Oops, Maybe We Jumped the Gun When We Tore the Roof Off the Place…

lifestyle center fail

I was reading through the latest issue of Retail Traffic yesterday and spotted an interesting article about site selection strategies, and how many of the most successful chains are opening fewer locations and accepting slower but more stable growth patterns. What really leapt out at me, however, was this nugget:

“…Alternately, [Eileen F.] Mitchell (Executive Vice President of RCS Real Estate Advisors, a real estate consulting firm) says Chico’s FAS, Inc. and Coldwater Creek, two apparel chains that serve middle-age women, have been suffering lately because both built their expansion models on locating in lifestyle centers, which don’t get the same level of foot traffic as do regional malls or street locations, especially in a down economy.”

Now, we don’t cheerlead failure around here, but this validates something we’ve said for some time. Many of these inexpensively-produced, rapidly rolled-out lifestyle centers were little more than strip malls with a few gazebos and more pretentious names. They’re not working as replacements for classic indoor shopping malls OR the downtowns they emulate, and part of the reason why is because they generate less foot traffic. Why is this? Because the developers of most–not all, mind you–of these centers stopped paying attention to developing a true sense of place and a destinational feel for these centers, focusing too heavily on convenient parking and lower operating costs. It ignores the commercial value of a streetscape (even an indoor “streetscape” at a mall) and how much consumers regard shopping as a social experience. Victor Gruen, who always fancied himself an urban planner above merely a mall architect, would feel vindicated.

41 Responses to “Oops, Maybe We Jumped the Gun When We Tore the Roof Off the Place…”

  1. but most most of those damned so called (rolling fingers in the air) lifestyle centers are just two big, here i’ll give you two examples broadway at the beach myrtle beach SC sure it’s a great place to go but not when it’s 100% degrees, & two count ‘em two of these damned places in a small-assed town in virginia which is of-course richmond the FAIL capitol of the world right now god’s where do i even start ok azela mall dead walnut mall dead cloverleif mall dead & destroyed chesterfield about to die, six streat marketplace up one minute dead the next main street station (ok i’ll say it so you won’t have LOL what) & of course the bigest pile of FAIL ever short pump mall (but it’s not a mall) & stony point (i mean stony point is SOOOO going to go under) i give them a year at the most.

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  2. Correct me if I am wrong but back when Richmond’s Stony Point & Short Pump were in the planning stages..wasn’t there some poll that suggested more people in the region did NOT want those malls/high end stores like Saks & Nordstrom than those who did want them? A good friend of mine lives near Stony Point and I remember him telling me a few years back that many people in Richmond were actually sad to see Nordstrom come to that city since they felt such chains should be reserved for Northern Virginia. Guess they enjoy that drive north on I-95.

    Similar thing with Norfolk and their MacArthur Center downtown mall. hen Nordstrom announced plans to open up there ( likewise with Lord & Taylor in Virginia Beach ), I still remember all those nay-sayers in the Virginian-Pilot newspaper saying “…please don’t come here….we dont want you”. Stay in Northern Virginia or build in North Carolina. I never quite understood that logic.

    Then again, Virginia is still quite conservative despite the “changes” over the years. Over the years I believe a few airlines wanted to turn Norfolk and/or Richmond’s airport into a hub but neither wanted any part of that so instead it was “hello…Raleigh ( or Charlotte ) “.

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  3. I have no problem with Lifestyle center when the’re done right, but putting a Starbucks, some open green space, and brick sidewalks hardly constitutes a lifestyle center.

    Personally I feel that the best lifestyle centers would be built around existing indoor malls and include a movie theater as an anchor along with the obvious 4-6 restaurants and Crate and Barrel/Container Store. Entertainment options are essential to any mall, but to a lifestyle center even more.

    People don’t just go to main streets or downtown to shop, they also do it to have fun! This is what so many malls and lifestyle centers are lacking.

