WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Malls are closing across the country, including in Connecticut. With the holiday season once again upon us, the Crystal Mall in Waterford is looking quieter and emptier each day

JCPenney is one of the last anchor stores at the Crystal Mall, located on the Hartford Turnpike. Sears and Macy’s shut down, along with many smaller stores.

“Definitely on the weekends, it was always a busy place to go to,” Waterford resident Christine C. said. “I think that was the hardest part, seeing the Macy’s leave and then after that everything else kind of disappeared.”

The mall opened in 1984, providing a huge boost to Waterford‘s tax base. That tax contribution has shrunk immensely over the last couple of years.

“It was the first big mall,” Tony Sheridan, the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut said. “We thought it was phenomenal.”

The mall is reportedly only 40% occupied right now.

“I think that was the hardest part, seeing the Macy’s leave and then after that everything else kind of disappeared,” Christine said.

Bed Bath & Beyond will also close its doors in Waterford and the U.S. CoreSite Research anticipates 25% of malls will close from 2017 to 2022.

Simon Property Group owned the Crystal Mall until the loan holder foreclosed on it earlier this year. Separate companies own the spaces previously occupied by Sears and Macy’s. Simon Property Group had a net income nationally of $539 million for the third quarter of this year, which is down from nearly $680 million during the same time last year.

“Taxes were significantly reduced last year on the mall, property taxes, on the entire mall,” Sheridan said. “But we shouldn’t be overly depressed about it because there are options.”

He is optimistic others will see the value. The potential for the more than 780,000-square-foot building is significant, Sheridan said. Plus there is a lot of parking around, which also has value.

Sheridan said it would take creativity, a big marketing effort, and a master plan to help the mall fully realize its new potential. Many malls have reinvented themselves as distribution or mixed-use centers with housing, retail, and restaurants.

“Something family friendly because that was something family friendly for me,” Christine said.

Whatever it becomes, many hope it is not the end of the road for the mall.

“It has a lot to offer,” Sheridan said. “It’s at the junction of 395 and 95.”