Help Us!

You may be wondering what you can do to help move our project along. I’m glad you asked, because there are three easy ways that you can make a contribution to make Labelscar into the best site it can be and help as many people as possible to find it.

1. Give Us a Link, Like, Tweet, or +1

If you have your own blog or website of any kind or if you use Facebook, Twitter, Google+ or another social network, the best thing you can do for us is to link to, like, share, or +1 one of our pages. Heck, link to more than one–we’d love that, too. We’re no fools–if we’re putting all this stuff online, we want as many people to read it as possible. The more that people are willing to tell their friends and site visitors about Labelscar, the more that can happen.

2. Send us Stuff

It’s pretty difficult to dig up all of the information for this website. Between the time spent taking road trips to get photos and the time spent researching, it eats up a lot of hours. Furthermore, due to logistics – personal lives, funding limitations, etc. – we can’t travel everywhere and see everything that deserves to be on this site. Even more importantly, this is fundamentally a retail *history* blog, and that means we want to show you things from the past as well as the present. Old malls, old chains, stuff like that–if you have photos and stories, please share them with us. Or even send us current stuff, too. We’ll give you credit and (if applicable) a link back to your own website or blog. In doing so, you’ll keep our site full of great, rare stuff we all want to see.

And even if you can’t help with anything, we’re thankful you’re even reading this page. Creating this website to share our hobby has been great fun, but knowing a growing audience is finding entertainment from it is reward in itself.

498 thoughts on “Help Us!”

  1. I have some mall info for malls in the Houston and New Orleans areas I would like to submit to the site. How do I go about submitting them to the site?

  2. Hello,

    I was perusing through Labelscar and was pretty surprised to see a link to my newly-grand-opened MALL HALL OF FAME Blog included in your Directory.

    I cannot thank you enough for including this link to my blogsite! I mean, I never even had to send you guys an email to ask you do this.

    I have been trying to figure out how to “edit my links” on the MHOF Blog, so that I might include links to other “mall related” blogs and websites. Thus far, I have tried to do this….but apparently I am doing something wrong; the links won’t appear on my blog (I know NADA about HTML codes and the like).

    I’ll keep trying…hee hee.

    Thanks again.

    By the way, if you would like to use ANY of the content that I have created for articles on MHOF (using said material for articles on Labelscar), feel free to do so.

    I have done “mini-mallmanac” plan/layout drawings for every mall on my blog. Moreover, I also did artist/rendering drawings for DAYTON MALL and EASTGATE MALL (Chattanooga). I may do more of these, as time permits.

    If you ever are working on Labelscar articles for the malls in the Southwestern Ohio area (I grew up there), don’t hesitate to email me. I might be able to help you guys out.



    Mall Hall Of Fame Blog

  3. I’m visiting a friend in Kentucky next week (Louisville, with likely stops in Lexington and Frankfort), and I’ve been promised dead malls aplenty. I will keep you informed of what I find. 🙂

  4. Hey, I’ve been collecting mall maps for several years now. I have Southern Hills Mall, my local mall, Altamonte Mall, Parkdale Mall (it has an NBC station inside!), Vista Hills Mall, Mall at Millenia, and more.

    Contact me if you want some scans! 🙂

  5. Melbourne Florida checking in here! If you tell me how to submit I might start capturing dead malls instead of landscape art images? A different kind of landscape art maybe?

    Brenda 🙂

  6. Picture is of Houston Mall in 1976

    I went to the Houston Mall in October 2006. I was rehab shopping for my mother. No, not THAT kind of rehab; she is becoming less and less mobile with her disease.

    Houston Mall was opened in 1972 and anchored by WT Grant’s, Sears, and Belk-Matthews. In the Grants court there were Eckerd’s with a lunch counter and a Playland toy store. On the northeast wing was a locksmith, a Dipper Dan and an art store. There was also a card shop. The main court had an Elmore’s discount store, a bookstore, and an Orange Julius.

    The center was the most modern in Central Georgia until 1975 when Macon Mall cut its ribbon. Up until the late Eighties it was still a thriving mall. The Galleria in Centerville was the death blow when it opened in 1994. Oddly Houston Mall is attracting a few tenants while the Galleria is a hangout for teens which has trouble keeping stores.

    Even at 3:30 PM the mall is dead. Evelyn’s, the dress shop that was too stubborn to leave, is no more. A third of the mall is rented by the Houston Medical Center. This is not a bad idea if the $/sqft sales are high even for spending money on medical procedures. But HMC isn’t the Mayo Clinic or Cook County Hospital in Chicago.

    The northeast entrance is no more. Home Decor resides in it, the small stores along the way, and in two or more old stores possibly carved out of WT Grant’s. I remember when my sis and I went to Grant’s and bought a small globe. This was on a Sunday. Eckerd’s is a billing center for HMC and the northeast corridor has Warner Robins Municipal Court and a probation office. A nail place and beauty supply replaced stores near where the old record store and Burton’s shoes once thrived. I forgot there was a southeast wing to the mall. It has a few of HMC’s storefront facilities.

    Were I HMC and if no expansion were already planned for the hospital I’d buy the mall and revamp it. Then I would rent it out. Hospitals likely find themselves hurting to make a profit and though Houston Medical Center doesn’t have indigents bleeding them dry it remains a neat idea.

    Management needs to market the mall as an office center and fill the hallway with another row of offices. Perhaps they can bulldoze all but the east and west anchors and make a strip mall. Westgate did this but their mistake was remaining commercial in a deteriorating neighborhood.

  7. What is the deal with the Westgate site? I spent a couple years in Warner Robins(No I was not affiliated in any way with the Air Force) and I always had a sense that the Eisenhower/Pio Nono area wasn’t gonna hold together even with the power center.

    Is it just a completely dead power center now? And btw, did they ever add that 4th department store to the Galleria Mall or is it still an empty plot of land?

  8. Bob, do you mean fifth department store? Centerville has Belk, Goody’s, JCPenney, Sears, and a plot of land for a fifth store that seems to have never opened. Any idea what it would have been?

  9. I don’t count Goody’s as a true anchor.

    Rumor was that Dillard’s was to move into the plot of land. I also seem to recall that Centerville was delayed in its opening and actually had construction stalled at 1 time. Any truth to this that you can dig up?

  10. here’s a link to the life and death of the south’s oldest indoor shopping mall.

  11. heres a link to a blog i just started, showing most of my collection of retail memoribilia, I would be honored if you would post it on your site and if you could give me instructions to link yours, i would appreciate it…thanks!

  12. I have some great pics of a mall that is now dead and abandoned in Milwaukee . . . Northridge Mall. These are actually photos of the mall from the inside about a month or two before it closed down. I actually have a directory of the mall from 1984 and one from 1992 that I can scan into my computer if anybody is interested. I know the history of the mall, which is very interesting, because it opened a year after an identical mall was built on the south side of Milwaukee . . . Southridge Mall . . . which is still thriving today.

  13. Currently investigating the mall trends per area and researching ways of improving the sale/shopping experience (customer-retailers relation)…
    Online browsing/shopping has bent the natural marketing laws our malls used to live by. Today, the mall clientele is under more pressure (time, budget, children, etc.) Naturally turning to a family-friendly shopping solution,
    it does appear that staffed indoor playgrounds (e.g., with ballrooms) for young children – offering parents a break in favor of convenient shopping – could bring slow-sale immunity to most of our malls.
    Welcoming reactions 🙂

  14. There was a great mall in Lafayette, Louisiana (PRE ACADIANA MALL DAYS) It was very small compared to today’s malls. Mall was called
    Northgate Mall. Its still there today, a former shell of itself, but it the 70’s when I was a child I remember my friend and I used to hang out there from the ages of 11 -14. Unfortunately I have no pictures of it but may be able to obtain 1 or 2 from the City of Lafayette, but I will have to look into it.
    Original anchors were JC Penny & Montgomery Wards. Mall opened in 1963 I think, I was not born yet. Mall was added on to in the 70’s and 2 more anchors were added Service Merchandise & Bealls.

    Stores in 1980 were as follows: JC Penny’s w/ a cafeteria,
    Montgomery Wards, Orange Julius, Musicland, REGIS Hairstyles, Driftwood Lounge, The Hanger, Chess King, Emielle Josephs, Bakers Shoes, Shoe Town, Lerner, The Fair, TG & Y, K & B Drugs, A & G Cafeteria, Maison de Hallmark, Keds Shoes, Millers Outpost, Weingartens Grocery Store. New addition included: Morrows Nut House, Great American Cookie, B Dalton Books, Radio Shack, Steuart’s Fashions, Bealls, Sweeney Jewlers, and Service Merchandise
    There was no food court in this mall so the eatries were scattered about.
    In 1979 Acadiana Mall opened at Johnston Street and Ambassador Caffery Dr. (Used to be called New Flanders Rd) That mall did not kill off Northgate right away. Despite being a bigger mall, very modern, with trendy stores that Northgate did not have, Northgate still held its on through the mid 80’s but when Weingartens Grocery closed about 1984, that was the beginning of the end. Soon after Shoe Town was gone, then Chess King, and so on………
    I don’t know whats left inside the mall itself but every store listed above has closed up. The JCPennys eventually went to Acadiana Mall and the Montgomery Wards folded in 2000 with the closing of the chain. The Pennys is now an Albertsons grocery store and the Wards a Home Depot.

  15. Thanks for the info on Northgate Mall. Also, you forgot something – Service Merch at Northgate used to be Wilson’s.

  16. I know 2 malls you should add to your site…. in Kansas City, MO

    Metro North Mall
    Antioch Center

    I have tons of info about them if you need it, and I have a dozen or so pics of Antioch Center also ^-^

  17. The DeadMalls site has some great commentaries about North Town Mall, a totally dead little mall in Springfield, MO. You might want to add some pictures of it before the Wal-Mart people tear it down. What’s with Wal-Mart bulldozing all the malls in Missouri?

  18. Hi, I’m from Liverpool,NY my father was a long time member of the maintinance dept. at the PennCan Mall from 1989-2001 when Burdick took over and eliminated my fathers job. Anyways I’m a big mall fanatic and I like to collect info and photos of local & malls from all over. I have helped the creator of the PennCan site build a collection of photos. Just about all the 70’s classic photos I have in my possesion I sent through a photo website I created using You may view this collection and if you see anything you like, feel free to post it under the PennCan profile page! I viewed the latest post about Pyramid Mall in Ithaca, now I’m gonna have to take that hour drive out there now to see it for myself. Speaking of I have a map that I cut out & posted on that photoalbum that pin points all the malls that Pyramid owns & plans on selling. Thanks

  19. Here is a great link, to show the history of a dead or dieing mall in Macomb County, MI. I read your review About Summit Place Mall which I am familiar with, I actually used to get my son’s pictures taken at the “my photographer” that was there which has now relocated. Universal mall is the mall of my childhood and I have many great memiories there and would love to see some one perserve those for me and future generation.

    Thank you for the awesome work you are doing!

  20. Hey fellow mall rats,

    Was surfin the web and found your site, cool stuff guys, I dig the malls. I used to spend lots of hours at the greats here is SOCAL, my fav always Del Amo. Keep up the good work!


    PS I know guys in SOCAL with lots of mall stuff, maybe you and them could hook up.

  21. I think you guys would be interested in City Center Mall in Downtown Columbus Ohio. Here’s a link to a recent article about it:
    It even has video!
    Here’s the Wikipedia article:

    My personal experience with the mall is this: When I came to Columbus in 2001 as an Ohio State student, it was “the” place to go, especially due to the easy access from campus. Since then, it’s died a relatively quick death. Last time I was there, I was actually creeped out because it’s practically a retail graveyard. There are SO many vacant storefronts that it’s difficult to even find the stores that are still hanging on. It’s become quite a thorn in the side of the city as they struggle to revitalize this blight right in the middle of our downtown.

    I think part of the demise is a result of the bigger, better, more specialized malls in the area that have been developed, particularly Easton Town Center ( and Polaris Fashion Place ( These malls are targeted toward a more high-end crowd.

    Let me know if you’d like me to get some pictures of any of these places.

    There’s also a similarly abandoned mall called Forest Fair Mall.

  22. I was just at Northgate 5 days ago and it is pathetic. The only store listed above that is open is the maison de hallmark. Only about 15 stores are inside the actual mall and it felt like the a/c was off. Anna’s linens is approx where the tg&y was and the other stores in the mall are urban clothing stores and cell phone stores. Towards the end of the mall are several beauty shops so I lost interest and did not even make it to the other end of the mall. The Albertson’s and Home Depot that are closed off to the mall do great business and had several cars in the parking lot. The new development on Louisiana Ave & I-10 will probably take away the last few customers from the mall and it will more than likely close in a couple of years.

  23. I have alot of information for your Monmouth Mall, NJ section, specifically JCPenney. I worked in JCPenney in the 1990’s. Was there pre and post remodel of the mall. Email me with any questions you may have.

    And just to add to the information you already have posted, the JCPenney was originally constructed as a JCPenney in 1976. The JCPenney was always a JCPenney, unlike the other anchor buildings that were sold and changed names.

    Thanks for your time

  24. Hi there. I’ve already been on your sight for many hours now, and I’m completely enthralled by it. I live in palm beach gardens, florida…where as I’m sure you know is The Gardens Mall. Anyways. There is an ailing mall in West Palm Beach about ten minutes south, The Palm Beach Mall, which is almost 50 years old. There used to be a mall in between the two called the Twin City Mall which was anchored by Sears, Jefferson’s and a third one…closed about 15 years ago, and is now mixed use restaurants, banks, grocery store, etc. I hate the big shopping centers with the mega stores…that are becoming all too popular in suburbia. Also, I noticed you do not have West Virginia in your list. How/where/when can I submit info and photos?

  25. In the malls of New England link, you are missing one of Boston’s malls…The Corner Mall in Downtown Crossing. Just thought you should know so you can add it to the list. 🙂

  26. no web site….but was looking up what my neighborhoods historical stuff…
    I am very close to the old Blue Ridge Mall In KC MO
    Guess what is there now..??? A Giant Walmart….and there is already a walmart within a 10 min drive.
    I can snail mail photos..its very sad.
    I want to move

  27. Port Plaza (as most people know it) definitely falls into the category of dead malls. This used to be THE place to shop in Green Bay, Wisconsin. A friend and I decided to stop in about 4 years ago and it was depressing to see about 90% of the storefronts empty. It wasn’t a huge shock when they announced the mall was abruptly closing in 2006, as the place to shop now is Bay Park Square.

  28. Thanks for the Southern Tier mall update in Upstate NY. Based on that, and the other mall trips that you have had, the next two logical trips would be to either the Rochester malls (which I could help with) and/or the Scranton/Wilkes Barre PA malls, including Steamtown, a large downtown mall built in the early 90’s. Even better, there are malls that have not been looked at here that are on the way to these places (Sangertown Square and FIngerlakes Mall, two of the early Pyramid Designs in the case of Rochester, and the small Southside Mall between Albany and Binghamton NY).

  29. Guys, I found a bunch of vintage pictures featuring the construction, and exterior / interior shots of Valley Fair Mall that was on the outskirts of Appleton WI. This mall is no longer open to the public after an attempt and failure of trying to convert the complex into a ‘youth oriented’ mall.

    They claim to be the world’s first fully enclosed, climate-controlled shopping center, but we all know who has that claim to fame. Still it’s one of Wisconsin’s first, that’s for sure.

    I visited the mall once in 1993, twice in 1995, and my final time in early 2000. None of those times, did I get any images.

    Should this page of images go offline, I did save the pics locally to my computer for a possible future writeup on the mall for this site (Mall Hall of Fame also did a Valley Fair entry, but it’s buried in their archives). Being from the region, and having family that’s lived in the area since the 1970s, between myself and them, I have tons of information in my mind.

    I need to get cracking on Northland Mall as well…..that’s Appleton’s ‘other’ mall.

  30. The small city of Marquette, Michigan, used to have two malls: Marquette Mall and Westwood Mall. Westwood is in operation, but I believe Marquette closed. There is a car dealer on the site, and I think some fast food. I will be up there next month. Does anyone have any information?

  31. I’m in Oak Ridge TN right now and there is a mall called something like Rutger Place, but it will be a lifestyle center soon. I’ll try to visit and take pics.

  32. Can you find the exact name please? I can’t find anything on Google.

  33. Caldor, I know another mall in Nj that you probably haven’t even been to or heard of.

    It’s the Holiday City Mall in the holiday City development (a giant age-restricted community) in Toms River, NJ. It’s a mini mall, & has no anchors.

    It has a Freedman’s Bakery, Silver Threads (a local chain that sells clothes for old people), a vitamin store, a small grocery store, a few banks, a restaurant, a few rea estate offices, i think an antique store, a showroom for some contractor, and a few other places. It’s really bizarre.

    It’s probably been there since who knows how long and is packed with tons of old people.

    It’s at the intersection of Jamaica blvd & plaza dr (in the middle of a giant development).

  34. I got some photos and a mall directory of Valley View Mall (aka Tanglewood’s killer). I can send some to you, but you don’t have anything yet.

  35. White Plains NY has malls worth checking out.
    I work close by to them, if you post i will ad more info.

    COME ON DOWN! Excuse the t p i r reference.

  36. Looking for pictures of the old Twin City Mall located in North Palm Beach.

    This mall was built in 1970 and I cant seem to find ANY pictures…


  37. Here’s my site with photos and Information on Lakehurst Mall that stood in Waukegan, Illinois…

    I used to go to this mall all the time, and almost all movies I saw in a theatre until recently were at the Lakehurst Cinema. The mall opened in 1971 with three anchors, and started to die when Gurnee Mills was built. It met the wrecking ball in 2003 and the demo crews are just wrapping up demolition of the theatre.

    I also have the sign from this mall that stood at the Rt. 120 off-ramp.

  38. Was reading the write-up on Laurel Mall in Laurel, Maryland. It says the mall opened in 1977. I lived in Laurel all my life and was at the mall on opening day. It opened in 1979, not 1977. I was still riding my bike on the dirt hills between the old shopping center and Montgomery Ward in 1977.

  39. I see from the Delaware posts you were just in the Philadelphia area, or someone was. There’s two treasure you ought to check out. the MacDade Mall in Delaware County, PA on MacDade Blvd. near South Ave. This one has like 4 stores left, a K-Mart (former Woolco I believe) and an Acme Supermarket. It’s still open as far as I know but not for long. The other is Cheltenham Square Mall at Ogontz Avenue (Route 309) and Cheltenham Avenue on the Cheltenham/Philadelphia border. This one’s not doing as bad as MacDade but is anchored by Burlington Coat Factory and Value City, a sign of decay. A Home Depot is also on the property. I don’t know much else about the mall except that the Burlington Coat Factory/Shop Rite used to be a Gimbels a while back and I wonder why it’s come to this.

  40. I saw your blerb on the County Line Mall in Indianapolis, Indiana. It’s nice to see some history behind this place. I live close to it and have done some exploring of it myself, if there is a way to send you pictures of it’s current state, with the two still existing mall corridors, I would be happy to send some to you. Let me know!

  41. I don’t know if this is the place to post this but I’m driving myself crazy. I’m looking for pictures of the Menlo Park Mall in Edison NJ before the expansion and remodeling that took place in the early 90’s. I have very vague memories of going there in the 80’s since my dad worked in that office building on the south side of the mall and took me there a few times. All I really remember was some orange panels on the ceiling and there was something there having to do with the show “Double Dare” one weekend. Id’ love any information anyone has of the old mall before the expansion.

  42. Hey there, I was wondering if I could help you out by giving you pictures and some press info for Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrenceville, NJ. I think it deserves a feature 😛

    Email me if you’d like me to take pictures.

  43. This mall used to be my favorite one to go to back when I was a kid, but wow, it’s really fallen since then. As I’d been reading your blog lately I thought maybe I’d send you this information on it, and see if anyone there knows anything more about it’s history.

    Charlestowne Mall opened in 1991, anchored by JCPenney, Marshalls, Carson Pirie Scott, and Kohls. I’m not sure on the exact changes that happened, but JCPenney and Marshalls have been replaced by Sears and Von Maur (which is apparently planning to leave after this holiday season?), and there is a Cinema 18 there that I’m not sure was there when it opened. I remember that this mall had a little educational toy store (Imaginarium or something, I believe) in it that I really loved. It even had a little child-size mall entrance to go through. When we were going to the mall I always wanted to go to Charlestowne and not Fox Valley because of this!

    The mall is mostly empty now, the city wants the place to just shut down already, and it really is pathetic. The place looks nice enough and all, but it’s just so… empty. Some interesting tenants make use of the place now too. There’s a haunted house that’s there just for the Halloween season- though the near-empty mall is scarier than it is, and there’s a mini-golf place. The Carousel that I remember riding as a kid is still there- I wonder what they’ll do with it when the place closes. It has the mall’s name written on it and everything. But nobody was there riding it. About the only place at the mall that people seemed to be going was the theater. Even the department stores seemed pretty bare (and the Kohls was TINY. I wanted to find some new pants, but no luck there!).

    I’m planning to go back in a week or two to get some pictures. I hope I get there before Halloween- I want to get pictures of the Christmas decorations that they are already putting up while beside the haunted house. Christmas is about the only time of year that the mall seems to get many people, so apparently they’re trying to get a head start on that by decorating in the middle of October. I’ll get those pictures to you once I go again, okay?

    And to think, I remember when this mall was nicer than the nearby Fox Valley Center (now Westfield Fox Valley). But due to competition with that, the Aurora Premium Outlets, Woodfield, and a slew of big box centers this relatively young mall that drove some smaller ones out of business (Piano Factory Mall and St. Charles Mall, anyone?) is in a tight spot itself.

  44. I was reading your Jersey mall posts and in the Shore Mall post you commented that you’d seen every mall in New Jersey. From South to North (roughly): Hamilton Mall, Deptford Mall, Moorestown Mall, Ocean County Mall, Burlington Center Mall, Quaker Bridge Mall, Market Fair, Brunswick Square Mall, Woodbridge Center Mall, Menlo Park Mall, Jersey Gardens, Bridgewater Commons, Mall at Short Hills, Livingston Mall, Phillipsburg Mall, Riverside Square, Rockaway Townsquare and not enclosed Roxbury Mall (though it’s still interesting).

  45. And if you’re checking out those Jersey Malls, find Neshaminy Mall: Sears, Macy’s, Boscov’s, one floor with an excellent Woolworth labelscar arond back. I can provide some history too.

  46. I want to know some more about The Source Mall in Westbury, NY on Long Island. From the website’s directory all I see is a Fortunoff as the chain’s flagship store but also Nordstrom and Saks outlets. It looks like the lower level doesn’t continue the stretch of the mall which looks neat. Anyone have info? Wikipedia says an Ohrbach’s was on the property too at one point.

  47. Here is a tribute site for the late Big Daddy’s Restaurant from Brooklyn and Florida. This site has pictures from the Lauderhill Mall location that was closed around 1977. We are also looking for pictures of any other Big Daddy’s that were known to exist in Brooklyn on Coney Island Avenue in Sheepshead Bay or Miami Beaches Lincoln Road Mall or Washington Avenue.

  48. Cheltenham Square Mall will be located in Cheltenham Township,
    Montgomery County Pennsylvania at 2385-87 West Cheltenham Avenue
    in Wyncote,PA with a zip code of 19095 and Cheltenham Square Mall
    will get a better area to relocate Cheltenham Township,Montgomery
    County,PA and Cheltenham Square Mall will say no to locations to
    Philadelphia,Philadelphia County,PA 19150 and Philadelphia,Pennsylvania
    will no longer use to locate (Cheltenham Square Mall) and Cheltenham
    Township,Montgomery County,PA will still longer use Cheltenham Square
    Mall,Forever for life without”Philadelphia,PA” anymore.

    Jason Armes
    South Philadelphia,PA

  49. Exit 351(PA Turnpike) will be use for the(BENSALEM/TREVOSE)
    Interchange will connects with US 1,PA 132 and I-95 in Bucks County,PA
    and PA 63 in Northeast Philadelphia,PA will have NJ State Capitol in
    Trenton,NJ,Oxford Valley Mall&Sesame Place in Langhorne,PA,The
    Neshaminy Mall&Philadelphia Park Racetrack&Casino in Bensalem,PA
    APS Workplace in Trevose,PA and Franklin Mills Mall in Northeast
    Philadelphia,PA with Hotels Provided in Bucks County&Northeast
    Philadelphia,PA area locations. Exit 351 will formerly use the PHILADELPHIA Interchange and PA Turnpike will relocate to the
    BENSALEM/TREVOSE Interchange with Toll Plazas&EZ Pass.

    Jason Armes
    South Philadelphia,PA

  50. Question:
    Do you remember the various retailers who put out Christmas album collections including tire stores such as Goodyear and Firestone? I have a JCPenney 1973 album and a Grants album from that time period.

  51. The MacDade Mall in Pennsylvania I posted about recently(ish) is now being used as a movie set. It’s interesting to see fountains and 60s decor again as the movie is set in that golden age of malls. There was rumor that the mall would be torn down and I don’t know if that is still on schedule after production of the movie. Gives an interesting spin to a dying mall.

  52. I was so sad (and rather disturbed!) to see your piece on the Washington Mall, in Wash PA. Growing up in and around Washington, I guess I never really realized how lucky we were to have TWO great malls (for the 80’s) in one fairly small town. Going to South Hills and Century III (which is still my all-time favorite) were considered “special” trips for serious shopping. But most of my mall time until I was about 16 (1993) was spent at Washington Mall!

