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Author Topic: The Shopping Mall Survives  (Read 3335 times)

kernals12

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The Shopping Mall Survives
« on: June 22, 2022, 11:17:00 AM »

The Atlantic had a great review of Meet Me By The Fountain by Alexandra Lange.

Predictions of the demise of the shopping mall go back decades and recently, photos of "dead malls" have been a staple in the press. But did you know mall visits in 2021 were 5% higher than before the pandemic?

The book debunks the snobbery shoveled at the mall by so many, including Victor Gruen, the man who invented it. The author notes what should be very obvious: that the mall is not just a place to spend money, but serves as a meeting place, just like Main Street used to be. She also notes how malls have adapted with new non-retail tenants.

I agree 100%. I find my local mall, Natick Mall, much more lively than Downtown Wellesley could ever hope to be. There are people from all walks of life there. And the mall is adapting. The space left behind when Sears closed has been replaced by a Wegmans. They also have apartments. Of course, that's not nearly as far as other malls have gone with aquariums, movie theaters, fine dining, and even offices.

I think the mall is going to be around for a long time to come.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #1 on: June 22, 2022, 11:39:26 AM »

The indoor mall is about as dead as it can be.  There is a lot of reasons that concept was already in decline by the turn of the century, even really before online retail took off.  All the same there will always be a place for brick and mortar retail, even if it takes up less of the overall retail market share.  Strip malls/shopping centers seems to be the model that has held up versus the indoor mall.

In the retail business Iím part of we basically bottomed out around 2018-2019.  We actually really didnít see much of a hit during 2020 despite COVID restrictions and there was a substantial rebound year in 2021.  Really though the main store isnít what is growing, it is things like unstaffed mini markets and other smaller stores that carry mainly grab-n-go consumables. 
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2022, 11:50:53 AM »

A 5% increase from pre-pandemic levels doesn't mean much if that level was already substantially lower than a few years earlier.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2022, 11:59:51 AM »

Could have fooled me that malls aren't dinosaurs plodding toward extinction based on any time I've ever driven past the two malls in my city.  Giant, empty parking lots all the time.  One of them has Dave & Busters as an anchor tenant. (D&B: the suburban arcade for alcoholic man-children. :-D )

Malls in the 20th century sense are never going to be "cool" again.  That's why they're tearing so many of them down these days and turning them into fake downtowns with names that contain pretentious misspellings of "town" and "center". :P
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2022, 12:25:20 PM »

Could have fooled me that malls aren't dinosaurs plodding toward extinction based on any time I've ever driven past the two malls in my city.  Giant, empty parking lots all the time.  One of them has Dave & Busters as an anchor tenant. (D&B: the suburban arcade for alcoholic man-children. :-D )

Malls in the 20th century sense are never going to be "cool" again.  That's why they're tearing so many of them down these days and turning them into fake downtowns with names that contain pretentious misspellings of "town" and "center". :P

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

I haven't encountered any dead malls. In my neck of the woods, Natick malls is doing fine, so are the shops at Chestnut Hill and the Burlington mall just finished a major expansion. My childhood mall in Danbury, CT was also bustling when I last visited.
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Max Rockatansky

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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #5 on: June 22, 2022, 12:28:22 PM »

^^^

In 2004 the Dillardís store I was loss prevention at in downtown Scottsdale at Fashion Square Mall did over $4 million on Black Friday.  That store has an overall volume of $150 million.  I guarantee the volume is less than half today and maybe they do $1-1.5 million on a Black Friday.  Black Friday got over saturated by the big retailer and a lot of people jumped to online retail to avoid the hassle.  I kind of find it amusing now that people are freaked out by the prospect of a 500k day when that used to be a normal Saturday/Sunday. 

A 5% increase from pre-pandemic levels doesn't mean much if that level was already substantially lower than a few years earlier.

