Reviving Dead Malls: Not as Easy as it Seems

By Ben Conwell

As you drive past an empty lot, you may come across the sign “Mall Closing.”  Undeniably over the last several years, there has been a dramatic shift in the U.S. retail industry, and it’s due in some degree to the growth of eCommerce.

In 2006, there were 1,350 malls in the United States; by the end of 2016, that number was estimated to be 1,150. Predictions indicate that malls in the U.S. will continue to close by the hundreds in coming years, and the question is, what will these dead malls turn into?

While many think distribution centers are an obvious solution for these dead mall sites, which can be up to 120 acres in size, I disagree. Instead, I predict that about three-quarters of the malls that close in the next decade will re-emerge as some sort of lifestyle center that offers a combination of live-work-play to millennials and baby-boomers alike.

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