    In it’s heyday, that JCPenny’s and the Giant Eagle grocery (then at the front of the mall) along with G C Murphy’s (including their really antiquated but charming lunch counter) were real draws. Shortys (in one of your pics) was known for it’s hot dogs and they were really fantastic (and cheap). There was a great pet store called Jerry’s and a Waldenbooks and a Baskin Robbins on the front end. In the back was a popular arcade and a cheap pizza joint that served it the way it should be – greasy and foldable, for it’s thin flimsy crust. Somewhere in the depths of the narrow hallways near the Elby’s (outparcel) was a barber shop that I had my hair cut on more than one occasion.

    The best memory I had was during Easter of 1981 where they had a local radio station doing promos from inside. Being the big ham that I was, they thought it was cute when I made a beeline for the microphone where they allowed me to say “Welcome to Washington Mall” for the delight of the shoppers. Adorable, huh? LOL

    Anyway, the last I was there (about 1993) it was about 1/2 occupied. The Wal-Mart had opened across the road (JCPenneys side) and the K-Mart Plaza in the front had long been razed. Last I was in town (1998) the Giant Eagle had moved across the interestate) all I could tell from the outside was the the JCPenney’s was still there. And perhaps it will be the last thing to go. I’m glad I still have fond memories of it though. I hope you find this useful! Your site has been a wistful trip but I’m glad someone has kept these commercial icons in their memory. Well done 🙂

  53. I love this site and was hoping to find pictures from the 70s of the mall in Trumbull Connecticut … of all the malls I’ve seen and remember I think that was something truly unique, I remember theme areas, like each of the corridors was like a section of Disneyland. I was only 10 when I visited my aunt there and she took me to the G Fox there. Travelling recently in Connecticut I went back to try to find it and all that is there now is yet another messys/Lord and Taylor Shoppingtown, same blandness as everywhere.

  54. Hi there – I love the site and want to help. I try my best to visit as many old (and new) malls as much as possible when on the road, and have recently started to take pictures. I also have a collection of about 50 directories (the brochure kind) from the mid to late 90’s and early 2000’s that you may like. They are all from malls in New England. Malls I have pictures of: Rhode Island, Wakefield, Walpole Mall, Westgate Mall (WAY before the newest renovation), and Silver City.

    How can I share this stuff with you?


  55. Hi,

    Inspired by this fantastic site of yours, I took some pics of Rhode Island Mall last week, during the Christmas rush. Apparently, the news of Christmas didn’t make it to the former Midland Mall…and the pics tell the story. Please let me know if you would like me to e-mail you the pics for this site.


  56. The next time you folks come through Central Ohio, there is one mall that is an absoulute must see: Columbus City Center.

    There is absolutely nothing there. Zilch. Zip. Nada. No anchor stores (the last one, a Macy’s, opened with the mall as Marshall Field’s, closed last December.) and more coppers than shoppers. This makes taking pictures a bit difficult (during my last visit I was stopped a couple of times and told to put the camera away) It is currently run by the City of Columbus, as its old owners, Simon Property Group, were evicted over the summer of 2007. It’s probably not going to close any time soon (there are a couple of small shops that get good business, as its large parking garage is used by workers downtown) but I’d hurry, because the city wants to re-devellop it. I have a TON of pictures, including several of the million-square-foot Lazarus anchor store, if you want my help. If you want the pics, just email me.

  57. hello all, there is one i think you will want to know about, its on the border of mexico, yes this big ol long mall has , or i need to say had three blocks all with over head floor cat walks and ground lev curbs walks and yes there is even SMOKING in this mall, but like the ones ya have listed here the mall has closed one block, call that giving in to the store front cus the main ent of this mall faces the rio grand and looks out to mexico across the USA park but its all down hill truly the mall is or was built on a hill and that was for the river to rise and fall but like the malls going away so to have the rushing rivers of spring an summer so now the USA has a nice green park in a place where there is no green for miles and miles the park is, well it just looks unreal, this mall is long and has just a hand full of stores but walk as much as ya want to and see some of the men smoking and wonder wheres that sent, wheres that ,,, funk even, but this mall has a old water cooler system, and step in side from the texas heat and ya almost fall to the ground thanking the spirts , this mall is dim and damp but great for most any one who needs a cool rest away from the boarder town and Texas oven, this mall is off i-35 south , to find it go south to the border then stop and make a right be fore the crossing then ya stay west maybe 7 blocks and you will se the next walk over crossing one block more your in the mll and parking is on down in gated parking lot enjoy and have a blunt or a cig, no pipes no cigars big sign and two guys walk the malls cleaning the ash trays with ease its wonderful to see old life style’s and truly the stores are 99 cent store and wigglys womans wear and a few drug stores and a water store where ya can buy water oh and a rental center that will bring your washer to Mexico for you , Teddy

  58. Mall update for Houston, Texas
    Northline Mall which opened in 1960 at the corner of I45 & Crosstimbers St. was leveled effective last week.
    Mall was small, original anchors were Joske’s and Montgomery Wards. Mall also had a Piccadilly Cafeteria. There was a medium sized anchor store in the back of the mall which was housing classrooms for Houston Community College at the time of its demolition, but I have not been able to find out the name of the store. Also I am unsure of all its original tennants other than the anchors and Piccadilly. There was a 4 screen movie theater in the rear of the mall on the outparcel, and I think it shut down the year I moved to Houston, 89-90 and it was demolished not long after. Unfortunately I have no pictures to submit.

    Sharpstown Mall/Sharpstown Center at hwy 59 South & Bellaire Blvd has filed for bankruptecy and its last major anchor is leaving. Macy’s will close sometime in February. Store was originally a Foley’s. Mall also used to have a JC Penny, Montgomery Ward, Limited Express, Gap, Lerners and all the major botiques of a mall. It started on a downward decline in the 90’s due to the surrounding areas that became sesspool for immigrants and drug dealing and major crime. The mall is basically a shell of its former self. A Burlington Coat Factory is housed in the former Montgomery Wards building. Mall was originally a 1 story and a 2nd story was added in the 70’s.

  59. One mall that would be great for this website is our forgotton Hampton Square Mall in Bay City/Essexville MI.

    This mall was built in 1975, and featured Kmart, JCPenny (1990 addition) and Weichmann’s as the main anchors. Currently, nearly every single store is closed. There is an extremely popular Chinese restaurant that has been there for years. The mall started declining with the new Bay City Mall across town in 1991. The Bay City Mall is also declining, and may be dead itself in a few years.

  60. I was wondering if you or you know somebody that might have a photo of a plaza called Henrietta Plaza which is located in Henrietta, NY (Rochester). I would like to find a photo of the plaza from the 1970’s to show the way it originally looked. Any information or help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

  61. I need to know where you got your information for the Blvd Mall in Las Vegas, NV. I am trying to make the Wikipedia site for it, and I don’t have any reliable references for the interesting history of this mall. Can you tell me where you got your information?

  62. Another BARNS & NOBLE is Closing in Manhattan. Take pictures of it

  63. Check out the Fashion Mall in Plantation, Florida (Broward County). This mall used to be all high-end… now you can’t pay retailers to open shop. Still it’s open… maybe the food court has magic Manchu Wok or something. They’ve been threatening to overhaul it for years… we’ll see.

  64. Hello,
    I thought you might like to know that I’ll soon be
    publishing a book of my photographs of Dixie Square
    Mall, located in Harvey, Illinois…one of the most
    famous “dead” malls in the world. The photos were made
    over a 3-year period, and represent both a thorough
    documentation of the mall, and a chance to reconsider
    the aesthetics of abandoned spaces. The book includes
    over 50 images, plus various historical information
    about the mall itself, and will be accompanied by the
    launch of a companion website. The target date for
    both book and website is late spring, 2008.

    I’m considering including a “links” section on the
    website, and possibly in the book itself. Would you be
    willing to let me include a link and/or printed
    reference to your site? If you think anyone on your
    contact list (or visitors to your site) might be
    interested in my book, you are more than welcome to
    pass this information along. I’d also be pleased to
    discuss any ideas you might have for cross-promotion!

    You may see a sample of my work at Dixie Square here:

    And here:

    Please contact me if I can provide any further
    Thanks for your time,
    Chris Trice

  65. Hey Caldor or another admin, I posted up two huge posts in the Cherry Hill and Echelon Mall blogs and they never appeared. Could you look through the autofilter? It had a bunch of links (to pictures) so that’s why it never appeared, I guess.

  66. You should take a peek at the Burlington Center Mall in Burlington NJ, It is one of the newer malls in the area, and has some 80s desegins in it. Also while in burlington, check out Burlington Coat Factory Store 001 on Route 130, since it is the first of many Burlington Coat Factory stores.

  67. – I know someone that works at Universal Mall in Warren, MI and they said that that asbestos is currently being removed from the old Montgomery Ward Store and that the redevelopment construction is going to start this week. I also heard that the Target Store located on Dequindre, right down the street is going to build a store there. I am not sure if it is going to be a regular Target Store or Metro Detroit’s first Super Target. The movie Theatre is going to stay along with A.J. Wright and Burlington Coat Factory. There is also new traffic lights being put up on Dequindre in front of the old Mervryn’s and there will be a street going through where the old Mervyn’s is now. I will let you know how things are progressing on The Universal Mall redevelopment. Thank You.

    Joshua DeLand

  68. I have an idea for a mall which would be reported on: Highland Mall in Austin, TX

  69. Os it possible to get an addition made to the Indiana page to include Glendale Mall (originally Glendale Center) in Indianapolis ? This was the premier shopping center-cum-enclosed-mall built back in the 1950s and ‘perished’ in 2007. I have a few vintage photos as well as scans of the mall’s floor plan & shopping directory should such weigh in favor of it’s inclusion to this site.

  70. Metro North Mall in Kansas City, MO would be a great feature to your site’s pg for “Metro North Mall” has lots of details also (most of them mine)

    Metro North is owned by the guy who brought you “Metcalf South Shopping Center”… and it’s got all the retro lamposts, planters, black diamond shiny ceiling thing, and fountains

    It’s basically a bigger version of Metcalf South, that got lucky and lasted a long time — it’s got 40/125 stores and anchored by Macy*s, JCPenney (which is having a closing sale), and a Dillard’s Clearance Center… Montgomery Wards is the 4th anchor closed in 2001

    There is a $2 movie theatre, dress alterations shop, etc. — ya’ll should check it out ^^

    I know more if u need info 🙂

  71. Call me crazy, but I have an idea for a site that would complement Labelscar…a mall wiki. It would be a Wikipedia-type site that anyone can edit, but devoted to shopping malls and retail history. The owners of this site and most regular contributors could become admins…

    There could be articles on individual malls, the retail scene in general in various metro areas, lists of current and former locations for various chains, etc. Everything could go much more in-depth than, say, a corresponding Wikipedia article.

    Any thoughts?

  72. ^ Brilliant idea! I would love that! =)

  73. Hey everyone, I just submitted some information on a mall and some pics to the owner of this site. Hopefully he will get them soon and post them up. They are of the Midnapore Mall here in Calgary, Canada. Its pretty dead.

    I think that idea about a mall wiki is awesome and I’d defintely be interested in seeing it and contributing. It’d be really cool if it can get going, we seem to have a lot of people from all over on this site so I think it would be promising. Great stuff JP. Jonah, when I click on yours I just get a 404 wiki not found error, did you take it down or are you working on it?

  74. It’s not as indexed as JP’s, but it’s far less antagonistic to new users as with mine people can actually make and edit pages…

  75. ^ I love it! I’ve alrdy gotten started… and someone else has too 🙂

  76. I have another idea: Valley View Center in Dallas. This mall is located less than a mile from the upscale Galleria Dallas and just a few miles from the ultra upscale and behemoth Northpark Mall near Highland Park. This mall was built from out from an existing Sears store in the early 1970’s and initially included anchor tenets Bloomingdales, Sanger Harris, Joske’s (or maybe Dillard’s, i’m not certain) and Sears, of course. In recent years, it anchors have included JCPenny, Dillards, Sears, and Foley’s (converted to Macy’s in 2006), along with an AMC cinema. However, over the past year, the mall has fallen on especially hard times. This past March, Macy’s shut its doors for good since it has a very successful location at the Galleria almost next door. Then, on July 2, Dillard’s announced that it would be closing its store by the end of August, leaving JCPenny, Sears, and the theaters as the only anchors. This mall is located in a particularly upscale part of Dallas surrounded by large office towers and other similar developments. The land which the mall sits on is extremely valuable in itself. For this reason, a complete redevelopment is highly likely considering the wave of development occuring in the area. If you are interested in seeing this mall before it is gone for good, I would recommend visiting soon since its real estate is so valuable.

    Although the mall tends to attract a lower-end clientele due to its anchors, crime does not seem to be a major factor here. In my opinion, the biggest factor in this mall’s decline has been intense competition, In Dallas, the high-end dollar primarily flows to Northpark Center and the Galleria Dallas, which are both located within close proximity to the mall. In addition, Stonebriar Centre, a new mega mall in nearby Frisco has pulled significant foot traffic away from other malls in northern Dallas and nearby suburbs Plano and Frisco with its mid to high end shops and large variety of restaurants. As a result, this overmalling has created intense competition for other nearby malls such as Valley View and Collin Creek Mall in Plano. Dallas is one of the most overmalled cities in the United States, with several malls dead or dying (and several more recently torn down). Therefore, Valley View will most likely just become another casuality added to a lengthy list.

  77. Any chance that you can do a story on the original Menlo Park Mall in Edison NJ? They renovated it in 1990, and now its a completly different mall. I am having trouble locating any information on the original mall. I cant locate any pictures or any information outside wikipedia….

  78. Newport Centre Mall in Jersey City, NJ
    Garden State Plaza in Paramus, NJ
    and Woodbridge Center in Woodbridge, NJ would all b great!

  79. Let me know via the e-mail address I gave you if you are interested in a Cleveland correspondent.I noticed that you have a little bit about this area, but not a great deal.

    I have interesting stories about city hall (over)involvement and developer short-sightedness in one of America’s hardest-hit cities during this “recession”.

    Contact me via the e-mail address above and let me know. I can post pictures with back story along with interesting news items as they pop up.

  80. I think it would be great if you could get some oral history about the chain stores that were in areas over the years. I was in Retail for almost forty years in the Chicago Area. My career took me to Wisconsin and up and down the East Coast. There has to be more people like me that remember more than you will ever get in a book.

  81. Be sure to check out for some more St. Louis mall information. Here are some links:

    Glen Carbon, IL (Cottonwood Mall)

    Alton, IL (Alton Square)

    Crestwood, MO (Crestwood Mall)

    St. Peters, MO (Mid RIvers Mall)

    Mehlville, MO (South County Mall)

    North County (Jamestown Mall)

    Fairview Heights, IL (St. Clair Square)

    Chesterfield, MO (Chesterfield Mall)

    St. Ann, MO (Northwest Plaza)

    Jennings, MO (River Roads Mall)

    Keep checking back for more pictures in the future.

  82. Jake, I have to say that on my trip to Valley View in Dallas, the mall seemed to be very healthy. There was plenty of national chain presence, and the foot traffic seemed steady. Apparently along with the closings, there are a number of new store openings.

    The only downfall of course is the lack of interested anchor tenants to fill the two vacated spaces that were formerly Macy’s and Dillard’s. I have to tell you, I loved this mall. It had a lot of charm, convenience, and variety. A good fit for new anchors for this mall would be a Bon-Ton chain of sorts (Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Elder-Beerman, Bergners, Younker’s, Herberger’s, or Carson’s) and a Von Maur or Kohl’s.

    I am sticking, by the way, to my original assessment of Dillard’s. Two thumbs down. If being unimaginitive were a crime, Dillard’s should get the death penalty.

  83. Personally, I do not feel that Valley View will die off completely in the near future, however, I do see a looming possibility of redevelopment, especially with two empty anchor pads. In addition, Sears and JCPenny, don’t really fit the demographics of the area since both of these middle-class stores are located within a relatively upscale area. Most of the national stores within Valley View can be found at other nearby malls, such as Stonebriar Centre and Collin Creek. Therefore, many of these stores are a bit redundant. In addition, JCPenny has been building many big box style stores lately, therefore, the Valley View store could potentialy move to a nearby power center. The one thing that could actually save Valley View is the AMC theaters and the mall’s proximity to the Galleria. Many visitors to the Galleria come to Valley View for the theaters, helping to add foot traffic to the mall.

    In short: Valley View won’t close for at least another year or two, but don’t be surprised to hear of redevelopment plans sometime in the next few years.

    As far as Dillard’s goes, I enjoy shopping at Dillard’s, but I must admit that it is far from unique. Their stores in upscale malls such as Northpark can be a bit unique, but otherwise, their stores all seem exactly the same. In recent years, they have become just as homogenous as Macy’s did after the May Co. buyout.

  84. If you ever swing by North Carolina check out Southgate Mall in Elizabeth City. It’s a 250,000 sq ft mall with a spartan decor not unlike the day it opened in 1968. Still has good business for now, esp. with three anchors, but with a new business district forming on the freeway a few miles west, who knows how long that will last. Check out this time capsule of a building!

  85. I just read Discovery-Based Retail for my own store, but thought you might like it. It’s a resource for retailers, but also gives a great account of how the industry has changed. I recommend!

  86. details how Macon Mall, already with 39 empty spaces, is losing Dillard’s. The Macon Mall has a “deteriorated” reputation and is said to be a hangout for urban youths. The mall is being operated by a court-ordered manager as it is a subject of foreclosure.

  87. There are 2 malls worth looking into in Ohio, which seems to be a continuing labelscar state

    Dayton Mall (mostly torn down now) had a similar fate of Randall Park and Rolling Acres; however segregation and suburban sprawl really killed it. I moved to Dayton in the late 90s for college and never ventured over until about 2005, it was a really large mall, I believe the biggest of it’s time in the entire miami valley but crime, gang violence, a 2 story suburban mall and then a lifestyle center also near by finally killed it. It is interesting that strip mall and big box retailers still exist and thrive in that area though.

    The other is Midway Mall in Elyria Ohio, this mall recently lost Dillards and I hear that JcPenney is leaving in 2009, which I have a feeling will really kill this mall off. I haven’t been inside this mall since 2006. My mom worked at Dillards part time in her “golden years” so I heard a lot of the stories. I worked nearby and even in the 90s a lot of retail outlets were moving out and random non-chain stores starting coming in…mainly sports and gold stores. They tried a few years ago to revamp it, but even at holiday time it’s not as busy as I’ve seen it. My mom and dad lived there since the mall existed, even before so and she has a lot of info I’m sure she could share about it’s up and down road.

  88. sorry I meant Salem Mall, in Dayton, the Dayton Mall still exists.

  89. I think you ought to do the malls of Dayton, Ohio: Salem, Dayton, Mall at Fairfield Commons, and The Greene. recently named Dayton, Ohio, one of 10 dead cities in the nation. The jobs here are becoming scarcer, leaving people with no choice but to migrate to areas where jobs are plentiful or get further education. The shopping options are no better. The Salem Mall is gone. Dayton Mall is exhibiting early signs of decline. The only malls that are flourishing are the Fairfield and The Greene. Both are outside Montgomery County. They’re in Beavercreek, Ohio, the outer suburb of Dayton.

    Please do this important piece of history soon.

  90. in regards to finding retro rad pics of mall from way back I found two on this ladies website of the rockaway townsquare mall. It must be opening day 1977. Remember those crazy sculptures? Rita made them. This is her website. im 27 years old i can remember a few major things, the lights were wild. Did they have some kind of seating that sunk into ground like a sunken living room? maybe carpet yellow? across from an ice cream place. as a kid i use to run along the fountain streams it was slanted tile wall. I recall an orange drink place and maybe a bake potato joint and yogurt/salad eatery? very vage indeed. I need more pics to bring back and jog my brain with visions. I hope someone can help me, im such a geek hahaha. contact me at myspace if anyone feels the way i do. I think they should put rita’s sculptures back in the mall were they belong. Maybe they got rid of all the rad stuff cuz of stupid insurance premiums.?.? i dont get it.

  91. oh i forgot to mention on her website go to the portfolio, scrole to sculptures and you will find the pics toward the bottom.

  92. Would love to see some information on Jamestown Mall in Florrissant, MO – looks like it is probably not long for the mall world – Sears has announced they are pulling out now, in addition to Dillards that has already left, leaving the mall with only JC Penney Outlet and Macy’s as its only anchors. The Macy’s store in the mall is actually one of the newer stores in the St. Louis area, having been built in the late 90s as a Famous-Barr. The old Famous Barr store was then turned into JC Penney’s and within a couple of years was downgraded to an outlet store. Smaller spaces are emptying out more and more, especially in the Dillard’s wing, and now plans are to convert the former Dillards store and wing into Office Space, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

  93. Famous Barr at Jamestown Mall never became a JCPenney. The Famous became Macy’s.

  94. How do I send you pics? I took three pics of the near empty Palm Beach Mall food court today? Just email me please and I can send them to you!

  95. As I remember, about 10 years ago, Famous Barr built a brand new store at Jamestown – the old Famous then became JC Penney, after the new one opened, which is now a Macy’s.

  96. We’ve already covered that in another post.

  97. I tried to send you an email about a mall you might be interested in including on Labelscar, but I get it back the email sayng it is unable to send. I am talking about Northshore Square Mall in Slidell, LA. Please contact me at if you are interested on the info and pics I have. Jamie B

  98. Hey, I was contacted by to submit something for Grand Avenue in Milwaukee. Does anyone have any pics from the 80’s or even early 90’s they could send me. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

  99. i found a list of closing stores & chains suposedly from the sec, can anyone confirm these, the chains & stores are cache, talbots, & J. jill, also pac sun closing all stores. so like i said if anyone can confirm & verify this.

  100. Has any one covered Chicago Place Mall at 700 N. Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611. Michigan Ave currently had 4 Malls. 900 N. Michigan anchored by Bloomingdales, Watertower Place that was anchored by Lord and Taylor and Macy’s but now American Girl Place stands in the Lord and Taylor spot, North Bridge Mall anchored by Nordstroms and the dying or dead Chicago place anchored by Sack’s 5th Ave, Talbots and used to have a huge Ann Taylor presence. The rumors that the mall was going to be turned into a hotel. Has anyone heard anything or been inside with some pictures?
    Moving away from downtown has anyone covered Ford City? near Midway Airport?

  101. I just got back from Canton Centre in Canton Ohio. The place is 90 percent empty but still open. JC Penney was very busy but the mall has mostly dark store fronts. Tons of label scars outside and faded brick. I took pictures. I will post them up today on your flickr site.

  102. Erica, I like your Canton Centre pictures! The Mall Hall of Fame blog is reporting that the place has already been demolished for redevelopment, but evidently that is not the case. I was there a year ago (before Macy’s closed) and got a number of pictures myself, but yours are the only newer ones I’ve seen.

  103. Nice pics Erica. Having lived in Canton between 1981-84, I don’t recall going to this mall. We always went to Belden Village since that one had Sears ( also O’Neils and Halles that closed and became Higbees). Canton Centre is done. The inside reminds me of the old College Hills Mall in Normal IL. Except all the storefronts are open, not hiding behing fiberboard.

  104. Was there another anchor and wing where the Walmart is now?

  105. Yes Montgomery Ward was once there.
    Click on this link and scroll down until you see Mellett Mall. All of the floor plans through the years are listed.

    As a kid it was great to go to this mall because they had Kaybee Toy Hobby. Belden Village only had Hobby Center not as cool as Kaybee.
    More gumball and trinket machines at Mallett and the theatre and Baskin Robbins right next to each other made a childhood mall trip just great. I also remember helping my mom pull my sister in the stroller up these horrible steps in the back of JC Penny. I was only 4 at the time of the stroller pulling so a stranger had to help us with the effort. I believe those have been turned into ramps now.

  106. I posted on the Mall Hall of Fame blog so he is updating stuff right now after seeing my pictures. Nice guy

    Erica Crawford
    Former Akron/Canton Ohio Resident

  107. I just wanted to let say that next time you cover a mall in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota, you should make an entry on the Brookdale Center.

    The mall was opened in 1962 with Sears and JC Penney. Later in the 60s, a Dayton’s and Donaldson’s were added. Brookdale went along just fine until the 90s, when the suburb it is located in called Brooklyn Center, had a demographic switch, from solidly middle class to poverty level.

    After several anchors coming in and out, Macy’s announced today it is closing its store there in the near future. Steve and Barry’s recently pulled out of the mall. The only remaining anchors that will be left are Sears and Barnes and Noble

    Here is an article regarding the fate of the mall from December 15, 2008:

  108. Just a suggestion – but since this blog is about reatil in general, how about a post about that Mall Cop movie? It was shot at Burlington Mall in Mass. Again, just a suggestion…

  109. If anyone wants to check out this time capsule go ahead.It’s a store from the 70’s called Valley Fair(?).The interior has a few “surprises” for the unprepared.
    First is the smell……Then the getto looking pet department with dead fish greeting you ,Third is the sleezy looking restaurant in the back and the foruth and final thing is the merchandise is unsold stuff from the 70’s/getto.
    The address is 260 Bergen Tpke, Little Ferry NJ.Go if you dare.

  110. But it doesn’t look to be enclosed, but there is an old Wal-Mart called “H Mart”.

  111. H Mart has nothing to do with Wal-Mart.
    It’s a Asian supermarket.

  112. So I’ve seen stand alone stores featured on this site.

  113. Review from **

    Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)

    Directed by Steve Carr.
    Cast: Kevin James, Jayma Mays, Keir O’Donnell, Raini Rodriguez, Bobby Cannavale, Peter Gerety, Adam Ferrara, Shirley Knight, Stephen Rannazzisi, Jamal Mixon, Adhir Kalyan, Erick Avari, Allen Covert.
    2009 – 90 minutes
    Rated: (for some violence, crude and suggestive humor, and language).
    Reviewed by Dustin Putman, January 12, 2009.