We had an overall 17% increase.  Locally that translates to about a 5-6% increase for the main store.  The remote locations I cited above were the stores that drove the majority of the increase. 
« Last Edit: June 22, 2022, 12:32:24 PM by Max Rockatansky »
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kphoger

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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2022, 12:30:34 PM »

I haven't encountered any dead malls.

We have a whole thread dedicated to them:  https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=4059.525

For balance, there's also this:  https://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=29458.0
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2022, 12:32:36 PM »

I was shocked by the number of people at Woodfield in Chicago when I was there recently. Busiest Iíve ever seen a mall.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2022, 12:36:15 PM »

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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2022, 01:56:49 PM »

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

Which is an incredible waste of valuable urban real estate that is also unnecessarily contributing to excessive storm runoff.
I'm sorry but fuck Black Friday. That's just the worst excuse to waste land in this manner.  All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?  That's madness.  Late capitalism at its finest.

The last time I was in either of our malls, pretty sure I saw tumbleweeds.  There was nothing in there for me anyway.

Ever notice how the entrance to every mall everywhere has that same nasty, old cigarette smell because jerk-off smokers feel entitled to take one last drag in the breezeway and toss their butts in the planters and stuff?  But I suppose that just sets stage for the olfactory assault that is the shopping mall as the smell of bad cookies and the worst pizza money can buy wafts through the place and swirls with the acetate from the nail solon and the chlorine from the tacky fountain.  Mall smell is inescapable.
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kphoger

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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2022, 02:05:43 PM »

Which is an incredible waste of valuable urban real estate that is also unnecessarily contributing to excessive storm runoff.
I'm sorry but fuck Black Friday. That's just the worst excuse to waste land in this manner.  All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?  That's madness.  Late capitalism at its finest.

I'm curious to know how many of those spaces are actually "extra", and how many are required by law.  After all, don't forget...

To expand on that: Commercial properties are required to have a certain number of spaces per square footage of the building: ie, 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet.  This generally leans towards very large parking lots where the further away spaces are never used.

It can vary, but in NJ, generally it's 5 parking spots per 1,000 sq ft of building space.  So a 200,000 sq ft Walmart would have about 1,000 parking spots.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #11 on: June 22, 2022, 02:17:21 PM »

Th big late 20th century mall in my area (Fox River Mall at I-41/College Ave (WI 125) and Wisconsin Ave (WI 96) near Appleton, WI) has been in a slow, inexorable decline since at least the double aughts now.  I have some ideas on comprehensive redo of that area, but no money to do it.  The township that it is in will be suffering BIG TIME when it finally dies for good, too.

 :spin:

I stand by my thoughts on them - "Malls are sooooo 'last century'.

Mike
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #12 on: June 22, 2022, 02:24:27 PM »

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?

Dying malls have also been a good source of autocrosses and gymkhana, so add in...50 more hours per year...

Seriously, while not all malls are "dead", they're rarely (if ever) building all-new enclosed malls. We're at an inflection point where there's fewer half-busy malls than the closed and demolished facilities, which was a looming event since the 1990s, when every town got one but they didn't all need one. The indoor mall still works in places that have long bouts of crappy weather; cold weather is one thing, but excessive precipitation dampens enthusiasm and those purchases. Hey, eleven months out of the year, you don't have to fight for a great parking space. But I may visit one about once every year or two at most, way down from the 5-10 visits a year when I was a teenager.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not fan of the "lifestyle center" model with lots of overwrought frippery, limited design substance, overpriced knick-knacks, and a long walk to the parking lots which suck when it's raining. That any mall can thrive and re-invent itself is a good thing, but many of them are declining until the next concept can take over that real estate, and that's how it goes in America.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2022, 02:43:26 PM by formulanone »
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #13 on: June 22, 2022, 03:39:42 PM »

Which is an incredible waste of valuable urban real estate that is also unnecessarily contributing to excessive storm runoff.
I'm sorry but fuck Black Friday. That's just the worst excuse to waste land in this manner.  All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?  That's madness.  Late capitalism at its finest.