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  4. We have one of the new centers in Huntsville, AL called “Bridge Street”. It’s nicer than others I’ve seen because cars cannot drive through it. It’s literally like a mall without a roof. When the weather is nice, it’s great, but when it rains or it’s too cold or too hot, it’s useless.

    The picture in this post shows a place that looks a lot like our “Bridge Street”, but the fatal flaw with it is that cars can drive through it. Who wants to walk and shop with cars driving right next to you and having to dodge them while crossing from one side to the other? “The Avenue” in Murfreesboro, TN was built with the two “strips” farther apart with parking lots all between them, which, in my opinion, destroyed the atmosphere of the place. Providence at Mount Juliet, TN is just a collection of strip malls with parking lots and busy traffic thoroughfares carrying cars between them, making it very pedestrian unfriendly.

    I have always loved enclosed malls and hate that they’re on the decline. No matter what the weather, once you enter one from any entrance, you’re shielded from the weather and can access any place inside. A whole social community developed inside malls since frequent mall visitors would get to know people who worked at various stores, and they’d get to know each other as well. I once knew roughly 30 different people at Madison Square Mall in Huntsville a few years ago before it started declining.

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  5. Lifestyle center were initially supposed to be convenient shopping/dining/entertainment/office areas designed to be reminiscent of downtown areas. The perfect example of this is Mashpee Commons in Mashpee, MA on Cape Cod. It was one of the first lifestyle centers in the country, with a collection of local shops, national retailers, dining options, movie theaters, two grocery stores, offices and now a residential component. It is a very welcoming and inviting design, with sections that are pedestrian traffic only and other areas that are a more traditional downtown streetscape. Now “lifestyle centers” are simply glorified strip malls that are not very pedestrian-friendly. Southern New England has tons of these “lifestyle centers” built by WS Development, such as Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham, MA, Wareham Crossing in Wareham, MA, Mansfield Crossing in Mansfield, MA and The Shoppes at Blackstone Valley, in Millbury, MA. There aare even more on the way. What is unfortunate is that both Mansfield Crossing and Wareham Crossing fairly new and both centers have a Linens ‘N Things location, which undoubtedly will remain vacant for a while considering the current economic climate. What I find the funniest is that nearly every lifestyle center I have been to has invariably had a Chico’s, J. Jill, Coldwater Creek, Talbots location. Now these chains because of their overexpansion.

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  6. I think it varies region to region what works. I thought they were crazy when i lived in Minnesota that they built the lifestyle center outside of minneapolis called Arbor Lakes. Seriously who walks outside in -20 weather or 16″ of snow? Its partially why the city downtown has little streetlife because all the retail there is inside on the second floor with all of the skyways. The first fully conditioned indoor mall (by Victor Gruen no less) was there too for many of the same reasons. That center seems to be okay last I was up there since its still so new, but here in Atlanta, where strip center / lifestyle shopping is the norm it works quite well actually, even when it is 100 degrees out.

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  7. I visited Town Square a lifestyle center in Las Vegas back in october. A few thaughts came to mind, first it was nice being able to walk outside in good weather. Yes I realize you cant really walk around there in the middle of august when it’s 115 in the shade. Also being visually challenged, having cars driving through the heart of the complex wasn’t a big deal for me, just check each corner before crossing & you will not have a problem. The internal streets were narrowed so as to slow you down while driving through.

    One of the things I liked about Town Square was the different building types & styles with real upper levels for office uses instead of the tipical fow frontages found at most of these developments.

    Ternberry Associates the owner must have taken a few pages from Easton Town Center’s playbook, down to the on street parking meeters, numerous restaurants & megaplex movie theatre. The only issue was the walk to Fry’s electronics. The only store that would be classifide as an out parcel has no real means of access other than driving, although I did walk it.

    The last thing was how many lifestyle centers do you know that have an enormous Hole foods as soon as you come in?

    VERY COOL!

