The Foundry was J.C. Penny in February 2007 1 after it relocated from the nearby Washington Mall. Other anchors included Ross Dress for Less and Bed Bath & Beyond. 3 Max and Erma’s opened on October 15. 3

The Foundry’s foundation began to shift and settle owing to its instability atop an old mine. The property owner, Premier Properties of Indianapolis, began experiencing financial difficulties that eventually led to the company filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 23, 2008. 3 4 Premier listed $2.8 million in debts to 20 creditors, which did not include millions of dollars in unpaid bills, and on May 30, the judge reclassified the bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 liquidation.

On May 21, Bed, Bath & Beyond closed their store, followed by Ross Dress for Less on May 22 and J.C. Penny on June 6. 2 J.C. Penny reopened at its former location in the Washington Mall in mid-September. 2

Premier Properties founder and CEO Christopher White was charged with three felonies in Marion County, Indiana on June 16. 3 4 Carl Brizzi, the prosecutor for the county, stated that White had knowingly defrauded The National Bank of Indianapolis by depositing $500,000 backed by insufficient funds, committed check fraud, and stole at least $100,000 from the bank. White also faced lawsuits alleging loan defaults and illegal rent payments. Following White’s conviction, The Foundry was posted for a sheriff’s sale twice but the sale was postponed on each instance. 7

The Staenberg Group of St. Louis, Missouri eventually purchased the failed shopping center and on January 22, 2013, announced that it would demolish all of the stores damaged by land subsidence and may remove a part of the center’s retaining wall. Demolition began at the Foundry shortly after. In February 2014, the Staenberg Group renamed The Foundry to The Old Mill. 8



  1. Taylor, Lynda Guydon. “J.C. Penney exit makes others at mall nervous.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 14 Jan. 2007: n. pag. Post-Gazette. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. Article.
  2. “J.C. Penney to reopen Washington mall site.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 26 July 2008: n. pag. TribLive. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. Article.
  3. Ola, Crystal. “Future uncertain for The Foundry shopping center in South Strabane.” Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 22 June 2008: n. pag. Post-Gazette. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. Article.
  4. Schooley, Tim. “Developer of South Strabane’s Foundry complex in a quandary.” Pittsburgh Business Times 23 June 2008: n. pag. Business Times. Web. 29 Aug. 2011. Article.
  5. Leonard, Kim. “South Strabane retail strip damaged by land movement razed after 4 years.” Pittsburgh Tribune-Review 23 Jan. 2013: n. pag. Web. 27 Feb. 2013. Article.
  6. Gough, Paul J. “Demolition begins at The Foundry complex in South Strabane.” Pittsburgh Business Times 22 Jan. 2013: n. pag. Web. 26 Jul. 2016.
  7. Bradwell, Michael and Rick Shrum. “Abandoned Foundry stores coming down.” Observer-Reporter [Washington] 18 Jan. 2013: n. pag. Web. 26 Jul. 2016.
  8. Spatter, Sam. “New owner to revitalize Foundry shopping center in South Strabane.” TribLive [Pittsburgh] 26 Feb. 2014: n. pag. Web. 26 Jul. 2016.


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This development was built on top of an underground deep mine, not a strip mine. The mines were Manifold #1 and Manifold #2. The shafts went down about 300 feet to tap into the Pittsburgh Coal Vein. The mine waste dump was located here, but the whole area is undermined. Manifold Mines opened in 1902 and was closed by 1940 due to the coal reserves being exhausted. Tens of millions of tons of coal were removed from the ground. There was actually a large company town there, complete with its own Post Office and school. The mine town was torn down after the mine was closed. The school lasted longer, but was torn down after Windsor Elementary School (now called Trinity East) was built in the mid 1960s. All that is left to remember the mine is the local road that runs through the area: Manifold Road. Due to the large underground mine, the surface land is unstable in this area.

If I recall, this area was a farm before the Foundry was built. The primary reason the building fell apart is because of the MASSIVE amount of fill dirt they used to level the ground. Driving Cameron Road below, there is still a giant wall of dirt that, with the retaining wall removed, will likely cover Cameron Road one of these days. They built the buildings on the fill, not on solid ground as what was done with the current Old Mill development, which sits on the other side of the parking lot against the hill behind Lowe’s and Kohls.

What’s fun is driving the road that goes over the old foundation of the Foundry. It’s settled so severely that the road has several abrupt vertical angle changes as it goes over the foundations.

I’m from Wash,Pa., but live in the West now. Always wondered why the dumb local township politicians and engineers let them build on the retaining wall side. No surprise that happened. Glad they now smartly utilize the other side..solid ground!! Lol

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