Malls around the country regularly face changing consumer preferences and competition, and must confront the need to remodel and redevelop if they want to compete in the commercial real estate market. Otherwise they will lose shoppers, retail sales, and eventually tenants. Successful malls are being redeveloped as mixed-use complexes with access to transit and the surrounding communities.
Redevelopment of a mall can be challenging and risky if a transit system is not already in place. Communities may reverse course and nix their transit construction decisions, take decades to complete a new transit system or fail to deliver a good product that is convenient for mall shoppers to use. Shoppers are easily frustrated if they have to hike long distances through tunnels or up and down stairs, or walkways exposed to the outdoors.
Redeveloping a mall with new uses that include hotels, office buildings, restaurants, residences or greenspaces can be a challenging undertaking, especially when attempting to link these complexes to the surrounding neighborhoods. There are two malls in the current commercial real estate market, however, which are taking on these challenges to redevelop and reconfigure their complexes to include a mix of uses, with links to transit systems and the surrounding community.
Oakridge Centre Mall Redevelops to Compete in Commercial Real Estate Market
Oakridge Centre Mall in Vancouver is one of the most successful shopping areas in this major city with over 150 stores occupying 575, 500 square feet, and it covers over five city blocks. The complex also includes 119,300 square feet of office and residential space. The mall is close to the subway and ample surface parking lots. The new plans for redevelopment will include a mixed use space with entertainment, grocery, office, residential, restaurant and additional retail space. The redevelopment will include 424,000 square feet of office space as well as low and high rise residential buildings with 2,900 units. The plans include a network of walkways, and sidewalks with street-facing retail, and neighborhood oriented shops to draw in the surrounding communities. The complex will also include 14 acres of green and public space and a nine acre green roof to serve as a public park for those who live, work or shop there. Existing parking structures will be demolished and replaced with underground parking.
The Bloc in Los Angeles Undergoes Redevelopment to Compete in Commercial Real Estate Market
The Bloc, in downtown Los Angeles is undergoing an extensive redevelopment to be fully accessible to multiple modes of transportation: walking, biking, driving, ride-sharing, bus and subway lines. The new complex will have 400,000 square feet of retail space, including a new Macy’s, a 32 story office building, a renovated Sheraton hotel, and new restaurants and entertainment. The one city block site will have a new rooftop with outdoor dining and street-facing retail.
There are many other examples of this trend to transform malls into lifestyle centers, with built-in customers, pedestrian-oriented walkways and spaces, and easy transit connections which are more appealing to today’s shoppers than the traditional enclosed mall.
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Source: Development Magazine, Fall, 2015