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  8. I fit within the demographics of the targeted customer of Coldwater Creek and Chico’s and shop at both. I have access to both in either a lifestyle center or an enclosed mall. IF it’s a nice day, I’ll shop the lifestyle center. But c’mon, I’m in Michigan! It can be hotter than heck and humid in the summer, and snowy and double-digits below zero in the winter. Where would you shop?

    On another note, let’s consider co-tenants and foot traffic. In the open air center, I park near the store I intend to shop, make my purchase and leave. I have no particular incentive to leave the store, and then walk the equivalent of five or six city blocks to browse the others unless I’m making a day of it. And only during nice weather, remember. In a mall, I generally enter through an anchor, browse the anchor and then walk past many other stores en route to my intended destination. That gives the other stores a chance to catch my eye and my business.

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  9. I’ve seen lifestyle centers done right- “Newport on the Levee” in Kentucky is a shining example (it’s also a nice blend of indoor/outdoor retail AND it does a good job feeling urban… because it is) .

    Done wrong- my favorite is “Anderson Towne Center.” The number of stores with the new lifestyle center is LOWER than the final days of the enclosed (Beechmont Mall.) -including the time period the owner ‘starved’ the property. Several of its initial tenants got evicted within 2 months of the opening of the property.

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  10. Newport on The Levee, looks great on the outside, as you drive by.. until you get ready to park in the garage and it is 5 dollars, then you get into the inside mall area and it is 50% empty… Easton Town Center, I thought I heard was one of the starters of the whole lifestyle center movement, they sure got it right, it is beautiful year round, and keeps expanding, I drive from Cincinnati to go there and enjoy the experience.. Although in Dayton Ohio is a neat center, called The Greene, popping up in the past few years, very much like Easton, new and still growing too…I think it really matters if the developer puts thought into it, and not just wanting to build and rent asap! Love the site by the way!

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  11. I agree with Nick B’s comments. I live near The Shoppes at Blackstone Valley in Millbury MA and it is really a mix of layouts on the parcel. One group of buildings is Target. Kohls, Babys R Us, Circuit City and IParty laid out as a typical shopping plaza. Another group of bldgs housing Dicks. LNT, Pier One and Michaels. One more group of bldgs with Marshalls and various smaller stores. Across two huge parking lots is the “lifestyle” component of the complex with a Cinema Deluxes, stores and restaurants. So if you want to shop at Target and then to the other side, you need to move your vehicle. Sort of defeats the purpose. The plaza itself an an engineering genius as it built on a leveled hill and has a multiple huge retaining walls that have been covered with boulders. We call it the Mountain. I think the plaza is now it it’s 3rd year and the vacancies are starting. 3 or 4 spaces were not even filled. We have lost Bombay Company and Total Fitness. LNT will be gone soon. Circuit City wasnt on the close list the first time around, but who knows now. And the ever on death watch Pier One. Some big stores that are going to have to be filled.

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  12. I’d love to see what power and lifestyle centers do to redevelop the vaccant spots of Linens & Things and Circuit City.

    Here’s an idea! Squish multiple stores in them, it’ll almost be like an old-school mall! Hey wait, it is!

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  13. Nick B:
    It’s weird…WS Development seems to have good and bad in terms of their lifestyle concepts. I work in Millbury and can definitely say that the entire center is pedestrian-unfriendly and far too spread out to facilitate not driving to each store. But if you take a look at the layout of the Shoppes at Farmington Valley in Canton, CT, they seemed to fairly successfully duplicate the “main street” feel that the things were designed for within the complex, while still providing pop-in access and parking behind the complex.

    Craig:
    Shoppes @ BV is an engineering marvel, but a poorly-done one. The entire center was built on landfill, and runoff from construction polluted Millbury’s water supply and still does. Official grand opening was in October of ’04, and the first store to leave was Nextel. I’ll be interested to see what happens when L’N’T is gone, but I’d put money on Circuit City being gone sometime within the first half of next year, too. It’s got a good chance to go ghost-town pretty quick on that half of the strip. I’d love to see, say, a Whole Foods Market move in, but I don’t think the space is big enough for them. I can’t think of any other tenants that would utilize that sort of space. The side with B&N appears to be staying well-occupied, apart from the Total Fitness/Bombay space which remains empty after at least a few months.

