Fuck strip malls. Straight up the keister.

I’m in the military and have lived in 4 different places in the last 7 years and they all shared one thing in common. Excessive numbers of dilapidated strip malls. These fucking things are EVERYWHERE. They’ve spread like a cancer throughout this country. It’s pretty sick.

The thing that really gets me though is not the “fact of” strip malls, but that the MO seems to be:

  1. Build fancy new strip mall.
  2. Open up dry cleaners, barber, nail salon, smokes shop, chinese buffet, GNC and Dominoes.
  3. Wait 4-8 years for people to stop shopping there, if they ever started in the first place that is.
  4. Let strip mall deteriorate and stop any sort of upkeep.
  5. Then, and this is the big one, move down the road a couple miles and build ALL NEW strip malls WITHOUT tearing down the old empty ones.
  6. 1-6, wash rinse repeat.

I can’t fucking stand the fact that the suburbs are littered with empty strip malls while new ones are being built a few blocks away. I live in Northern VA and it’s terrible here. Why don’t the cities regulate that shit or something? Force developers to tear down a strip mall if its occupancy is beneath 10% or something for a set period of time.

I just don’t get the need to build NEW strip malls every fucking couple years. Has anyone ever actually seen a strip mall torn down?

And also, while I’m here, why did CVS build a brand new store at the same intersection where there was already a Walgreens and Rite-Aid? Seriously. WTF?

I don’t know if unused retail space is that big of a problem in every location. At the corner of Park and Jupiter in Plano, Texas is a strip mall that contains a grocery store, Domino’s Pizza, and a 7-11 that have all been there since 1987 at least. I remember when Mr. Jim’s pizza opened next to the 7-11 in '87 or '88 at it was still there as of a few years ago. Of course there are other times when retail space is abandoned. They built retail space at Avenue K and Parker in Plano, Texas and it took years for anything to even move into the space. Now that I live in Little Rock, Arkansas I can see that most of the strip malls do have businesses in them.

Because of this.


Cities regulate strip malls? Heh. If you follow the money, you’ll often find that the money to build the strip mall came from a big pool of cash (provided by the county or state) called “Community Redevelopment Funds.” If a specific strip mall fails to provide sales tax revenue to the city, the best way for them to get more money is to apply for CRA funding to build another one.

My experience has been that the reason strip malls are shut down is because the entire area is depressed, and rarely are they replaced by another one, unless its a Wal-Mart. I cant tell you how many towns in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are full of closed or nearly closed strip malls, with nothing to replace them nearby.

Just out of curiosity, why did you feel the need to mention you are in the military?

And here I was thinking a ‘strip mall’ was a shopping precinct devoted to erm…strip joints and stuff.

Betcha they wouldn’t be short of custom if they opened those sorts of shops.

It was an explanation of why he has lived in four different places in the last seven years. Why do you think he mentioned it?

I got an earful from a young feminist woman in one of my classes years ago. We were talking about community development and the subject of shopping centers came up and I said something to the effect of “I like strip malls because they have things I want to buy.” She went off on a tear about the evils of exploiting women in places like that. She did have the good grace to mumble an apology and look abashed when I explained to her what a strip mall was.

There is a strip mall in Burnsville MN where my FLGS is located. I think the thing has been more than half empty for more than 20 years. Right now there is the game store and a barber at the one end, and a hispanic store and one other shop at the other end, with a fat lot of nothing in between. I never could understand why, at the height of this last little bubble boom, the thing wasn’t bulldozed and the site given over to apartments or condos.

The problem, like with this mall, is that they are just out of the way and are not quite as convenient as the strip mall just down the road or around the corner. They do not get the traffic or the visibility of the main drag strip mall, and that is what kills them.

Two problems:
(1) cheap land;
(2) automobiles.

Land is cheap in the U.S. That’s especially true in depressed areas where the old strip mall is, but it’s also true on the edge of towns, where it’s cheap to buy a corn field and build a strip mall on it. If land were expensive, it would be worth rebuilding on the old strip mall site.

And location isn’t so important, as long as you are on a main road. If people walked to the mall, they would want it within a few blocks, but they get into their car, and 10 miles doesn’t seem much further than one mile, so they are happy to drive to the new strip mall on the other side of town.

Yeah, we Australians have never used the term “strip mall.” When i lived in Australia, they were just referred to as shopping centers, or sometimes outdoor shopping centers to distinguish them from closed-in shopping centers.

They’re all over the place here in Southern California, but while they’re not exactly beautiful, you get used to them, and some of the best Chinese and Vietnamese and Korean restaurants can be found in strip malls here in San Diego and in Los Angeles.

Well, i’m not disputing your general thesis, but the OP is talking about northern Virginia. Not exactly known these days for its affordable real estate.

If land is so valuable in northern Virginia (and I agree it is, relative to much of the U.S.), then why isn’t the land with the old strip mall redeveloped? A block of urban land with a closed shopping centre would be redeveloped pretty quickly in a place where land is really valuable, like Sydney or Tokyo.

I hate them too.

There is a mall in my area (old interior style mall) that is just sad to visit these days. Back when I was a kid it had a supermarket, a CVS, movie theater, book store, Montgomery Wards, and a whole bunch other stores.

Now it’s about 75% empty, with only strange independent shops left. Even the movie theater is gone (where I saw Empire Strikes Back, E.T., and a bunch other great films).

There is now a strip mall across the street from it, and another not a quarter mile down the road from there, as well as a Lowes/Target a minute up the road. Sad.

Also, when I went to Tampa, FL, it seemed like there were areas that were just vast expanses of strip malls. That seemed really depressing too.

Kinda off topic: are interior type malls falling out of favor these days?

No. Neither are strip malls for that matter. There are several examples of dead malls and there’s even a neat website about them.


Ooh! I forgot about that site. Thanks!

I think they are, somewhat. I don’t see any new enclosed malls going up. At best, they’re refurbishing old ones. But I have seen new strip malls going in, and I’ve seen formerly indoor malls being redone as strip malls.

I haven’t seen the reverse – strip malls being refurbished as enclosed malls – in about twenty years.

Come to Portland; we have an urban growth boundary that keeps the property values high enough that you DO have to knock something down instead of moving across the block.

Once you leave the boundary, however, you get the same kind of shitty blah sprawl.

I hate urban sprawl. It’s so depressing.

Same thing happens here too, and I despise it. In a lot of cases, the shiny new strip mall never even sees much customer traffic, but in any case they die and go to seed within a short time. Shiny new strip mall with the same five or six goddamned stores is erected within shitting distance of the now essentially (or literally) abandoned ugly strip of suburban blight. Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

Someone’s making money off the endeavor, if not the tenants whose businesses go belly-up in a matter of weeks. As long as that’s the case, I don’t foresee it ever changing.