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Your local mall?
Old 10-30-2018, 01:19 PM   #1
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Your local mall?

We just came back from our local mall. A sad and upsetting scene. the huge parking lot which had room for thousands of cars was empty except for 7 trucks and maybe 75 cars. From 125 stores, down to 8 or 10 smaller stores... gone are Sears, Penneys, and Bergners (BonTon) the anchors. Marshalls is the only semi large store, and the movie theater are the only 2 general draws.
The interior has been well maintained, and the mall is still heated and air conditioned.
The other major feature is rather sad... open for seniors walking, and one semi-large store turned into a function room for the local hospital. Tai Chi classes and health presentations... in use about 7 hours a week.

There are two other shopping centers with multiple stores... one headed by Walmart, and the other by Target. The multiple stores in these centers seem to be doing well, so the semi metro area that these centers serve... (est. 60,000 homes in a 35 mile radius.) keep our town as a "center".

What happens next? The mall is 465,000 square ft. and sure to be empty within a year or two.

So, that's the sad tale from our town. What is happening to the mall nearest to you? Still operating? anchors? # of stores still in business? Alternate uses? torn down? And what of the shopping habits of the area residents. Alternate malls? Shopping centers?

Of course Amazon... but what else is there to take up the slack? Have some of the larger stores, like our Menards changed or added to the kinds of merchandise that they formerly carried? Like a limited grocery or clothing section. In a relatively short time... maybe 10 years, the face of retailing in the U.S. has changed dramatically. What will happen to all the acreage that formerly housed what used to be part of our lives.

I know this has been discussed before, but think it would be interesting to get an update from different locations.
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:30 PM   #2
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Major metropolitan area here. I can get to 4-5 malls in 30 mins or less. All seem to be doing ok. None have lost their anchors yet, but most of them have a Sears that's going away or already has (I haven't driven by one in a couple of weeks).

I can't imagine something like you describe sitting empty like that. Who is paying to heat/cool that thing and hoping for the big turn around?
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:41 PM   #3
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Despite the propaganda that SPG Simon Properties is spreading, these are dying dogs. Good luck creating the foot traffic of the past.
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:41 PM   #4
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I just moved away from a small Upstate NY town, and their mall sounds just like the one you describe imoldrnu....I know I haven't set foot in it for a long time. Probably 5 times in the last 5 years.

It is surrounded by much newer strip malls , all over the place. I'm not sure why the strip mall model seems to work better than the old mall model. More driving, less walking? (are we all really that lazy? Probably.) Cheaper rents?
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:41 PM   #5
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First it was big box stores (Bed Bath and Beyond, Home Depot, Cabellas, ...) chipping away at the mall department stores and specialty stores. Then it was Amazon and other online.

It is sad because I can remember when the malls were new and the decor was "upmarket" and they were destinations (Walking between stores indoors! Truly a marvel of the 20th century.)

I know of on smaller city that only had one mall, not two or three like other cities of the same size. It is still mostly occupied.

I know of another in a bigger city where they simply closed the entire third floor. Another where the anchor stores went from Macy's and Sears to a discount clothing store and a supermarket, then the interior stores slipped away. I know of one case where the city rented mall space following a flood, and another where the school district did the same thing.

Everyone is trying to figure out what to do with these spaces. I can't give you any local success stories. Renting to lower traffic businesses seems common.

I believe the Mall of American in MN is still well occupied, they've lost one anchor store but were able to fill the space with retail. I think they still make it as a destination for visitors. (I used to mall walk there when I was visiting my kids. I great place for walking on a MN winter morning. And I could reward myself with a stop at my choice of places with sweet breakfasts.)

I've read that there are substantial tax advantages to commercial real estate development. If that's true, it seems that we might expect a cycle of overbuilding then emptying out that extends beyond malls.
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Old 10-30-2018, 01:56 PM   #6
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The mall nearest us closed and was torn down several years ago. The nearest one is 30 minutes away and we rarely go there.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:05 PM   #7
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I haven't been to our local mall in years, other than going to Sears to get tools or new tires on our cars. Sears just closed that location a few days ago, so I don't see any reason why I would go to the mall anymore.

