Tags: dying | malls | retrofit | community space

With Retail Receding, Malls Must Find New Purpose

Image: With Retail Receding, Malls Must Find New Purpose
A shopper leaves a store that is having closing sale during its final five days in business in a shopping mall on October 15, 2008 in Pasadena, California.  (David McNew/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 25 December 2017 08:23 PM

Traditional malls will have to transform to fill other community needs besides commerce if they want to survive, Business Insider reported.

June Williamson, an architecture professor at the City College of New York and an author of “Retrofitting Suburbia” told BI there’s lots of ways failing malls can switch it up for the future.

For example, major department stores that are the anchor outlets for malls — now suffering as new shopping centers are built — will most likely become other businesses that could benefit from the big footprint, like fitness centers, churches, offices, public libraries, and even medical clinics, Williamson told BI.

Food courts could morph into gathering spaces for community groups or daycare centers, and the wide open spaces of underused atriums could be the site for concerts or fashion shows, or serve as car showrooms, Williamson told BI.

Smaller stores that’ve been forced out as rents increase and bigger stores flee will most likely turn into businesses that have community functions, such as apartments, public libraries, indoor farms, and refrigerated spaces for processing food for local restaurants or grocery stores, Williamson told BI.

"You'll find DMVs, town halls, and libraries in malls increasingly — the type of place where the public government can interact with the public," Williamson said.

"If the mall owners can't keep the place fully leased, this at least keeps people coming who could keep the other lessees from fleeing," she added. "The Main Street was killed by the mall, so developers are trying to build new downtowns inside the malls."

A mall’s sprawling parking lot could transform into a space for walking — or public space benefitting the community, like a farmers market or for concerts, Wiliamson told BI.

Williamson also said malls could target a specific ethnic demographic, or evolve into a “destination mall” to attract shoppers from the entire region — like a mega-mall in New Jersey called American Dream Meadlowlands expected to open in 2018.

"People will drive miles to these malls because they will be destinations," Williamson told BI.

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Traditional malls will have to transform to fill other community needs besides commerce if they want to survive, Business Insider reported.
dying, malls, retrofit, community space
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2017-23-25
Monday, 25 December 2017 08:23 PM
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