    Of course, in this area (central MA), all the indoor malls are dying if not already dead. Greendale is a ghost town since way before Marshall’s closed, and Auburn is a dinosaur at best.

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  14. In Edgewater NJ there’s a lifestyle center called The Promanade. Built just off River Road. The complex contains many of the stores you would find in most upscale malls. In adition expensive condos top the retail stores & eateries. The parking can be found at street level or below the two rows of buildings.

    The project runs down to the Hudson River & is boxed in by several condo complexes located on piers projecting well in to the Hudson, a 16-screen theatre & a very large asissted living center.

    It was fun to walk around the property with the Manhattan skyline always in view, but the day I went there it started to rain, & most of the storefronts had no aunings to protect you from the weather. I wonder how many shoppers will go there in the middle of January when it is below freezing instead of Garden state plaza or Paramus Park? It is one thing if you live in Fort Lee wich is just down the hill from Edgewater vs Glen Rock wich is near Hackensack & Paramus.

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  15. I’m still waiting for the day when an open-air mall encloses. But really? Open-air malls are failing. Enclosed malls are failing. Downtown malls are failing. What’s left? Internet sales?

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  16. I also totally agree with all when the weather is bad. I always thought The Shops at La Cantera sucked. The corridors provide little ventilation and its really hot. Where’s commenter “Aaron” when you need him?

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  17. Eric S;

    Nice to have someone local who can appreciate the Central Mass shopping experience or the lack of it. I honestly would not be surprised if Christmas Tree Shop tries to get into Shoppes at BV as there had been rumors that they were going to take the old Marshall spot at Greendale but those plans apparently fell thru. It would be a good fit for the LNT site. I am surprised that with the Shoppes, that either Victoria Secrets or Bath & Body Works didn’t move in to one of the empty spaces as that seems to be a trend with them lately. Take Patriot Place for example that has both.

    Speaking of Patriot Place in Foxboro. Another new lifestyle center that will do well on football and soccer game days but I cant imagine much traffic during the early part of the week, let alone at night in the middle of February. The streetscape was done well, almost looks like a downtown of the 50’s. Do a google search and you can get an idea of the design.

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  18. It’s actually the mall that’s dying, at least according to Newsweek (and of course, the postings here and at DeadMalls.com.)
    http://www.newsweek.com/id/168753

    “Developers, too, are adjusting to the times. They’re trying to win back reluctant shoppers with “life-style centers,” retail hubs that boast residential apartments, parks and promenades—the better to blend shopping seamlessly into everyday living. Such structures are going up faster than ever, with 37 new lifestyle centers—almost 40 percent of the form’s total square footage built in the last decade—going up last year,according to Portfolio and Property Research, a Boston-based retail consultancy.”

    This article doesn’t exactly tell the truth of the poorly designed “Lifestyle Center,” and really focuses on the “Mixed-Use Lifestyle Center.” Having said that, when orif these lifestyle centers become as vacant as the malls they are replacing, at the very least, the fabric to rebuild will be there (see: thriving downtowns as Americans discover what Europe has known all along: ‘shopping’ and ‘living’ don’t have to be ‘separate.’) A dead mall is so huge, and so inwardly focused, it’s hard to imagine what they can become…

    …but I have an imagination! It would be kind of interesting if somebody created loft-styled living spaces out of a failed mall. You’d have to add windows, of course.

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  19. Speaking of bad weather, I think that Easton Town Center in Columbus, has in the entances of most of its major stores, umbrella holders with umbrellas that you can use as you walk outside to other stores, plus plenty of awnings..

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  20. @Aaron:

    I should add that I’m not totally against mixed-use centers; in fact I think they can be pretty great developments. I’m actually all for any development that tries to incorporate multiple uses (offices, residential, retail, restaurants, entertainment) into a single entity in a way that makes sense and is useful, and I’m in favor of any retail development that enmeshes overall with city planning–i.e., does it create a sense of place? is public transit available? etc.

