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Life and death of enclosed malls

Wulf9

Member
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923
Points
22
From Planetizen. http://newyorker.com/fact/content/?040315fa_fact1

Enclosed malls are 50 years old and a declining species. It's amazing to think that they are less than a half century old. In 1950, virtually all retail (about 90%) took place in downtowns.

The enclosed malls really took off about 1960. By 1980, all of the very good, good, marginal, and sub-marginal sites for malls had been developed. One of the factors leading to decline was the lack of new good sites for new malls.

Then big boxes and big box centers had a run from 1980-2000. They are now hitting the sub-marginal sites.

Big boxes have morphed into super-mongo-two-downtowns-in-a-box (super wal mart). As dominant and unstoppable as they seem right now, they will run out of sites in less than a decade.

What's the next thing for comercial development? The prototypes have probably been built already.
 

Mud Princess

Cyburbian
Messages
4,898
Points
27
Perhaps the so-called "lifestyle centers" -- duplicating the environment of a downtown Main Street in a mall-type format.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
More and more types of retail will become dominated by the internet. Think about it. Stores may become more like showrooms. Go in and see what you want, if you need to, then order it over the internet. For some items you won't even need to see it first, so why have a store? Shopping then becomes more of a form of recreation instead of a chore. Do you buy a book at Amazon, or do you go to a bookstore to hear somebody read from their new book, listen to a jazz band perform, or simply browse while sipping a latte? At the other end of the spectrum, convenience becomes paramount. Soon, some retailer will come up with the idea of putting clothing, general merchandise, and groceries all under one roof. Über-stores like these will meet people's needs for almost anything, and probably at a significantly reduced price from what the small, independent retailer can offer.
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
Cardinal said:
More and more types of retail will become dominated by the internet.
Possible. Shopping became a primary recreational activity during the mall era. Now it's a "goods acquisition" exercise. Goods have become undifferentiated and boring, so why not buy them on the internet?
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
Messages
4,202
Points
26
Cardinal said:
Soon, some retailer will come up with the idea of putting clothing, general merchandise, and groceries all under one roof. Über-stores like these will meet people's needs for almost anything, and probably at a significantly reduced price from what the small, independent retailer can offer.
We already have that. It's called the 'Wal*Mart Supercenter'.

OTOH, one trend that I see in its infancy, even here in the Appleton area, is the otherwise fairly normal looking, standard, moderately sized, architecturally 'dressed up' strip center built with residential rental apartments on floor levels above the stores. These look much like the 2-3 story buildings in old 19th/early 20th Century downtown areas, but facing parking lots instead of more similar buildings across zero-setback streets (as in the old downtowns).

An example of this in the Madison, WI area is on McKee Rd (County 'PD'), I believe at the intersection with Muir Field Dr on the City of Madison's far southwest side.

A smaller one of these was recently built here in the Appleton area at N Richmond St (WI 47) and Ridgeview Dr.

As for the internet, it is certainly finding a place in regular retail mix, but IMHO it will not replace the often enjoyable experience of actually going out and 'shopping'.

Mike
 

michaelskis

Cyburbian
Messages
20,175
Points
51
mgk920 said:
We already have that. It's called the 'Wal*Mart Supercenter'.
In Lower Michigan we have Meijer... It is amazing, you can get beer, wine, food for dinner, a table, chairs, a bed, a pair of pants, shirt, and a new pet hamster all in the same place.

meijer
 

PlannerByDay

Cyburbian
Messages
1,827
Points
24
michaelskis said:
In Lower Michigan we have Meijer... It is amazing, you can get beer, wine, food for dinner, a table, chairs, a bed, a pair of pants, shirt, and a new pet hamster all in the same place.

meijer
While Meijer is a "super store" it should be noted that it is a privately owned and family operated business. It is only similar to "wal-mart" type stores in that it is big and sells all kind of cr@p.

Personally I shop at meijers and have not stepped foot in a walmart in over 5 years.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
Come on, now, is there really a difference between Wal-Mart and Meier? Does Wal-Mart "hurt independent retailers" while Meier does not? Does it matter if the profits from the stores go to a single family in a city distant from the one in which the store is located, or to a single family and many stockholders in the other case? Does one pay differently than the other, or build "green" and "new urbanist" stores while the other does not. Call it Wal-Mart, Shopko Kmart, Meier, Fred Meyer, or Target, but it is really all the same thing.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,463
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29
After all, according to The Ayn Rand Institute: "If you shun WalMart, you shun FREEDOM!" :-}
 

mike gurnee

Cyburbian
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3,066
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31
Cardinal is right on with this one. We learned that to compete with WalMart, we should emphasize boutiques, better quality merchandise, and service. Then along comes Target, then Meijer with the presumption of better quality. Service may still be lacking, but the big boxes are creating a generation of shoppers who never heard of "service." The local mom-and-pop shops started falling with the advent of franchise stores and Sears catalogs.
 

