A lot of large regional shopping malls are dying across the US - Is your mall dying?

Interesting articlehere and I have to say I agree with the premise. It will be a slow death roll but a lot of regional malls across the US will die in the next decade or so or be converted to other uses.

Interesting how things change from town center retail in the early to mid- 1900’s to suburban malls in the 60’s-70’s then to regional mega malls in the 80’s and 90’s and now another re-trenching.

I don’t think our mall is hurting, but I haven’t been inside in about two years. So, maybe it is

Most of the ones from my childhood are long since defunct or are in a sort of undead state.

Town & Country is long gone and is a mixed use development now. Westwood (SW Houston) is now a community college campus, Sharpstown/PlazAmericas (SW Houston- a few miles from Westwood) is pretty much a sort of zombie- it has a Burlington Coat Factory as it’s anchor store, and a metric buttload of low-rent ethnic crap stores

First Colony Mall, West Oaks and Memorial City are still going with real anchor department stores and other stores, but West Oaks is decidedly more low-rent than when I was younger, and First Colony & Memorial City have the decided advantages of being situated in fairly high income areas.

35 years ago, they tore out a huge hunk of downtown and turned it into a mall. It tanked from the get-go. Now that it is empty, they are going to tear it down and try to restore downtown to the way it was.

Most of the malls in the Seattle/Tacoma area are doing well: Southcenter (south of Seattle), Northgate (north Seattle), University Village (same area), Tacoma (no prizes for guessing where that is), and the many malls in the ritzy Eastside suburbs (Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond). The only run that’s really struggling is in the Tacoma suburb of Federal Way and that was always kind of low rent.

The big downtown malls in several cities I have lived in have been torn down or converted – Midtown Plaza in Rochester NY (the first downtown mall in the country) has been razed. Crossroads Plaza and the ZCMI Center in Salt Lake City (two big indoor malls across the street from each other) have both been taken down (Salt Lake now has City Creek Center, an outdoor “Lifestyle Mall”, which makes no sense to me considering Salt Lake winters. Boston had Lafayette Place in the late 80s/early 90s that died a rapid death and is now long gone.

On the other hand, other malls in the same areas seem to be thriving. I mentioned City Creek in Salt Lake, and Trolley Square is still going there. Rochester still has Marketplace Mall south of town (which contributed to Midtown Plaza’s demise, as well as Sibley’s). Boston still has the connected Prudential Mall and Copley Place, not to mention Quincy Market/Faneuil Hall, and the nearby Cambridgeside Galleria.

I agree that the dying of the big anchor stores can cause the problems, but I can’t see them ALL dying – people have to shop somewhere, and they’re not all going to order everything from Amazon. When various department stores kept dying in the Somerville (MA)Plaza, new ones took their places. What had once been a Bradlees has, after several changeovers, become a Target. The nearby Assembly Square indoor mall died, but it has been revitalized, and new malls have moved in not far away in Everett.

Southern edge of Sacramento - the village became incorporated because the county wouldn’t let it be built.
They now have their own city (with attendant expenses) assumed with the belief that tax revenue would soon pay all their bills for them.

Here’s what came of it:
Elk Grove Promenade

Even though I will never, ever go back to Minnesota, I wish to hell they would do the same thing in Minneapolis.

It doesnt really surprise me: things change, you know.

In the 1950’s,society was changing. People began moving to the suburbs, and a new concept was invented: the shopping center, with a big parking lot and stores built around it. It was the perfect match for the new lifestyle. People had money and cars, and wanted to live well.

Then in the 1970’s,society was changing, and a new concept was invented: the mall.
It was the perfect match for the new, more modern lifestyle. People had money and cars, and wanted to live even better. So the businessmen took the old shopping center concept and made it an entertainment center, full of restaurants, kiosks, movies.

By the 1980’s-90’s society changed a bit more.People (especially teens) had even more money, and wanted to live even better. So the businessmen moved all the restaurants to the new “food court”, added yet another major retailer , created mall-wide gift cards, and advertised the mall as a Disneyland of fun , a place to meet friends, etc.

And now…society is changing. People have less money, less job security, etc…but want to live well.
So they use their money at the big-box stores, which are never located in the expensive-to-maintain malls. And they don’t want to be entertained while shopping…there’s enough entertainment now at home.
The times they are a-changin’… .

On the other hand, the “SuperMall of the Great Northwest” in Auburn (which didn’t really have an anchor tenant, and seemed about 1/3 empty the few times I went there) recently changed to an “all-outlet” concept. Can’t imagine that surviving more than a few years.