    “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is better than it sounds, which is to say that it’s not good at all but just shy of awful. The title, though, is something to behold, and may be reason enough for this tepid, instantly forgettable comedy to go belly-up at the box-office. Seriously, does making a trip to the theater and spending ten bucks a pop to see something called “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” sound appealing to anyone? Maybe ten-year-old boys. Maybe. But don’t let the PG rating fool you; this is basically “Die Hard” set in a mall, only with less laughs and not as much profanity. The peril, gunplay and endangered lives, however, are safely intact.

    Bumbling, heavyset single father Paul Blart (Kevin James) has dreamed of becoming a state trooper, but his hypoglycemia has kept him time and again from finishing the mandatory obstacle course. Working instead as a security guard at the West Orange Pavilion Mall, Paul tries to maintain his dignity even as he is dogged by coworkers and humiliated in front of the girl he has eyes for, sweet-faced weave seller Amy (Jayma Mays). When the mall is suddenly taken over on Black Friday by a group of thieves led by Veck Sims (Keir O’Donnell), Paul is the only remaining inhabitant not captured and held hostage at the mall bank (he was too busy playing “Guitar Hero” in the closed video game store). Now, with the cops surrounding the building and Amy and, later, his own precocious daughter Maya (Raini Rodriguez) trapped in the bank, it is solely up to Paul to save the day.

    “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” was directed by Steve Carr, the king of throwaway family movies whose past credits include 2005’s “Rebound” and 2007’s “Are We Done Yet?” He is in his comfort zone here, but a game Kevin James (2007’s “I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry”) and a cute-as-a-button Jayma Mays (2007’s “Epic Movie”) raise the proceedings all on their own above being thoroughly detestable. James and Mays share the best scene in the film—a joint ride on a Segway through the mall and out to Amy’s car, scored to ’80s power ballad “I Can’t Hold Back” by Survivor—that surprisingly doesn’t end in a cheap pratfall or gag. It’s just a pure, sweet moment, and one of the few that the picture provides.

    The central heist plot, by contrast, is running on autopilot, and so is the screenplay by Kevin James and Nick Bakay. Attempts at humor are broad, but so uninspired that there isn’t a single joke worth mentioning or remembering. Paul may not always be balanced on his feet, but he manages to elude the criminals as he sets out to save the hostages. That he intentionally breaks the law himself—he actually finds the time to shatter the glass of a Hallmark store in order to get Amy a birthday card while she sits at gunpoint mere steps away—is washed over by director Steve Carr, who reasons away Paul’s own occasional ill behavior simply because he’s the hero of the piece. A subplot involving the police outside and Commander James Kent’s (Bobby Cannavale) shared past with Paul is egregious, particularly when it leads to a groan-inducing last-act twist.

    Boring and predictable in both its narrative and its aesthetics, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” merrily goes on its way without bothering to add inspiration into the equation. Kevin James is likable in the title role, but deserves a smarter cinematic vehicle to show off his talents, while Jayma Mays plays nice in the underwritten part of love interest Amy. A movie focusing just on their blossoming relationship would have been preferable to anything else offered up here. Save for the few nice moments between them and the handful between Paul and daughter Maya, “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” is dumbed-down, low-rent slapstick with stereotypes galore and a violent undercurrent that doesn’t sit well. With witticism not in director Steve Carr’s vocabulary, he chooses to go for the juvenile.
    © 2009 by Dustin Putman

  114. I took some pictures of FIRST COLONY MALL, circa 1996, in Houston. A full write-up will (hopefully) soon follow.

  115. I was wondering if you could do a story on Cincinnati Mills (Forest Fair Mall) in Cincinnati,Ohio. The mall is already nearly 60% empty, and Simon Properties has recently sold the mall.

  116. Funny how malls are being replaced by “lifestyle centers” or named “village”(s). The buiding styles are at times a mishmash of different themes thrown side by side, with a quaint “village square” near the center. It is known that “Star Trek” inspired the cell phone and other items we use today. Could it be that “The Prisoner” is the inspiration for the shopping centers of the future?

  117. You all should really do something on the Regency Mall in Augusta, Georgia. It was a great mall that basically wasted away for years until early 2001 when Montgomery Wards finally gave up!!! Just thought you all should know about it. Also there is now talks of using SPLOST money to redevelop part of the malls parking lot into a lake and then using the mall for mixed use. This would include stores/ restraunts/ and apartments.

  118. We have a mall near where I live that is a real head-scratcher. Dulles Town Center mall is the only enclosed mall in rapidly-growing Loudon County, VA. When it opened in 1999 it was a little ahead of its time because there really wasn’t the population to support it just yet. Now, 10 years later, that population is there and the mall gets more and more crowded as I stop in there.

    It has solid-enough anchors: Macys, JCPenney, Dicks Sporting Goods, Lord & Taylor, JCPenney, Sears, and Nordstrom. The restaurant choices in and around the mall are endless. But when you walk inside the mall you see a heavy reliance on one-off retailers along side national chains.

    The newer Nordstrom wing, which opened in 2002 along with the Nordstrom is a lot of knock off stores. To me, this seems to be a case of mall management not realizing that they are sitting on a gold mine. I’m sure there are plenty of malls in this boat whose full potential is not being realized. When you look at Taubman’s Fair Oaks, the mall was considered strictly secondary for quite some time until a couple of years ago the mall owners woke up and seized the opportunity – it’s doing quite well and bringing in more and more upscale names.

  119. Louis Joliet Mall in Joliet IL is adding a 14 screen movie theater to the mall. It is located by the food court opposite end of the hallway leading to Macy’s. Part of the footprint includes the old 2 screen theater from years ago. However there are 2 other movie theaters in the vicinty. This will make 36 movie screens in the surrounding mall area.

  120. Cinemark will operate the theather in the mall. They also own the theather on the ring road and across the street by Target.

  121. Actually, that was a three screen General Cinema theater, Chip. They also ran one at Jefferson Square, across town (same number of theaters). My suspicion is that the Movies 8 will be sold or converted to something else, and the Movies 10 will be renovated to stadium seating. The General Cinema opened with the mall in 1978. The Movies 8 (on the Ring Road) opened in the late 1980s, and the Movies 10 (by Target and Barnes & Noble) opened in the mid to late 1990s. The General Cinema was converted to a second run theater about the time the Movies 10 was opened.

  122. I just found out that the Festivals of Forest Fair (inside Forest Fair Mall) and Mall of America both had America’s Original Sports Bar. Will Forest Fair Mall/Cincinnati Mills ever be seen on the Labelscar plate?

  123. @Jonah:

    Someday. Prangeway has a full set of photos from Forest Fair/Cincinnati Mills so it will show up. We’ve both visited it too.

  124. Is anyone in the “Remembering Retail” group on Yahoo? I tried to join but it’s been “pending” for two weeks. Is the original owner gone? How can I access the information inside?

  125. This is the weirdest, craziest hobby I have ever seen. Thank you for it because you have no idea how many great memories you’ve dredged up for me.

  126. Fortunoff has started going out of business sales last Thursday. Only 2 places had the original breaking storry, Newsday & a local online newspaper called White Plains Citizens Net Reporter AKA WPCNR.

  127. Hi there, this is an interesting site. There’s another one out there somewhere that catalogs abandoned walmarts.

    Here in Vancouver BC we have interesting mall, it’s all underground – again, when it developed in the 70’s it was considered the height of downtown groovy urban planning – well, it sure killed off the street life (or it encouraged the type of street life most people didn’t want to be around (it was called Granville Mall, in the european sense of the word, a pedestrian mall instead of a busy downtown st.

    Literally underneath Granville Mall is Pacific Center, which has direct access to Four Seasons Hotel. Houses Holt Renfrew, Sears, The Bay, “Skytrain” station (Granville) – plus way more stuff. This place is packed – every day, any day, any time. While the initial stage was built underground with connecting tunnels – the new phase was built in the 90’s atrium style – 3 storeys above ground.

    Sears is in the building that was Eaton’s. It’s an unfortunate architectural monolith – tiled white which turns to mildew grey-green in our climate. Some critics call it a gigantic urinal. Well, it does have a resemblance. (sidenote – the former Sears building never really took off – it certainly wasn’t a highlight of my teen years in the city — now it is Simon Fraser University’s downtown campus.)

    Another underground mall downtown is called Royal Center – Hyatt Regency, Staples, not as popular – largely serves the lunchtime downtown worker crowd, another skytrain station (Burrard)

    The interesting thing about the above two malls is that they are served by transit (light rail, bus, SeaBus) as opposed to having acres and acres of parking

    The other interesting thing is that the downtown is very vibrant and affluent. It’s common to shop at street level and in the underground malls all in one shopping expedition. Example: Chapters is above ground, yet Body Shop, and all those other popular brands are underground. There are grocery stores that have escalators, even a downtown Costco … .again, no mammoth parking lots.

    THere’s another mall in the adjacent city of West Vancouver – very affluent – it’s called Park Royal. It started out as I suppose what you’d call a town center in the mid-50’s. The thing about this mall is that it is alleged to be the first mall in Canada (shopping center is how it was called in those days) There are a couple of groovy apartment towers and then the adjacent mall. It has evolved over time to become enclosed tho I don’t believe it was so at the beginning. It is on two sides of a busy intersection so has evolved as a real dogs breakfast – you should see how they try to make the ugly 70’s monolithic grey concrete parkades look nice. Ugh.

    Anyway, the latest incarnation of Park royal is one of those “main street” outdoor shopping malls like are popular in the USA – like Victoria Gardens in Rancho Cucamonga, So Cal. I think this might be the only big-box, out of the box example in Canada. I have never seen another one up here. I am sure you know what I’m talking about – it’s a way of making “big box” fit in to strict city bylaws in those affluent towns who actually bother to make sure that what gets built actually has some appeal. It reminds me of Disneyland – I mean, this mall even has a fake lighthouse! “Park Royal Village – Main St” is anchored by Whole Foods, Home Depot, Old Navy, Michaels Craft stuff and a bunch of high-end smaller shops and services.

    Across the water from Vancouver is a small regional city called Nanaimo – in the 80’s, the developers got greedy and built and built and built — it had so many malls – Woodgrove Centre is just one – that it was said to have more mall space per capita than anywhere else up here. This is not to say that it was actually rented out mall space – a lot was empty.

    It used to be that a lot of malls up here were developed by “Woodwards” department store (sadly defunct) — they were the anchor, usually with a “food floor” supermarket at one end and the department store at the other – and then boutiques in the middle.

    The other developer was Cadillac Fairview – I think they’re broke now – they were connected to the also defunct Eaton’s chain.

    RE: Walmart – I know of one Walmart that is accessed from the enclosed mall, it is in Duncan BC on Vancouver Island — one hour north of Victoria.

    Another walmart that USED to be accessed from the mall was in Penticton BC – but they demolished the entire mall, including a big Safeway grocery store, and built an even bigger walmart, a stand-alone mega big box with teeny boxes scattered at the street front of massive paved parking lot.

    It’s true that we up here in Canada have indoor malls for even the smallest towns. We’ve had a mall in our small town since the 1970’s. It was added on to an existng strip shopping center.

    Isn’t it funny how malls are often named for what used to be there — and was probably prettier? (Cherry Lane, Orchard Park, Oakridge Center, Woodgrove, Lansdowne Park … well, that was a former horse race track near YVR International Airport)

    ps – over the border, I have heard the Lloyd Center in Portland OR is one of the first malls ever built. Heading north up I-5, TAcoma Mall (WA) was pretty groovy architecture (big white arches) in its day – kind of dumpy now.

    Hope this helps your research.

  128. Cincinnati Mills’ time is running out. Now known as Cincinnati MALL, the new owners are trying to sell/redevelop the property. They want to make it mixed-use, though that may or may not involve total demolition.

  129. From SCT April 2009

    Center Stage: Cincinnati Mills
    By Curt Hazlett

    Like hapless people, some shopping centers seem to have been born under an unlucky star. So it is with Cincinnati Mills, which has had six owners during its 20-year life span and ended 2008 with a vacancy rate of 44 percent, despite completing a renovation four years ago that cost $70 million. It is, in the words of one local blogger, “the nicest abandoned mall in the country.”

    The latest owner is Atlanta’s North Star Realty, which bought the 1.5 million-square-foot shopping center in December from Simon Property Group for a reported price of just over $9 million, plus $18 million in assumed debt. Tom Robinson, North Star’s principal, vows to make the property profitable by attracting both traditional and innovative tenants, but he also hints that much of its value lies in the land beneath — 77 acres along Interstate 275, in Forest Park, north of Cincinnati.

    “My understanding is that the folks who bought it see it as a blank piece of paper,” said Christopher J. Hodge, vice president of retail services in the Cincinnati office of CB Richard Ellis. “They are going to study it and redevelop it from its current carcass into something else. I don’t think you’ll see more than half that building remaining on that site over a period of time.”

    That would be a fitting outcome for a property that seems to have been dragged into the world kicking and screaming. Construction started in 1986, though the center, then called Forest Fair Mall, did not fully open until 1989. By then development costs were $50 million over budget.
    Then there was the complicated matter of anchors. The developer, Australia’s L.J. Hooker Corp., had acquired B. Altman, Bonwit Teller and Sakowitz & Co. and also owned a stake in the Parisian chain; the firm installed all of them as anchors.

    That was a disastrous idea. Crushed by the cost overruns and the acquisition debt, L.J. Hooker Chairman George Herscu put the mall on the market just three months after it opened, and a year later Hooker filed for bankruptcy along with the three department stores it owned outright. “When it failed, it failed not only quickly, but miserably,” said Hodge.

    Serial ownership ensued. L.J. Hooker’s lenders assumed ownership in 1992, renamed it the Mall at Forest Fair and spent heavily to expand the property before selling it in 1995 to Gator Forest Park Partners, which in turn sold it to The Mills Corp. seven years later.

    With Bass Pro Shops, Babies ‘R’ Us and Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th in anchor roles, occupancy rose. But then vacancies climbed again when Mills ran into financial trouble. In January 2007 Cincinnati Mills was among the properties sold to Brookfield Asset Management and Simon. Simon soon indicated that the property was no keeper.

    The retailer exodus continued, meanwhile. The center’s 245,000-square-foot Biggs hypermarket closed last June, and Steve & Barry’s University Sportswear is to be shut as part of that chain’s liquidation. The mall’s east wing is now nearly empty.

    North Star completed the purchase of Cincinnati Mills on Dec. 30. Robinson says he is still working on a plan for the property, which he described as “flat gorgeous — tremendous sticks and bricks.” He says plans may involve closing underused portions of the building and bringing in nonretail tenants.

    A lot is riding on the outcome, because Robinson financed the deal with recourse loans backed by personal guarantees. Why take such a chance on a troubled property? “This is what we do,” he said. “We have been transacting mall deals for a long time, and you only take a risk when there is a possibility of reward. The good news about mall properties is that they occupy huge tracts of land, and when you can get a tract of land for land value or below, it is well worth it.”

  130. I have pictures of West Hill Mall, a sMall in Huntsville, Texas. Sad, sad, sad. A JCPenney the size of a postage stamp, Foot Locker, Dollar Tree, a veteran’s museum, a nail salon, Palais Royal, a community center, and about three or four clothing stores. And then there’s the mysterious sealed-off corridor.

  131. And what’s worse a big-box site is being prepared south of town (with Target!) and a bunch more leveled land. JCPenney will likely jump ship…but I don’t think the mall will bounce back. It certainly hasn’t changed much since my last visit in 2002. And it has a website.

  132. The Tampa Bay area would have made an interesting case study for dead malls between the eight-year span of 1997-2005 — no short of eight malls were struggling, shuttered, and demolished in that time frame. Shame I didn’t take residence here until 2005, I’ve been having difficulty finding pictures of these places (except for Tampa Bay Center, there are pictures on deadmalls and flickr of it).

    Pinellas Square Mall (called ParkSide Mall in its twilight years) in Pinellas Park — A large mall that struggled from 1990 onward. After John Hancock took possession of it from Simon-DeBartolo in 1996, it underwent an extensive renovation, but that couldn’t save it. Many factors contributed to its death, including crime (or the perception of it), the deterioration of the area, and the demographics in the immediate area surrounding the mall. The St. Petersburg Times described the mall in 1998, “The mall is nearly new, but it appears as doomed as an old factory in a northern steel town.” It closed on June 30, 2004 and demolition prep started the next day. It was turned into a huge big-box center in 2006.

    Tampa Bay Center in Tampa — One of the most popular malls on that side of the bay in the ’80s. The closing of Burdines in 1999 and shortly after, Montgomery Ward, sent the mall into tailspin. The opening of International Plaza not too far away in 2001 was the final nail in the coffin. It shut its doors in 2002 and was demolished in early 2005 to make way for a Tampa Bay Buccaneers training facility.

    Crossroads Mall (originally called Tampa Bay Outlet Mall) in Clearwater — You’d figure a mall at one of the largest intersections in the county would have taken off at light speed. However, it didn’t. The outlet mall was a doomed project from the get-go. It was razed in 2005 and there had been large, ambitious plans for the property, but none of them have come to fruition. The mall’s dilapidated sign still stands there, though.

    Clearwater Mall in Clearwater — Another well-traversed intersection (Gulf-to-Bay and US 19), another dead mall. It was one of the Bay area’s first regional-size malls. We all know the oft-repeated story — a newer mall strangling the older mall’s business. It lost a war with Countryside Mall to the north, and ceased operation in early 2002. It’s now a big-box center with a Super Target.

    Gateway Mall in St. Petersburg — First opened in the ’60s, this smaller mall once boasted nearly sixty tenants. It started its decline in the late ’80s, with younger people preferring to shop at larger malls like Tyrone Square. Most of the original mall structure was demolished and transformed into a big-box center in 1998 which, until recently, still retained the Gateway Mall name.

    Eastlake Square in Tampa — This mall was Pinellas Square’s twin sister, and was an exercise in failure. Less than a decade after it was built, it showed signs of not making it, even before newer malls like Brandon Town Center were built. Like Pinellas Square, John Hancock also took possession of this mall, and decided the best thing for it was to put it out of its misery. Rather than tearing down the mall, they transformed it into a mega-office park in 1998, called Netpark Tampa Bay.

    Sunshine Mall in Clearwater — This small mall bit the dust about the same time Gateway Mall did, but was mostly vacant for longer than Gateway was. Opened in 1968, Sunshine was one of the first enclosed malls in the state of Florida, and got considerable amount of business up until the mid-to-late ’80s. Its final years were geared towards the senior citizen population rather than as a shopping destination. It was leveled in 1998 and now an apartment complex stands in its place.

    Floriland Mall in Tampa — This small mall was the pioneer in Tampa Bay’s demalling wave, getting a head start four years earlier. When University Square (now University Mall) opened in the late ’70s, it started to feel the heat. Then crime in the neighborhood increased — dramatically. Even some operators of mall stores were involved with serious criminal activity, including a prostitution ring. It was dingy, dirty, vacant. A last-minute renovation by new mall owners couldn’t resurrect it, and was turned into a flea market in 1994, and more recently, offices and services.

    Nowadays it looks like the General Growth-owned University Mall shows signs of decline, even after renovation. In the next county over, Baywalk (while not a mall, it’s more like the outdoor plaza version of a small mall) is in serious trouble. It’s under foreclosure and one by one, tenants are leaving. When I drove by it on the way back from a baseball game last weekend, it was dark save for the movie theater and Johnny Rockets.

  133. I have two suggestions for Pittsburgh-area malls.

    Century III Mall in the southern suburb of West Mifflin. This has to be one of the more unique malls developed by DeBartolo. ( There’s also a link to a MySpace group with lots of user photos of the mall’s interior.

    Former Greengate Mall in Greensburg, PA. Developed by James Rouse and Victor Gruen, two of the most influential mall developers of our time. Legendary for its annual Christmas displays and family-like ambiance. Immortalized in the William S. Kowinski book, the Malling of America.

  134. Wow, Jonah, RE: Westhill. That is one dead mall. You know you’re in deep doo-doo when a couple of the major players are a Veteran’s museum and the US Dept of Agriculture.

  135. I have a ton of pictures I took at Century III last november. It’s a quintessential DeBartolo mall. Lots of white brick, mirrors, and angles.

  136. Pittsburgh’s South Hills has a very thorough retail history. In addition to Century III and South Hills Village, there’s also the Mt. Lebanon Galleria, which started as a freestanding Kaufmann’s department store, and Village Square, which began as an enclosed mall and later redeveloped into an open-air power center. SHV, the Galleria and Village Square sit about a half mile from each other. Century III is about 10-15 minutes to the east.

  137. Woah. The Rehoboth Mall is still open? It was dead as a doornail in the late 80’s. Even then I wondered why anyone would have bothered building it.

  138. funky-rat, It’s still open.

    So it was a failure from the start?

  139. Well, it was always small, but the pickings there were always really slim, variety wise. Lots of mom-and-pop stores and hardly any foot traffic. A few years after the last time I set foot in there (which was probably around 1990-ish), my mom stopped by and said it was still there and still sparce.

    I was honestly shocked to see it was still open. I’d have figured it would have been swallowed up by a Lowe’s or something similar. I know that the last time I went there they didn’t have a Wal-Mart (I checked out the developers website), but there was a similar type store (like an Ames or something similar) because we bought beach towels there. I also think the mall corridor might have been longer than it is now, but I can’t be 100% sure. It’s been too long.

    Now I don’t live there, and only visited once or twice a year, but I don’t ever remember that mall “hopping”. The place to go shopping that’s always crowded are the stores down toward the boardwalk. Maybe the mall is best served by the permanent residents and not the tourists.

  140. Let me see what I remember what was in there when I was in there Wed.

    Wal-Mart(Undergoing some renovations)
    A Craft Store?
    Rite Aid?
    Fast Food Places lining the highways
    Radio Shack
    Chinese Buffet
    Exotic pet store(They had a kangaroo for sale, WTF?)
    A Medical supply store.
    Some foodplace.
    And a small theater that went out of business.
    That’s all I remember and I thank Labelscar for inspiring me to poke my head in here instead of run the other way =p.

  141. OK, let’s see what Google Maps says. I can see that the craft store is Michaels, which I think is sort of Hobby Lobby. The theater appears to be still open or very recently closed (a review dated as being from March 2009 calls the theater clean and prices reasonable). The medical supply store is called CPS Medical Supplies and the pet store is Pet Safari.

    The Wal-Mart looks like replaced something else at one time.

  142. I can’t remember what store it was exactly, but it was like a Wal-Mart. I’m thinking Ames or K-Mart or something similar.

    I know we bought beach towels there once (because someone at the beach stole ours), and I forgot to pack a few things once and we stopped there to get what I forgot.

  143. Darn, I should have taken photos.
    But then I would have noobed it up so bad I probably get busted.
    (Rehoboth Mall)

  144. Yeah – that’s the one I found the other day.

    Sometime in the next year I’ll be headed that way, and if I have time, I’ll stopy by.

  145. The site suddenly went plain-text HTML like. Is this only on my end? It was normal earlier this afternoon.

  146. Does anyone have a photo of the Henrietta Plaza located at the intersections of 15A and 252 in Henrietta, New York from that late 1960’s – 1970’s?

  147. I might as well post here that I’m trying to look up anything I can on the former Brickyard Mall on the northwest side of Chicago, and interior pics of the mall from the 80s and 90s. I have seen some photographs on this mall, including one who did a photoset of this mall’s demolition a few years ago, but are there any major photosets of this mall floating online besides of it’s demolition. Finally, I hold a lot of interest in this mall, since I went here every so often when I was younger.

    I already have read the entry for Brickyard, just for everyone’s information. URLs to non-photography sites about people just blogging about their Brickyard memories, and for other various sites about things relating to this mall, would be appreciated too.

  148. Allan,

    I’m also looking for information on the Brickyard Mall. I used to be a District Manager for a chain that had a location there, and I drove by recently only to see the place leveled in such an odd way that it’s difficult for me to remember the original configuration. There used to be an Odeon Theater, a Pep Boys, and a Silo (later Circuit City) store in the out lot of the Bricktown Center (strip mall next to the Brickyard). Then there was a ramp leading to the Sears in the Mall that had several tiers. It was the strangest mall. But what is left is even more odd.

    Can you elaborate on how they reconfigured? Does the Bricktown Center still stand? If it does, it looks so far set back from the road. Everything does! It is rather creepy!!!

  149. Thornton Town Center was a Colorado mall. It may or may not be de-malled, I think it is…and it had a bigg’s (like Forest Fair Mall!). What happened to it? Any info?

    10001 Grant Street Thornton, CO

  150. It was suspiciously similar to FFM, in fact. It was opened at the same time, had a smaller amusement park (“carousel, 18- hole miniature golf course and a midway filled with sports, rides and games”), possibly more like River Falls Mall, developed by LJ Hooker…

  151. Labelscar’s comments are kind of slow, maybe time for a new update? Oh, and I found out a bit about Thornton Town Center…it’s not too exciting.

  152. I’m surprised no one has brought up Pittsburghs most famous mall…Monroeville Mall, Monroeville Pa. This mall has had several movies filmed there, as well as hosting the world famous zombie walk, which set a guinese world record. There are also several other malls in the area that deserve some credit: Greengate Mall, Eastland Mall, Century 3, Pittsburgh Mills, Westmoreland Mall….to name a few.