I'm curious to know how many of those spaces are actually "extra", and how many are required by law.  After all, don't forget...

To expand on that: Commercial properties are required to have a certain number of spaces per square footage of the building: ie, 5 spaces per 1,000 square feet.  This generally leans towards very large parking lots where the further away spaces are never used.

It can vary, but in NJ, generally it's 5 parking spots per 1,000 sq ft of building space.  So a 200,000 sq ft Walmart would have about 1,000 parking spots.

About five or six years ago, I took the extended family out to dinner at Southpointe Mall in Durham, which always seems to be overly crowded.  After dropping everyone off wheelchair distance away from the restaurant, I then took off across the vast wilderpavement in search of a parking spot (since invariably, there are never any handicapped spots and I can walk the long distances).  Anyhow, there were only a few spots remaining in the nether-reaches of the lot.  A couple of cars pulled in beyond me, and lo-and-behold, the (then) mayor of Durham gets out of his car and gets ready for the long hike.  I came up with something like "it must be a mayor's wildest dream to have a mall where he can only get the last parking spot".  He smiled, and I hope that it made his day better.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #14 on: June 22, 2022, 06:35:38 PM »

The problem I have with the mall here in Norman is that, off the top of my head, it's all clothing and shoe stores. And Bath and Body Works. I don't need any of that often enough to go to the mall regularly enough to find other stores that might cause me to go to the mall more often.

Quail Springs has some other fun stuff in it, like a movie theater and an aquarium, but it's all the way up on Memorial, so it may as well be in Wichita.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #15 on: June 22, 2022, 07:38:43 PM »

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?

Dying malls have also been a good source of autocrosses and gymkhana, so add in...50 more hours per year...

Seriously, while not all malls are "dead", they're rarely (if ever) building all-new enclosed malls. We're at an inflection point where there's fewer half-busy malls than the closed and demolished facilities, which was a looming event since the 1990s, when every town got one but they didn't all need one. The indoor mall still works in places that have long bouts of crappy weather; cold weather is one thing, but excessive precipitation dampens enthusiasm and those purchases. Hey, eleven months out of the year, you don't have to fight for a great parking space. But I may visit one about once every year or two at most, way down from the 5-10 visits a year when I was a teenager.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not fan of the "lifestyle center" model with lots of overwrought frippery, limited design substance, overpriced knick-knacks, and a long walk to the parking lots which suck when it's raining. That any mall can thrive and re-invent itself is a good thing, but many of them are declining until the next concept can take over that real estate, and that's how it goes in America.

One can count on their fingers the number of enclosed and partially enclosed malls built in the 2000s: Flatiron Crossing (Boulder/Denver); City Creek (Salt Lake, which essentially replaced two enclosed malls); Jordan Creek (W. Des Moines); the Mall at University Town Center (Sarasota FL-opened in 2014!).

I am probably forgetting about a few others.

One should also remember that the "lifestyle center" has one thing going for it: it is easier to repurpose than that enclosed mall. Case in point: Broadway Marketplace in Denver (S Broadway and Alameda) had a long-time tenant known as Kmart. After the Kmart closed around 2018, the building was replaced by one apartment building, with another under construction in the parking lot as we speak.
« Last Edit: June 22, 2022, 07:45:54 PM by brad2971 »
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #16 on: June 22, 2022, 07:42:39 PM »

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?

Dying malls have also been a good source of autocrosses and gymkhana, so add in...50 more hours per year...

Seriously, while not all malls are "dead", they're rarely (if ever) building all-new enclosed malls. We're at an inflection point where there's fewer half-busy malls than the closed and demolished facilities, which was a looming event since the 1990s, when every town got one but they didn't all need one. The indoor mall still works in places that have long bouts of crappy weather; cold weather is one thing, but excessive precipitation dampens enthusiasm and those purchases. Hey, eleven months out of the year, you don't have to fight for a great parking space. But I may visit one about once every year or two at most, way down from the 5-10 visits a year when I was a teenager.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not fan of the "lifestyle center" model with lots of overwrought frippery, limited design substance, overpriced knick-knacks, and a long walk to the parking lots which suck when it's raining. That any mall can thrive and re-invent itself is a good thing, but many of them are declining until the next concept can take over that real estate, and that's how it goes in America.

