I got wrapped up in a story about dead malls via LinkedIn.com. Why are Malls Getting Mauled? saysÂ mega-shopping centers are endangered.
My city of Scottsdale, Ariz., is a shopping destination for travelers, especially for snowbirds. Within its borders are the remains of dead shopping malls like the Scottsdale Galleria Â (which is now full of tech businesses). There was also a years-long tussle about how to deal with the Los Arcos Mall; investors bought it in hopes of bulldozing it and building a hockey arena for the Phoenix Coyotes. And now, it's Sky Song, a mix of cool and stodgy owned by Arizona State University.
So Many Dead Malls
The LinkedIn.com article pins it all on online shopping â€¦ with no mention of the growing â€œbuy localâ€ movements nationwide. Maybe even worldwide. I don't have stats or even evidence beyond my own observations, so let's leave that alone for now.
Here's the fun question: Let's say malls in your community start dying off. Now, what would you want to do with them?
People in the comments section mention indoor flea markets and indoor â€œgreen spaces.â€
And that’s not particularly imaginative or fun. Somewhat practical.
My answer? Mix it up, and turn them into some recreational spaces. Dead malls are perfect places for events – music venues, for example. And many would make mind-blowing venues for paintball, Airsoft, even some sort of laser tag-style stuff. Oh, and gyms! I'm not talking about big-box gyms like LA Fitness, but rather yoga, CrossFit or spinning-specific studios. Maybe some real rock-climbing walls. And I could see it being a perfect place for microbreweries to set up.
Reasonable Rent Needed
The key here is reasonable rent. Consider the older malls: The core of Paradise Valley Mall in Arizona dates back to the late 1970s. This building has paid for itself. That means, should retailers start dribbling out, it's a safe bet for reasonable rents and some left-of-center uses. I realize PV Mall isn't dying, but I needed a â€œfor exampleâ€ case.
We could probably apply this â€œwhat to do with it?â€ question to vacant auto dealerships, too. Scottsdale alone has enough of them to house just about every budding entrepreneur around.
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