The New York Times ran an article today about the death of mall retail establishments, and what it means in terms of economic shifts in the the way we purchase our goods.
It’s a fantastic read, and I encourage you to check it out, as well as one of my favorite websites, Deadmalls.com.
Both publications help bring to light the serious downturn and blight that sits in the hollow shells of what once was the most thriving retail system in America.
One thing the article doesn’t touch on that often is a criticism on dead malls as well as with the fine folks at the Affordable Housing Institute is what we do with real estate that is no longer serving its intended purpose and how to we repurpose literally acres of concrete once these malls are dead? It’s really a tough question to answer.
When you look at aerial views of dead malls, you can see where the gargantuan concrete structures usually buttress a former forest or nature area. Sometimes, historic housing districts or monuments sit in the shadows of these vacant parking lots. What good is it to have property that isn’t being used sit in the place of a once magnificent natural resource, simply because we paved paradise and put up a parking lot?
Some communities get innovative. Warner Robins, for example, now houses the majority of its local government offices in the desolate Houston Mall.What once was a Sears, is now the Warner Robins Municipal Court.
The Macon Mall’s answer to the problems its blight has created in Macon was to revamp the entire neighborhood, through more ad volorem taxes and through more tax breaks to the owners, Hull, Storey and Gibson.
The problem is that these structures cost millions of dollars to build, even more to tear down, and the scars they leave in our community are all of the wasted public spaces that will take hundreds of years to repair.
More on this on the Dorer Daily, Tweet me at @DavidTDorer, listen to the David Dorer Show live every Friday, and download it on iTunes and on Stitcher.