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The fragility of the traditional enclosed mall shopping center

mgk920

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4,202
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26
I has truly amazed me how very fragile enclosed mall shopping centers have become in the past decade or two. What was once a crowded and sometimes attractive gathering place of shopping, mingling and plain old people watching of the post-WWII era can come crashing down within a breathtakingly short time.

The latest case in point is the former Port Plaza Mall, now called Washington Commons, in downtown Green Bay, WI. It was opened in 1977 as a very large two-level new construction downtown mall, added on to a few years later (about 1984), and throughout that time was a fun place to visit, wander around and buy a few things, even for someone who lived here in Appleton.

Fast-forward to February, 2006:
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060221/GPG0101/602210555/1206/GPGnews

<sigh...> :-(

An aerial image of it is at:
http://www.terraserver-usa.com/image.aspx?T=1&S=10&Z=16&X=2097&Y=24647&W=3

Sad to say it, but the best thing that I can see for it is to remove the mall, restore the street grid and sell off the reformed blocks to private developers for new projects. Port Plaza served its purpose well for much of a quarter-century, but it is time to move on and to look at this as a new beginning opportunity for the otherwise resurging downtown Green Bay area.

Mike
 

TOFB

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2,085
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21
This is really unbelievable. I worked in for the City in the Mid 80's and P Plaza was seen as an innovative answer to the then traditional suburban mall. The City worked very hard to attract it to Downtown and when I left in 1988, it was thriving and fully occupied.

I never thought Bay Park Square and East Town would really compete with the size and selection at Port Plaza, and frankly Fox Valley Mall in your neighborhood, while nice, was not considered competition at all.
 

nemo31

Cyburbian
Messages
43
Points
2
St.Louis Pyramid Cos. Is that the same group involved in that mess in Syracuse. Looking for way to many public give aways. I can see some for affordable housing but not the high end stuff.
 

DetroitPlanner

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6,241
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26
Only indoor malls that seem to be doing well these days are the super regional centers; those of well over 1 million square feet.
 

Cardinal

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10,078
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33
During the sixties and seventies, several small and rural cities managed to get malls which very effectively emptied their downtowns. Think of places like Pierre, South Dakota, with about 17,000 people between itself and its neighbor, Fort Pierre. These places have fallen into the hands of smaller, relatively poorly managed REITs which have not invested in renovations and do not have very good leasing programs. One such mall I am dealing with has fifteen vacancies - almost half of its shop spcae. It has not been remodeled since the 1970's, and I have to wonder if one of the anchors is going to renew its lease. This is significant because, as I mentioned, these malls replaced downtowns as retail centers. When they fail, the local market turns elsewhere (other cities) to shop, and ends up pulling their business from the remaining downtown businesses as well as the businesses along the highway strip.

On the other hand, some little malls have made it. Look at the downtown mall in Manhattan, Kansas. This is a city about the half the size of Green Bay. Unlike the funky mall in Green Bay, this one has the feel of a mall when inside. It is also very well integrated into the streetscape outside.
 

noottamevas

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2,095
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Cardinal said:
During the sixties and seventies, several small and rural cities managed to get malls which very effectively emptied their downtowns. Think of places like Pierre, South Dakota, with about 17,000 people between itself and its neighbor, Fort Pierre. <snip>
I'm sure this story is playing out all over, but you could replace "Pierre, SD" with "Mattoon, Illinois" and your story fits for here perfectly.
 

BKM

Cyburbian
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6,464
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29
Cardinal said:
During the sixties and seventies, several small and rural cities managed to get malls which very effectively emptied their downtowns. Think of places like Pierre, South Dakota, with about 17,000 people between itself and its neighbor, Fort Pierre. These places have fallen into the hands of smaller, relatively poorly managed REITs which have not invested in renovations and do not have very good leasing programs. One such mall I am dealing with has fifteen vacancies - almost half of its shop spcae. It has not been remodeled since the 1970's
Redding, CA has (had???) a bizarre mall built in the 1970s where they basically covered over the old Main Street. A strange combination of "modernized" turn of the century storefronts (i.e., Victorian buildings covered with lucite panels during the 1940s and 50s) and 1970s tacky mall stuff. A weird, weird place that was pretty desolate when I saw it.
 

Cardinal

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10,078
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33
BKM said:
Redding, CA has (had???) a bizarre mall built in the 1970s where they basically covered over the old Main Street. A strange combination of "modernized" turn of the century storefronts (i.e., Victorian buildings covered with lucite panels during the 1940s and 50s) and 1970s tacky mall stuff. A weird, weird place that was pretty desolate when I saw it.
I think the mall in Muskegon, Michigan was like that. It has been 13-14 years. Maybe I have the wrong city in mind. Anyway, there was one in the Great Lakes region like that.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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37
Cardinal said:
I think the mall in Muskegon, Michigan was like that. It has been 13-14 years. Maybe I have the wrong city in mind. Anyway, there was one in the Great Lakes region like that.
Yeah...such a contraption was in Muskegon, MI, but it was recently demo'd (mid-2005?) for redevelopment.

Downtown Muskegon redevelopment
 

DetroitPlanner

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mendelman said:
Yeah...such a contraption was in Muskegon, MI, but it was recently demo'd (mid-2005?) for redevelopment.

Downtown Muskegon redevelopment
I stopped in once to see the Muskegon Mall (probably 1989-1990) I could not belive the place. Basically put a roof over main street, and ripped down all the surrounding buildings to create a big parking lot.

