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February 08, 2012

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Yeah, it was in my hometown: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mall_at_Turtle_Creek

It's not amazing at all to me. It's a triple punch: the recession (driven by a real-estate bust), before that Internet shopping, and, even before that, the rise of the big-box stores. Even when people want to shop bricks-and-mortar out in the suburbs, they're more likely to go to a strip mall dominated by the likes of Target and Best Buy rather than to an enclosed mall.

What does amaze me is that Simon seems to have the means to make all these capital improvements.

There's also been the trend toward more "mixed use," walkable neighborhood type developments that serve folks in the nearby condos, as well as those who travel in for shopping and dining.

In fact, up in Pasadena, CA, they tore the roof off an indoor mall they built in the 1970s and turned into more of a plaza-type deal.

And way up in my hometown of Redding, CA, they first ENCLOSED the old downtown core and made it into an indoor mall ("The Downtowon Redding Mall", back in the day).

Several years ago they un-enclosed it again.

The "enclosed mall" has given way to the "lifestyle center"; some (particularly in warmer climes) are basically traditional malls without roofs, while others are more like the traditional strip mall, but either way they're usually built in places that would were zoned for enclosed malls before.

Is this some restricted definition of enclosed mall, or should I really start speaking Chinese with my daughters?

More the former than the latter, I'd say. At least here in Texas, plenty of new shopping is coming on line, but not in the 'enclosed mall' form. Maybe its our weather, but the trend is toward restaurants with outside dining, so malls (in the suburbs) are now rows of stores with exterior sidewalks and elevated, out of sight parking garages.

In town, the trend is New Yorkish, with stores on the street level and apts or condo's built as mid-rise's above.

Open malls have been the vogue of late, I think. I was just at a pretty nice one recently; The Greene Town Center near Dayton. There have been a couple of closed malls redone as open malls here in Orlando in the past 15 years or so, as well.

In fact, up in Pasadena, CA, they tore the roof off an indoor mall they built in the 1970s and turned into more of a plaza-type deal.

They didn't really tear the roof off. You might think that was all they did if you weren't familiar with the process, but it was much more thorough. They knocked down the whole structure except the two anchor stores at the ends- which AFAIK had originally been separate buildings- and rebuilt the rest from the ground up.

The replacement of Plaza Pasadena was a response to the very successful renovation of the old downtown area a few blocks away. When I first moved to Pasadena in 1990, the old downtown was very run down, with the most successful businesses being a pawn shop, a sex toy store, and a couple of dive bars. Within a few years, it had turned into the happening destination for an evening out. The mall, which had been built to provide a place for people who wanted to avoid the sleazy downtown, couldn't compete with the newly fixed up version, especially given Pasadena's outdoors friendly weather.

Roger's right. They also added condos and so on.

The redevelopment of Old Pasadena was a remarkable success (if one can overlook the influx of chain retailers and eateries), somehow managing to satisfy (mostly) BOTH the preservationists and the landlords. Lots of other "Old Towns" in SoCal have tried to follow the model, with various degrees of success.

When I first moved to Pasadena, Roger, in 1988, I landed a job at the old Espresso Bar, which was tucked into an alley off Raymond (between Colorado and Green). Remember it? Redevelopment finally caught up to that corner of the neighborhood in 1993 or 1994, and the Bar shutdown and move east along Green beyond Lake, where it struggled along for a few more years.

You can get a sense of the what the Bar was like -- as well as the old neighborhood before redevelpment -- at theespressobar.org (Use your mouse-pointer to find your way there...).

(Regarding that ebar site -- you don't have to join -- just click "Login" when you get there.)

In town, the trend is New Yorkish, with stores on the street level and apts or condo's built as mid-rise's above.

This is a recent trend in Southern California, too, and I think it's more widespread than that. That style used to be popular in many places, especially before cars became common enough that most people and businesses needed parking. I'm not sure how well it works in areas without well developed public transportation. I imagine it would work OK with underground parking, especially if many of the businesses keep traditional hours so they can share the available parking with residents who will be driving to work at the same time the businesses need the parking.

Dead Malls

How bizarre. A whole website devoted to dead malls!

Wal Mart expansion coupled with the financial crisis is partly responsible for malls and other retail properties sitting unfinished. Housing starts in some areas are also derelict.
2006 is the year the bubble burst in the building trades.

I've read (source forgotten) that enclosed malls are only viable at crossroads of a certain size because of the volume of traffic they need. I'd also heard that all of the suitable sites in the continental US were already taken.

Down here in Pensacola, FL we had a mall (University Mall) where the tenants left, one by one, over a few years. I think a couple of anchor stores are left, but I've heard the main structure got demolished. I walked through it once when only three stores were left. It was pretty depressing.

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