  153. If you’re coming back to the Reading/Philly area to check out Fairgrounds or Berkshire again. I highly reccomend Coventry Mall and the hallowed out corpse shell of the M.o.M Mall in Morgantown. I just took my girlfriend today and it was amazing in the saddest of ways

  154. Hello,
    I live in Landover, MD and just read about your visits to dead malls in PG county which has its share.
    But you missed one or there is one you need to add.

    Capital Center at the BLVD with was built on the old site of the Capital Center Arena in Landover where the Hoyas/Bullets/NHL Capitals once played. It only opened in 2005 but its already dead. Some because of luck and timing (Circuit City and Linens & Things went out of business nation wide) and partly because of crime (at least two shootings that resulted in death in the past 2 years), poor store selection form the get-go with poor policing and security.

    I agree Iverson mall is groovy!

    I also grew up in Texas and enjoyed your post on Red Bird mall/AKA Southwest Center Mall in Dallas.
    I remember “John Wiley Price” and as of Jan. 2008 he was still an elected official beleive it or not!

  155. Hey guys could you please add my new blog- http://kmartworld.blogspot to your blogroll? I’m trying to get the word out about it. It’s all things Kmart and related retailers. I added a link to labelscar on my blog to support you guys. Thanks!

  156. Hello
    I’m glad to have found this wonderful site. It’s also good to see some recent activity, too. I will mention it in any message boards or groups of which I am a member that have a similiar interest, if you like. This is the modern recording of history!
    I will post more info on malls I have known that are now long gone, also.
    Anyone else out there collect vintage postcards of malls? These are a great recording of the interiors of malls past. FYI- these can be purchased very cheap at flea markets,usually a dollar or less.

  157. It was supposed to be a response to “Anyone else out there collect vintage postcards of malls? These are a great recording of the interiors of malls past. FYI- these can be purchased very cheap at flea markets,usually a dollar or less.”

    I was posting that link to him, in case he hadn’t heard of it.

  158. A recent trip to Myrtle Beach SC has shown that Myrtle Square Mall in no more. Except for an Office Depot, the place is shuttered, the parking lot is barricated. Looks like is was out-classed by Coastal Grand Mall, Broadway by the Beach, and The Market Commons, Located within the touristy beach shops, mini golf places, and fried fish emporiums of Kings Hwy didn’t help Myrtle Square either.

  159. Hmm…in addition to Cincinnati Mall and Century III Mall, why not try Sherman Oaks Galleria…it’s outdoor and in California but it WAS an indoor mall, so it’s a fine fit.

  160. I love your topic. I started doing something similar to your topic for a digital photography class last fall. The slide show of it all really makes a big impression.
    I added a couple to your Flickr group,
    People thought I was a little crazy for taking pictures of an empty Sears parking lot, but seeing these pictures here in volume shows how much things have changed.

  161. A link to a local mall that was demolished in 2005 (it was built in 1968). It was put out of business by a giant outlet/discount indoor mall called Gurnee Mills.

  162. I have more so a suggestion for the site.

    Could you please take a look at your html coding, because your website page appears extremely wide
    (bottom scroll bar, when I scroll to the right there is a big white space adjacent to the layout)

    and please make your photos at the beginning of your articles a tad smaller.

    I use Firefox Browser, btw.
    No problems with any other websites.

  163. I have a request: Check-out more of the Ohio malls. Ohio is one of the most populous of the states and yet you have covered only 7 malls in the Buckeye state. Similarly-sized Illinois has 21 entries. Puny Massachusetts and Maryland have 27 and 9 entries, respectively. If you want to be comprehensive in your mall coverage, overlooking the Buckeye state’s rich retail history is a mistake. Arguably, the first urban vertical mall in the US is in Cleveland [the Arcade, which dates to the 1890s] and one of the first planned suburban shopping centers [Shaker Square, from the 1920s] is in Ohio as well. And, you had better hurry-up in your Ohio coverage, as the malls are disappearing fast- the following malls are all dead or have morphed into other uses: Euclid Square, Severance Center & Westgate in Cleveland; Salem Mall in Dayton; various malls in Cincinnati and Columbus, as well as the malls that you have already covered in Toledo and Cleveland. Thanks for your consideration.

  164. Does anyone the mall used in the Surviving Disaster mall shooting episode last night?

  165. Here are 2 links for winrock mall in Albuquerque ,New Mexico,U.S.A.Whichby the way is not in your list of states.Wonder why.I was surprized the dead mall phenomenon was national.Thought it was just winrock.

  166. Paul: funnily enough we’re working on a post about Winrock RIGHT NOW. It should be the next thing live on the site!

  167. Holiday shoppers find a changed retail landscape

    Retail landscape has changed since the last holiday season

    By Dana Hunsinger of The Indianapolis Star

    An Indianapolis perspective on what has been discussed here. I wonder if Ms Hunsinger reads Labelscar and DeadMalls, or only university professors and retail analysts. Real journalists can’t quote blogs and other web stuff!

  168. Out of curiosity, how long do Labelscar entries take to make? It might help me gain perspective on things and not be so impatient (or worried).

  169. @Bob, Actually, we’ve been quoted in many local newspapers, The Economist, and the Wall Street Journal, and so has Deadmalls. So, at least some real journalists are using us as a refereed source of info, and that’s great.

  170. @Jonah Norason (Pseudo3D), It takes a while. For each article we have to do research, gather and edit the pictures, write and edit an article for cohesiveness and clarity, and make sure we included everything we could. This whole process takes hours, but when you factor in that we each have lives and other obligations, it ends up taking a lot longer, unfortunately. We can’t really cut corners, either, or all of the comments will be negative and attack us. Ha ha.

  171. @mrmdn,

    Oh my god, MOM Mall! I haven’t been in there in years. I grew up in Honey Brook and used to go there all the time as a kid. I remember when it was still an outlet mall…I remember the record store down by the Holiday Inn entrance where I used to get all kinds of NKOTB gear in the late 80s. And the Toy Liquidators. And the red picnic tables in the kid’s area of the food court. I moved to MD ten years ago and haven’t been there since. Is it still full of furniture outlets and such?

  172. Here in Baltimore we’ve got two good ones–Owings Mills Mall (almost totally dead) and Marley Station Mall (getting there slowly but surely). Both were really hurt by the loss of Boscov’s in the last year.

  173. NYT Deal Book Blog

    Simon to Buy Prime Outlets for $2.2 Billion
    December 8, 2009, 1:18 pm
    The Simon Property Group, the big mall operator, has agreed to buy Prime Outlets from the Lightstone Group for $2.235 billion, adding 22 retail outlets to its portfolio.

    The deal helps solidify Simon as one of the healthier mall operators at a time when many competitors are struggling with the downturn in consumer spending.

    Led by David Simon (pictured), the scion of the company’s eponymous founding family and a former investment banker, Simon is widely expected to use its cash to finance a spending spree.

    “Prime Outlets is an excellent opportunity for Simon as it represents a strong strategic fit for our existing Premium Outlet portfolio and enhances our leadership position in the outlet business,” Mr. Simon said in a statement. “Following the completion of this transaction our outlet portfolio will have 63 centers comprising approximately 25 million square feet.”

    Under the terms of the deal announced Tuesday, Simon’s consideration for Prime Outlets will consist of 80 percent cash and 20 percent stock.

    But while Simon intends to use its existing cash to pay for that portion of the deal, it announced separately that it has arranged a $3.565 billion line of credit that can expand up to $4 billion. The financing, arranged by a group of 34 firms led by JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America, may serve as a war chest for additional deal-making.

    A Simon spokesman, Les Morris, declined to comment about the financing beyond the press release.

    Simon has hired Lazard and the law firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz to advise it on a potential bid for the assets of General Growth Properties, people briefed on the matter told DealBook.

    Lightstone, a real estate investment firm, has struggled amid the downturn in real estate. It has already had to put Extended Stay Hotels in bankruptcy. Now it is selling Prime Outlets, a 2003 deal that transformed Lightstone from an owner of second-tier apartment buildings into a noteworthy player in real estate.

    Prime Outlets’ centers, which house the likes of Saks’ Off Fifth and Neiman Marcus’s Last Call chains, were 92 percent occupied and generated about $370 per square foot as of June 30, the two companies said.

    “The complementary fit of our two businesses and Simon’s skills in property management offer a significant value creation opportunity,” David Lichtenstein, Lightstone’s founder and chief executive, said in a statement. “I am very proud of the company we were able to build over the past seven years and equally delighted that we were able to sell Prime to a world-class company like Simon. This is truly a win-win transaction.”

    Simon was advised by UBS, JPMorgan and the law firm Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. Lightstone was advised by Citigroup and the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

    – Michael J. de la Merced

  174. Okay so what happens in Orlando, with Prime and Premium having many overlapping stores and are basically brand new? Everywhere else I’m for this, but I really want to know what will happen in Orlando.

  175. @AceJay, What is the distence between the outlet malls. If they are far enough apart there shouldn’t be any issues. However if they are in near proximity to one another then the DOJ may require one property to be sold. If the latter is the case then I would believe the Prime outlets would be the property that would be sold to another REIT like Tanger.

  176. Less than a mile apart on the same road =/

  177. @AceJay, Tipical sprawl zoning or in this case lack of it.

    I remember traveling through Miami & every mile or so seeing one mall after another with the same anchors. Same deal here.

  178. Northwest Plaza Macy’s to close in latest blow for struggling mall
    By Tim Logan
    Wednesday, Jan. 06 2010
    ST. ANN — Macy’s said Tuesday that it will close its store in Northwest Plaza,
    the latest in a long string of blows for the struggling shopping center.

    It is one of five stores nationwide the Cincinnati-based retailer marked for
    closure in its annual post-holiday purge, and the second year in a row that one
    of those has been in the St. Louis area.

    Quite simply, said Macy’s spokesman Jim Sluzewski, the Northwest Plaza store
    wasn’t doing well enough, and there was no easy fix to its problems.

    “Each year we look at our portfolio of stores across the country and see if we
    need to close any,” he said.

    “We look for stores that are under-performing, that we don’t think there’s an
    opportunity to improve in the short term.”

    The whole mall — which at 1.8 million square feet is the St. Louis area’s
    largest — has been under-performing for years. And there’s a growing thought
    that it may face the same fate as its Macy’s.

    A Dillard’s and a Steve & Barry’s Sportswear closed last year, and at least
    half of its storefronts are vacant. Now city officials are concerned that Sears
    — which by April will be Northwest’s only anchor store — may close, too, though
    a spokeswoman for that company said they are “continuing to serve our customers
    and community.”

    In September, Northwest Plaza was taken over by its lenders at a foreclosure
    auction for just under $30 million. The previous owners — a pair of California
    development firms — had paid $45 million to buy it in 2006, according to St.
    Louis County records.

    Plans by St. Ann officials and the California developers to refurbish Northwest
    as offices and big-box retail have stalled since the foreclosure, said City
    Administrator Matt Conley.

    The mall is now owned by a consortium of lenders and institutional investors,
    he said, and getting them all to agree on any single course of action is

    “It’s a real mess,” Conley said. “The current ownership structure can’t do
    anything with the property except keep the lights on, which appears to be less
    viable by the day.”

    Now, St. Ann hopes to force the issue, and is moving to take Northwest Plaza
    through eminent domain and find a new developer to start from scratch.

    The city can use up to $96 million in tax increment financing that was approved
    under the prior developer, and has launched eminent domain proceedings, Conley
    said, though he expected that process to take quite some time. A spokeswoman
    for Grubb & Ellis Co., the real estate firm that is now managing Northwest
    Plaza for its owners, declined to comment.

    A similar overhaul — with potential for eminent domain — is being studied for
    Jamestown Mall in north St. Louis County, which is also struggling. Tuesday’s
    news, though, is a sort of reprieve for Jamestown. Macy’s typically only
    announces store closings once a year, said Sluzewski. That’s a sign that it
    plans to keep its Jamestown store open for now.

    The retailer has also affirmed its commitment to keeping open its downtown St.
    Louis store, though it has reached a deal to sell the Railway Exchange Building
    that houses it, and redesign the store from seven floors down to three.

    But Northwest, like Crestwood Court a year ago, will lose its Macy’s. It is
    expected to close in March, with final clearance sales starting on Sunday.

    The store’s 71 employees “may be offered positions in nearby stores where
    possible,” the company said.

  179. Two other malls in SE Michigan are worth keeping an eye on: Oakland Mall in Troy, MI and Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights, MI. Lakeside is the more interesting of the two, because its parent company, General Growth Properties, is in financial trouble, as you know. On top of this, most people are now shopping at the newly-opened Partridge Creek Mall down the road. Oakland Mall is doing ok, but the area surrounding it is a wasteland of empty offices and vacant buildings. The mall itself has declined. Very sad and very spooky.

  180. Have you guys checked out this and featured it on your site — a 13-minute documentary about the biggest mall in the world (2X the Mall of America), which also happens to be a dead mall? It’s in Southern China.

  181. @Bob, The below link, which is my site, has Hampton Square information. The Chinese restaurant is now gone, too.

  182. The other day, I was doing some leasing research for fun on various malls, and I was quite shocked to see Charlestowne Mall has hit about a 75% vacancy rate. I knew that mall was teethering into trouble, and I have to theorize the Stratford Square Mall renovation definitely did the job(and moreso than I thought) I thought it was going to do to Charlestowne.

    The anchors it has(i.e. Von Maur, an 18-screen theater, it is fully occupied w/them in contrast to the inline spaces) really must be the only thing keeping this one alive. I would not be surprised if it’s only a matter of whenever the economy starts to jump back, before this place is de-malled:

  183. @Allan,

    You’re right about Charlestowne. The upper level is bad enough with perhaps 50% occupied, but the lower level is MUCH more vacant. I counted just seven open stores on the lower level last time I was through there. A shame too, since the place isn’t very old. Opened in 1991 if I remember right?

  184. @Charles, I’m about to start a retail blog pretty soon(my long-term focus will be malls throughout the Midwest, but it’ll only have Chicago-related retail chains and malls to start), and this is one I’m probably gonna put extra focus on try to do before it’s sealed.

    Do you know if the mall security here is more zealous than usual? I’d like to know, so I have an idea of what to expect when I make it here. I’m slightly worried doing pics here will be like JT’s terrible experiences photographing Stonecrest(mall in east Atlanta ‘burbs), but who knows.

  185. Interesting piece in today’s Inky on the Shops at Liberty Place. When I first encountered it 15 years ago it seemed like a mall in search of an identity. Lacking anything like a traditional anchor, it relied on a weird mix of premium shops and mass-market retail like Circuit City Express and Disney. Crammed in the middle of Philly’s financial/legal office district, it was really a weird fit. Recently there has been some luxury condo development in the immediate area, but probably not enough to create a market for the mall beyond the lunch crowd. If you find yourself in the area, it’s worth a visit.

  186. @phillybikeboy,

    I’ve been there a few times after work – odd place. I can’t even call it a mall, because a lot of the time, you need to cut through the middle of a store to get from one area to another (for example, somehow a street entrance for the food court forced me to walk through a high-end menswear store). And it’s almost entirely reliant on foot traffic, which is mostly from people coming & going to work in the area. The after-work time period isn’t exactly welcoming (half of the food court is closed, the shops are semi-closed), so you lose some patrons there. I’d recommend you visit it before they decide to turn it into (a) a larger food court or (b) more office space.

  187. @Allan,

    Well they do have uniformed security there but I’m not sure how “friendly” they are. The clientele seems pretty tame so its possible the security guys might be reasonably casual too. You never know however; Randhurst seemed pretty harmless too but the security guys were very much opposed to photos!
    Come to think of it, I have a couple pics of Charlestowne myself although nothing really ground-breaking. I haven’t even looked at them in ages.

  188. @Allan,

    I too, was fixing on starting a blog of my own that focuses mainly on Wisconsin’s retail scene, past and present. While this blog and others have covered bits and pieces, I had hoped to gather all the information and put it in one spot.

    There’s still malls and retail areas here that are probably too far-flung or small, such as the Superior / Duluth area, Central Wisconsin (Steven’s Point, Wausau, Marshfield, Wis. Rapids (okay, this region isn’t THAT far, a 2 1/2 hour trek at most), LaCrosse and Eau Claire / Chippewa Valley, going up through Rice Lake, and finally the Marinette / Menominee MI region…. to even bother with, but my goal would be to cover every last one. We had two huge mall building waves in the state…one going from around 1954 (Southgate Milwaukee, Valley Fair, Appleton, and so on) to the early 1970s (Milwaukee, Madison suburban malls, the “Simon” malls of WI), the second in the late 1970s – early 1980s (the Kohl’s-anchored ‘neighborhood’ malls of the era that dotted small cities and suburbs) peaking with Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue redevelopment project (covered in great detail on this blog…..just see the comments section), up through super-regional newcomers (Fox River Mall Appleton, Mayfair in Wauwatosa and it’s re-envisioning into the super-regional player it is now), and beyond into the 1990s and 2000s as WalMart started to take hold and put the knock down to many of the smaller, now-forgotten centers of retail in the state.

    I’d also put the spotlight on Prange Way, the discount store of my youth. Amazing how much folks remember of that place, but finding information and especially images and other things is anything but easy. Unlike other regional players like Ames, Zayre, Hills and ShopKo (which still exists today, but has trended upscale in recent years), their footprint was solely here in Wisconsin, and until 1990, they were part of the H.C. Prange corporate umbrella, not treated as a separate entity.

    This retail stuff sure is a tough hobby….info gathering, photography (zealous security run-ins being probably the most nerve-wracking moments), as I have no connections to gather information and imagery from. One can’t do a very invigorating blog without a mix of text and imagery. Still someone’s gotta do it.

  189. @Matt from WI, You’ve very right that compiling information about when stores, malls, shopping centers, when a shopping center was enclosed into an indoor mall, it’s open and/or closing year, etc. can all be very difficult to compile, so I’m hoping that I’ll get enough email responses and/or post comments to get information. JT posted on his Sky City blog about the difficulties he’s faced getting historical info on important events in the history of individual malls, shopping centers, etc., and I envision it’ll probably take also doing side trips to public libraries(even local ones beyond the Chicago area) to help myself out in doing the research correctly. And I agree that someone needs to step up and do it. I was even looking at those Grand Ave Mall comments the other day, and it seems like it has(ugh!) a combination of an image problem like certain malls do(i.e. River Oaks in Cal City, despite both having a decent number of mid-tier stores), and a possible crime one. Though I didn’t FEAR for a single second I’d be jumped when I was briefly in Milwaukee in November and went in there, everyone I encountered in the mall was either friendly or minded their own business, and maybe I’m just much more accepting of different ethnicities and minorities than the average white dude. *shrug*

    My plans include putting a certain spotlight on the former chain Venture, since I have a nostalgic connection with their stores the way you do with Prange Way. I hope you don’t mind if there may be an infrequent overlap between my blog and yours(i.e. Regency Mall in Racine, and I haven’t ruled out writing on malls in the Milwaukee, Madison, and Janesville/Beloit area).

    @Charles, Thanks for the comments on Charlestowne security. I think I’ll just hope for the best, and act in a casual manner so that I don’t stand out. Worse that happens is I’ll get an intense run-in by a zealous security guard, and kicked out. Then again, I got the sense when I was at Golf Mill in the last 1-2(?) weeks, that the security probably is laid-back there, but sadly I wasn’t in much of a photo-taking mood that day.

  190. @Allan,

    Of course, it’ll be expected that some information will overlap, but our own experiences and details are what will make the blogs / sites unique.

    I look forwards to whatever you put out there in the retail history blogisphere.

  191. I’d like to see some more Michigan content, myself. Maybe I could even arrange to meet one of you guys at one and give you a tour — I’m pretty well versed on most of the Michigan malls. Here are some of my recommendations:

    *Any of the malls in the Upper Peninsula. All of them are very small and, except for Westwood Mall in Marquette, dying.

    *Alpena Mall in Alpena. A very small-town, dying mall with a couple surprising former tenants.

    *Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights. Very large, but with a few dying spots.

    *Northland Center in Southfield, for obvious reasons.

    *Anything else you think is interesting.

  192. here is a link to the stamford town center mall. it has a very intresting design as it has about 5 floors but only 130 stores. has a cool outdoor plaza and is a very intresting mall. anchors are macys, saks, barnes and noble and h&m. also has a plaza with 6 sitdown restruants. google it for tons of info, old articles and photos.



  193. Wanted to pass along my story from the Palm Beach Post – thought you’d be interested to see what’s up with the (late) Palm Beach Mall. -AA-

  194. Please add a spot for Puente Hills Mall in Industry CA. This is the mall where “Back to the Future” was filmed. According to Wikipedia, Penney’s and Broadway closing in the 90’s, but the mall continues on today.

  195. Given the discussions about it regarding Simon’s GGP grab, does anyone have anything on Franklin Mills? Simon has let this place just fall apart. It was this HUGE deal when it first opened, but now it’s half empty, most of the outparcels are abandoned empty restaurants, and it’s just generally fallen off from what it once was.

  196. @Mela, The sprawling lightning-bolt shape might be novel, but it makes getting from one area of the mall to another take a long time, as opposed to a more efficient 2- or 3- story design. It also hurts because the good stores remaining aren’t confined to just one wing…they’re staggered throughout the mall, precluding an easy tear-down of any part of the mall. It’s sad, although the H & M there is big, and the JC Penney outlet is actually a true outlet, with great discounts. Inside, the mall’s design isn’t terribly dated, but the outside entraces painted in ridiculous 1980’s colors don’t exactly beckon shoppers. A little paint would be such an easy fix, but Simon hasn’t even done that! A difficult property for sure, and there doesn’t seem to be an easy solution 🙁

  197. First of all I like your site as I am in the retail business myself. In regards to the Hudson, NH WS project you may want to look into another project that has been stalled in Nashua called Nashua Landing a proposed 600,000 SF lifestyle center down the street from the Pheasant Lane Mall which I believe came online after the Hudson project and though started by New England Development I have heard that WS was going to get involved (probably scrapping their Hudson project).

  198. Just shared a link of the writeup you featured on Arsenal Mall on our facebook page. Some of the information is old (was written in 2007) but it was very well-written and gives a very detailed look at our historically unique shopping center. Thanks!

  199. Hey guys it’s Nathan!

    I would like you guys to give me a call sometime…anytime is fine…if I don’t answer, leave a voicemail! My phone number is (515) 227-0846.

    I would like to speak to you gentleman about profiling malls and the such. Talk to you later!

    Nathan Bush

  200. I don’t know where else to write this but I was watching a new Sears commercial on TV and at the end of the commercial, they show the Sears logo but it’s not the current logo, instead it’s a contemporary one, all lower case and I don’t know how else to explain it but it’s much different from their existing logo… has anyone else seen it?

  201. Hello. What date in 1981 did Manchester’s Madison WI Close?

  202. From April,
    2010 Shopping Center Business

    Economic And Demographic Changes Equate To New Centers
    With changes in the economy and consumer behavior continuing, new research points to changes in store at shopping centers. What will the center of the future really look like? How will the future consumer make decisions while shopping? Here’s a peek at some of the features.
    Randall Shearin

    In 2009, the design firm, Gensler, and research firm CC Groves pulled together a team to study what retail would look like in the future. The team’s focus was on how and where the consumer would want to shop in a retail environment in the years to come. At the conclusion of the study, the team shared its findings with only a few retail leaders. Now, Shopping Center Business is sharing the high points of the study with our readers exclusively.


    A number of retailers have switched to fixturing systems that have color systems or shelving that can be easily switched out to be cost effective, yet fit the surroundings of each store, be they middle-class or upmarket.

    Spurring the Gensler/CC Groves study was, of course, the current economy and the changes it is causing to the retail landscape. The study took into account global changes, not just dynamics in the United States. Emergence of the middle class in many countries is one consideration that will enable U.S. retailers and mall developers to expand internationally, for instance. The team also looked at economic and demographic projections and tried to rationalize this with the design and sizing of stores.

    In the U.S., this statistic is changing; the middle class is shrinking, which also has the potential to alter store size. Another striking shift is about to take place in this country: by 2015, there will be more people living in urban areas than rural areas for the first time ever — a marked shift toward urban transportation hubs.

    The future population is also a major factor in how stores and centers of the future will be designed. Generation Y does not distinguish between virtual friendships and real friendships today. Think of it as the new version of having many pen pals; the physical and virtual worlds provide equal value for younger consumers.

    “Kids and teens will be walking through the mall, talking on their phones, texting on their phones and talking to their friend next to them at once,” says Lance Boge, principal in the New York City office of Gensler.

    Additionally, global retailers are becoming increasingly local. “Balancing the efficiency of mass production and the desire for products that are customized for a niche market is another factor affecting retail,” says Cynthia Groves, president of Washington, D.C.-based CC Groves.

    To study the future of retail, the team focused on three key elements: the study of how retailing is changing; how the mall will change; and demographics and psychographics of the consumer. With the fundamentals of the changing demographics and behavior patterns of consumers an understood factor, the team applied these ideas to the way retailers are adapting, and then the way that retail space will need to adapt to retailers’ needs.

    Using all these considerations, and the findings from the study, the team wanted to create ideas that lead to a more consumer friendly environment.

    How Changes Are Affecting Retailers

    The group studied the businesses of a cross-section of retailers, including those in technology, fashion and department store categories. One of the retailers that the group studied was Apple, widely considered a leader with the operations of its retail stores. The team looked at the way the business was run and the type of loyal customer who shopped there. They also paid attention to Apple’s advertising — its ‘I’m a Mac’ campaign — that asks consumers to identify themselves with technology.