Now Alpena Mall, thats a keeper!
 

illinoisplanner

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In my youth (10-20 years ago), Randhurst Mall in Mount Prospect, IL was always a happening place. It was built in the 50s, and was the largest mall at the time it was built. When I was growing up, this 2-level mall had every major department store, a massive food court with new restaurants popping up all the time, and every specialty store you can think of. This was in the late 80s-mid 90s. Fast forward to the late 90s/early 00s, and it now has only one department store. Circuit City, Kohl's, Old Navy, Montgomery Ward, JC Penney, and others have come and gone. The only viable anchors are CostCo and Carsons, and what's left of the mall is nothing but primarily services and small offices with only a handful of stores left. It's sad to see. The combination of shifting demographics, downtown retail development, the Deer Park Town Center, power centers, poor mall management, and big bad Woodfield Mall have all likely contributed to the mall's downfall.

Other notable examples in Chicagoland include Waukegan's Lakehurst Mall which has since closed (mostly due to Gurnee Mills), the withering Charlestowne Mall in St. Charles (primarily due to Geneva Commons), and other smaller malls.
 

mendelman

Unfrozen Caveman Planner
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[ot]
DetroitPlanner said:
Now Alpena Mall, thats a keeper!
You must really like the Alpena Mall. You are constantly talking about it.;)

It's a decent enclosed mall considering it is in Northern Michigan and serves a population of about 30,000, but all the stores currently in the Mall could easily be located in Downtown Alpena and not really have a problem.[/ot]
 

DetroitPlanner

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6,241
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26
mendelman said:
[ot]
You must really like the Alpena Mall. You are constantly talking about it.;)
[/ot]
Sometimes I mention the other malls like Fashion Square or Crossroads just to make the others in the state feel good. Heck my favorite is the Franklin Park Shopping Towne in Toledo.
 

CanCon

Member
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13
Points
1
The thing that interests me about the death of shopping malls, and the greyfield phenominon in general (if it can be characterized as such, which I think it probably can), is that the death of a mall can effectively signal the death of the only meaningful public/quasi-public/quasi-private space for the informal gathering of diverse groups of people in suburban neighbourhoods or urban areas that have no other town centre. Clearly, shopping malls mean a lot more to communities than just places to exchange money for goods and services. In a consumer and car-oriented culture like ours, the failure of a big mall can create a significant void for local communities - people naturally gather at malls for a variety of both sanctioned and unsanctioned activities, and when this gathering space is lost how can or should that gap be best filled? In other words, I guess I feel the failure of a regional shopping centre is an important social issue, at some level, and not just an economic one. Where else, I ask, do both senior citizens and teenagers loiter in the same place?

I'm not saying "save the mall to save communities" or anything drastic like that, I just think that issues of collective identity in neighbourhoods can be caught up in shared experiences of the built environment (like the omnipresent mall), which makes this an interesting issue for planners to think about.

CanCon
 

iamme

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485
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14
CanCon said:
The thing that interests me about the death of shopping malls, and the greyfield phenominon in general (if it can be characterized as such, which I think it probably can), is that the death of a mall can effectively signal the death of the only meaningful public/quasi-public/quasi-private space for the informal gathering of diverse groups of people in suburban neighbourhoods or urban areas that have no other town centre. Clearly, shopping malls mean a lot more to communities than just places to exchange money for goods and services. In a consumer and car-oriented culture like ours, the failure of a big mall can create a significant void for local communities - people naturally gather at malls for a variety of both sanctioned and unsanctioned activities, and when this gathering space is lost how can or should that gap be best filled? In other words, I guess I feel the failure of a regional shopping centre is an important social issue, at some level, and not just an economic one. Where else, I ask, do both senior citizens and teenagers loiter in the same place?

I'm not saying "save the mall to save communities" or anything drastic like that, I just think that issues of collective identity in neighbourhoods can be caught up in shared experiences of the built environment (like the omnipresent mall), which makes this an interesting issue for planners to think about.

CanCon
People bemoaned the death of downtowns and the rise of the mall in just the same way you are taking a retrospective of greyfields. People have an innate need to meet and socialize, it will get met.

Why would a lifestyle center not provide this? Why would a downtown not provide this? I guess, I don't understand what you think is replacing traditional regional malls that lacks the (limited) social aspect of which you speak?

Oh, and uhh, welcome to cyburbia. :)
 

AubieTurtle

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894
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21
People get bored. Malls were a new way of shopping and lasted as the primary retail development pattern for about four decades. But just about everything you can do with a mall has been done. People want something new. That's why lifestyle centers are coming into fashion. They don't really have any special benefits. Mainly they mix some of the worst aspects of downtowns (exposure to the elements) and malls (located in a sea of parking, limited connection to other uses or pathetic token mixed uses). But they are different and offer a new experience (and we are now in the "Experience Economy"). When you consider that most mall and now lifestyle center shopping is really shopping for amusement, it should be obvious that since the malls are unable to evolve very much that they're doomed. There is nothing exciting about going to the mall anymore.

The fact that power center and strip malls continue to be successful is because most of that shopping is necessity shopping rather than "Hey I'm bored, let's go to Twin Oaks Mall" type shopping. People want to get their car close to the door of Wal-Mart, Home Depot, etc. (something you can't do at the mall), walking in the door and get their stuff. As anyone who’s been to a big box store knows, they're not made to be beautiful or entertaining. Even with the large size, you can still get in and out much faster than at a mall.