    What I *don’t* like is the way that many very half-assed centers added a small amount of decoration and slightly wider sidewalks and tried to masquerade as more than a strip mall. Those things aren’t replacements for malls or downtowns. There’s zero sense of place.

    Frankly, I would rather see a new era where the malls that America keeps/saves are more integrated with their community and turning their back on the streetscape much less. Although I have a personal appreciation for some of the old brutalist architecture, it’s obviously outlived its usefulness. But many of our suburban areas were built without “hub” areas and Gruen’s original vision was for malls to be a huge part of suburban hubs, it was just that developers only took the first part of his idea and left the rest. I think people are finally coming around to what he was telling us half a century ago and if we’re able to execute on that vision without creating spaces that are too bland and whitewashed (ie., upscale chain dining and restaurants, plus expensive apartments above) then we’ll be headed in the right direction.

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  21. Hm, Sean, City Place/Promenade? That place seemed pretty busy when I was there a year or two ago. They’ve seemingly got all the elements of a lifestyle center, but it’s just not in the right location, though it’s got a great view of Manhattan.

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  22. AceJay,

    I have no issues with City Place, it was just the weather factor on that particular day. That was why I posed that question.

    There are several other co-up & condo complexes along River Road & Boulevard East like Galaxy Towers where the residents would have no trouble getting there. I just found it amazing just how many people live within 3 miles of this lifestyle center. Also there’s a Target, Barns & Noble, Trader Joes, Pathmark & so much more that it will make your head spin.

    Another great thing about this area was the ease of getting there without a car. NJ Transit’s 158 Fort Lee New York line zips along & you can get there in about 35 minutes. The bus also stops near the Port Imperial ferry terminal & HBLR station.

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  23. Caldor: entirely agreed. The failing “lifestyle centers” are a result of the “lipstick on a pig” mentality among developers. (Despite my voting for Obama, totally in love with La Palin. Get her a VH1 show, stat!) They are trying to make money quick, not build something lasting or interesting.

    And I too am a mall lover. Some malls are positively beautiful, and should be preserved as architecture (See my loft theory.) I also like the Brutalist malls, and I’m especially fond of multi-story atrium malls (like the one at Pentagon City, for example, or the near-dead Fashion Mall at Plantation, FL.) Heck, I was basically RAISED in Dadeland Mall, where they knew my mother by name at Burdines.

    But, just like the lifestyle center, enclosed malls come in good and bad flavors, no? Up here, Prince George’s Plaza may be the ugliest, most dull and sad mall I’ve ever seen. And we clearly overbuilt the malls. There are just too damned many of them!

    So while I think the death knell is premature regarding the mall, I do think quite a few of them need to close down so that those that remain can reach critical mass. I say this as a former South Floridian and Atlantan: where nearly every municipality has their own mall!

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  24. @Aaron: That article is just like the rest of them, all featuring lifestyle centers. Back in the 1970s, there were plenty of in-line specialty stores and an abundance of anchors. What happens when a lifestyle center fails? They’d be difficult to refurbish (like malls). How can you say we’ve overbuilt malls when lifestyle centers are sprouting up when retail is dropping and the economy is shrinking?

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  25. I also disagree on the lowering operating costs…The Shops at La Cantera is open-air, but all the storefronts have wide-open entrances (like at a real mall) causing horrible heat loss. Give the lifestyle centers a few more years.

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  26. The lifestyle centers like Easton Town Center will do much better longterm because the risk is spread between residential, office uses & retail/ entertainment. If one sector runs into trouble the others will pick up the slack most of the time. This should stableize a projects cash flow, however right now that consept is being tested in ways nobody could expect.

    Now if you have a lifestyle center that is nothing more than a glorifide strip mall wich is the case most of the time, these centers will have a extremely short lifespan because there a fad like the i-phone. There the in spot this year, then next year?…

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  27. damned if i know the only thing i can really remember when those two centre’s were opened was a week after short pump opened up that we had a really bad huricane that hit us, & that we lost power for a week.

