Thinking outside the box Malls can’t rely on once-stalwart anchor tenants like Sears or JCPenney anymore, but as these and other department stores have shuttered hundreds of locations, some landlords have found creative ways to repurpose the vacant spaces.
In April 2020, Simon Property Group, North America’s largest mall owner, will unveil a “lifestyle center” in a former Sears at the Burlington Mall in Burlington, Mass, part of a $1 billion investment in redeveloping the spaces once occupied by the beleaguered chain.
American Dream is an extreme example, but many malls today are adding entertainment options to cater to evolving consumer tastes.
Making the food court a destination Gone are the days when Panda Express and Subway would satisfy most mall visitors; now, owners are adding craft breweries, oyster bars and artisanal sandwich vendors, and handing the reins of their food halls over to celebrity chefs.
Embracing mixed-use Malls were once considered a stand-in for the town square; in the future, they may be more like towns unto themselves, with residential towers, offices, hotels, and schools built alongside retail spaces.
Even America’s first mall Seattle’s Northgate Mall is being redeveloped into a mixed-use property; 60% of the existing structure will be torn down to make room for 1,200 new housing units, four office towers, a 200-room hotel, an indoor fitness center with rooftop pool and a “Central Park” that would unite the complex around more than 100,000 square feet of green space.
For malls buzzy brands that can’t be found elsewhere are key to bringing in millennial and Gen Z consumers.