If you would like to see the rotting carcass of some of the great malls of the past, visit http://www.deadmalls.com
 

michaelskis

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I think that this is the constant progression of things. Downtown suffers because of the smaller malls. Then small malls suffer because of larger multi story regional mall. Now they will start to suffer because of Life Style Centers, which look like downtowns.

I wonder if Life Style Centers will suffer because of downtowns and the circle will be complete. All within 60 years!
 

DC Librarian

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29
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2
AubieTurtle said:
If you would like to see the rotting carcass of some of the great malls of the past, visit http://www.deadmalls.com
Dead Malls.com is a great site. Being from a small city in the Rust Belt (Niagara Falls, NY) that had two relatively large malls that have both died in recent years, it's great to reminisce over this site.

On the whole, I think that Upstate New York is probably a little "over malled", especially due to shrinking populations. Large regional centers like the Galleria Mall in Buffalo and the Carousel Center in Syracuse have added to the quick death of many of the smaller malls in these cities too.
 

mgk920

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4,202
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Revisiting this thread with some new developments

I has truly amazed me how very fragile enclosed mall shopping centers have become in the past decade or two. What was once a crowded and sometimes attractive gathering place of shopping, mingling and plain old people watching of the post-WWII era can come crashing down within a breathtakingly short time.

The latest case in point is the former Port Plaza Mall, now called Washington Commons, in downtown Green Bay, WI. It was opened in 1977 as a very large two-level new construction downtown mall, added on to a few years later (about 1984), and throughout that time was a fun place to visit, wander around and buy a few things, even for someone who lived here in Appleton.

Fast-forward to February, 2006:
http://www.greenbaypressgazette.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060221/GPG0101/602210555/1206/GPGnews

<sigh...> :-(

An aerial image of it is at:
http://www.terraserver-usa.com/image.aspx?T=1&S=10&Z=16&X=2097&Y=24647&W=3

Sad to say it, but the best thing that I can see for it is to remove the mall, restore the street grid and sell off the reformed blocks to private developers for new projects. Port Plaza served its purpose well for much of a quarter-century, but it is time to move on and to look at this as a new beginning opportunity for the otherwise resurging downtown Green Bay area.

Mike
A little old business regarding this early 2006 thread about the death of a 1970s-era mid-sized city downtown mall.

It looks like the plan is indeed to do just that, as there is now a current active plan to restore Adams St (the main north-south street cut off by the center of the mall in the above aerial image) through the mall for automotive and pedestrian traffic with more likely to follow.

See:
http://www.wbay.com/Global/story.asp?S=5859553

Green Bay
Downtown Revitalization Plans Tackle Adams Street

Dec 26, 2006 05:37 PM

By Chris Duffy

A street in downtown Green Bay that's sometimes forgotten may soon get some much-needed attention.

Adams Street is sandwiched right between the active entertainment district of Washington Street and the government district of Jefferson Street.

On one Washington Street block, every building is or will be full in the near future. But venture just one block east to Adams Street, and it's a much different story with consecutive bare buildings, endless options for retail and office space; besides a shoe store and a bank, this block looks pretty much deserted.

"I wouldn't say it's a forgotten little street, but for the past 30 years it's been a dead-end street," Jeff Mirkes of Downtown Green Bay Inc. says.

That dead-end is the former Washington Commons mall. It now sits empty, and its shortcomings have had a domino effect on nearby businesses. On one block of Adams Street alone there are five buildings with space available.

(see link for rest of article)

Very interesting indeed.

Mike
 

whittx

Member
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61
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4
St.Louis Pyramid Cos. Is that the same group involved in that mess in Syracuse. Looking for way to many public give aways. I can see some for affordable housing but not the high end stuff.
I agree, since a mall that has cannibalized other retail business from a 100 mile radius should not, under any circumstance, be declared an Empire Zone, or receive any of the other tax abatements that this vapor mall is slated to get.

I'm sure this story is playing out all over, but you could replace "Pierre, SD" with "Mattoon, Illinois" and your story fits for here perfectly.
Even in Florida we have a couple of those (Think Lake City).
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Planit

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33
Bump

New article in USAToday continues to reinforce the trend:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-03-downtownmalls_N.htm

For 46 years, it has been a holiday tradition at Midtown Plaza mall in Rochester, N.Y., for children to ride on the monorail that circles the atrium, going past the tall, decorated tree and the area where they could later sit on Santa's lap.
If all goes according to plan, the mall, among the first built in the 1960s to lure shoppers back from the growing suburban retail areas, won't make it to a 47th holiday season. It is slated to be demolished this year to make way for a new headquarters for telecommunications firm PAETEC Holding Corp.

Finding a taker for downtown mall properties is an issue in many cities across the USA. In Dayton, Ohio, despite repeated proposals, the old Arcade mall has stood closed since 1991, according to the Ohio Preservation Alliance.

In Niagara Falls, N.Y., the Rainbow Centre Factory Outlet mall, blocks away from the waterfalls that are a destination for tourists worldwide, remains an unwanted eyesore since shutting its doors in 2000 after years of declining business, according to former mayor Vincenzo Anello.
 

