Dead Mall

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A dead mall or greyfield is a shopping mall with a high vacancy rate or a low consumer traffic level, or that is dated or deteriorating in some manner. Many malls in the United States are considered "dead" when they have no surviving anchor store (often a large department store) or successor that could serve as an entry into or attraction to the mall. Without the access, the small stores inside are difficult to reach; without the pedestrian traffic that a department store generates, sales volumes plummet for the stores, and rental revenues from those stores can no longer sustain the costly maintenance of the malls. Attitudes about malls are also changing. With changing priorities, people have less time to spend driving to and strolling through malls, and in the current economic climate, the specialty stores offer what many shoppers see as useless luxuries they can no longer afford. In this respect, big box stores and conventional strip malls have a time-saving advantage. The rise in big box stores since the 1980s left malls reliant on an older business model that couldn't change with the times. 21st-century retailing trends favor open air lifestyle centers, which resemble elements of power centers, big box stores, and strip malls over indoor malls. The massive change led Newsweek to declare the indoor mall format obsolete in 2008. Dead malls are occasionally redeveloped. Leasing or management companies may change the architecture, layout, decor, or other component of a shopping center to attract more renters and draw more profits. Sometimes redevelopment can involve a switch from retail usage to office or educational use for a building (such as is the case with Park Central Mall in Phoenix, and the Eastmont Town Center in Oakland, California. As a last resort, the structure is demolished and the property redeveloped for other uses, known as building on a greyfield site. In places such as Vermont with a strict permitting process, and in major urban areas where open fields are long gone, this can be much easier and cheaper than building on a greenfield site. One of the most infamous dead malls is the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, Illinois, which was featured in the 1980 movie The Blues Brothers. The car chase scenes were filmed at Dixie Square after the mall had been closed, and filmmakers had to dress the mall to make it appear functional and open for business. Over thirty years later, the crumbling building is still standing in spite of low demand for site redevelopment. [READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE]





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