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  28. Even though a lifestyle center can operate on a regional level, it should have an aesthetic quality higher than that of a conventional regional mall. For instance, the lifestyle center’s parking lot should not be festooned with towering gaudy LCD pylon signs and billboards, as these elements would become highly visible from *within* the carefully crafted Disney-esque environs of the lifestyle center itself.

    Also, an ‘upscale’ ambience should be maintained. Loud 1950’s pop music is a bit incongruous with a faux-Italinate built environment.

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  29. Another problem is that lifestyle centers (at least those in South Alabama) suffer from poorly planned tenant rosters. Eastern Shore Centre depend(ed) a bit too much on local and regional chains that werent quite able to keep up with the rent or deliver lifestyle center quality aesthetics. Thus the development featured way too many wide-eyed local merchants with banners for signs and unnervingly simplistic storefront designs.

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  30. Personally, I think you hit the nail on the head right there. There’s nothing really wrong with a local specialty store in the mall…provided they have a lighted sign and selling something interesting (not hip-hop clothing, bling, or the like). But that won’t cut it in a lifestyle center. Are there any lifestyle centers that are oriented to the MIDDLE CLASS? Oh, right, they’re called strip malls. MarketFair appears to be an “enclosed lifestyle center”. I think an enclosed strip mall would be nice…anchored by a grocery store, a discount store, and a bunch of other stuff in between.

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  31. Jonah, they *do* have enclosed strip malls in a few places. There’s one called Westborn in Dearborn, Michigan that’s exactly what you’re thinking of: Kroger at one end, Marshalls at the other, several other ‘normal’ stores in between like Payless, Dots, Fashion Bug, Staples, CVS Pharmacy, a restaurant, etc.

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  32. Marketfair is just a small, one level mall that contains your typical stores you’d find in lifestyle centers, but indoors, and it’s been there for at least 20 years, with a 10 screen theater. It mostly compliments the much larger Quakerbridge Mall but it doesn’t get a good amount of traffic.

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  33. Another example of an “enclosed strip mall” could be the small Carbon Plaza Mall just outside Lehighton, PA, in the Poconos…it’s anchored by a Giant supermarket and a drug store (Eckerd, I think), with about a dozen stores in between (Deb shop, Hallmark, a hair salon, an old-school record store, a Chinese restaurant, and a few more). Attached (but not accessible from the mall) are a movie theater and Big Lots (which I think was originally a local department store).

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  34. Optimistic retail, I call it. Banking on the “new” factor. Shoppers always follow new, but do they return?
    Lifestyle centers? I go from the parking lot, fight cars in the street, hit my store of interest, then return to the car. It’s an automobile-focused shopping center.
    An enclosed mall? I enjoy the bounty of a capitalist economy… all out there for me to see (and buy). A pedestrian-focused shopping center.
    But, what do I know?
    Victor Gruen was right, but sometimes, arrogance gets the best of us.
    Scott

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  35. The article on the lack of foot traffic in lifestyle centers is on the mark. The Shoppes at River Crossing is too typical of what the article alludes to. What is there to attract anyone other than the individual stores and no urban gangs hanging around the center? Older people are complaining about walking outdoors from store to store in inclement weather. The local economy has turned extremely sour in this lower-middle-class town. An upscale lifestyle center in Macon is too akin to putting a Neiman-Marcus in a small Oklahoma farming town. The average indoor mall has something for everyone and a nice warm place to sit and rest. Not so in an upscale, outdoor shopping facility.

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  36. Due to the kind of climate we have here in WI, the lifestyle center really hasn’t caught wind. So far, we only have two examples of ‘lifestyle centers’ here. One is in the Madison area, called Greenway Station, the other is the refurbished Bayshore Town Center (former Bayshore Mall) in the Milwaukee area. Both’ve had an increasing amount of vacancies just in the past year alone.