Cardinal

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10,078
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Unlike a suburban mall, a downtown mall usually needs to have nearby residents and workers who can access the mall by means other than a car. Downtown areas often cannot provide that. The exceptions may be true destination locations like Chicago's Magnificnet Mile. The reality is that most people making a trip to the mall to shop want the convenience of driving, parking easily and without cost, and also being close to home. As I have noted in other threads, what is the difference between malls in any metropolitan area? They all have the same Sears, Penneys, Macy's and perhaps regional chain. The easiest and most convenient destination is the suburban mall, which is closest to home.
 
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175
Points
7
One of the more fascinating mall histories is that of the Mall of Memphis, which opened as one of the largest malls in the country in the early 1980s -- and was demolished in the early 2000s. The demise of the Mall of Memphis has been well-documented at http://www.mallofmemphis.org.
 

jmello

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Unlike a suburban mall, a downtown mall usually needs to have nearby residents and workers who can access the mall by means other than a car. Downtown areas often cannot provide that.
The Providence Place, a mall in downtown Providence, Rhode Island opened in the early-90s and has been extremely successful. It has its own ramps to and from I-95 and has plenty of parking. It is connected to a large hotel and convention center with pedestrian bridges. It also has restaurants facing the street.

See: http://www.providenceplace.com/

Of course, since Providence Place has opened, two of the state's suburban malls (Rhode Island Mall & Warwick Mall) have declined significantly.
 
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otterpop

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6,655
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27
In Helena there is a plan to relocate the Montana Historical Society to the Capitol Hill Mall, the city's enclosed shopping mall. The anchor stores and other shops are relocating to a mall near the edge of town. The Legislature allocated money for the project and when another location was proposed, the Legislature threatened to withdraw its support.

Seems strange for a historical society to be housed in a circa 1960s shopping mall, but, perhaps as these malls disappear from the landscape, it will become a historical exhibit by its own right.
 

Dan

Dear Leader
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The demise of the Mall of Memphis has been well-documented at http://www.mallofmemphis.org.
The history of some malls around Cleveland, especially Randall Park Mall, Severance Center and Euclid Square, seem to mirror that of the Mall of Memphis.

In many cities where I lived, the perception of crime seems to have a much greater impact on malls than on traditional shopping districts or regular plazas. If a mall gets a reputation as being a crime center, even when it's undeserved, its fate is sealed.
 

Plan-it

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921
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In the Atlanta area, many of the shopping malls are trying to alter their appearance to become more "lifestyle" centers (I kind of hate that term). They have adjusted parking, added restaurants and smaller specialty stores that can only be accessed through an outside courtyard, and make some interior design improvements such as skylights to give them a more open feel.
 

D_M

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Messages
36
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2
You're right about the reputation for crime. It played a part in the decline of major malls around here Westland, Northland, and City Center. (Although most of it was better competition from new suburban malls.) Worse than that, it starts a vicious cycle, the reputation is gained which leads to less customers and empty storefronts, which contributes to more crime and so on and so on. It also makes it hard to find developers who are willing to redevelop the site because they've heard of all the crime and want no part of it.

I think that the intense focus on crime in malls as opposed to other retail places has to do with the heightened social aspect of a mall. Like was said previously, malls are more than shopping destinations, much of their appeal is that they are places to hang out or socialize and so if there is crime, it seems more likely that you would encounter it while spending a couple of hours there. In a strip mall or a big box store where people may be more likely to just run in to get a few things, it seems more likely that you'd avoid it.
 

WSU MUP Student

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9,355
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Regarding malls and the perception of criminal activity I think this stems from one of the things that originally made malls great: In the 1960's to 1980's they were built to cater around younger shoppers and the teenagers congregated there much to the delight of the shop keepers. Unfortunately now young folks are still congregating in many of these malls, especially in the dying malls and that is what is now keeping the shoppers out.

Slate.com had a great article about the dying malls earlier this week: Beware: The Ghost Malls!
 

MattinStLouis

Member
Messages
5
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0
St.Louis Pyramid Cos. Is that the same group involved in that mess in Syracuse.
Different company.

The St. Louis Pyramid Cos. has gone from rehabbing homes in city neighborhoods to being the largest real estate owner in downtown St. Louis in less than seven years.
 

jtmnkri

Cyburbian
Messages
106
Points
6
2 things kill malls - new competition and demographic shifts.

Dead malls tend to be located in Rustbelt and Southern cities.

Columbus, Ohio and Rhode Island are good examples of markets where new mall supply has grown a lot faster than population. The new competition killed a lot of malls in these markets.

In the South, the problem is a combination of new supply and demographic shifts. Witness Eastland Mall in Charlotte. The neighborhood was an upper-middle class suburb a generation ago. As Charlotte expanded, so did the poor population. This poor population spread into the Eastland Mall neighborhood. Mall sales dropped, gangsterism rose, and national retailers followed their customers to malls in better parts of the city.
 

Plan Man

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125
Points
6
Expenses play a role - common area maintenance (CAM) charges in malls are part of the reason malls are not as attractive as stand-alone box stores.

Plus parking - the ability to clearly associate a pod of parking in front of a box store is desirable to retail tenants.

We're begining to see examples where portions of enclosed malls are being "blown out" and reconstructed with an outward-facing box store.
 

Richi

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432
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13
We have two enclosed malls. One (built by Rouse) has generally performed very well. The other, has been up & down since almost the beginning. It's hard to prove, but my observation is that management plays a big role in economic performance. Also, proximity to housing density appears to play a role as well. Both are on multilane arterials. The less successfull is on the PM outbound side of the street (the other is on the AM inbound) and is within a mile of an Interstate interchange so it appears that pass by is not a really big factor.
 

