It used to be, back in the 1980’s..your car just auto-drove itself to the mall. It was the place to be, to buy clothing, accessories, to meet your friends, to hang out and socialize, and maybe catch a movie, too.
We drove to our local malls in droves, like lemmings to the sea. At the holidays? FogettaboutIt! There were no parking spaces to be found, and some malls resorted to shuttling people in by busses from other locations.
Now? Of the 1500 malls in this country in the mid 1990’s, there are about 1,000 left.
On-line shopping has literally changed the landscape. With small retailers going under, and larger anchor stores like Macy’s, Sears, Kohl’s and yes, even Walmart shuttering stores that are deemed ‘unprofitable,’ malls are closing up, and becoming eyesores on the retail landscape.
We’ve seen that happen right here in Charlotte, with the long road of closing and decay, and eventual demolition at the sight that once was the east side’s jewel – Eastland Mall.
But what to do with these monoliths?
AOL.com suggests that they’re becoming “…other businesses that can benefit from the large square-footage, like fitness centers, churches, offices, public libraries, and even medical clinics…” Others are becoming daycare centers, condos, art galleries, gathering places, even indoor farms!
Some are”are redeveloping into clusters of high-priced restaurants right now, like the one at Miami’s Aventura Mall, ”
Then, “the atrium at Penn-Can Mall in Syracuse, New York turned into a car dealership, called Driver’s Village.”
It’s a form of recycling and repurposing these 30-40 year old building, and if the structures are sound, giving them a rebirth.
Here’s to that!