    While I haven’t read any books on Gruen, who is literally the granddaddy of the enclosed mall (making it all the more important that I DO read them someday), and despite his ‘invention’ sort of going off the deep end in the 1970s-1980s with the over-building of malls of this ilk, I still feel his philosophy clicked, even though the ‘entertainment’ and ‘living’ elements didn’t see fruition like the ‘shopping convenience / enclosed common area’ part of his vision did throughout the ‘mall boom’ years. I mean, heck, we had little 10-15 store-anchored-by-Shopko (or PrangeWay )-and/or-Kohl’s deals up here back in the early 1980s, cropping up like weeds in small towns that probably could only support one or two big stores…heaven forbid a small regional enclosed mall between them. Even in these smaller concepts of the traditional enclosed suburban mall, the concept of a gathering place for the townsfolk….the center of regional and national commerce playing host to a center for socializing and entertainment….that still came through.

    That’s something that lifestyle centers are TRYING to replicate, albeit without a roof, but it’s just not working. They’re not like other outdoor concepts like Oakbrook Court or Old Orchard in IL, or how Mayfair in the Milwaukee area used to be….those malls are more akin to enclosed malls, just with no roof, and bearing courtyard areas for entertainment. Lifestyle centers just plain DON’T WORK. Some people just abhor malls, especially the clientele that shop these sorts of centers and their tenants within them. Not that ALL people in that demographic are this way, of course…….not wanting to paint a broad stroke on an entire group.

    The only reason stores like Walmart are still kicking today is because they crushed all the competition that were the small shops that once dotted all these enclosed malls (especially the smaller 10-20 store community focused ones in towns of 10,000-25,000 population counts) with their rock-bottom prices and literally zero overhead costs, not to forget a streamlined distribution model….the savings from all thus being passed onto consumers.

    I give those guys that, but not the fact that they dealt a blow to many-a national retail chain.

    I think it’ll all swing back around someday. Soon people will even get tired of these big boxes, along with lifestyle centers, and may want things to return to simpler ideals in retailing. Like how the grandparents used to shop….downtown, in small shops that lined the street, fronted by large department stores in many cases.

    I think this is why I keep following retail news and trends, along with blogs like this. Retail is an exciting….if nerve-wracking thing to follow with. Yet it is always changing and evolving. Concepts have been tried and failed in the past, and lifestyle centers are just another attempt of a different concept.

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  37. The Newsweek article is nothing but a load of crap.

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  38. Matt: Wal-Mart isn’t for people who like to shop. It’s for people who like to “buy things.” Shopping is a leisure activity, wheras Wal-Mart represents a need activity. People need stuff and don’t want to spend money on said stuff. Hence, Wal-Mart. But, do people go to Wal-Mart just to mosey around and shop?

    It’s why so many lifestyle centers, mixed use centers and many malls have attempted to go upscale, in order to get the people who like to shop, as the money-saving crowds have gone to Wal-Mart and Target and the rest.

    Sean…c’mon! It’s Newsweek! They researched an article, presented facts and moved on. Just because your opinion of malls and lifestyle center developments don’t match with the facts presented in the article doesn’t exactly warrant a fecal matter reference!

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  39. KB TOYS IS CLOSING ALL STORES!!!!!

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  40. An interesting take on the retail and mixed use center is a very ambitious (and so far successful) project in my city of Lafayette, Louisiana called River ranch.

    Like lifestyle centers, it too has shopped located on a citylike series of streets and parking lots, but what sets apart River ranch is that it is only a small part of an entire planned community. Instead of the shops being the main draw, the entire area is a pedestrian friendly citylike area, with themed neighborhoods, upscale apartments and living spaces like in the French quarter, and a large central gathering area and convention center. This all works together as a whole instead of trying to shoehorn a bunch of stores into a loosely gathered complex. That is why it works well.

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  41. I love this site! The material is invaluable. Thanks a lot for all of the posts and making my personal night. Regards, There’s certainly

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