What Is Happening To Dead Malls?

Ephraim Vashovsky
Jun 17 · 2 min read

In the age of online shopping, malls aren’t what they used to be. There are hundreds of them across the United States that have suffered a lack of business, and some have even been abandoned.

However, major cities like Seattle aren’t letting that space go to waste. It is not unusual for them to be converted into a medical center, apartments for residents, senior citizen housing, and even a light rail station.

This is the general trend and the direction that malls are now headed in for the future. Tomorrow’s malls won’t look much like the malls of the past. They will include services never before offered in a mall. Fitness and data centers are just two of the businesses that would be available to shoppers. Another example is that many malls could now feature a large library free to the public.

Walk-in clinics are a prime example of a service that is already starting to become available in malls. In the five year period between 2011 and 2016, 15% of all walk-in clinics were located in one.

Another service already becoming available is 24-hour gyms. They are starting to take the place of department stores acting as mall anchors. The vacated space is large enough for a gym, and because anchor stores generally have their own entrance/exit, the public can come and go at any time.

Aside from abandoned department stores, many malls are now re-purposing their food courts. Fast food court chains are not doing as well financially as they have been in the past. That means that some malls are scrapping their food court in favor of more expensive restaurants. Other malls choose to use that space to hold community events and even house daycare centers.

Malls are generally made up of stores, a food court, and the atrium. As malls are quickly emptying out, this space is instead being used to serve as additional event space for gatherings such as car shows.

With all these changes in place, malls are gradually undergoing a major transformation. They are finding new ways to attract local residents and possibly even those just passing by for a visit. The malls of the future are set to look drastically different.

Ephraim Vashovsky

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Ephraim Vashovsky is President of Vasco Ventures, one of New York City's leading real estate investment firms | http://www.EphraimVashovsky.org