    “You watch those ads and see what your beliefs and buying habits are if you are a Mac,” says Boge. “It is cross-economic because nearly every household has a computer or uses a computer.”

    The ads also show how easily consumers adapt to changes in technology.

    “What is surprising is that the retailers are ahead of mall owners in taking hold of technology,” says Boge. “They are also ahead of owners on how this is going to impact their stores, whether this is shrinking square footage or expanding it.”

    “Retailers are striving to increase sales and improve profits by focusing on compelling new technology that creates a 24-hour connection to the consumer, and that improves the overall shopping experience,” says Groves.

    The recent temporary store for Christian Dior shows how a chic retail location can be designed using inexpensive finishes.

    Boge points to Wet Seal as an example of one retailer who has used technology and the Internet to its advantage. The retailer developed an application on its Web site that allows consumers to create their own outfits using items available online and in stores. Within the first few weeks, 300,000 people had used the application. The application not only allows Wet Seal to see what is popular, but it can also forecast trends in fashion based on what items consumers are pairing. Wet Seal can create new merchandise in about 6 weeks, according to Boge. The next step in this is downloading this type of application to a mobile device, then going to the store. At the store, you’ll be able to have your phone communicate with electronic devices that then tell you which items are popularly paired with your chosen items. It’s similar to what many Web sites can do now, only you would be standing with all the merchandise.

    “Shopping could become a very different experience,” says Boge. “Technology implies changes to the framework and the structure, as well as the construction of the malls and what consumers are expecting.”

    Pop-up retail is another phenomenon that the group paid close attention to. Pop-up retail has become popular with brands wanting to create a retail experience, and with retailers wanting to experiment with a new environment.

    “If you combine technology with the flexible concept of pop-up, you begin to see what the new retail experience might look like,” says Boge. “Retail tenants are exploring and implementing versions of pop-up in order to test a market before signing a long-term lease and to avoid expensive build-out costs,” says Groves.

    There are three pieces to what the store of the future of retail will look like, the team determined. The first is that it will be about materiality. Stores may look high end and expensive, but could use low-cost, environmentally friendly materials. Gensler recently designed a temporary location for Christian Dior in New York City that successfully met Dior’s high standards for its brand aesthetic and reputation, while staying within a temporary store’s budget.

    “The ability to create a luxury environment for a lower cost will be paramount,” says Boge.

    Using technology to create changeable atmospheres and environments will be the second feature of new stores. Boge uses the example of a store Gensler designed for HBO in New York City. The store sold DVDs and merchandise from HBO shows while offering a showcase for the HBO brand along prime street frontage. The interior of the store is made entirely of glass and has an LED system embedded into the ceiling, allowing the store to change colors and mood — while multiple screens air programming throughout the store.

    “To a greater degree you can shape the customer experience at the touch of the button,” says Boge. “And from the shopper’s point of view, it can feel different every time you’re inside the store.”

    The third feature will be the ability to produce an environment specific to the store. For one retailer, Gensler has created a space-defining fixturing system that can be used at any store. Produced using computer-aided design technology and delivered to the store site, the retailer can decide for each store the mood and color of the fixturing — whether it will be high-end for a sophisticated urban market or low key for a more rural or suburban market. The cost of producing the fixturing is the same in either event, but the look is entirely different and changeable with a can of paint.

    “You can spend $2 or $1 million,” says Lance Boge. “Either implies that you are taking what you have and improving it.”

    What This Means For Centers

    Two-plus years into the recession and centers are already seeing massive changes. Consumer behavior has shifted radically since 2007. Before then, consumers were more apt to purchase without fear. Today, most purchases are necessity-based or within the means of a consumer’s spending power.

    “The consumer is focused on value,” says Groves. “They want fashion, they want quality, but they want it at a value. Retailers like H&M will continue to be strong through the recession. Outlets will also become a destination, so retailers like Saks are making their stores at outlets more destination oriented, rather than just a place to unload excess merchandise. Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s are also talking about opening outlets.”

    Many owners aren’t waiting for the future to make changes. They are adapting their centers to take control of the environment and experiment with new formats to make money. This includes changing everything from how space is leased and used to how the consumer parks his car and to how they spend time at the property.

    One center that Boge points to its Taubman’s Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. To enhance the consumer experience, the center has created seating areas that are dark and luxurious, implying a sense of comfort to shoppers. The areas are also equipped with free Internet access.

    “The crossover in the public space of the mall is changing,” says Boge. “The nature of how consumers are shopping — doing their research online first — really is requiring the malls to plug in to technology.”

    To make the mall a more effective medium, mall owners may have to make their centers more fluid. Rather than 10-year leases, we may see leases go to 10 months, says Groves.

    “Even with a 10-year lease, you are going to have to provide the consumer of the future with a continually changing environment,” says Boge. “Smaller, more curated spaces will be the norm. The attraction to the mall is going to be that there is customized merchandise that is available for a short time and continually changing.”

    “Many retailers now are nervous about signing 10-year leases,” says Groves. “And with many landlords in possession of dark stores, they are more amenable to temporary stores. It allows retailers to test markets and fills space.”

    Groves points to two temporary stores that Taubman booked during the holidays at the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey. One of the stores was for American Express. The center’s market is the highest zip code of cardusers for the company. The store was a service center for cardholders — where they could use all the services that American Express offers.

    “It brought tremendous traffic to the mall and it was extremely successful,” says Groves. “American Express members saw it as another benefit of being a cardholder.”

    Teen Vogue magazine also took a temporary space at the center. The magazine took merchandise from all over the mall that was featured in that month’s issue, providing a one-stop shop for teenage girls.

    “Brands are looking for out of the box ways to attract their audiences, whether its service oriented or tied in with their vendors and partners,” says Groves.

    Mall owners are beginning to follow retailers’ leads in efficiencies. They are watching retailers reap the benefits of going green in their stores. They are especially looking at large-scale retailers like Costco, Wal-Mart and The Home Depot, who have made extensive efforts to make stores operate as efficiently as possible.

    “Mall owners aren’t waiting 5 years for these things to become mandated by legislation,” says Boge. “Instead, they’re asking what they can do immediately to make things operate more efficiently. This can be as simple as modifying the quantity and the type of artificial lighting that’s used to something more extensive like re-roofing.”

  203. I just wanted to do some self promotion – I have started up a website call doing limited runs of defunct retail shirts. So far we have Burger Chef and Zayre and are currently accepting pre-orders for Childworld. Lots more to come including Caldor, Almacs, more Burger Chef, maybe some Red Barn, who knows…

    Keep up the good work!!

  204. Decision day looms in General Growth battle
    Bankrupty judge to rule this week on stalking-horse bid for mall owner

    Karen Mazurkewich, Financial Post
    Published: Monday, May 03, 2010

    Peter Jones, Reuters Files Brookfield CEO Bruce Flatt has warned of antitrust issues with the Simon bid.
    It is a clash of the real estate titans. The chance to own a sizeable stake in General Growth Properties Inc. — a high-end regional shopping mall company that has Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston and South Street Seaport in New York in its portfolio — has led to a heavyweight contest pitting a consortium led by Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. against Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc.

    It’s not the first time the two companies have faced off. In 2007, Brookfield’s dream to enter the U.S. mall market was dashed by Simon after it bested Brookfield’s offer for Mills Corporation and took control of its 30-plus super-regional malls including Franklin Mills in Philadelphia. This year, in a twist, Simon’s initial offer for General Growth was topped by Brookfield, forcing the U.S. commercial real estate behemoth to sharpen its pencil with a counter-offer.

    The General Growth contest is still undecided with the two firms locked in negotiations over the right to serve as the stalking-horse bidder that will allow the mall giant to exit bankruptcy. General Growth fell into bankruptcy last year when its unsecured debt came due and it was unable to refinance.

    Tomorrow or Wednesday, after months of consultations, the judge will determine which bankruptcy exit plan best suits both the creditors and shareholders. Will it be Brookfield, which in February topped Simon’s original bid for the company, but padded its offer with warrants to ensure itself a break fee of up to US$800-million if its offer is eventually topped by a competing bid? Or will it be Simon, General Growth’s arch rival, which matched Brookfield’s equity investment offer of US$2.5-billion and has fewer strings attached?

    The Simon consortium, backed by several major financiers including the hedge fund Paulson & Co. and ING Clarion Real Estate Securities, is favoured by the equity committee and creditors group. They prefer Simon’s immediate payout option and don’t want the stock value potentially diluted by the warrants. But management, which includes John Bucksbaum, General Growth’s chairman and head of the family dynasty that owns a 25% stake of the company, has been endorsing Brookfield’s bid because it offers his company independence and keeps it out of the clutches of its major competitor, Simon.

    The judge’s decision is critical. For Simon, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for it to consolidate its industry.

    “Simon is not going to let good mall assets, which rarely trade, go by and be bought by someone else,” says Richard Moore, analyst at RBC Capital Markets.

    For Brookfield–a company that emerged as a global real estate player in 1996 after winning a 46% stake in the restructured Olympia & York — this may be its best opportunity for years to come to diversify beyond the office space sector.

    While General Growth has until now backed the proposal led by Brookfield, it postponed the court hearing, which was scheduled for April 29, to allow it more time to explore the full range of offers. General Growth could still switch its allegiance to Simon.

    Ultimately, the judge will determine the rules to govern the auction process and determine which company will sponsor the exit. The

    sponsor — or “stalking-horse bidder,” which allows that bidder to set the bidding floor — may become the de facto buyer. That’s because both sides have signalled to General Growth’s board of directors and the judge that if they aren’t named the stalking-horse bidder, they will walk away.

    Mr. Moore predicts Simon will be the eventual victor, no matter what the outcome this week. He argues Brookfield has ever expected to win the bidding process, and is capitalizing on General Growth management’s “anyone but Simon” sentiment by making an offer that would guarantee Brookfield a wad of cash regardless of the outcome.

    “The reason for those warrants is really to cash in on what [will] ultimately [be] a higher Simon bid, otherwise why put them in at all, why not have a level playing field?” Mr. Moore says.

    “The purpose was for [Brookfield’s] partners to make more money and, in my opinion, they never really wanted to own a mall company,” he says.

    But Alex Avery, institutional analyst at CIBC, argues the opposite: “I think Brookfield is very interested in this property. The warrants simply reflect the savvy nature of Brookfield’s management… they are just covering their bases.”

    Bruce Flatt, chief executive of Brookfield who likes to work beneath the radar, responded to Simon’s counter-offer with a strongly worded seven-page letter to General Growth’s board of directors warning them of the antitrust nature of Simon’s bid.

    “We believe that a significant toehold position by General Growth’s largest direct competitor will be a material ongoing impediment to the prosperity of the company,” he wrote. In addition to “actual and perceived conflicts” from the stake, “a significant shareholding by Simon will inevitably create uncertainty as to whether General Growth will remain an independent company for any length of time.”

    It is not only Brookfield that has raised antitrust worries. According to sources, a group of General Growth’s retail tenants have approached New York antitrust litigation lawyer Matthew Cantor of Constantine Cannon for legal advice. Mr. Cantor would not comment on whether or not he had been retained to represent such a group. Several tenants queried did not return calls.

    But industry players who negotiate space for retailers say a positive outcome for Simon would have a negative impact on retailers. “If I was a retailer, I’d be very concerned if Simon and General Growth [became] one company,” says Jack Klaiman, president of Oberfeld Snowcap.

    Combined, General Growth and Simon would own roughly 500 malls in the United States, which would mean near-monopoly in some states, he says. The more power these landlords have, the more they would pressure retailers to take space in poor malls to gain access to the better ones, Mr. Klaiman says.

    “It would be scary,” he says.

  205. @SEAN,

    Another article on this topic.

    Simon, Brookfield in a Stand-Off in General Growth’s Reorganization
    Apr 27, 2010 3:25 PM

    The bidding war between Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management over the fate of General Growth Properties appears to have reached a stalemate, as the two firms are now offering similarly priced and structured reorganization plans for the bankrupt REIT. If neither firm raises its offer, General Growth’s decision will now come down to details such as the issuance of warrants and concerns over potential anti-trust objections, industry sources say.

    On Thursday, Simon executives met with General Growth’s board of directors to outline Simon’s new bid. According to the terms of its revised plan, Simon would match Brookfield Asset Management’s proposed $15 price per share and would also backstop a $1.5 billion credit facility to allow General Growth to emerge from bankruptcy protection.

    To quell concerns that a large stake in its main rival in the U.S. regional mall sector would give Simon too much sway in negotiations with retailers, the Indianapolis-based REIT also offered to cap its voting rights at 20 percent and limit its appointments to General Growth’s board of director to two members. (Brookfield’s reorganization plan would allow it to appoint three of the board’s nine members). In addition, it will forego asking for any warrants to acquire future shares. Brookfield’s offer calls for the issuance of 120 million warrants to itself and its co-investors, Fairholme Capital Management and Pershing Square Capital Management.

    In addition to $2.5 billion Simon would put into the recapitalization, the firm has secured additional commitments totaling $2.1 billion from private partners, including ING Clarion Real Estate Securities, Oak Hill Advisors, RREEF, Taconic Capital Advisors and Paulson & Co., to finance the new plan.

    Simon and Brookfield are currently jockeying for the position of stalking horse bidder in General Growth’s reorganization. The bidder was scheduled to be selected at an Apr. 29 court hearing, but the court postponed the decision until May 4 to give General Growth more time to mull the offers. General Growth previously favored Brookfield’s reorganization plan, as it offered a higher value to its shareholders and would allow the REIT to remain an independent entity. Simon’s prior bid would have resulted in an outright acquisition at a price of about $10 per share.

    But with Simon and Brookfield now offering very similar plans, General Growth’s decision will be dictated partly by the likelihood that a deal with Simon would attract the attention of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), according to Todd Sullivan, a Massachusetts-based investor and author of the Value Plays blog. The transaction would leave Simon with ownership interest in about 30 percent of the country’s regional malls and might spur an investigation by the FTC, which will likely prolong General Growth’s emergence from Chapter 11, even if the FTC ultimately decides there is no monopoly.

    “It’s a big issue, especially for a company going out of Chapter 11,” says Sullivan. “It can delay the vote and a lot of legal things can happen that can prolong the Chapter 11 process. The FTC is much more aggressive than it’s been in the past and that transaction [is] high profile. I think the judge is going to look at that.”

    Proponents of the Simon bid, including RBC Capital Markets analyst Rich Moore, say the FTC tends to pay little attention to mergers and acquisitions in the commercial real estate arena because it is so large and would be unlikely to draw a distinction between shopping center operators and regional mall operators.

    Simon, primarily a regional mall operator, currently owns 382 properties, or 245 million square feet of GLA domestically. General Growth, its main rival, owns 246 properties, or 182 million square feet of GLA. There is a total of 7.2 billion square feet of retail GLA in the U.S., according to the CoStar Group, a Bethesda, Md.-based research firm. Against that figure, Simon’s and General Growth’s combined holdings look like a drop in a bucket, Moore says. “This would be sort of a new ground for a lawsuit and it probably won’t happen,” he notes.

    From the perspective of just looking at regional malls, a combination of Simon and General Growth would control about 30 percent of the market.

    What should be a bigger concern to General Growth is the 120 million warrants it would have to issue to Brookfield and its partners if the latter’s reorganization plan becomes the stalking horse bid, according to Moore. The warrants would require General Growth to pay Brookfield between $500 million and $900 million if another firm outbids it, negating the value of the higher bid to General Growth shareholders.

    Simon’s best hope of coming out on top would be to play on the warrants issue (Simon’s plan calls for no warrants) and raise its bid by several dollars, to $18 or $19 per share, says Sullivan. At the moment, however, neither Simon nor Brookfield appears ready to raise the stakes. Brookfield stands to benefit from its warrants, while Simon might not be able to gather additional commitments from private sector partners to significantly raise its bid.

    “I don’t think Simon would go higher than they have to and I don’t think Brookfield would go much higher,” says Moore. “Maybe [they’ll raise the bid] by a few dollars at most.”

  206. Centerpoint Mall, in downtown Stevens Point WI, isn’t long for the retailing world. JCPenney, an anchor there since the mall’s opening in 1985, is bowing out. This was its last week and is shutting after Memorial Day. (May 31st). A bank has recently forclosed on the property and more than likely, existing leases (sans ShopKo, as they own their parcel of the property) will be terminated and the mall sealed shut.

    I know I have some images when I took a roadtrip up there in 2001 and a few directories…one from their website from 1998, and another from 2001.

    It’s heyday was in the mid/late 1980s, but it never did get fully occupied. Really a failure from the start…..the citizens didn’t want it, the city’s government did to avoid a large mall being built out at I-39 (US 51) and US 10.

    All in the name of ‘revitalizating / saving the downtown’….yeah sure. “Downtown” now consists of 2 huge big box shopping centers in the Plover area, and all the retail that grew out from east of the interstate on US 10.

    The only place hopping for 25 years is its soon-to-be lone anchor, ShopKo, and I wouldn’t doubt since they have a shiny newer store down in Plover, that they too, abandon ship.

  207. This post is from the Greater Greater Washington urban [planning blog—it includes a talky but interesting presentation from a recent development conference that describes different approaches to suburban redevelopment including redevelopment of mall and shopping center spaces.

  208. I blogged about your blog on my blog tonight! I love anything to do with malls. Hey, I also wanted to add the Crestwood Mall, St. Louis, MO, Mall of Memphis, Memphis, TN, and there is a strange one Marion Center, Marion, IL

  209. Growth / Jones Lang Pact Looks Like Win-Win Deal
    Jul 13, 2010 10:27 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik

    Jones Lang LaSalle’s announced acquisition of General Growth Properties’ third party management business appears to be a boon for both companies.

    The deal further solidifies Jones Lang LaSalle as the dominant third party manager in the regional mall space while bringing General Growth one step closer to exiting bankruptcy and giving it a share of any profits on the assets it formerly managed.

    In a deal announced early Monday morning, Jones Lang LaSalle acquired all of General Growth’s third party management contracts through a five-year agreement which calls for Jones Lang LaSalle to share a portion of its management revenues with the REIT over that five-year period, says Greg Maloney, president of Jones Lang LaSalle Retail, Jones Lang LaSalle’s Atlanta-based third party management arm. He would not disclose any more financial details about the transaction, noting only that “there is no [upfront] price to discuss. It’s on an earn-out basis.”

    This kind of contract is fairly standard in the business, says Pat Duffy, chairman of the retail services group with Colliers International. It offers the buyer protection against a last minute cancellation. A contract that would call for Jones Lang LaSalle to pay General Growth upfront would normally come with a 30-day cancellation clause. That’s usually not the case with contracts that are based on earn-out payments.

    The Burbank Town Center in Burbank, Calif., is one of 18 properties that Jones Lang LaSalle will now manage.
    The properties include 18 malls located throughout the country and totaling approximately 11.2 million square feet. The portfolio contains class-A, class-B and class-B- centers. As part of the deal, about 200 of General Growth’s mall management employees and 30 of its corporate employees will come over to Jones Lang LaSalle (both companies are based in Chicago). The transfer of management and leasing duties to Jones Lang LaSalle is effective immediately.

    The move will allow General Growth to cut costs by shedding a number of top tier management employees off its payroll without having to fire anyone, adds Duffy.

    General Growth’s third party management arm is considered a separate business from the REIT’s main operations and never entered bankruptcy protection.

    In addition to its other features, the agreement will allow General Growth to take advantage of all of Jones Lang LaSalle’s lines of business, including investment sales, Maloney notes.

    “Within the next five years, any additional contracts General Growth Properties sends our way, they will benefit,” he says. “Nothing is guaranteed, but if they decide to sell some properties, we’ll get a shot at the investment sale piece. We are positioned to offer our services for a wide variety of transactions. Right now, we treat them like a client.”

    The deal makes sense for Jones Lang LaSalle because of the properties’ easy fit within the its existing management portfolio and because it allows the firm to expand its management reach to states where it previously had no assets—for example, Hawaii, Maloney adds. The 18 centers in General Growth’s portfolio include the Kings’ Shops in Waikoloa.

    In the past year, Jones Lang LaSalle has grown its third party management business substantially, ranking seventh on Retail Traffic’s list of the Top 100 Managers in the country with 79.8 million square feet of retail under management. In 2009, Jones Lang LaSalle ranked 12th, with 57.8 million square feet.

    Duffy attributes this to the fact that Jones Lang LaSalle is one of the few companies in the business that has built a name for itself for third party management of mall properties, in addition to managing shopping centers. Some of Jones Lang LaSalle’s direct competitors, including CB Richard Ellis and Colliers, tend to concentrate on other property types, including strip and power centers.

    “There really are very few people who do third party for malls,” says Duffy. “The business of managing a mall and doing leasing for a mall is different from almost everything else in real estate. It’s a very specialized activity, but there is a lot of profit in it.”

    Jones Lang LaSalle’s extensive service offerings and global infrastructure have also made it a more attractive choice for owners and investors than some of its smaller, regional competitors, according to analysts.

    Exiting bankruptcy
    For General Growth, the deal was just one of a flurry of announcements in recent days as the REIT draws closer to emerging from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. General Growth originally filed in early 2009 and now says it will exit bankruptcy in October 2010. It recently released a PowerPoint presentation detailing its reorganization process and new capital structure.

    Since December 2009, the REIT has restructured approximately $15 billion in property-level debt. Under its proposed plan (subject to bankruptcy court approval), General Growth will implement a recapitalization with between $7.0 billion and $8.5 billion of new capital and split itself into two separate publicly traded companies.

    The larger of the two entities will own more than 180 properties and will remain the second largest owner and operator of regional malls in the United States. The second firm, which General Growth has dubbed Spinco, “will hold a diversified portfolio of properties with little debt and with near-, medium- and long-term development opportunities, including GGP’s master planned communities segment and a series of mixed-use and mall development projects in premier locations,” according to a statement from the company.

    The reorganization plan is based on investment agreements with affiliates of Brookfield Asset Management, Fairholme Capital Management and Pershing Square Capital Management, which have committed to provide $8.55 billion in capital. The funds will be provided as $6.3 billion of new equity capital at $10.00 per share of new GGP, $250 million backstop equity commitment for a rights offering by Spinco at $5.00 per share, $1.5 billion backstop debt commitment for a new GGP credit facility by Brookfield, Pershing Square and Fairholme and a $500 million backstop equity commitment by Brookfield and Pershing Square for a rights offering by new GGP at $10.00 per share.

    The bankruptcy court has scheduled the hearing to consider approval of the disclosure statement for August 19, 2010, at 10:00 am EDT.

    General Growth announced two other financial agreements this week totaling $900 million. These include a $400 million bankruptcy loan from Barclays Plc and a $500 million equity investment from the Teachers Retirement System of Texas.

    All these commitments indicate that when General Growth emerges from bankruptcy later this year, there will be robust demand for its shares, says Todd Sullivan, a Massachusetts-based investor and author of the Value Plays blog.

    “This continues to show there’s large institutional demand for GGP shares,” Sullivan says. “Even at $10 per share, they are vastly undervalued, probably by about 40 percent. Once you see an [emergence] plan approved by the bankruptcy court, I think you are going to see a lot of money start coming into GGP shares.”

    At the beginning of the trading day on Monday, General Growth shares were trading at $13.74 per unit.

    A loan or an equity commitment to General Growth today provides investors with an opportunity to buy a stake in a portfolio of high-quality, irreplaceable malls at bottom-feeder prices, says another industry insider who asked to remain anonymous. As the economy improves and General Growth’s malls start posting sales that are more in line with historical levels, these investors stand to profit substantially.

    Both the Barclays loan and the Teachers Retirement System commitment are subject to bankruptcy court approval. General Growth plans to use the loan to replace its existing $400 million bankruptcy loan, which carries a variable interest rate. The Barclays loan will feature a fixed 5.5 percent interest rate, potentially helping General Growth save $2.7 million in monthly interest payments.

    The Teachers Retirement System investment, meanwhile, will allow the pension fund to buy a stake in the reorganized company at $10.25 per share.

  210. A list of malls from the TTc. Some have been covered here already.

    Bramalea City Centre
    25 Peel Centre Drive, Brampton

    Directions: Contact Brampton Transit, 905-874-3000

    Cedarbrae Mall
    3495 Lawrence Avenue East, Toronto

    Directions: From the Lawrence RT station board any 54 Lawrence bus east to Lawrence Avenue East and Markham Road

    Centerpoint Mall
    6464 Yonge Street, Toronto

    Directions: From Finch subway station board a 60 Steeles East or 53 Steeles West bus north to Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue

    Cloverdale Mall
    Highway 427 and Dundas, Toronto

    Directions: From Kipling subway station take the 111 East Mall bus north to the East Mall and Yarn Road

    College Park
    759 Bay Street, Toronto

    Directions: From College subway station, proceed upstairs to College Park

    Commerce Court
    25 King Street West, Toronto

    Directions: From King subway station, take the underground concourse and proceed to Commerce Court

    Design Exchange
    234 Bay Street, Toronto

    Directions: From King subway station, proceed west on King Street to Bay Street and proceed south on Bay Street, or from St Andrew subway station proceed east on King Street to Bay Street and proceed south on Bay Street.

    Dixie Value Mall
    1250 South Service Road, Mississauga

    Directions: From Islington subway station, contact Missisauga Transit.

