Shopping malls: not looking so hot.
As more stores exit malls, regional mall vacancies could rise past 7% by year-end, a level not hit since the first quarter of 2001, according to real estate research firm Reis.
And this bit of tone-deaf sociology from a shopping mall rep:
“One of the biggest consequences [of store and mall closings] is the loss of a sense of community,” Birnbrey said.
(Birnbrey is chairman and co-CEO of Atlanta-based The Shopping Center Group, a retail real estate services firm.)
I for one have never, ever felt a sense of community in a mall. Convenience, perhaps, but you can’t be more psychologically removed from your community while physically present than when you’re in a mall. It’s no secret that malls ushered in a decline in local business – and communities – nationwide. And now the economy and a general cultural shift away from claustrophobic shopping experiences has them worried. How long until they ask for their bailout?
Others aren’t so worried.
“There’s no disgrace in a dead mall,” Norquist said. “In Milwaukee, we had one department store, Boston Store, in the downtown area. When that went away and the rest of retailing went into the suburbs, we focused in developing the empty space into housing and I gave fast permits.”
The rest here.