One can count on their fingers the number of enclosed and partially enclosed malls built in the 2000s: Flatiron Crossing (Boulder/Denver); City Creek (Salt Lake, which essentially replaced two enclosed malls); Jordan Creek (W. Des Moines); the Mall at University Town Center (Sarasota FL-opened in 2014!).

I am probably forgetting about a few others.
SoNo Collection in Norwalk, CT and American Dream in NJ are two of the most recent indoor malls in the US to open that I can think of. Both opened in late 2019.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #17 on: June 22, 2022, 08:12:55 PM »

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

The parking lots are generally mandated by state/county/municipal guidelines that mandate a minimum number of parking spaces per square footage of the building.   They're not guesses as to how many people will be shopping on Black Friday.  If a mall were to open today, the number of parking spots would still be the same, even though it's obvious Black Friday wasn't the brick-and-mortar shopping day it once was.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #18 on: June 22, 2022, 08:23:11 PM »

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?

Dying malls have also been a good source of autocrosses and gymkhana, so add in...50 more hours per year...

Seriously, while not all malls are "dead", they're rarely (if ever) building all-new enclosed malls. We're at an inflection point where there's fewer half-busy malls than the closed and demolished facilities, which was a looming event since the 1990s, when every town got one but they didn't all need one. The indoor mall still works in places that have long bouts of crappy weather; cold weather is one thing, but excessive precipitation dampens enthusiasm and those purchases. Hey, eleven months out of the year, you don't have to fight for a great parking space. But I may visit one about once every year or two at most, way down from the 5-10 visits a year when I was a teenager.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not fan of the "lifestyle center" model with lots of overwrought frippery, limited design substance, overpriced knick-knacks, and a long walk to the parking lots which suck when it's raining. That any mall can thrive and re-invent itself is a good thing, but many of them are declining until the next concept can take over that real estate, and that's how it goes in America.

One can count on their fingers the number of enclosed and partially enclosed malls built in the 2000s: Flatiron Crossing (Boulder/Denver); City Creek (Salt Lake, which essentially replaced two enclosed malls); Jordan Creek (W. Des Moines); the Mall at University Town Center (Sarasota FL-opened in 2014!).

I am probably forgetting about a few others.

One should also remember that the "lifestyle center" has one thing going for it: it is easier to repurpose than that enclosed mall. Case in point: Broadway Marketplace in Denver (S Broadway and Alameda) had a long-time tenant known as Kmart. After the Kmart closed around 2018, the building was replaced by one apartment building, with another under construction in the parking lot as we speak.

I wonder why more conversion into apartments doesn't happen. Malls are usually serviced by one or more transit lines and apartment dwellers are more likely to use transit (mostly because they are less likely to own a vehicle). It seems like the perfect place to build apartments especially with the current rental crisis in many metros.
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kernals12

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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #19 on: June 22, 2022, 09:11:06 PM »

Have you walked inside those malls? Many of them have oversized parking lots for Black Friday.

All that pavement because it might get used for a few hours per year?

Dying malls have also been a good source of autocrosses and gymkhana, so add in...50 more hours per year...

Seriously, while not all malls are "dead", they're rarely (if ever) building all-new enclosed malls. We're at an inflection point where there's fewer half-busy malls than the closed and demolished facilities, which was a looming event since the 1990s, when every town got one but they didn't all need one. The indoor mall still works in places that have long bouts of crappy weather; cold weather is one thing, but excessive precipitation dampens enthusiasm and those purchases. Hey, eleven months out of the year, you don't have to fight for a great parking space. But I may visit one about once every year or two at most, way down from the 5-10 visits a year when I was a teenager.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not fan of the "lifestyle center" model with lots of overwrought frippery, limited design substance, overpriced knick-knacks, and a long walk to the parking lots which suck when it's raining. That any mall can thrive and re-invent itself is a good thing, but many of them are declining until the next concept can take over that real estate, and that's how it goes in America.