    Don Mills Shopping Centre
    Lawrence Avenue East and Don Mills Road, Toronto

    Directions: From Eglinton subway station, take any 54 Lawrence bus east to Lawrence Avenue East and Don Mills Road, proceed to the shopping centre

    Dufferin Mall
    900 Dufferin Street, Toronto

    Directions: From Dufferin subway station, proceed one block south on Dufferin Street to the mall

    Eaton Centre
    218 Yonge Street, Toronto

    Directions: From Dundas subway station proceed to the mall

    Eglinton Square
    1 Eglinton Square, Toronto

    Directions: From Victoria Park subway station, take any 24 Victoria Park bus north to Victoria Park and Eglinton Square

    Fairview Mall
    1800 Sheppard Avenue, Toronto

    Directions: From Don Mills subway station, proceed to mall

    First Canadian Place
    Bay Street and King Street West, Toronto

    Directions: From King subway station, take the underground concourse and proceed to destination

    Hillcrest Mall
    9350 Yonge Street, Richmond Hill

    Directions: Please contact York Region Transit, 905-762-2101

    Hudson’s Bay Centre
    2 Bloor Street East, Toronto

    Directions: At Bloor-Yonge subway station

    International Centre
    6900 Airport Road, Mississauga

    Directions: Take any 58 Malton bus (except A) westbound to the International Centre (extra fare required).

    Lawrence Square
    700 Lawrence Avenue West, Toronto

    Directions: From Lawrence West subway station, proceed west on Lawrence Avenue

    Malvern Town Centre
    31 Tapscott Road, Toronto

    Directions: From Scarborough Centre Station, take any Neilson 133 buses north to Tapscott Road and Neilson Road

    Manulife Centre
    55 Bloor Street West, Toronto

    Directions: From Bay subway station, take the Cumberland Street exit and proceed east on Bloor Street West to the centre

    Market Lane Shopping Centre
    140 Woodbridge Avenue, Vaughan

    Directions: Contact York Region Transit, 905-762-2101

    Markville Mall
    5000 Highway 7 East at McCowan Road, Markham

    Directions: From Scarborough Centre station, take the 129A McCowan bus north to McCowan Road and Highway 7 (extra fare required)

    Pacific Mall
    4300 Steeles Avenue East, Markham

    Directions: From Finch subway station, take any 53 Steeles bus east to Kennedy Road and Steeles Avenue East

    Promenade Mall
    1 Promenade Circle, Vaughan

    Directions: From Wilson subway station, take the 160 Bathurst bus north to the mall (extra fare required)

    Rockwood Mall
    4141 Dixie Road, Mississauga

    Directions: From Islington subway station, contact Mississauga Transit, 905-615-4637

    Royal Bank Plaza
    200 Bay Street, Toronto

    Directions: From Union subway station, proceed to the plaza

    Scarborough Town Centre
    300 Borough Drive, Toronto

    Directions: From Scarborough Centre station, proceed to the centre

    Scotia Plaza
    40 King Street West, Toronto

    Directions: From King subway station, take the underground concourse to the plaza

    Sherway Gardens
    25 The West Mall, Toronto

    Directions: From Kipling subway station, take any 123 Shorncliffe bus south to Sherway Gardens

    Shoppers World Danforth
    3003 Danforth Avenue, Toronto

    Directions: From Victoria Park subway station, proceed south on Victoria Park Avenue to Danforth Avenue

    Shops on Steeles at 404
    2900 Steeles Avenue East, Markham

    Directions: From Finch subway station, take any 53 Steeles bus east to Don Mills Road

    Sony Centre
    1 Front Street East, Toronto

    Directions: From Union subway station, proceed east on Front Street, or from King subway station proceed south on Yonge Street.

    Square One
    100 City Centre Drive, Mississauga

    Directions: From Islington subway station, contact Mississauga Transit, 905-615-4637

    Atrium on Bay
    20 Dundas Street West, Toronto

    Directions: From Dundas subway station, follow the signs to Atrium on the Bay

    Thornhill Square
    300 John Street, Markham

    Directions: Contact York Region Transit, 905-762-2101

    Woodbine Centre
    500 Rexdale Boulevard, Toronto

    Directions: From Islignton subway station, take the Islington 37A bus north to the centre

    Yonge-Eglinton Centre
    2300 Yonge Street, Toronto

    Directions: From Eglinton subway station, proceed to the centre

    Yorkdale Shopping Centre
    3401 Dufferin Street, Toronto

    Directions: From Yorkdale subway station, proceed to the centre

    Not all of these are triditional malls, some are similar to those found around Chicago’s loop.

  211. hey there was a dying mall in Carson,CA. I mean it was bad the only place getting business was the Ikea and the the Toy-R-Us attached to it. I went back there recently to get some stuff from Ikea seemed it came back.

  212. Hey from Edmonton Alberta. I won’t go into WEM since you were fairly accurate in regards to it. LOL It is still dated in many ways but the American Retail chains keep on coming due to the strength of the Canadian economy. Victoria’s Secret just opened up it’s first store outside the United States here last week and it was bedlam.
    Southgate Centre one of the other major malls in Edmonton just opened a large expansion wilth a huge selection of stores such as Apple, Banana Republic etc
    They celebrated a 40th anniversary this weekend and had some amazing pics on display from the Aug 12 1970, Grand Opening I managed to snap pics of them and I would love to share them with you some of the retro 70’s style is unreal. Interior and Exterior shots of Woodwards, The Bay and various stores/logos, fountains and the mall itself.
    Also Kingsway Mall has gone through a reno ridding itself of the 70’s brick and is now very very stylish.
    If you would like me to send you the vintage Southgate pics i’m at the above email address.

    BTW Love the site!

  213. I’m surprised no one has submitted the Crystal River Mall in Crystal River, Florida, yet.

    It opened in the 1990s. It’s never been a large mall. As I often say, if you can stand at the entrance of one anchor store and see clear across the food court to the entrance of another anchor store, then the mall’s too small.

    It has around 50 businesses (not counting various crap-peddling kiosks). A number of businesses have pulled out in the past few months: Waldenbooks, Champ Sports, Ritz Camera, Park’s Tae-Kwon-Do, and Rainbow. Taking over the Waldenbooks location is PongZ, a table tennis club. Another replacement business is Coupon Hut, which basically consists of a Pepsi cooler, some snacks, and some brochures for other businesses.

    The roof leaks at various spots around the mall, particularly in the Kmart corridor and even within Kmart. There’s a rumor that the mall’s owner is having trouble making payments. This truly seems like a mall that’s about to go.

    I can take some pictures, if you want.

  214. Mall deal gives boost to smartphone coupons
    Deals sent to consumers upon entering store, but will offers be effective?

    David Paul Morris / AP
    Shopkick’s transmitter system guarantees that customers are in the store, not nearby, because the sound doesn’t travel far, said Cyriac Roeding, co-founder and CEO of Shopkick. That sets it apart from GPS-based systems like Foursquare.By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, PETER SVENSSON

    updated 8/11/2010 2:08:17 PM ET Share Print Font: + – NEW YORK — The nation’s biggest mall operator is teaming up with a Silicon Valley startup to reward smart-phone-equipped shoppers for walking into its shopping centers.

    The partnership between Simon Property Group, which owns 370 shopping centers, and technology company Shopkick Inc. is a big step in realizing retailers’ long-held dream of using cell phones to beam ads and coupons to people passing by.

    Simon is launching the program by the end of the month in 25 malls in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago.

    Separately, four retailers will start offering Shopkick offers at the same time at some stores, including Macy’s Inc. and electronics chain Best Buy Inc. The other two are being kept under wraps.

    The potential to expand the program and affect how and what shoppers will buy is huge, according to Mikael Thygesen, Simon’s chief marketing officer. He is traveling around the country to recruit more retailers into the program.

    Thygesen expects to roll the program out to 100 of Simon’s 370 shopping centers over the next couple of months. He anticipates one-third of the centers’ stores to sign up over the next year. Each center averages about 140 stores.

    Shopkick’s system doesn’t use the Global Positioning System, or GPS, which is what phones usually use to determine their location. Instead, it relies on retailers installing small speakers at the entrance to their stores or the mall. The speakers emit an inaudible sound that can be picked up by cell phone microphones. The sound contains a code that identifies the store.

  215. This is interesting, but who has been drinking too much cool aid.

    Big Box Retail Users Eye Rebound

    Massive store closures set stage for second-generation space

    SEATTLE, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — While the past few years have witnessed a massive increase in the amount of vacant retail space on the national “big box” market, many other retailers with expansion plans see opportunity in these larger spaces made available by struggling or failed retail chains.

    According to The Big Box Dilemma, a new White Paper from Colliers International, nearly one-third of the nation’s top 500 retailers have increased their growth plans for 2011 and beyond. Strong store sales during the first half of 2010 have emboldened these companies to lock in competitive lease rates in new locations.

    The nine-page White Paper, which deftly analyzes the big box retail market, identified several other notable trends: Despite numerous big box store closings and chain liquidations, stronger retailers have been re-leasing several of those vacated locations as second-generation space. For example, the report notes that electronics chain HHGregg has opened more than 30 stores within the past 18 months—and plans to open 45 more in 2011. The majority of these new locations formerly housed failed electronics giant Circuit City.

    In addition, top-tier big box locations—those within busy shopping centers or freestanding boxes situated on prime intersections—are moving quickly, thanks to once-in-a-generation pricing opportunities and to rapidly expanding discount and off-price retail chains. These top tier big box sites are currently accounting for the lion’s share of retail occupancy growth in the United States. Colliers International expects most of these sites to be backfilled within the next 12 to 24 months.

    Among the White Paper’s other key findings:

    Total big box vacancy registered approximately 300 million square feet nationwide at the end of May 2010—accounting for nearly 34 percent of all retail vacancy.
    Roughly 120 million square feet of that space alone was vacated since January 2008—a total equivalent to the entire shopping center inventories of Baltimore, Cincinnati and Kansas City combined.
    Investment sales prices for big box assets in most markets are down by 40 percent or more from the peak real estate values recorded in 2006 and 2007. Rental rates have declined similarly. For tenants able to fund their own improvements, rental rates have been discounted by as much as 50 percent or more in select cases.
    The outlook for second and third-tier big box locations remains cloudy. It will likely take many years to backfill many of these sites. In some cases, demolition or the creative adaptation of these properties to non-retail use remain the best options.

    “Big box retailers face one of the most challenging periods in modern times, but the demise of several large chains has created opportunities for other retailers,” said Garrick Brown, Colliers International’s Retail Research Director. “There is still a remarkable amount of vacant big box space, but second generation use is serving as a platform to help revive the sector.”

    In addition to the former Circuit City locations that are already leasing up, several retailers have targeted many of former Mervyn’s sites as suitable locations for their new stores. In fact, Colliers International expects that roughly half of the 149 vacated Mervyn’s locations—totaling approximately 5.5 million square feet—will be backfilled within the next year.

    The big box retail market is showing other signs of improvement. Major retailers such as JCPenney, PetSmart, Staples, Walmart, Bed, Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Dick’s Sporting Goods and many others have all announced expansion plans to commence over the next several years.

    “Our inaugural Big Box White Paper further demonstrates the scope of Colliers International’s research capabilities and the collaboration among our leading professionals to deliver sophisticated, insightful analysis to the marketplace,” said Dylan Taylor, Chief Executive Officer, Colliers International, U.S.A.. “Colliers International has a tremendous platform to offer this level of research and thought leadership, with several other new White Papers to follow.”

    The Big Box Dilemma is the first of a two-part White Paper series from Colliers International. The follow-up White Paper is scheduled for Fall 2010.

    * For the purpose of the White Paper, Colliers International defined “big box” as retail real estate locations 20,000 square feet or larger.

  216. I see all the malls within an hour drive of me (Crossgates in Guilderland, NY and Holyoke at Ingleside) but the mall 5 minutes from me (Berkshire Mall, Lanesboro, MA) gets no love? I know its Pyramid owned, but come on. I’ll have to break out the camera and show how this mall has been close to death a few times, but just won’t die.

  217. Big-box competition forces malls to shape up

    Storefronts at the Shops at Don Mills, a shopping centre at Lawrence Ave. East and Don Mills Road in Toronto. Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

    A dynamic mix of retail is the key for dying centres that have lost sight of who their ideal customers should be
    Sarah Boesveld

    Special to Globe and Mail Update
    Published on Monday, Aug. 23, 2010 5:21PM EDT

    It used to be the hot spot, the destination for sales and savvy finds, a place people would go to shop and be seen shopping. But in smaller cities and even urban centres, rundown indoor malls and strip malls are trying to revitalize and rebrand as big box stores and larger competitors crop up.

    “Owning retail is like owning a sailboat: You put a lot of money in and sometimes you wonder if you’re going to get the return,” says John Crombie, national retail director for Cushman & Wakefield Ltd. “You’ve got to keep trendy, you’ve got to keep forward thinking. It’s easy to slip away from what’s the latest and greatest.”

    But all is not lost if a mall is going belly up. Despite the great concern of increasing vacancies and a rundown space, there are ways to make the mall magic again, retail property experts say.

    Seriously rethink your customer base

    Everyone in retail knows the customer is king. But malls that are shedding tenants have likely lost sight of the people they need to attract.

    These malls must look far beyond current shoppers and target the ideal customer, says Mark Healy, partner at Satov Consultants, a Toronto-based management consultancy. Promoting cross-shopping – with a solid mix of retail that includes fashion, pharmacy, music, shoes and so on – can help attract families that may have fatter wallets than the senior citizens and teenagers who might be the more frequent customers as the mall declines, he says.

    While working on a spruce-up of Mountainview Mall in Midland, Ont., Mr. Healy and his colleagues spent a solid five days in the town and conducted a survey and focus groups to find out what their target shoppers really wanted. “We said, ‘Hey, your mall is going to be fixed, we want you to have a say.’ We got a great response,” he said. And it wasn’t just from teenagers and senior citizens.

    Build community to ramp up foot traffic

    That’s exactly what Mr. Healy and his team did at Mountainview Mall. “It was ‘Let’s re-conceptualize what the mall is: Not simply a shopping destination, but a community hub.’” Enticing local physicians, community programs or the municipality to open offices in the mall can almost guarantee a boost in foot traffic, Mr. Healy says. “Look at everything from church groups to minor league soccer to parades and say, ‘How do you leverage the mall as an anchor place?’”

    Paired with a good mix of stores, it’s a great way to get soccer moms roaming the malls when they pick up and drop off their kids, he adds. But the “mall as community hub” is more than just a strategy to drive traffic, he says. It gives the place an identity and builds a connection with shoppers, one that can be further forged if you try to weave local entrepreneurs into the mix of higher profile retailers, Mr. Healy says.

    Also beneficial would be creative, permanent fixtures such as an indoor skate park. “In the future, if there’s money, we’ll do a skating rink,” he says. A property can even go as far as affixing a retirement home or other residences on a re-invigorated mall, since councils are often quicker to approve mixed-use renovations, Mr. Crombie says.

    You need to strike a balance between the types of programs and services you’re luring to the mall, Mr. Healy adds. You may want to introduce a seniors’ mall walking program, but also consider children’s play areas where one parent can shop and the other can stay with the kids.

    But playing the community angle too hard in a mall space could come as a detriment and not necessarily increase sales, said David Lehberg, president and chief executive officer of Toronto-based Knightstone Capital Management. If the mall is really in financial trouble, you want to maximize profits by getting widely recognizable brands that will be sure to draw customers.

    Anchors aweigh

    Most successful malls need anchors to attract a broad cross-section of people, Mr. Healy says. While that used to mean a Sears or an Eatons, now grocery stores and Wal-Mart are the best bets. When luring tenants, be sure to get the big guys first, Mr. Lehberg says. “They’re murder to convince,” he says. “You really have to sell them on ‘How do you take that space and do something with it that financially makes sense?’”

    The big retailers often sign long leases, sometimes up to 20 years. And if a big retailer is willing to invest that much money, time and space to a property, it’s a real confidence boost for other, bigger name stores, says Mr. Healy. “The view of anchors has changed quite a bit. It used to be that you had to have a Bay or a Sears,” he says. “LCBOs are actually great anchor tenants. Sometimes the right restaurant would be a good play,” he says, such as a Kelsey’s or a Swiss Chalet.

    Make it pretty

    A revitalization almost always requires a renovation, one that signals the place has been reborn and is tuned in to what customers want, says Mr. Healy. “You’re never going to convince people you’re serious about changing if you don’t signal the change.” That can mean adding better lighting, fresh paint or new flooring. Re-thinking the food court or renovating the bathrooms are simple but smart places to start, he says.

    Even something as simple as improved landscaping can make the mall more inviting, says Leo Ullman, CEO of Cedar Shopping Centers, based in Port Washington, N.Y. “Landscaping expenditure is one of the best things you can do, and obviously painting and striping the parking lot and putting yellow on the curbs,” he says. “Just spiffing up the place with relatively modest expenditures can do a lot.”

    De-mall the mall

    Essentially tearing the roof off a mall and turning the store entrances out onto the parking lot is a drastic and often pricey move, but it could be the ticket to attracting more customers, says Mr. Ullman, whose company does a lot of work with strip malls, some of them converted from the traditional mall format. A lot of malls that are really suffering have turned to this strategy, he says. “It’s very dreary for customers to come into a mall that’s not working, when there’s a lot of vacancy, a lot of space that’s unoccupied and benches with nobody on them,” he says.

    Take Don Mills Centre in Toronto, for example. When it reopened in April of 2009 after a massive revitalization, the once-indoor mall had been flipped inside-out to become “Ontario’s first urban village,” according to owner Cadillac Fairview. One of the biggest redevelopment projects in Canada, it represented “a new evolution in retail,” the company said, by having shoppers mill around high end shops such as Anthropologie and Toronto chef Mark McEwan’s 20,000-square-foot gourmet food store, instead of schlepping their carts to Wal-Mart.

    The outdoor setup makes sense, Mr. Ullman says. “Putting in attractive storefronts, nice sidewalks, flowers, plantings – it’s sort of customer-friendly and it’s easier for them to pick their destination and park near where they want to go.” Plus, the tenants also no longer have to pay for heating, cooling, security and cleaning in many cases, he says.

  218. Colliers Attempts to Crack Big-Box Dilemma
    Aug 18, 2010 12:56 PM, By David Bodamer

    Closures by big-box tenants have hurt the retail real estate industry over the past few years. But has the problem been even more dramatic than previously thought? Findings from the first part of a two-part white paper published by Colliers International estimates that vacant, large-format retail stores in the U.S. actually account for more than 34 percent of all retail vacancy.

    The white paper, which counts any retail building of at least 20,000 feet as a big box, is based on combing through data from CoStar Group along with anecdotes recounting the major blows the big-box space has taken since 2006. According to CoStar’s numbers, of the 11.6 billion square feet of retail space in the United States, 870.7 million square feet stands vacant and just less than 300 million square feet of that is accounted for by retail spaces containing 20,000 square feet or more.

    Further, the paper, which features Colliers Retail Research Director Garrick H.S. Brown as its principal author, says, “In fact, approximately 120 million square feet of big box retail space has been vacated since January 2008 alone. That figure is roughly the equivalent of the entire shopping center inventories of Baltimore, Cincinnati and Kansas City combined.”

    Many of the culprits make up the familiar rogues’ gallery of now-defunct retailers including Circuit City, Linens ‘n Things, Mervyns and Steve & Barry’s. But liquidating chains were not the only problems. During the difficult retail climate that emerged as part of the Great Recession many large format retailers slimmed portfolios and exacerbated the problem. And now fears are arising that Barnes & Noble will be the next big-box chain to close stores.

    In some markets, the glut of big-box space added to the market was dramatic. For example, more than 50 big boxes closed in Las Vegas since 2007 while Charlotte, N.C. saw 25 big boxes go dark. And in Chicago, Colliers estimates that there are approximately 175 empty vacant large spaces accounting for almost 9.5 million square feet of space.

    This, unsurprisingly, has had an adverse effect on rents. Deals getting done today are at rents that are between 30 percent and 40 percent lower than peak levels in 2008. According to the report, “For tenants with the cash to pay for their own improvements, we have seen rental rates discounted by as much as 50 percent or more. In many markets, big box space that previously rented from $13 to $16 per square foot (on an annual triple net basis) is now being leased for approximately $10 per square foot if the landlord contributes tenant improvements. In cases where tenants are paying for their own improvements, we have seen deals go for as low as $5 per square foot.”

    Vacant big boxes have also hurt property values leading to properties trading for fractions of the cost that they sold for four or five years ago. Citing data from Real Capital Analytics, the report found that the average price of big-box space sold over the past year nationwide has been $97 per square foot, with an average cap rate of 7.8 percent.

    Still, the picture is not all bleak. The lower rents available today are encouraging some new big-box users to emerge and expand. There is buzz surrounding a new children’s concept called WONDER!, which will open its first location later this year.

    Meanwhile, electronics retailer hhgregg has been aggressive in claiming former Circuit City boxes. It has opened more than 30 stores in the past 18 months and plans to open 45 more in 2011, according to the report. Other users taking former Circuit City space include Best Buy, Henry’s Farmers Markets and Sprouts. As a result, roughly 4 million of the 17.1 million square feet Circuit City left behind has now been backfilled, according to Colliers.

    Ultimately, Colliers concludes that the worst may be over for big-box spaces, although additional vacancies may still occur for the next two years. However, there is now enough demand from potential users of space to help ease the blow.

    The report concludes, “But even with further consolidation within the grocery sector, the amount of space being returned to the market will be outpaced by the number of users backfilling vacant big boxes. Top-tier big box locations—those within busy shopping centers or situated on prime intersections— are already moving quickly. We expect that most of these will be backfilled within the next 12 to 24 months. But it will still take years to work through the current glut of big box vacancy

  219. Kinda surprised that the Monroeville Mall in PA isn’t in here somewhere. It’s noteworthy to some folks out there for one reason or another.

    This site
    documents some of the changes that has happened at the mall over the years since George Romero filmed his movie there. It sounds like the mall is a goner if what one of the posters there says about the vacancy rate is true.

  220. Dear Sir,I would like to offer some corrections for your article on Phoenix’s ChrisTown Mall ( now called Christown Spectrum Mall ).When the mall opened in 1961 there were only 3 anchors,Montgomery Ward,Penney’s and Korrick’s,and NO cinemas.The JPB site you provide links to has a map of the original layout of the mall when opened,and also has photos of the first movie theater opened at ChrisTown in 1967,a large single screen theater operated by the Mann’s theater chain,at the SW corner of the property facing 19th ave.A few years later (and I don’t remember what year) the theater was split down the middle.JPB has a photo of the two screen theater from 1979, but the division had been made well before that.I stood in line for what seemed like hours to see Saturday Night Fever there in 1977 and it was two screens then.Korrick’s became The Broadway when they bought Korrick’s in 1966,the name was changed again to Broadway Southwest some time after 1979 when the company was split into two divisions.U.A. theaters came when the mall was expanded in 1974.A few stores on the south side of the mall near The Broadway were torn out and a new concourse was constructed with the U.A. theaters at the end on the second floor. The box office was in the middle of the concourse and then you rode the escalator up to the cinemas.For hit movies where you had to wait in line for the next showing, they roped off part of the concourse between the box office and escalator and you had to stand there in the middle of the damned mall while shoppers strolled by.Bullock’s didnt come soon to the mall as you stated but years later when the mall was again expanded to the south,this time on to west end of the mall near Montgomery Ward’s.Again a new concourse was constructed with several small stores anchored by Bullock’s at the south end.I don’t remember exactly when this happened but it seems like it was early 80’s , a good 20 years after the mall opened. I just looked at google maps of the mall and what once was U.A. cinema 6 is now Harkins 14.( Harkins took over the Mann’s theaters some time before 1991,when I moved away from Phoenix. I understand they were later torn down )The photo you have of the court of fountains looking towards Penny’s is from the early 60’s , most likely shortly after the mall opened.The signage was change some time after the company changed logos in 1963, and again in the 70’s when they went back to calling it J.C.Penney.This photo reminds me of Christmas at ChrisTown , the big fountain directly in front of Penney’s was covered by Santa’s workshop , and he sat on a huge throne type chair. Kids endured long waits in line to sit on his lap and have the obligatory photo taken , and I was one of them.Your comment about the court of birds is dead on , it was amazing , especially the minah bird and the parrots. Even if we didnt need to go to any of the stores at that end of the mall , a trip there was required to see the birds every time we went to ChrisTown. I couldn’t believe it when they were removed. I think that was the real begining of the malls downhill slide. It just wasn’t the same after that.
    I hope I haven’t rambeled on too much , but you of all people should understand how people feel about the malls they loved and grew up with. Your Website is so excellent I must assume that you want the Information You present to be as accurate as possible. I sincerly hope your can find the time to update the article about ChrisTown’s glory days.

    Thank You, John Laybourne a.k.a. jonel469.

  221. Any plans to visit NJ’s Moorestown Mall? It’s kind of the smaller sister of Cherry Hill (both owned by PREIT and accessible along the same highways, about 10 minutes tops away from each other). They were in the midst of a renovation to give it a nice quilting-themed warmly colored look, but that seems to have abruptly stopped. After the renovation, we have the following:
    – One new sub-anchor, Lane Furniture, closed in less than a year.
    – More smaller vacancies in the mall; the attempts to make the empty storefronts look nice with quilts from local crafting clubs have been abandoned in favor of generic signage.
    – Among the few new tenants to move in, most notable are a really gaudy antiques/furniture place, a Thomas Kinkade gallery, and a county services store.
    – Kiosks, already a problem, continue to multiply like a retail louse infestation. I think they outnumber stores now.

    They REALLY half-assed the reno. The side along Route 38 looks decent enough (the anchors have dated & weathered signage but it’s otherwise passable), but the sides & back (which is busiest due to the food court entrance & bus pick-up being there) still have the teal mid-90s decorations. Maybe now that PREIT has finished with Cherry Hill they’ll put more effort into Moorestown, but I don’t see it lasting much longer if they continue to quasi-neglect it like this.