The big anchor stores like Sears, Mervins, and Nordstrom have been replaced with an odd selection of businesses like a theater, gym, library, and a church. The smaller stores I used to find interesting (book stores, music and video stores, kitchen supply stores, Radio Shack, etc.) have been gone for many years. About the only places left in our mall are clothing stores and novelty shops for teens and twenty somethings. There's very little to interest an old guy in his 50's.

There is still a Penny's store anchoring one end of the mall, but we have a standalone Penny's store closer to home that has a better selection.

The next closest mall was torn down a few years ago and has been replaced with retail strips and standalone stores like Home Depot. I have no reason to drive out there as all of the same stores are available here closer to home.

There are a still a few big malls in Portland, but I haven't visited those in 25+ years. So I have no idea how they are doing. They are too far away anyway.

These days I do most of my shopping online. I would prefer local stores for many things but their selection is always very limited. I don't want to drive ten miles only to discover they don't have what I want anyway.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:06 PM   #8
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Everyone is trying to figure out what to do with these spaces. I can't give you any local success stories. Renting to lower traffic businesses seems common.
Some malls here are filling the empty spaces with apartments and condos.

As F says, "Lots of new places to live, but no new places to work!" It doesn't seem to make much sense to us, but oh well, we are just old fogeys and not the movers and shakers in charge of such ideas and decisions.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:28 PM   #9
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Our Mall (The Woodlands, Texas) is about 20 years old. On weekends, especially Saturday, there is Valet parking because you can't find and empty spot. Christmas season...forget it. Too crowded.

Sears left and was replaced immediately. Apple has a store inside with lines out the door on weekdays. The food court was just expanded. A new parking garage was built a few years ago next to the movie theater.

Guess there is just too much money and credit available to be used here!
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:32 PM   #10
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Here's the one I don't understand:

Around here there's a trend toward outside shopping areas; sort of 'Marketplaces' with clusters of shops and restaurants. Like a mall but all the store are only accessible from the outside. So while the indoor style malls are sagging, the Marketplaces are thriving big-time.

I just can't understand in places like here (New England) where the weather is awful 80% of the time that folks would migrate away from an indoor mall to these new outdoor places where you have to run outside from one shop to another. The whole idea of malls (I thought) was that you could shop in comfort year 'round.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:33 PM   #11
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My local Bass Pro Shops is the only mall store that I've been to in ~20 years. Hate malls and mall rats. There is one in Augusta GA that has been empty for over 25 years. There is another one here in Charlotte that was razed a while back after the city bought the empty, blighted property.

There are a few restaurants in malls that a good enough to lure men in, but that's a rare occasion.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:45 PM   #12
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There is one here that was built in the late 60's that was abandoned at least 25 years ago. Still stands today in a not so good part of town. Our current mall was opened in the early 90's and is still in operation. A few stores have left and replaced by others but the mall as a whole does no where near the business that it did when it opened. It will probably be abandoned too in another 20 years.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:46 PM   #13
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I totally understand the shift from indoor shopping malls to marketplaces. For one, say I do buy something at EVERY SINGLE store I end up with a double armload of bags and have to traipse through an enormous space retracing my way back to my very distant car. With a marketplace or outlet design I can do a couple, and if I have victory easily go back to my car and drop off said victory and have a swig of water. And then decide where next, maybe walk to another or maybe move the car or maybe Im done and can leave. I also encounter fewer people in my way, its not loud in the center with the hoards of children around santa/easter bunny/indoor play area. Also I don't need 17 chain jewelry stores thank you very much. And I see far fewer people which is the goal. I would much rather go to a freestanding department store (HELLO Belk, Im looking at you) and shop one store completely quick in and out. As a kid, my mom didn't do malls and I had no idea that JCPenney was even connected to anything else (it was an anchor store) bc that's where jeans, easter and Christmas dresses came from period the end.
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:50 PM   #14
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Our malls are a mixed bag . My favorite one has now been taken over by restaurants and a movie theater that serves dinner .Our other mall is only a few years old . It is huge and the area around it is surrounded my every store known to man. I go occasionally . I prefer to shop online at my favorite stores if I can get low cost shipping .
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Old 10-30-2018, 02:53 PM   #15
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Our closest mall is also very sad. The anchors were Sears, Macy's and JCPenneys and Macy's and Sears are gone.