One can count on their fingers the number of enclosed and partially enclosed malls built in the 2000s: Flatiron Crossing (Boulder/Denver); City Creek (Salt Lake, which essentially replaced two enclosed malls); Jordan Creek (W. Des Moines); the Mall at University Town Center (Sarasota FL-opened in 2014!).

I am probably forgetting about a few others.

One should also remember that the "lifestyle center" has one thing going for it: it is easier to repurpose than that enclosed mall. Case in point: Broadway Marketplace in Denver (S Broadway and Alameda) had a long-time tenant known as Kmart. After the Kmart closed around 2018, the building was replaced by one apartment building, with another under construction in the parking lot as we speak.

I wonder why more conversion into apartments doesn't happen. Malls are usually serviced by one or more transit lines and apartment dwellers are more likely to use transit (mostly because they are less likely to own a vehicle). It seems like the perfect place to build apartments especially with the current rental crisis in many metros.
Apartments have very different design requirements from retail space (ceiling heights, ventilation, utilities etc.), so much so that it's often cheaper to demolish the mall and build a new apartment complex.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #20 on: June 23, 2022, 09:23:57 AM »

Quail Springs has some other fun stuff in it, like a movie theater and an aquarium, but it's all the way up on Memorial, so it may as well be in Wichita.

You're welcome to stop by our house for dinner while you're out, if that makes it worth the trip.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #21 on: June 23, 2022, 02:28:11 PM »


One can count on their fingers the number of enclosed and partially enclosed malls built in the 2000s: Flatiron Crossing (Boulder/Denver); City Creek (Salt Lake, which essentially replaced two enclosed malls); Jordan Creek (W. Des Moines); the Mall at University Town Center (Sarasota FL-opened in 2014!).

I am probably forgetting about a few others.
SoNo Collection in Norwalk, CT and American Dream in NJ are two of the most recent indoor malls in the US to open that I can think of. Both opened in late 2019.

2000: Stonebriar Center mall, Frisco (suburban Dallas), TX
2001: The Shops at Willow Bend, Plano (suburban Dallas), TX
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #22 on: June 23, 2022, 03:00:33 PM »

The parking lots are generally mandated by state/county/municipal guidelines that mandate a minimum number of parking spaces per square footage of the building.   They're not guesses as to how many people will be shopping on Black Friday.  If a mall were to open today, the number of parking spots would still be the same, even though it's obvious Black Friday wasn't the brick-and-mortar shopping day it once was.

Which is a stupid law/rule/guideline.  It's still wasted space.  Like when you see the capital of some dictatorship in Asia or whatever with a 12 lane roadway leading to the palace or statue of dear leader or whatever all but vacant.  But even lamer because it's a mall.
The obsession with "free" parking is killing us.
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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #23 on: June 23, 2022, 03:07:37 PM »

There may also be lease provisions requiring certain amounts of parking. That's common in suburban strip malls or similar, for example. At the one in our neighborhood, the grocery stores and a couple of the other stores that are relatively larger compared to other tenants all have lease provisions addressing minimum required parking. There's an ongoing discussion about what sorts of changes should be considered long-term and the parking issue came up as a reason why certain types of redevelopment cannot happen until current retailers' leases expire or are up for renegotiation. I have a feeling most tenants in major shopping malls don't have that sort of provision, but I don't doubt that many of the more significant anchor tenants very well may.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
óOlaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"óKolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

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Re: The Shopping Mall Survives
« Reply #24 on: June 23, 2022, 04:08:28 PM »

I honestly cannot remember the last time I was in a mall. It's probably been at least 7-8 years.

 


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