  222. @Mela, If we remember when Moorestown Mall went through its expansion boom in the 1990s, Rouse was attempting to make Moorestown more upscale. Nordstrom considered locating here back in the 1990s. When PREIT purchased both, they saw that Cherry Hill Mall has a longer history, more name recongition and a stronger potential and that’s why they focused their expansion on them. They purchased Moorestown Mall to protect Cherry Hill and make sure that nobody does the same thing with Moorestown that PREIT did with Cherry Hill. I believe that Moorestown Mall has potential and would think it would be a nice alternative for the Burlington County shoppers who don’t want to deal with the traffic on Route 38, which can be a bit of a pain. Frankly, I think Moorestown Mall has a better location than that of Cherry Hill.

  223. @Mela, I was just going to write about the Moorestown Mall! I think it’s a very nice mall as well, very small and quiet and it has most of the main stores (Victoria’s Secret, Gap, Bath and Body works, Express, etc…). It also have one of the only fountatins left in malls in NJ. The food court there is pretty pitiful- there are hardly any choices and up until recently there was a Burger King that was so retro and 80s looking. I think that’s gone now too. I was getting worried with the amount of vacancies that I have been seeing. I think it’s worth checking out!

  224. Hi! Neat blog! So…do you ever cover department stores? Considered it? A lot of design in such places. I’m on a quest for images of department store interiors from the 1960’s (my time, of course). Here’s a blog with dandy images of a store that just closed: I have a particular quest… I have a vague recollection of a department store with a flying-wing sort of mezzanine between floors, jutting out into the main retail space, where lunch was served. You’d get to it by a wide stair going up the side of the main floor. The stair would then keep on going, past the “lunch wing” up to the 2nd floor. So lunchers could look out over the sales floor. It seems like a neat design and I’d love to see a photo that let me know it was real. : ) Thanks for any leads! –JP

  225. I have info and recent pics of two dead malls not listed on this site, how do I submit it to the webmasters? It says to “send them stuff”, but no email is listed anywhere.

  226. I just wanted to thank you for this site. Not only is it filling an immediate problem (locating Malls in New England) but I love Malls. The enclosed Mall holds a special place in my heart. It may be in decline, even on it’s way to extinction, but I find them fascinating. Thank you.

  227. I’m still waiting for Forest Fair Mall to appear on the site, what with the current incarnation (Cincinnati Mall) surviving on Bass Pro Shops, Kohl’s, Burlington, and a collection of in-line stores.

    I mean, even bigg’s, which once had grandiose expansion plans, merged out of existence and is now a supermarket called “Remke Markets bigg’s”.

    I read that FFM had a microbrewery in the early days. Neat!

  228. I am just wondering how often the new mall submissions are added? I submitted 2 malls about a month ago and was wondering when they will be added.

  229. I can’t for the life of me find anything on the net on Cincinnati’s Markets International mall. It opened during and closed during the 1980s. I can’t remember how many stores it had cause I was pretty young during its lifetime. All the stores were specialty stores, so there were no anchors at all. It maybe had 50 stores at best, the only ones I specifically remember being a Jelly Belly Store, an Alladins Castle arcade, and a good Mom-&-Pop Greek restaurant. Anybody on here remember this place, along with the adjacent Cassoneli Square Malls, both ancient history?

  230. I am currently revising my Forest Fair/Cincinnati Mills/Cincinnati Mall story I wrote about a year ago and will send it later today.

  231. @Christina Griffith, there is an email address in the about us page, however it seems like they have stopped doing updates because I sent some things months ago and they said in their email they would add them but it never happened.

  232. Hey guys!

    I love the website. I’ve been doing some writing about malls that have been repurposed into other non-retail functions, like Shepherd Mall in Oklahoma City (…purposed-malls/) and 100 Oaks Mall in Nashville. (Forthcomring on 12/29/10 at I’m heading up to one in North Denver in the next few weeks, which was turned into a “tech center” that is now struggling. I’ll let you know how that goes. H

  233. I was just wondering if you guys will ever cover the “flash mob” phenomenon that’s been happening at many malls (among other places) across the country, it’s rather interesting and ironic considering that malls were originally intended as public spaces of congregation and seem to be frowned upon in this day and age.

  234. You should add The Tallahassee Mall
    & Governors Square Mall.
    Both in Tallahassee

  235. @Kevin, same here, but I think that they still do update occasionally.

    What I haven’t seen though is updates to individual malls: a collection of malls have closed entirely since original posting (Northwest Plaza at the top of my head, there are others) but no indication on the main post.

    I’d like to see my post I submitted (Forest Fair Mall/Cincinnati Mills/Cincinnati Mall, but description only) plus Lenox Square.

    Points for you if you can figure out some things they have in common.

  236. @Kevin, I just think the fact that they get so many submissions is part of the reason why it’s taking them a while to post them to the site. They probably have to proofread them and make sure there are no inaccuracies before they add them.

  237. @Gary, Inaccuracies have been made before and corrected by commenters, most of the time.

  238. @Pseudo3D, I still call it “Forest Fair” no matter what they call it. It still is, tho, a hunk o’ garbage besides the nice Bass Pro Shops they have there. Thats about it. Come to think of it, you guys don’t have a page on here about the Bellevue Mall in Tennessee. I could give you some heads up about the ups (and mostly) downs about that place as I lived down in Bellevue from 2000-2008. It was a hot mess.

  239. @David Walsh, there’s still time for Forest Fair Mall/Cincinnati Mills/Cincinnati Mall to be the first mall of 2011 to be Labelscarred.

  240. Here’s a link to a really interesting article I came across on

    Not sure if anyone has seen it yet or if it’s been posted by someone else, but this is the first article I’ve seen in a long, long time that indicates that the future of retail is NOT lifestyle centers, but indoor malls. Perhaps the tide is changing?

  241. Shopping Center and Mall Fundamentals Stable, But Challenges Remain
    Jan 11, 2011 2:58 PM, By David Bodamer

    Real estate research firm Reis Inc.’s preliminary data for the fourth quarter of 2010 shows that fundamentals continue to stabilize at neighborhood and community centers and regional malls.

    Vacancies at malls declined and at shopping centers remained flat from the third quarter. For shopping centers, it is the second straight quarter where vacancies have been stable and the second straight quarter of improvement for malls.

    Neighborhood and shopping centers appear to be “meandering around a bit after the temporary reprieve from deterioration in fundamentals for retail properties last quarter,” according to Reis economist Ryan Severino.

    Vacancy levels remain at 10.9 percent, just a shade lower than the all-time high of 11 percent hit in 1991. Reis expects that the broader economic challenges mean that the vacancy rate could continue to tick upward in 2011, despite the recent stability. In addition, asking and effective rents declined by 0.1 percent, which Severino described as “a slight resumption of the downward trend in rents that began in mid‐2008 and persisted until last quarter.”

    The vacancy rate for neighborhood and community centers remained flat or declined in 45 of the primary 80 metropolitan areas Reis monitors and effective rents remained flat or increased in 35 out of 80 markets.

    Although a slight majority of markets Reis covers posted flat or even improving fundamentals last quarter, a minority of markets posted flat or improving effective rents this quarter. “This provides further evidence that retail is not yet on the road to recovery and any apparent optimism from last quarter about a recovery beginning to take hold and spread to a larger number of markets has clearly been squelched,” according to Severino. Looking forward, the market will remain choppy.

    Developers brought just 594,000 square feet of neighborhood and community center space online, reflecting both the tight credit conditions and still weak fundamentals for retail real estate. This represents the lowest level of completions on record since Reis began tracking quarterly data in 1999.

    Brighter outlook for malls

    While the outlook for neighborhood and community centers remains muddy, the regional mall sector is showing clearer signs of recovery. Vacancies declined by 10 basis points, from 8.8 percent to 8.7 percent during the fourth quarter. This is the second consecutive quarter that vacancy for regional mall figures has declined after rising from the third quarter of 2007 and peaking in the second quarter of 2010 at 9.0 percent.

    In addition, asking rents increased for the first time since the third quarter of 2008. According to Severino, “It is not entirely surprising to observe regional malls performing relatively better than neighborhood and community centers as the economy recovers. Regional malls did not experience massive supply increases like neighborhood and community centers during the last decade.”

    Still, regional mall asking rents are still at a level last observed in the second quarter of 2006, which is providing an incentive for former tenants of smaller strip malls to consider leasing space in malls. What this means is that, to some extent, the success of regional malls is coming at the expense of neighborhood and shopping centers. This view is bolstered by the fact that the blended vacancy rate for both sectors sits at 10.4 percent and has been flat for three quarters.

    Hmmm, interesting contrast to the article on lifestyle centers linked in the prior post.

  242. The Curious Case of Vanishing Retail Properties
    Jan 11, 2011 10:14 AM, By Victor Calanog, NREI Contributing Writer

    More than 7 million square feet of retail projects slated for completion in 2010 were delayed or canceled. This pullback in construction led to only 4.1 million square feet of retail space coming on line, the lowest figure for annual deliveries in the 30-year history of Reis. The recovery prospects for the retail sector will depend critically on whether these properties are delivered in 2011, or have been canceled altogether.

    From 2004 to 2008, an average of 26.2 million square feet of new strip mall space opened for business annually. It was only in 2009 when deliveries slowed to a trickle in response to challenging economic conditions that completions fell below 13 million square feet.

    At the end of 2009, Reis expected more than 11 million square feet of new retail space at neighborhood and community centers nationally to come on line in 2010. Year-end 2010 vacancies were also expected to hit 11.3 percent, but with actual supply coming in at only 40 percent of projected deliveries, vacancies stabilized at 10.9 percent.

    Many projects were canceled, whether in whole or in part. For example, the proposed 120,000-square-foot development of Westfield Commons Center in northeast Phoenix was postponed. Shops at Schmidt in Philadelphia was supposed to be a 100,000-square-foot retail center, but only 50,000 square feet was completed (now occupied by grocer Pathmark). Whether the rest will be built is to be determined.

    How much more retail space do we need?

  243. @Jerseyboy381, I too have been looking for some pictures or a blog that might have old pictures of Menlo Park Mall before it was remodeled. I LOVED going to Woolworths and all the other stores. Even the Burger King there was super nice. If anyone has any information like this please visit The Sexy Armpit Blog and contact me. Thank you!

  244. I think Labelscar must be hacked, or something, because when Google-searching, the header of the site is always BUY [drug] ONLINE WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION | Labelscar: The Retail History Blog.

    Also, there’s ads when arriving from Google on the top, from a service called “Chitika”. This is aggravating when browsing on public computers as it believes it is an “exploit” and refuses to load as being a security risk.

  245. @Pseudo3D, this was a fairly common WordPress bug that we’re pretty sure has since been remedied by an update… the “bad titles” will migrate out of the search index within a few days. It’s a bummer but it happens.

    Chitika is an ad platform, like Google Adsense, and is part of how we support the travel that brings much of this content to Labelscar.

  246. ugh, not fixed actually. we’re working on it anyway. At least the site itself works fine for users.

  247. Have I been “banned” from Labelscar or something? None of my comments post. They are not inappropriate, so I don’t understand. But I’m very frustrated with this site lately and I’m ready to give up on visiting it.

  248. @CoryTJ, I just checked and I found one new comment that Akismet had dinged as spam (and clearly was not) so I approved it. You definitely haven’t been banned. Unfortunately I’m not sure what to say about anything other than that one comment that didn’t appear on the site, because there wasn’t anything else in the queue or in the spam folder.

    I’m sorry to hear that you’re frustrated with the site–other than this comments issue is there something we can do better? We may or may not be able to fix it but we do care about the feedback of the readers, especially the long-time ones.

  249. Hi all!!!I’m conducting a personal research project in Belvidere Discount Mall in Waukegan, Lake County, Chicago. I’m a first year graduate student at UIC, majoring in Sociology, I come from Shanghai, China and this semester I’m enrolled in CAS (Chicago Area Study) class, and i myself chose Belvidere Discount Mall as my field to conduct some observation. I’m new here, so definitely I’m not very familiar with the process of suburbanization and the history of Hispanic immigrants. However, according to my own experience in Shanghai, especially my impression on the various shopping malls there, I feel quite interested in Belvidere: authentic Hispanic way of displaying commodities, catering to Hispanic taste of fashion and totally different from any shopping centers in downtown Chicago. I have to say that in Shanghai, you can see H&M in Huaihai Road (one of the most fancies roads in Shanghai), and then just cross several blocks, you’ll definitely hit some traditional shopping centers or groceries. During my research, I plan to talk with the store owners, shop assistants and clients there, especially Hispanic people.
    Does someone wanna share with me their ideas/experience about Belvidere? Feel free to email me and I’d really appreciate your help.
    My email address is Thanks a lot!!!

  250. Do you have a post for St Louis Center coming soon?

  251. I have submitted two new malls, with pics and everything 3 times now, and they have never been added.

    Is this site ever updated?

  252. The Warwick Mall (Warwick’, Rhode Island) has just RE-OPENED. The great Rhode Island Flood
    of 2010 (03/2010). It seems Macy*s took the lead by promising they would build a new store there; if the owners could re-build the mall. They did, and Macy*s did too.

    Looks nice, heck the mall needed an up-date, anyways. Just not the best way to go about it.

    See the posted photos (not mine.) Personally, I never thought it would be re-built; or could be,
    I live on the MA-RI border. The Warwick Mall, has been a great alternative to the Emerald Square Mall, North Attleborough, MA.


  253. Has anyone heard anything about Chinese Mall of North America that was supposed to open in Northridge Mall? It is ever going to be completed?

  254. I have recent photos of Heritage Park Mall in Midwest City, OK; Collin Creek Mall in Plano, Texas; and Crossroads Mall in Oklahoma City. The first shutdown less than a year ago, the other two are dying malls. Crossroads Mall was one of the 10 largest malls in the country in 1974 and is still one of the 2 largest in Oklahoma though 75% vacant.


  255. Mega-Chains in the Making: Smashburger, Elevation Burger, and Mooyah Burger

    Tuesday, April 26, 2011, by Eater Staff

    Across the country, new breeds of restaurant chains are popping up to fulfill Americans’ endless appetite for the hamburger. From mega-chains in the making to artisan burgers crafted by celebrity chefs, there’s a multitude of challengers taking on big players like McDonald’s and Burger King. Here now, part two in a five-part series profiling the “better burger” chains. Yesterday was In-N-Out vs Five Guys, today: Smashburger, Elevation Burger, and Mooyah Burger.

    Elevation Burger (Arlington, VA-based), Mooyah Burger (thoroughly Texan), and Smashburger (sprawling out from Denver) have displayed the kind of innovation, aggressive expansion, and national footprint that make the most promising mega-chain contenders. These three new chains may not be in every town yet, but given the way they’ve weathered the economic storm and are still growing rapidly, they just might get close soon.

    “The market is looking for something better and more modern than what is on offer,” said Smashburger founder and CEO Tom Ryan. “I think the major players have been shifting their focus to pursue other occasions and the burgers have been falling by the wayside.”

    While the traditional standard-bearers of the fast-food burger have been dreaming up novelty sandwiches and trying to succeed at breakfast, the patties have grown arguably sub-par. As Americans demand more and better burgers, new chains are stepping up to satisfy our cravings with more options, better ingredients, and a new approach to fast food nation.

    More about where you’re going to be getting your burgers.

    Elevation Burger

    Elevation Burger is staging itself as the eco-/waistline-friendliest new option on the block for your burger needs. With ground-on-premises grass-fed beef, olive oil-fried French fries, and environmentally friendly operating practices from renewable, non-pollutant building materials to oil for biofuel donation, few companies can compete with the measures this chain has instituted. Prioritizing LEED-certified locations, encouraging franchisees to purchase Clean Energy Offset Credits, and offering two vegetarian options — including one vegan? Now you’re just sucking up.

    But they aren’t — and that commitment to better practices for both customer and environment is helping this new player stand out in the increasingly crowded meat-market. Hans Hess came up with the idea for Elevation Burger in 2002 based on a desire for a burger that not only tasted good but was sustainable. After planning, research, and development, Hess opened the first location in Arlington, VA, in 2005 and began franchising in 2008, promptly earning the title of “Green Business Visionary” from Washington Business Journal. With the help of Dan Rowe, a veteran from the fellow Arlington-based Five Guys, there are now 12 existing locations, 15 that are slated to open in 2011, and projections call for a total of 100 locations over the next three years. The company has also signed a multi-franchise deal to open six restaurants in Bahrain and Kuwait by 2013.

    Elevation Burger’s franchisees are as eclectic as the menu, ranging in the New York area alone from former Metro New York, Inc. CEO Daniel Magnus to former Verizon Wireless employees Fabian Rosario and John Harris. The healthier approach to classic fast food staples brings a new option to the table for diners looking to have higher quality products at the affordable prices of a quick-service restaurant. As Rosario told industry publication Fast Casual, “New Yorkers are always looking to eat healthier, but it’s easier said than done. Elevation Burger offers an organic, better-for-you burger at a reasonable price.”

    Mooyah Burger

    Mooyah’s 17 locations across Texas may not sound imposing right off the bat, but with 20 more set to open in 2011, six multi-unit development deals signed to increase the total to 221, and strategic plans for 1600 percent growth in the next 10 years, we’re looking to cattle country for a new burger mega-chain.

    While Five Guys may take top billing as the most popular alternative burger chain, Mooyah co-founder Todd Istre considers the fight for number two to be the biggest battleground for up and coming burger franchises across the country — and that’s a spot he considers wide open. “I think, if we focus on our systems, quality, and market, we can realistically end up in that spot in the next five years,” Istre said. “We have a great basic team in place and we’re focused on giving people the best full experience possible. Now, we’re focused on incorporating elements that differentiate Mooyah from all of the other chains out there that might fall by the wayside over the next few years.”

    To that end, Mooyah has started to bake their own buns in-house — a rarity in the burger chain business. They have also developed a kids’ meal, further cultivating what the company perceives to be a heavily suburban target market. With a focus on the nation’s sprawling suburban communities and aggressive but educated franchising choices, Istre aims to see Mooyah grow concentrically from its Texan home base. While one non-traditional location will open in Connecticut later this year, the 15-20 restaurants planned for 2011 will be closer to home, branching into Tennessee and Kansas, then pending Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas locations will follow.


    “We are intent on being national,” declared founder and CEO Tom Ryan. “And we are confident that we will have achieved a near-national footprint by the end of next year.”

    From a single restaurant in Denver, Smashburger (named for the authentic method of smashing a ball of ground beef into a patty on the grill) grew to ten locations by 2008, 43 by 2009, and 94 stores today. They are on track to double again this year and to control 400 to 500 locations in the next five years. With 400 restaurants committed to 30 groups that already control over $1 billion in other food brands, Smashburger stores are multiplying like rabbits — rabbits that make really tasty burgers.

    In addition to franchising like crazy, the company follows a model of adding value in-house. According to Ryan, this means taking the best commodity items available, hand-forming meatballs to be smashed into patties on the griddle, breaking down produce in-store, and doing all battering and frying on-site. Smashburger also sells local and craft beers and customizes 10-15 percent of their menu to suit individual locations, a touch that the CEO feels “is engaging and adds substantial value to the standard options currently available.”

    Smashburger’s financial structure draws strength from private equity firm Consumer Capital Partners, which also funds Ryan’s last venture: Quiznos. With the resources of a private equity firm, the budding burger chain has flexibility that would be enviable for any culinary venture, but has most notably given the company an edge in the market to grow amidst a recession.

    Food writer and hamburger expert Josh Ozersky had lofty praise for the chain, and asserted it may just have the best shot to make it on a major national scale — and he can’t wait. He said, “Their approach, quality control, and willingness to give juicy and flavorful burgers are at the very least deserving of great success.”

    What’s next for a chain that’s already mastering the challenge of rapid national expansion? Smashburger plans to go international. The company is already recruiting investors in Canada and is pursuing partnerships in South Korea and the Middle East. “We built a burger for every occasion, and we’re trying to put burgers back in the lives of people who haven’t had them in a while,” Ryan said. “Burgers are timeless — whether they’re recession-proof or not. How you supply them is where the recession-proof part matters. We have a lot of sources for those occasions.”

  256. Starbucks Recaptures its Position at the Head of the U.S. Coffee Market
    Apr 27, 2011 8:07 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Retail Traffic Associate Editor

    After spending two years trying to find its way, Starbucks has righted its ship in the ever competitive coffee wars.

    During the course of the recession, the Seattle-based chain was forced to close hundreds of stores and re-evaluate its sales and growth strategies as it struggled to keep customers away from lower-priced competitors Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s Café. The multi-layered overhaul paid off—while Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s continue to do well, Starbucks has reclaimed its dominant position in the U.S. market and even plans to open more domestic stores in the near future.

    In 2008, Starbucks became the poster child for the perils of over-expansion. Faced with skyrocketing unemployment and a crippled economy, many of its customers could no longer justify paying $3 or $4 for a cup of coffee several times a day. Meanwhile, Starbucks coffee shops littered the urban landscape, with some locations being just across the street from each other. In fiscal 2008, same-store sales in the U.S. declined 5 percent on a year-over-year basis. In fiscal 2009, same-store sales dropped 6 percent. Revenue declined 5.9 percent, to approximately $9.7 billion.

    The company attributed the declines to lower customer traffic—the lifeline of its business—and came up with a turnaround plan. The plan included the closing of 600 underperforming stores, the elimination of 1,000 positions within its corporate structure and an expanded selection of both beverages and food items on its menu.

    The strategy worked. By the time Starbucks issued its annual results for fiscal 2010, in November, its same-store sales in the U.S. were up 7 percent. Total net revenue rose 9.5 percent, to $10.7 billion. Operating margins were at their highest point in the chain’s history, according to Morningstar, a Chicago-based research firm.

    “What they’ve done to turn the company around has been nothing short of remarkable,” says R.J. Hottovy, an analyst with Morningstar. “They are very well positioned and I think there are still some growth opportunities for them out there.”

    As of October, the company operated a total of 11,131 stores in the U.S., including 6,707 corporate stores and 4,424 licensed stores. In fiscal 2010, it closed net 57 stores. In fiscal 2011, Starbucks plans to open 100 new stores stateside, in addition to 400 new stores internationally. Going forward, some of the licensed stores will likely become corporate units, according to Marc Frankel, senior managing director of the restaurant services group with Newmark Knight Frank, a real estate services firm. Expansion opportunities also remain in secondary and tertiary markets and in suburban locations.

    Points of differentiation

    Part of what has allowed Starbucks to fend off competition from Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s has been the stabilizing economy, according to George Whalin, co-founder of Retail Management Consultants, a Carlsbad, Calif.-based firm. Normally, there isn’t a lot of overlap between the three chain’s customers. Starbucks’ clientele looks for premium coffee and great customer service, he notes, while Dunkin’ Donuts customers want value for their money and a broad selection of food items.

    Meanwhile, McDonald’s main strength is convenience—its stores are everywhere, Whalin notes. As of year-end 2010, McDonald’s Corp. operated 32,737 restaurants worldwide, including 14,027 units in the United States.

    During the recession, the lines of differentiation between the three players blurred because economic hardship affected virtually every class of American consumer. Lately, however, people have been returning to their routines, notes Frankel, and for many loyal Starbucks customers, that means about 40 visits to the chain in the space of a month.

    “There are very few restaurant brands that have customers come to them every day, and maybe more than once a day,” Frankel says. “It’s a tough habit to break, as long as they continue to be conveniently located.”

    McDonald’s Cafes may be able to steal a small fraction of Starbucks’ business, but McDonald’s core product isn’t coffee—it’s hamburgers, he points out. Meanwhile, Whalin brings up the fact that Canton, Mass.-based Dunkin’ Donuts remains largely an East Coast chain. In recent years, it has been trying to break into Western states, but its penetration there is still negligible.

    Dunkin’ currently operates approximately 6,772 stores in the United States. At year-end 2010, it still had no locations in Washington or California. Last year, the company opened net 206 new restaurants in the U.S., including its first units in Missouri. In 2011, Dunkin’ Donuts has already signed agreements for 226 additional stores.

    But the company might be somewhat handicapped by its operations model, which is largely based on franchising, according to Frankel. Any new strategy, including expansion, takes much longer to implement when it has to be carried out by independent franchisees scattered across the country.

    “With Starbucks, if they decide to implement a decision tomorrow, they can do that,” he says. “Dunkin’ Donuts is making big strides, but it takes a while when you are a franchise-operated company. They were always a strong player in the East. I think they need patience in the West and hopefully the company has the staying power to wait it out.”

    In fiscal 2010, same-store sales for Dunkin’ Donuts’ U.S. division rose 2.3 percent. Revenue for Dunkin’ Donuts in the U.S. totaled $402.4 million, a 3.8 percent increase over 2009, but still a fraction of Starbuck’s multi-billion dollar figure.

    Adapt and conquer

    Playing into Starbucks’ favor over the coming years will be the fact that it’s flexible when it comes to its store size and layout. The chain’s expansion model has always been to pick the right sites in terms of demographics and then work around the location, tweaking its prototype to fit available real estate, Frankel notes. As long as Starbucks does it due diligence and sticks with this strategy, it should be able to find more opportunities in the domestic market.

    While the chain is at or near the point of saturation in big cities, it has room to grow in secondary and tertiary markets. In New York City, for example, brokers Retail Traffic spoke with say Starbucks is looking into opening a greater number of stores in the outer boroughs, where it hasn’t build up as much of a presence as it has in Manhattan. In suburbia, Starbucks has also been putting more of a focus on finding drive-through locations, where customers can grab cup of coffee to go on their way to work.