Streetwall

Member
Messages
15
Points
1
In many cities where I lived, the perception of crime seems to have a much greater impact on malls than on traditional shopping districts or regular plazas. If a mall gets a reputation as being a crime center, even when it's undeserved, its fate is sealed.
I think this perception of "crime" usually means the mere presence of thuggy-looking minority teenagers and young adults, whether or not they are actually committing crimes on the premises.

Many middle-class suburban types don't like they folks they're parents and grandparents ran away from being a part of their social realm. When the socioeconomic separation of suburbia fails, these types will likely abandon ship for a shopping destination further out or more rigidly-policed.

Stripmalls have a longer lifespan because they're completely utilitarian and provide no common spaces for people to hang out. People grab what they need and hop in their cars.

When a mall dies, it's dead. At least a dead downtown (if it's still partially intact) has a unique urban setting and cool architecture to fall back upon when the time comes that businesses and people might want to seek out a niche there again.
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
Messages
4,202
Points
26
General Growth Properties to file Chapter (something or another)?

Another sign of the demise of The Mall&#8482;

http://www.postcrescent.com/article/20081112/APC03/811120512/1028

Fox River Mall owner warns of bankruptcy

Staff, wire reports &#8226; November 12, 2008

CHICAGO &#8212; General Growth Properties Inc. shares plummeted Tuesday after the mall owner warned it faces solvency trouble and may be forced to file for bankruptcy if it can't refinance or extend nearly $1 billion in debt due next month.

The real estate investment trust, which is the nation's second-largest mall owner whose big-name holdings include Chicago's Water Tower Place and Fashion Show in Las Vegas, also disclosed in a regulatory filing late Monday that it may default on certain debt obligations.

(See link for rest of article)

As of this typing (09:45 CST on Wednesday, 2008-11-12), their shares were at $0.33, off 99.3&#37; from $49.95 one year ago (2007-11-13 close) and 99.2% from their close of $43.83 as recently as 2008-05-16. They have a big pile of debt coming due with no cash to cover it.

Some of their properties, such as Fox River Mall here in the Appleton area, are doing very well - it draws 'safari shoppers' from a very wide area, as far as Da YuPee of Michigan. However most locals tend to go to the big-boxes and strip centers elsewhere in the metro area. Also, even though the mall is doing OK, the area surrounding it has been very stagnant for the past several years and the township that it is in has been doing very little in the line of street upgrades and so forth to improve things. Its neighborhood is very unattractive with zero pedestrian scale - not even sidewalks and very few streetlights.

GGP also owns places like Oakwood Mall in Eau Claire, WI and Mayfair Mall in suburban Milwaukee.

How fast they fall....

:-o

Mike
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
Points
33
This is far from being fresh news. GGP follows in the wake of several other retail development and management companies that are having problems due to credit issues. Centro, the Australian company with the largest retail portfolio, may not survive. Companies like these are getting the attention right now.

2008 will see a record number of store closings in the United States - nearly 7000. The forecast for 2009 is upwards of 14,000 store closings. Most industry analysts peg the national retail vacancy rate between 15 and 20 percent next year. That will be compounded by lease negotiations that lower rents to get some tenants to stay. Regional mall properties will be affected, but so will the smaller strip centers in almost every community. Can retail property owners survive a prolonged period of high vacancy? Like others, they have mortgages, maintenance costs, real estate taxes, and other costs to pay. Expect defaults, bankruptcies, and fire sales as they try to unload these properties.
 

PlannerGirl

Cyburbian Plus
Messages
6,377
Points
28
http://www.news-record.com/content/2008/11/11/article/four_seasons_parent_company_warns_of_bankruptcy

City of Greensboro NC
Four Seasons Town Centre's owner warns of bankruptcy

http://phoenix.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2008/11/10/daily28.html
Washington DC

General Growth Properties, owner of shopping centers that include Landmark Mall and Tysons Galleria, says it may be forced to seek protection from its creditors as it struggles to refinance debt.

Today they will also be de-listed from the stock market
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
Messages
4,202
Points
26
Another one (in Ohio) bites the dust

This one in downtown Columbus, OH was not even 20 years old - it cost $116M (in 1989 money) to build and will cost an estimated $160M (in today's money) to demolish, too. Current plans for the site, just south of the state capitol, are for a park and future mixed-used development. I also note that, like with Port Plaza/Washington Commons in Green Bay, WI, restoring some or all of the street grid is a part of the plans.

http://www.dispatchpolitics.com/live/content/local_news/stories/2009/02/04/copy/citycenter_plan.ART_ART_02-04-09_A1_MKCPKVM.html?adsec=politics&sid=101

"Goodbye, City Center
A Downtown gem when it opened in 1989, the forlorn mall will be torn down by summer. The city wants to develop the land as a park, ringed by housing, restaurants, shops and offices -- all to be completed in five to 10 years.
Wednesday, February 4, 2009 3:16 AM
By Marla Matzer Rose and Mike Pramik
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Columbus City Center is coming down, and Downtown as we know it is about to change.

This summer, nearly 20 years after City Center opened as the shining star of central Ohio's retail universe, the obsolete and nearly abandoned mall will be demolished. It is to be replaced by an urban park and, within several years, a collection of buildings that will contain homes, offices, restaurants and shops.