H

Cyburbian
Messages
2,850
Points
24
As so many things follow the 'circle' pattern, maybe we will see 'downtowns' reapear? This is not limited to only old downtowns, and we are already seeing this trend peak its head through via new urbanism* and suedo new urbanism strip centers.

* I dont want this to get confused with my disdain for many of the new urbanism concepts.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
Malls are just changing, thats all

See below an exerpt from an article in the Seattle Post Intell

"Nationally, mall development is slowing, part of a larger national reaction to too much retail development in the past two decades. The International Council of Shopping Centers, which compiled the numbers showing fewer but larger regional and superregional projects are being opened compared with a decade ago, says developers are fiddling with the mix of tenants (more service or entertainment, for example) and the physical layout of malls."
 

Wulf9

Member
Messages
923
Points
22
BKM said:
After all, according to The Ayn Rand Institute: "If you shun WalMart, you shun FREEDOM!" :-}
It's interesting that the Ann Randians don't mention government subsidies of multi billion dollar corporations as an intrusion into the "free market."

If all the current government subsidies were channeled into small businesses, we would have a job-filled recovery, rather than a jobless recovery.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
13,915
Points
57
I read the article and thought it very interesting.

I think that there will forever be a place in retail commercial development for shopping malls, but really only for the already existing, well managed ones. As the article said, it was a revolutionary change in the development and form of retail, but was water downed by intimators that didn't really know what they were doing interms of design or management, and were only concerned with making huge profits from accelerated depreciation. (Which, I believe, is no longer available to developers, correct me if I'm wrong)

An equlibrium will be found in the retail development market and each form of commercial retail development (enclosed mall, auto strip, big box, main street, etc and whatever is next) will get its own share of the market. This is assuming we can maintain our current market dynamics.

Now for all the defunct, left-over mall sites in the country, we should see them as an opportunity to do something better and recycle them into better places (whatever is desired by the community)
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
I'll disagree with you, Mendelman. Markets change as people move in and out of neighborhoods. What may start out as a bedroom suburb of white working-class people in the fifties might transform itself into an area more dominated by professionals in the seventies, and transition to an area of immigrant people from Southeast Asia by the ninties. Right now it might be transforming itself from that to an aging population as proerty is redeveloped into condos targeted to empty-nesters.

The mall remains and adapts as well as it can, but if every generation brings a change in demographics, the mix of tenants must change. Some prefer a mall format and others do not, a trend that has grown sharply over the last decade and a half. Still, mall tenants, especially the anchors, often have leases for twenty years. They will remain as long as they can profit, even (or especially) if a different store could be more profitable.

The best use for the land must also be considered. Many of the malls in inner-ring suburbs are now being converted to other uses, such as residential development. There is more money in that for the developer, versus continuing to invest in an old mall. At the other end of the spectrum, newly developing places, whether new cities like Las Vegas, or fringe suburban area, will drive a demand for new malls.

Raw numbers may show that mall space is not growing very fast, but many new malls continue to be built while older ones close.


[ot]Dang, 4003 posts. I forgot to look at the count and feel the euphoria of passing that milestone. I better delete a couple and try it again.[/ot]
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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Moderator
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13,915
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57
Cardinal

I was saying that the market for retail development will accommodate all the different forms retail development takes. ie: big box, main street, mall, etc.

I agree that the dynamics of a specific locality changes with time and those changes encourage changes in the form of retail development.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
Points
24
Cardinal--you would be surprised that many achors these days demand to own the ground under them in a mall project (regional malls certainly) as fee simple.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
The bad thing is when the anchor closes the store, still owns the property or a long term lease, and lets the anchor store site vacant for, in some cases, a decade, killing the center's smaller tenants and effectively preventing redevelopment with new uses. Multiple long-term ground leases/fee title positions have made redevelopment of one center in my place of employment an excrutiating experience (a grocery store and a former chain drugstore)
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,080
Points
34
gkmo62u said:
Cardinal--you would be surprised that many achors these days demand to own the ground under them in a mall project (regional malls certainly) as fee simple.
I wouldn't be surprised, which is to say, you are right.
 

kms

Cyburbian
Messages
6,426
Points
40
BKM said:
The bad thing is when the anchor closes the store, still owns the property or a long term lease, and lets the anchor store site vacant for, in some cases, a decade, killing the center's smaller tenants and effectively preventing redevelopment with new uses. Multiple long-term ground leases/fee title positions have made redevelopment of one center in my place of employment an excrutiating experience (a grocery store and a former chain drugstore)

This is part of the reason our oldest mall has been demolished. One of the big anchors left about ten years ago when off track betting moved in; another followed, leaving small, gift shop kinds of stores. A walmart is being built on the property now, replacing one that is 1/2 mile up the road.
 

gkmo62u

Cyburbian
Messages
1,046
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24
It is a challenge, I admit. Problem is you can't have a mall without an anchor--an a high end anchor to boot. The Nordstoms and Macy's of the world call the shots.
 
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