Zombie Malls Can Shopping Hubs Come Back to Life? the Recession, Online Shopping and a Lack of Imagination Attacked the Onetime Heart of American Retail. but New Ideas Including Sports, Medicine and Food-Are Helping Revive a Mall near You

By Voight, Joan | ADWEEK, May 6, 2013 | Go to article overview

Zombie Malls Can Shopping Hubs Come Back to Life? the Recession, Online Shopping and a Lack of Imagination Attacked the Onetime Heart of American Retail. but New Ideas Including Sports, Medicine and Food-Are Helping Revive a Mall near You


Voight, Joan, ADWEEK


Here's how to have a good time at the local shopping mall," a reviewer called Bunny E. posted on Yelp this past February. "Load the 'Dawn of the Dead' soundtrack on your MP3 player and go to the mall between 7-8 a.m. (before they even turn on all the lights). Hit play and immerse yourself in a post-apocalyptic nightmare world. And get some great exercise to boot!"

The shopping center Bunny E. reviewed is the massive, 1.5 million-square-foot, nearly empty Cincinnati Mall, in the northern suburbs of Ohio's third largest city. It is one of hundreds of dead or dying indoor malls that dot the American landscape. Morns and dads who fondly remember teen years spent flirting at the mall now bring their kids to watch bulldozers flatten the dated buildings. Ironically, some of these zombie shopping malls have more nostalgic followers on Facebook and blogs like Deadmalls.com than they have actual shoppers.

Blame the recession, Amazon and unimaginative retailers. Offiine stores are scrambling for "progressively smaller pieces of the retail pie as e-commerce relentlessly gains share in many categories," says Jeff Jordan, general partner at venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. Circuit City, Borders, CompUSA, Tower Records and Blockbuster all folded their tents, and many others are showing signs of serious economic distress, he points out. "The mall and shopping center stalwarts are closing stores by the thousands, and there are few large physical chains opening stores to take their place."

Some malls, however, are fighting back, using social media and inventive combinations of retail and community outlets. Doctors' offices, clinics, churches, indoor sports fields, grassy parks and even schools are filling up big chunks of retail space and attracting potential shoppers. What's more, just when you thought it was a goner, the traditional shopping mall format is surfacing in some unexpected places (think airport security). The trend reflects consumers' growing interest in blending recreation, education and other activities with the brick-and-mortar shopping experience, say experts.

Shoppers clearly still care about the fate of these spaces. When the 45-year-old, 32-acre Miracle City Mall in Titusville, Fla., closed in February, a local organization with deep Facebook connections wooed developers with a rally in its sprawling parking lot. The Greater Titusville Renaissance committee was hoping for several hundred supporters-cum-shoppers-about 3,000 showed up, along with high school marching bands and food trucks. Some supporters carried signs that read, "If you come, we will shop." Tentative plans for a new Miracle City Towne Center include five large stores (the old mall had two anchor stores), smaller shops and offices facing a small park and a tiled outdoor walkway. The new mall might also include doctors' offices, an urgent-care clinic and restaurants, says Robin Fisher, Brevard County commissioner and point person on the redevelopment.

Social media has been crucial in driving the project forward. "Looking at our demographics doesn't tell the whole story. We needed the developer to understand the community's [hunger] for a nearby place to shop," explains Fisher, adding that Facebook helped get residents connected to the developers. By April, a development partnership based in Columbus, Ohio, was attempting to buy the old mall and line up tenants for the new open-air center. Demolition has been set to begin by the end of this year.

In the past, shopping malls were always set up more for developers than retailers, says David Ginsburg, CEO of Downtown Cincinnati Inc., a business development nonprofit. His organization is helping push redevelopment plans for another dead Cincinnati mall, Tower Place, which shuttered in February. The city bought the property in foreclosure and is negotiating with a developer to turn it into a parking structure with stores at the street level. The old mall parking garage would be replaced with a 30-story residential tower, more parking and a supermarket, says Jeff McElravy, senior development officer at City of Cincinnati. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Zombie Malls Can Shopping Hubs Come Back to Life? the Recession, Online Shopping and a Lack of Imagination Attacked the Onetime Heart of American Retail. but New Ideas Including Sports, Medicine and Food-Are Helping Revive a Mall near You
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.