The city has dubbed the $165 million project Columbus Commons. It is seeking federal stimulus money to pay for the mall demolition and development of the park, which city officials expect to start this summer and complete within 18 months. The remainder of the project will take shape over the next five to 10 years, as the market dictates."

(see link for the rest of this fascinating article)

Also see:
http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=39.959598~-82.99849&style=h&lvl=16&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&scene=38631810&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1

Mike
 

steel

Cyburbian
Messages
456
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14
The retail industry demands constant turnover and change. If your operation gets stuck in a faded trend you are doomed. Just like any industry, if you become arrogant from your success you risk others picking up the ball and running. In Buffalo The Galleria crushed the nearby Seneca Mall which closed only a few years after Galleria's opening. It also put a big damper on the Eastern Hills Mall which up to then was the biggest most successful regional mall in Western New York. Eastern Hills never upgraded its look or its stores and was a frumpy tired looking place. They made it easy for the Galleria to take over the top spot. Galleria just made a big investment to keep its look and offerings fresh. I heard that the Eastern Hills under new management was attempting to revise its image upward.

Another relatively small mall in the Buffalo area is the Boulevard. It has stayed successful despite its small size because it constantly retools and also because it has a corner on the northern city-suburb-college market.

Buffalo's Downtown Main Place Mall (1970's vintage) was very successful up into the 90's even as downtown was going out of business. It probably still could be successful today except that it became a gathering point for inner city teens after school. The story I heard was that tenants in the attached office towers were fearful so the management systematically started closing stores by refusing to renew leases. Today the upper level is all office space and the lower level is filled with just a few pitiful stores.
 

sthomper

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0
i am not sure if the mall placement (in-town or suburban) makes that much of a difference.

two enclosed malls in my area (raleigh, nc) have been operating for over 30 years each.

and they are about 3 or so miles apart from each other. which does/did seem odd to me.

the older of the two, i think was finished in the early or mid sixties was very popular with a cafeteria a pennys and an iveys/dillards - and a few locally operated sporting good shops and restaurants and a world bazzar with stuffed cobras.

it declined in the nineties i believe due to a renovation and increasing popularity of the other nearby enclosed mall finished in the early seventies (sears, a belks, thalheimers record bar, dalton bookseller etc) plus a few locally owned eateries inside.
the latter was larger and attracted more people.
the older mall was then torn mostly down and converted into an outdoor boutiquey shopping center with deluxe theatre , wine shop and gym and target store....and is still undergoing massive surrounding re-development.

the 'newer' mall has undergone a large expansion but remains mostly an indoor mall with out much additional surrounding devlpoment having taken place...its a bit away (apartment homes, etc)

but for a number of years both enclosed malls were about 3 miles apart and seemed to do ok.

a jumbo mall opened up in the late nineties out in more of a surburban setting probobly about 7 miles or so from the other malls with some duplication of anchor stores plus a macys, sachs and relocated dillards...i guess it is doing ok as well.

there was a report in the news about an unsupervised teen ban due to a rioty type of occurrence. - which has probobly hurt some sales...cookie store, coffe, etc???
 

Gotta Speakup

Cyburbian
Messages
1,455
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20
Maybe there should be a contest: predict the next major (over 750,000 sq feet) dead mall.

There was a mall dead at birth in Boston: Lafayette Place. Downtown, it was built on the assumption the city wss so dangerous that it had to withstand an attack by an armored battalion. It never attracted stores.
 

mgk920

Cyburbian
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4,202
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26
Maybe there should be a contest: predict the next major (over 750,000 sq feet) dead mall.

There was a mall dead at birth in Boston: Lafayette Place. Downtown, it was built on the assumption the city wss so dangerous that it had to withstand an attack by an armored battalion. It never attracted stores.
I caught an item on a troubled malls list in another of my forvms a few days ago (the list was in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal) that listed Southridge Mall in Greendale (suburban Milwaukee), WI as in pretty bad shape. It surprised me at first but then again this one is a pure early-mid 1970s-era two level mall and probably is very dated looking and threadbare by now.

Mike
 

Dan

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Highland Mall in Austin seems to be on life support. Austin really has very few malls for a city its size, so one would think Highland Mall would be doing okay. Nope.

Dillard’s wants out of Highland Mall ‘ghost town’ ASAP
http://austin.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2009/04/13/story1.html

Gang activity, crime and a store that sells toilet paper are some of the reasons why anchor retailer Dillard’s wants out of Highland Mall before its lease is up.

Dillard’s announced last month that it would leave Highland Mall “in the next few months,” and in a recent lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Dillard Texas LLC and The Higbee Company — both wholly owned subsidiaries of national department store chain Dillard’s Inc. — asked the court to void its contractual obligations to Highland, including paying rent on the remainder of its lease.

Dillard’s alleges that the owner — Highland Mall Limited Partnership, made up of Simon Property Group Inc. [NYSE: SPG] and General Growth Properties Inc. [NYSE: GGP], two of the country’s largest mall operators — let it deteriorate to such a degree that it has forced Dillard’s to close.

[snip]

Built in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Highland was the first of Austin’s major indoor malls and for years “was most certainly the premier shopping mall in the greater Austin area,” the lawsuit says.