The next closest mall is on the other side of town and is still doing very well. I haven't been to either mall in a long time, but I'm not a big shopper.
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:02 PM   #16
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We don’t have a local mall- no malls in our county. The malls at our snowbird place in Scottsdale we’re doing ok the last time I was there.
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:02 PM   #17
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My saddest mall memory was 1988, Tampa,FL. A struggling strip mall with a sad, older looking JC Penney as the main store on one end and a dinner theater at the other end with a production of No, No Nannette starring Nancy Culp. (She had been a "star" 20 years earlier as Miss Hathaway on Beverly Hillbillies)
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:37 PM   #18
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Sounds as if malls are hit and miss. Either booming or bust. They recently tore down a 1,000,000 square foot mall in Huntsville. I saw another large mall in Wheaton, ILL had been torn down.

Sears is now in bankruptcy, and it's doubtful they'll reorganize successfully. And their KMart brand is also gone. J.C. Pennys is next. Bed Bath & Beyond is on their last breath.

Our local mall has a huge Walgreens telephone center in their largest space. Nashville has county offices and health clubs in a very large mall that went under. Another mall sold to Vanderbilt Hospital that put in 600,000 square feet of various clinics.

Target and Walmart remain the big players in sticks and bricks locations, and where they're located is usually successful. High line strip shopping seems to be where the action is with mid line fern bar restaurants on the property.
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:40 PM   #19
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We just got a brand-new shopping mall anchored by a Von Maur department store, apparently very upscale, although I have yet to be inside it. Its satellite stores look like a bunch of boutique/designer venues, along with a number of pubs and restaurants and a high-end grocer. A movie theater is supposed to be on its way.

Along with the retail space, the developer has built a bunch of luxury apartments so that the stores/restaurants have a captive audience. Interesting concept.

It sits at one end of a commercial strip that has another mall at the other end. That mall lost its Sears and is replacing it with a bumper-car arena. It already has attracted a number of restaurants to cement its place as an entertainment destination, such as a Flemings Steakhouse.

Here are a couple of web links that serve up the details:
https://thecornersofbrookfield.com/
https://www.jsonline.com/story/commu...ars/674852002/
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Old 10-30-2018, 03:44 PM   #20
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Here's the one I don't understand:

Around here there's a trend toward outside shopping areas; sort of 'Marketplaces' with clusters of shops and restaurants. Like a mall but all the store are only accessible from the outside. So while the indoor style malls are sagging, the Marketplaces are thriving big-time.

I just can't understand in places like here (New England) where the weather is awful 80% of the time that folks would migrate away from an indoor mall to these new outdoor places where you have to run outside from one shop to another. The whole idea of malls (I thought) was that you could shop in comfort year 'round.
It's funny how things have come full circle. I grew up near you, and in the 60's-70's the South Shore Plaza was the place to shop. All outdoor access, but from an inside court. Actually kind of nice in the winter. You could walk in the snow, and then jump into the next shop.

Then, everything went to inside malls, including the above.

And, now we are at big strip malls. Outside access, and you drive from one end to the other, because you don't want to walk that far. There is one near me that is two miles long.

To the OP's question: malls around here are limping along. One has gone under (literally, as it was bulldozed), others are teetering, and a few are doing OK (I think).

Personally, I only go to a mall if that is the only place that has a store that carries the product I need/want NOW. Less than once per month, some times 3-4 times per year.
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