We’ve been getting more malls down here in S FLA. But they’re all open-air developments. It makes sense. Why should a mall owner pay for AC when he doesn’t have to? Previously, we had one big indoor mall. It still seems to be doing OK, but it is not “The Good Mall” anymore. It benefits from being closer to the middle and lower class residents it serves. The new malls are much closer to the wealthy folks and it shows when you compare the patrons of the old and new malls. The new malls are full of well-off retirees and snowbirds whil the old mall is packed with lower-income and working-class folks.

Clearly it’s time for more Blues Brothers sequels.

In the Twin Cities, it’s hard to say. On the one hand, Southdale (the original indoor mall!) is definitely fading, with something like 30% vacancy. Brookdale Mall actually closed entirely in 2010. That being said, Rosedale is doing just fine. As for the Mall of America, one of it’s anchors (Bloomingdale’s) pulled out two years ago and that spot hasn’t been entirely filled, but at the same time, MoA is starting on a massive expansion that will eventually double the size of the mall. So… kinda.

At least in the Houston area, what seems to have happened is that the malls succumbed to a combination of changing demographics in the areas nearby to the malls, and increased competition from other malls nearby.

For example, Sharpstown mall opened in 1961, in what was at the time, a really tony Houston suburb. However, by the late 1980s, Sharpstown was primarily a Hispanic area of town, and a pretty low income one at that. West of the mall, the area was changing as well, with the Alief area becoming more low income as well. Westwood mall was affected by the same exact issues.

However, most of the middle-income people in the Sharpstown and Alief areas had seemingly moved to a couple areas- out past Highway 6 (Mission Bend), or out into Sugarland. That’s why the West Oaks and First Colony malls still exist. Same thing happened to Greenspoint and Northwest Malls.

In the DFW area, it seems to have been a mix of changing demographics and sheer over-malling that did many of the malls built around 1970 in. Forum 303 and Six Flags in Grand Prairie, Big Town in Mesquite, Valley View in Dallas and Richardson Town Square are all ones where there was some combination of changing demographics (for the poorer) and competition from newer, bigger malls not too far away (Parks, Town East, Galleria, Northpark) and in the case of Richardson Town Square, just terrible placement away from highways and everything else.

Not to mention the migration westward into the Katy area and the success (to date) of Katy Mills Mall.

Westbury Square went through a lot of the same problems as Sharpstown, et al, and it is now being demolished.

In the New Orleans area, the malls that were struggling were finally pushed over the edge by Katrina.

It’s a little known fact that malls are dying out simply because there are no more puns left to use for business names. :slight_smile:
Wok on Water
The Merchant of Tennis
Best Little Hare House
etc etc etc

Lafayette Place died a well-deserved death. It was a disaster from the git-go – the corridors were walled with depressingly dark gray tiles, were narrow enough to feel constricting, and they CURVED! You couldn’t see what – or who – was coming very far ahead; not a comfortable feeling for an urban mall, especially since there were long stretches with no tenants in retail spaces, or just blank walls rather than storefronts. It was more like a dystopian maze than a welcoming mall.

I’m in Ontario, Canada and there are 3 malls in my city. The big one with the high-end brand-name retailers is thriving while the other two low-end malls have both gone straight down the crapper.

One opened around 1986 and was THE place to be for years. I worked there so I got to watch it decline and it was heartbreaking. What happened was Zellers expanded and took over the downstairs level. That’s when the decline started - Zellers sucked. Shitty customer service, crappy quality and selection of goods. Then the small stores started closing and the mall kept turning the little spots into big spots for even shittier, low-end discount stores. Long story short, that mall is currently a ghost town.

The current smallest mall used to be THE place to be before the above-mentioned one opened. It had everything an 80’s mall needed, including an arcade where all us teenagers hung out. Similar thing happened to it - one anchor store expanded (Canadian Tire) and the other anchor store (a grocery store) closed. The smaller stores closed and those spaces were enlarged to accommodate crappy low-end discount stores. It’s currently not as much of a ghost town as the other one but still pretty useless.

The big one, however, became awesome. Cadillac Fairview bought it, expanded it, brought in all the high-end stores that people want and made it THE current place to be. Recently Rio-Can purchased it and it’s still going strong.

The big killer of malls in my one-horse town is definitely the “big box stores.” A couple of Smart Centres popped up and now people are flocking to those big plaza-like places (where every store has it’s own entrance, not all under one roof.)

They go to the big-box stores, play with the toys, then order them on-line, more like.