Dillard’s was among the mall’s first tenants when it inked its lease and operating agreements with Highland in the 1970s. But “in recent years, the mall has deterioriated,” the lawsuit says, citing declines in customer traffic, anecdotal reports of gang activity and crime that have led to a “snowball effect” of store closings.

[snip]
http://www.bizjournals.com/austin/stories/2009/04/06/daily35.html

The Austin chapter of a national civil rights organization is calling for a boycott of Highland Mall in response to the mall's decision to close during last weekend's Texas Relays.

The local arm of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People released a statement on Wednesday saying it will organize a community response on April 11 against the "racist and xenophobic behavior of the management at Highland Mall."

Highland closed early on April 4 because of what mall management called security concerns surrounding the Clyde Littlefield Texas Relays, which draw thousands of participants and spectators--mostly African American--to Austin every year.

[snip]

The situation over the Texas Relays is just the latest in a series of blows for Highland Mall. Already suffering from the departure several years ago of anchor JC Penney, Highland is now set to lose a second anchor, Dillard's, later this year. Meanwhile, one of the mall's co-owners General Growth Properties Inc., is fighting off bankruptcy.
 

Cardinal

Cyburbian
Messages
10,078
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I caught an item on a troubled malls list in another of my forvms a few days ago (the list was in a recent issue of the Wall Street Journal) that listed Southridge Mall in Greendale (suburban Milwaukee), WI as in pretty bad shape. It surprised me at first but then again this one is a pure early-mid 1970s-era two level mall and probably is very dated looking and threadbare by now.

Mike
Southridge was developed in 1968. It is pretty typical of the time; a two-story mall with four anchors and a cross pattern. It has a Penneys, Sears, Boston Store, and a vacant anchor which was most recently a Steve & Berry's. The mall is on two busy streets, but is not near the interstate and its streets do not have interchanges where the interstate crosses a couple miles away. It was part of Mills' collection until they went under and Simon purchased the property. The village has sought to prompt Simon to do something about the mall. They went so far as to issue an RFP for a consultant to develop a plan, but I believe Simon dissuaded them from going through with it. It is a low-performing property and I am guessing not a priority for Simon to invest in right now. They are probably concerned (rightly so) that a planner will come up with some grandiose plan that will set unrealistic expectations given the market potential of the area.
 

hilldweller

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3,866
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I agree that crime/public safety issues (perceived or real) can be an absolute killer for malls, having witnessed a couple of malls die off that were plagued by this. The costs/liabilities associated with security in enclosed malls is probably not an insignificant reason for the shift towards outdoor/power-center models which are basically just stores fronting a parking lot (and thus fewer places for crime/mischief).
 

Dan

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The newest dead mall, in suburban Buffalo: The Summit, which was once Summit Park Mall. It was built in an isolated location in Wheatfield, New York, next to the planned right-of-way for the Outer Belt Expressway, which was ultimately never built.

http://www.buffalonews.com/145/story/694641.html

Notice that the stores are mostly local.

Quoting the entire article, because older articles are archived after a few days.

The Summit&#8217;s end offers opportunity for 'reinvention'
By Samantha Maziarz-Christmann
News Business Reporter

Hearts were heavy at The Summit this week as customers and merchants prepared to say a final goodbye to the 36-year-old Wheatfield mall officially closing today.

But while the long-struggling, bankrupt mall comes to what is considered a sad but inevitable end, its displaced stores are not only getting a fresh start, but breathing new life into nearby retail sectors.

Iconic local pizzeria Leon&#8217;s has been in the mall&#8217;s food court since 1974. This week, it saw lines of customers rivaling its busiest years in the mall&#8217;s hey-day, with nostalgic customers lining up for one last slice and buying bulk orders to freeze for later.

But while employees of the family-run business are sad to go, they&#8217;re hopeful about a new chapter for Leon&#8217;s. They are looking for space to relocate in Wheatfield, which would take their business from a popular takeout counter to a full-service restaurant.

&#8220;We&#8217;d like to find a nice place that is a little bigger where we can serve dinners, where kids and families can come in and eat, where we can have take-out and delivery,&#8221; said Lorenzo Randazzo, the owner&#8217;s nephew.

In fact, most of the mall&#8217;s retailers are choosing to relocate rather than using their lease termination as a convenient time to throw in the towel. It is an encouraging indication of the area&#8217;s retail health in these gloomy economic times, especially considering many retailers will be forced to pay higher rents than they did at the bargain-priced Summit.

&#8220;I&#8217;m going to be paying four times what I pay here,&#8221; said Chris Gould, owner of Avon Beauty Center, as she cleared her store&#8217;s shelves and tucked slim bottles of lotion into cardboard boxes.

The new location she&#8217;s negotiating for in the Williamsville/Clarence area is roughly twice the size of the current location, accounting for some of the price increase. But many retailers in the mall said their new rent costs would double or even triple for similarly sized retail space. In addition, many Summit rents included utility costs &#8212; a rare break.

Indeed, most Summit shops were doing well and would have stayed if the mall had lasted.

Generations Music recently ranked number two in volume for all Gibson guitar sellers in the Northeast. Owner David Augustyniak recently opened a second location at the Eastern Hills Mall and is in talks to relocate his Summit store to a spot near Military Road and Pine Plaza in Niagara Falls.

&#8220;We&#8217;ve grown quite a bit,&#8221; he said.

&#8220;We&#8217;ve had customers coming in begging us not to leave Niagara Falls.&#8221;

The Eastern Hills mall has been a popular destination for Summit expatriates. Van Winkle&#8217;s gift store, Niagara Emporium furniture store, Phase ID alternative clothing, Omega Sports memorabilia and the Echo Through Time history museum have all relocated there.

They are a welcome addition, filling nearly 18,000 square feet of previously vacant space.

Echo Through Time&#8217;s 1,800-square-foot location hadn&#8217;t been filled in several years and was most recently being used for storage. Though it won&#8217;t be a big retail money-maker, mall general manager Russ Fulton expects it to bring precious traffic volume.

&#8220;That&#8217;s a huge piece of the puzzle,&#8221; Fulton said. &#8220;They will be bringing in two school tours a week. It&#8217;s going to mean school buses, tours, educators coming in. We&#8217;re very excited about the traffic.&#8221;

As stores leave the Summit and fill in the blanks of other retail sectors, they restore the balance to a region once overly saturated with retail space.

The Pine Avenue business district in Niagara Falls landed three new tenants from the Summit&#8217;s closure &#8212; Summit Life Outreach pregnancy support center, Alan Geldin Audiology and radio station WJJL will all relocate to Pine Avenue.

Laux Sporting Goods, Cut & Shop salon and Beacon Christian Bookstore are all headed for space at or near the Military Road and Pine Plaza retail corridor near the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls.

Summit Park Pharmacy, Rainbow Tropical Fish and Niagara Cerebral Palsy will fill spots in retail plazas near the mall on Niagara Falls Boulevard. EGW Personnel Services and V-Twin Cycles are headed for North Tonawanda.

Transcom call center, Leon&#8217;s Pizza, Cardiology of Niagara, Seasons Hallmark, Deb shop clothing store and Macri&#8217;s Restaurant are currently shopping new space and said they have committed to staying within the immediate Niagara County area.

Though the mall&#8217;s last day is officially slated for today, doors of the mall will remain open for limited weekday, daytime hours until further notice, as the center makes its way through bankruptcy court and awaits sale at auction.

That&#8217;s welcome news not just for the mallwalkers who regularly stroll The Summit&#8217;s halls, butto the Krow&#8217;s Nest game center, Perfect Stitch alterations and gown store and Niagara Choice Federal Credit Union. They have held off on relocating in hopes a buyer could be found for the mall, which has been assessed at $3 million.

The Rev. Linda Badame, senior pastor of Wheatfield Community Church, held out hope of an eleventh hour reprieve when she announced plans to acquire the mall in conjunction with several other investors. But by Wednesday afternoon, that deal had fallen through.

A suggested plan by Sen. George Maziarz for New York State to relocate its Power Authority offices to the mall from White Plains were rebuffed by Gov. David A. Paterson. Rumors of other potential last-minute buyers never came to fruition. But even though the story of The Summit doesn&#8217;t end with a white knight&#8217;s arrival, many are hopeful its legacy will stay alive.

Brian Marciniak, the most recent general manager at The Summit, hopes something positive will come from the mall&#8217;s demise.

&#8220;Maybe these stores will be like seeds in the community, filling other retail spaces,&#8221; he said. &#8220;Maybe the Summit will live on that way.&#8221;
Lifestyle centers are nonexistent in the Buffalo area, so they never took customer traffic from the malls. The Buffalo dead mall list also includes;

Seneca Mall: West Seneca (demolished)
Thruway Mall: Cheektowaga (demolished)
Como Mall: Cheektowaga (converted to offices)
Main Place Mall: downtown Buffalo (on life support)

Eastern Hills Mall (Clarence) and McKinley Mall (Hamburg) have both seen better days. Seems like Boulevard Mall (Amherst; the region's oldest mall) and the Walden Galleria (Cheektowaga; a superregional center) are the only malls in the Buffalo area that are still relatively healthy.
 

Michele Zone

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When I returned to Columbus GA about 3 1/2 years ago, after being on the West Coast for 10 years and being too sick to come home to visit for several years, Columbus Square Mall was gone. The Sears store, an anchor store owned separately from the rest of the mall, sits empty and rotting, all the remains of the mall (or was the last time I was down there -- one website indicates it has recently been demolished as well). The rest was demolished and a huge, lovely new library was put up where part of it once was.

Some articles:
http://georgiaretailmemories.blogspot.com/2006/07/columbus-square-mall.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbus_Square_Mall
http://www.deadmalls.com/malls/columbus_square_mall.html
http://wikimapia.org/4402509/Columbus-Public-Library

Columbus Square Mall was built the year I was born. It had always been there as far as I was concerned. It was very strange to come back to find it gone. Peachtree Mall was built later. It's more towards the north end of town, another exit or row down the freeway. I was apparently around 11 years old when it was built (according to a date given in an online article). It was a bit more upscale than Columbus Square. It was weirdly shaped (to my eyes, as a kid), kind of a distorted Y shape. They later added on to one end, making what had been an anchor store part of the middle of the mall. You now have to walk through the middle of Dillard's to get to the newly added on section: http://www.peachtreemall.com/html/storedirectory.asp

The latest mall in Columbus is even further north and is not enclosed. It's a very large, fairly upscale strip mall called Columbus Park Crossing:
http://wikimapia.org/1641397/Columbus-Park-Crossing
Cross Country Plaza is a strip style mall that is practically across the street (and down the road just a tiny bit) from where Columbus Square once was. It's still open.
 
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