    At this point, the chain has become enough of a mainstay in the consumer’s mind that it doesn’t necessarily need to be in markets with high household incomes, Frankel offers. All it needs is population density.

    “People of all different socio-economic groups are getting their coffee at Starbucks,” he says. “It has very creatively gotten Americans to believe that they need to spend more money on their coffee. They just need a lot people, whether it’s at the mall, at an airport or inside a hotel.”

    Starbucks leases all of its stores.

  257. Borders wants to pour its own coffee
    Published: May 20, 2011 at 4:28 PM

    ANN ARBOR, Mich., May 20 (UPI) — U.S. retailer Borders Group Inc. said it asked a bankruptcy court for permission to break away from a licensing agreement with Seattle’s Best Coffee LLC.

    Seattle’s Best, a unit of Starbucks Corp., had licensing rights for 225 Borders’ bookstores that closed when the retailer filed for bankruptcy in February, The Detroit News reported Friday.

    Borders now wants to operate its own coffee shops in hopes it will generate more income.

    “This change will allow Borders to operate its own cafe program, enabling us to reduce the licensing fees we pay, generate significant cost savings and boost cafe profitability,” Mary Davis, a spokeswoman for the retailer, said in an e-mail.

    “The change will also provide us with the opportunity to tailor menu items and the cafe experience based on our customers’ preferences,” she said.

    Currently, Borders owes Seattle’s Best about $5 million, the News said.

    Retail consultant Ken Dalto said the move would reduce costs for the store, but “may be a little too small and a little too late” to have a big impact on Borders’ chances for survival.

    In the year ending Jan. 29, Borders lost $479.9 million, a financial report says.

  258. @SEAN, I am baffled of how Borders closes stores and puts people out of work and buys a brand of coffee.It makes me wonder who screwa up the books in these stores.

  259. @rob, I just wonder what else is brewing there. When you close your only store in the Paramus area, something is absolutly wrong.

  260. You might wanna check out a couple malls in SE Michigan: Oakland Mall in Troy, and also Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights. Lakeside is more interesting since Growth Properties is having financial trouble. .

  261. Who’s been drinking the cool-aid!

    The Brand, The Box And The Bulldozer
    How retailers are rightsizing their footprints and redefining their brand.
    Mark G. Cahill

    According to economists, the recession officially ended in June 2009. While that may have been the case on Wall Street, on Main Street unemployment remains stubbornly high and housing sales are still languishing, leading consumers to keep a tight grip on their wallets. Retailers, on the other hand, have utilized this prolonged downturn to analyze their operations and their markets, and to take the time to evaluate changing customer patterns. As a result, many retailers have been making creative improvements to their brands, prototypes and business models in order to increase both competitiveness and market share as the economy improves.

    The Brand

    With multiple distribution channels available — from in-store to online to mobile integration — retailers are redefining their commercial strategies to better meet how customers interact with various touch points of their retail spectrum.

    In some cases, retailers are reacting to technological changes being forced on them. The banking industry, for example, is grappling with the dawn of mobile banking while at the same time managing the fall-off of branch utilization due to online banking.

    TD Bank is one example, as the company found building in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast states much more expensive than in Canada, where the company is based. That coupled with a roll-out pipeline targeting higher density urban locations challenged the bank to rethink its current footprint. Because the company markets itself as “America’s Most Convenient Bank,” TD Bank had to find a way to provide the same level of customer service, coupled with strong brand identity and dramatic interiors that the full line retail bank provided.

    As a result, TD Bank has developed a 2,900-square-foot prototype, reducing its flagship prototype size by 30 percent, while maintaining all of the customer service program elements of the larger retail bank. Efficiencies achieved by an innovative vault concept, as well as support area and staff area reduction, allowed the retail platform size to remain virtually unchanged. In addition, customer service areas are designed with forward thinking flexibility, designed to incorporated new technologies as they are rolled out, as well as furniture systems that allow for future flexibility of customer service models.

    The restaurant chain Denny’s provides another example of rethinking its brand. When the company wanted to grow its restaurant count, Denny’s analyzed the market and decided one of the best ways to expand was to take advantage of non-traditional real estate opportunities. The company quickly realized that an optimized footprint would be required and embarked on the creation of a new Denny’s Café prototype. This in-line or urban prototype is 30 percent smaller than the traditional pad site restaurants, and achieves efficiencies by redesigning the backbone of business-menu offerings and customer service model while retaining core equities.

    Denny’s Fresh Express concept is even smaller and more flexible at 500-1,200 square feet, with a menu and trade dress specifically targeted toward college campuses.

    “Denny’s Fresh Express program was initiated 2 years ago based on the desire to reach new demographics,” explains Mitch Riese, AIA, Denny’s corporate architect. “The more recent Café concept is, primarily, a real estate solution. We continually evolve and learn from this family of brands to better access and serve more potential customers.”

    The Box

    Retailers are experimenting with different format stores to take advantage of real estate opportunities presented as a result of the recession. Some retailers are downsizing as a result of competitive pressures or entitlement difficulties, and others are downsizing due to the difficulty in finding suitable size sites in denser urban markets.

    All brick-and-mortar retailers — regardless of market share, product category, or price point — are rethinking the size of their box. There are strong motivators for retailers to scrutinize every square foot of space as they realize cost savings in real estate, construction and inventory while the size of their footprints shrink.

    Walmart has been on the forefront of this trend since 1998, when the company rolled out its 42,000-square-foot Neighborhood Market. However, now the company is also evaluating possibilities for several smaller prototype pilot stores in urban areas where Walmart has had difficulty integrating larger footprint concepts.

    Nike, feeling competitive pressure from UnderArmour and Lululemon, is no longer building its 50,000 square foot Niketown flagship stores. Instead, the company is focusing on the “Nike Brand Experience” stores, which are around 20,000 square feet. Nike is also rolling out single category stores, such as running stores, in the range of 2,000 to 6,000 square feet.

    The biggest difference between the Nike Flagship stores and the smaller Experience stores is the amount of flexibility built into the latter’s design. The new format’s fixturing and layout allows for rapid conversions when new merchandise and displays are integrated into existing locations. Lessons learned from the smaller stores will generate the basis of conversions of the fixturing and merchandising in future Niketown renovations.

    Another example of reevaluating concept in the face of market changes is the trend affecting electronics retailers, which after years of rapid growth fueled by flat panel televisions at ever lower price points, are now scrambling to stop the hemorrhaging of tighter margins as the result of a maturing market and production overcapacity.

    Best Buy is overcoming TV sales declines through better inventory management. By stocking fewer than 100 TV models in its stores and offering three times as many models from its website, the company expects to maintain margins as competitive pressures continue to erode the category. In the long run the chain expects to benefit from better integration of its online and in-store retail distribution channels.

    Also, in a preemptive strike to the wireless carriers, Best Buy has developed and is rolling out “Best Buy Mobile,” a single category, 1,400-square-foot concept designed to fit anywhere. This offering is set up to capitalize on the inevitable consolidation of wireless carrier competitors due to industry mergers and falling margins.

    The Bulldozer

    Retail has a long list of venerable names that succumbed to the ravages of the marketplace and/or the march of technological evolution, and each new retail category has killed off its predecessor. For example, the five-and-dime was killed by the mass market discounter, and the independent department store was killed by industry consolidation and supply-chain management efficiencies.

    Each new technological innovation carries with it the potential of creative destruction. This is intensified during a recession, and this recent recession has been no different. Blockbuster has been crippled by movies downloaded over the Internet, and Borders was first hurt by Internet sales then further injured by the eBook.

    And yet each retailer that succumbs creates new opportunities for retailers who have maintained focus during the downturn to reinvent their brands and business models.

    Costco is now moving into dark mall anchors, following the trend that Target and Barnes & Noble set a decade earlier. This trend is accelerating as shopping center REITs are scrambling to fill empty space. As a result, malls are becoming democratized with a wider array of market categories and price points, which follows consumer cross shopping trends that sprang up as a direct result of the success of the mass-market discounters to begin with.

    And just as Borders and Barnes & Noble are taking it on the chin from Internet sales and eBooks, niche retailers are taking advantage of customers’ desire to shop with temporary “Pop-Up” retail locations. To judge demand in certain cities, Phaidon Press has opened up temporary stores in New York, and it’s been successful with merchandise fixtures that were unitized and could be reassembled if the locations needed to change quickly.

    The bottom line is that retailers who have not taken the time to study their customers, to look for operational efficiencies and seize real estate opportunities may be the next ones bulldozed in the perpetual retail cycle-of-life.

    Mark Cahill is an architect who specializes in branding retail environments that enhance the consumer experience. He can be reached at Bergmann Associates, whose retail clients include Walmart, Wegmans, TD Bank and Sunoco. His email contact is

  262. Just want to point out something really quick – on the Chapel Hills Mall page (Colorado), it says that the mall is owned and operated by General Growth Properties. Recently, it has been sold, so you can update that if you want.
    New owner(s) (is/are) in this article somewhere:

  263. Found a Citysearch site for Mariner Mall Superior WI

    Dead Mall Walking
    by aenmichigan at Citysearch

    Being originally from Hayward, WI, I can recall when Mariner Mall first opened in the early 80’s. I do not recall it ever being fully rented. In the early days there was a J.C. Penney, Prange’s and Prange Way. The mall seemed to lease new stores and close others. After PrangeWay filed bankruptcy, this seemed to be the malls demise. JC Penney left shortly after and the last I knew this space was a car dealership. If there are any of the original tenants left they are few and far between. I am surprised they even call this a mall, it is a sad sight from its hayday.

  264. @Chip, Mariner Mall never gained ground, mostly because residents have a city called Duluth right next door. It was more or less a secondary mall, meant more just for the local residents. Miller Hill (in Duluth) has always been ‘the’ mall for that region.

    I doubt malls like these were ever fully leased, and if so, they emptied out pretty fast once the 1990s rolled in and those 10-15 year long-term leases came up for renewal.

    The other thing that didn’t help is the location…as they say in retailing, “location, location, location.”. WHY is this mall located AWAY from the main retail drag of Superior (Tower Ave / State 35)? This is where a few strip malls, Target, K-mart, and Menards are all located, along with most of the chain fast-food offerings. No, instead it’s way off near to the south-east side of town on 28th St.

    Last I saw a ton of pics online of this mall, it still looked like a 1980 time-warp. Younker’s is the sole remaining anchor.

  265. @Matt from WI,

    Not too surprised since Duluth is a healthier town than Superior. Miller Hill is a really nice mall and a regional draw from all over the Iron Range and Northern Wisconsin. Closest competitor may be in Eau Claire. Most other towns (Rice Lake, Virginia) have small malls from the local residents

  266. Bankruptcy judge approves Borders sale to Barnes & Noble
    Tiffany Kary/ Bloomberg News
    Bankrupt bookseller Borders Group Inc. won court approval Monday for the sale of its intellectual property to larger competitor Barnes & Noble Inc. after a dispute about privacy issues was resolved.

    U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn in Manhattan approved the transaction after reviewing new terms between Ann Arbor-based Borders and Barnes & Noble that will protect the privacy rights of 48 million customers. New York-based Barnes & Noble won the auction to buy most of the trademarks and intellectual property of Borders for $13.9 million. Other trademark assets also were sold, making the sale worth $15.8 million to Borders’ creditors.

    The terms of the sale are “fair and reasonable and provide appropriate protection to privacy interests of many people who have become part of the Borders customer database,” Glenn said.

    Under the new agreement, Barnes & Noble will email all former Borders customers on the customer list it bought, inform them of the transfer of customer information and give them 15 days to opt out of the list, according to a filing by Borders attorney Andrew Glenn, who is not related to the bankruptcy judge.

    The former Borders customers would be subject to Barnes & Noble’s privacy policy. The consumer privacy ombudsman will receive a copy of the opt-out notice before the email is sent, the court document said.

    Glenn adjourned a hearing on the sale last week after a privacy ombudsman said the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection and the New York Attorney General’s office had expressed concern about the way the sale would transfer personal information. The ombudsman, Michael St. Patrick Baxter, told Glenn on Monday that the agreement resolved the two agencies’ concerns.

    Detroit News contributed

  267. @Mall Rat,

    I would love to see old pics of Antioch Center in Kansas City Missouri. They are getting ready to tear it down and it’s been a part of my life since I was three in 1968. Where could I view these pics? I used to dance at the Antioch Culture Center that changed hands and names to Creative Arts Academy and I was in the American Royal parade that took place at Antioch w/ my dance group from 1970 to 1979 and then I was in marching band so we marched in until I graduated.

  268. Here’s one from Roseville, MI: “Lawsuit Claims Macomb Mall Needs $42M To Avoid Closure”

    If this is true it’s going to be a huge blow to the area. While the mall doesn’t have much to offer it’s both a social and economic hub and if it goes under… I don’t really want to think about it.

    Plus, where’s the next closest dollar theater?

  269. I’m looking for a mall on Labelscar (I think it’s Labelscar, anyway) that I remember seeing but have since lost. I thought it was either Mystic or Billerica Mall (or something of that size). It DID have a Kmart, but the Kmart shared its entrance with the mall. There was a picture of the Kmart facade, with carts lined up against a ridged concrete wall (similar to how old Kmarts have exterior walls). The pictures weren’t fuzzy, however. Anyone know what mall I’m referring to? I can’t remember.

  270. Does anyone have anything for Rivercrest Mall, Crestwood Illinois. It had a Sears and Venture.

  271. @Chip,

    Never heard of it, but I’d like to hear more if someone has some information. That Venture mentioned could’ve been either a TrunStyle or a Goldblatt’s.

  272. Please do Salem Center Mall history and while your at it grab some pictures from the roofs of the 3 parking garages to REALLY get a look at the various designs plus a good view of the river. 🙂

    I’ve gone there since the mid 90s and have been VERY curious as to how they started and the various changes they went thru.

    I remember when they added Liberty Plaza which was suppose to be filled with new stores and be like the rest of the mall buildings but they went belly up faster then you can say: *Spend*.

  273. They as in *Liberty Plaza* The rest of the mall is pretty much fine though now the book store is gone which was my favorite spot but they still have Elephants Trunk toy story which is a very fun place for kids.

  274. @Brandon, It’s a strip mall. It opened in 1991.

  275. One mall that you might want to add to “Death watch” is Independence Mall in Kingston, MA. Many vacancies, traffic low these days. I can take some pics and send you them if you’d like…

  276. Hey guys,

    I LOVE Labelscar and have been following for a couple of years now.

    I’m working on developing a piece on America’s decaying mall culture as a visually poignant statement about today’s economic austerity. It will be featured in an amazing vintage inspired site that will be launching in Feb and…I need your help!!

    We’re looking to shoot in an abandoned mall here in NYC and was wondering if anyone could give me some tips on where to find what I need.

    A moody, creepy, decaying, and beautiful abandoned mall.

    I have been doing a bit of research and have not yet found exactly what I’m looking for. Do any of you have any recommendations of a kick ass dead mall in NYC??

    I would really appreciate the help and of course share our work with Labelscar once the piece comes out.

    Looking forward to hearing from you!



  277. Macy’s is closing several stores this year.

    West Ridge Mall, Topeka, KS (193,000 square feet; opened in 1988; 60 associates);
    Laurel Mall, Laurel, MD (123,000 square feet; opened in 1981; 76 associates);
    Parmatown, Parma, OH (288,000 square feet; opened in 1960; 94 associates);
    Hickory Hollow, Antioch, TN (181,000 square feet; opened in 1979; 77 associates);
    Mall of the Mainland, Texas City, TX (151,000 square feet; opened in 1994; 68 associates).

  278. I was looking through some old CD-Roms of mine and found some photos I took as part of an assignment for Mass Comm class of North Star Mall in San Antonio pre renovation

  279. From the NYT

    Communities Learn the Good Life Can Be a Killer

    Developers in the last half-century called it progress when they built homes and shopping malls far from city centers throughout the country, sounding the death knell for many downtowns. But now an alarmed cadre of public health experts say these expanded metropolitan areas have had a far more serious impact on the people who live there by creating vehicle-dependent environments that foster obesity, poor health, social isolation, excessive stress and depression.

    As a result, these experts say, our “built environment” — where we live, work, play and shop — has become a leading cause of disability and death in the 21st century. Physical activity has been disappearing from the lives of young and old, and many communities are virtual “food deserts,” serviced only by convenience stores that stock nutrient-poor prepared foods and drinks.

    According to Dr. Richard J. Jackson, professor and chairman of environmental health sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, unless changes are made soon in the way many of our neighborhoods are constructed, people in the current generation (born since 1980) will be the first in America to live shorter lives than their parents do.

    Although a decade ago urban planning was all but missing from public health concerns, a sea change has occurred. At a meeting of the American Public Health Association in October, Dr. Jackson said, there were about 300 presentations on how the built environment inhibits or fosters the ability to be physically active and get healthy food.

    In a healthy environment, he said, “people who are young, elderly, sick or poor can meet their life needs without getting in a car,” which means creating places where it is safe and enjoyable to walk, bike, take in nature and socialize.

    “People who walk more weigh less and live longer,” Dr. Jackson said. “People who are fit live longer. People who have friends and remain socially active live longer. We don’t need to prove all of this,” despite the plethora of research reports demonstrating the ill effects of current community structures.

    The Price of Progress

    “We’ve become the victims of our own success,” Dr. Jackson said of the public health mission that cleared cities of congested slums. “By living far from where we work, we reduced crowding and improved the quality of our air and water, which drove down rates of infectious disease.” But as people have moved farther and farther from where they work, shop and socialize, the rates of chronic diseases have soared.

    Public transportation has not kept pace with the expansion of suburbs and exurbs. Nor are there enough sidewalks, nearby parks and safe places to walk, cycle or play outdoors in many, if not most, towns. Parents spend hours in cars getting to and from work; children are bused or driven to and from school; and those who can’t drive must depend on others to take them everywhere or risk becoming socially isolated.

    In 1974, 66 percent of all children walked or biked to school By 2000, that number had dropped to 13 percent.

    “Children who grow up in suburbia can’t meet their life needs without getting a ride somewhere,” Dr. Jackson said. “The average teen in suburbia says it’s boring.”

    His new book, “Designing Healthy Communities,” a companion piece to a coming public television series, says: “When there is nearly nothing within walking distance to interest a young person and it is near-lethal to bicycle, he or she must relinquish autonomy — a capacity every creature must develop just as much as strength and endurance.” The book was written with Stacy Sinclair, director of education at the Media Policy Center in Santa Monica, Calif.

    “We’ve engineered physical activity out of children’s lives,” Dr. Jackson said in an interview. “Only a quarter of the children in California can pass a basic fitness test, and two in seven volunteers for the military can’t get in because they’re not in good enough physical condition.”

    The health consequences, he said, are terrifying. Not only are Americans of all ages fatter than ever, but also growing numbers of children are developing diseases once seen only in adults: Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and fatty livers.

    Can Our Suburbs Be Saved?

    The four-part series that Dr. Jackson developed with the documentary producers Dale Bell and Harry Wiland, to be broadcast in the spring, highlights changes being made in forward-thinking communities — changes that foster better physical and mental health by redesigning the built environment.

    “Health happens in neighborhoods, not doctors’ offices,” Dr. Jackson states in one of the programs.

    Metropolitan Atlanta, which is 8,000 square miles and growing and where workers drive an average of 66 miles a day, has suffered the ill effects of high ozone levels, few sidewalks and bike lanes, and crosswalks as much as a mile apart. In what may be the crown jewel in environmental restructuring for better health, the city plans to create an urban paradise from an abandoned railroad corridor over the next two decades, with light rail and 22 miles of walking and biking trails.

    In Lakewood, Colo., an abandoned shopping mall (a blight now rampant in suburbia) was converted into housing, businesses and play areas.

    Syracuse is converting an old saltworks district into a mixed-income, energy-smart housing and business area, giving residents easy access to work and recreation. The local supermarket, Nojaim’s, offers health and nutrition classes and weekly health checks, and a mobile farmers’ market serves an area that lacks grocery stores.

    Another jewel in environmental restructuring is Elgin, Ill., where an island park was created in the middle of the rejuvenated Fox River and a former Superfund site known as auto dealers’ row is now Festival Park, giving families a place to gather for water play, picnics and musical performances. A Bikeway Master Plan will eventually connect all the neighborhoods, and easy access to the river has spurred investment.

    “For every dollar the city has spent, we have leveraged that into two or three dollars of private investment through new kinds of buildings, row houses and businesses that have opened because the river has a magnetic quality,” said a former mayor of Elgin, Ed Schock. He might have added another economic benefit: the prospect of lower health care costs.

    Further information on healthier communities can be found at


  281. I have a couple of dead malls that I could help with or suggest to you. Northfield Square Mall in Burbonnais IL. Peru Mall in Peru IL.

  282. Good news from Nashville… Simon Property Group Announces Grand ReOpening of Opry Mills
    The largest outlet and value retail shopping destination in Tennessee now open for business with more to come NASHVILLE, Tenn., March 29, 2012 /PRNewswire/ —

    Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE: SPG), the world’s leading retail real estate company, today announced the Grand Re-Opening of Opry Mills, the largest outlet and value retail, shopping, dining and entertainment destination in Tennessee.

    “We are thrilled to reopen Opry Mills, creating thousands of new jobs, generating tax revenues and attracting even more visitors to the Nashville area,” said Gregg Goodman, president of The Mills, a Simon company. “With a great selection of outlet and value retail stores, paired with family dining and entertainment options, Opry Mills will once again be the favorite shopping destination for locals and visitors alike.”

    Opry Mills is home to some of America’s most popular retailers, many of which are reopening their Opry Mills locations including Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Vera Bradley, Coach Factory Store, Crazy 8, Jones New York Outlet, P.S. from Aeropostale, Aeropostale, The Children’s Place Outlet, The Finish Line, Fossil, Gap Outlet, Gymboree Outlet, Haggar, HANESbrands, J. Crew Factory, Journeys, Levi’s Outlet, Nautica Factory Store, Old Navy Outlet, Papaya, RCC Western Wear, rue21, Skechers USA Outlet and Wilson’s Leather Outlet.

    Opry Mills’ unique brand of shopping includes a variety of family dining and entertainment options. Aquarium Restaurant, Claim Jumper, Rainforest Cafe, Romano’s Macaroni Grill and Dave & Buster’s, plus a food court provide lunch and dinner options. Shoppers can also watch feature movies in a state-of-the-art environment and enjoy the IMAX experience at Regal Cinemas Opry Mills Stadium 20 & IMAX.

    Opry Mills’ Grand Re-Opening events will continue during April through May 5. The grand finale event will be a free outdoor concert with Country Superstar Josh Turner.

    The Grand Re-Opening of Opry Mills comes nearly two years after the historic flood in May 2010 ravaged Nashville and Opry Mills, one of Tennessee’s top tourist attractions.

  283. Some of America’s struggling malls are getting a new lease on life
    Mar 31st 2012 | SAN ANTONIO AND WINDCREST, TEXAS | from the print edition

    THE old Rackspace headquarters was stuffed to the gills. In 2007 the company, which offers cloud-computing and web-hosting services, had more than 1,000 employees in downtown San Antonio. People were crammed at folding tables in the hallway. They often had to go to a different building or shuttle around the lifts to talk to people in other departments.

    Still, when Graham Weston, the company’s co-founder and chairman, suggested that they move into a shopping mall, staff were sceptical. The mall was vacant. Its site, the encircled suburb of Windcrest, was slightly grotty, not least because of the huge dead mall right off the highway.

    Building a campus from scratch, however, would have taken several years at least. Anyway, the place was cheap. “Nobody wants a mall any more,” says John Engates, the chief technology officer. Except Rackspace, and others like it, who have come to see a dead mall as a blank canvas. In 2008 it opened its new headquarters, and won a prize for community economic development. Now it has more than 3,000 workers on site, with plans to hire hundreds more by the end of the year.

    Plenty of enclosed malls are, of course, still thriving. And after several abstemious years, shoppers are perking up. In February, according to the Commerce Department, retail sales were 1.1% higher than they had been in January—higher than expected, and a welcome sign of recovery.

    But many American malls had run into trouble before the recession started, and the country’s nascent recovery is not likely to revive them. America’s retail sector is probably overbuilt; in the fourth quarter of 2011, according to the National Association of Realtors, its vacancy rate was 16.9%. Malls are vulnerable to systemic shocks; if an “anchor” stores closes, or if vacancies linger, other vendors quickly suffer. And many of the malls that were built in the heyday of the genre are starting to look shopsoiled. The new fashion is for mixed-use developments, or the outdoor malls that are designed to look like a friendly downtown shopping district. In some cities, people are returning to actual downtown shopping districts, as new urbanists always dreamed they would.

    The result is that even if Americans are heading back to shops, they may not be heading to malls. That has left many cities and suburbs with dead and dying malls on their hands: boxes of blight surrounded by acres of hot asphalt.

    Some of these will be used as canvasses for graffiti. Some will be razed. Others, happily, will find another purpose. One strategy is to turn the mall itself into a mixed-use development. The Natick, a high-end mall in Boston, has added condominiums. Another idea is to bring in unconventional tenants. In Cleveland, Ohio, part of a mall has been given over to indoor gardens, with the idea that it might be a model for other urban agriculture programmes. Schools and universities are another settler group. The University of the Incarnate Word has leased part of another mall in San Antonio. Vanderbilt, in Tennessee, has leased some space to open a clinic; patients are given pagers so that they can get a snack from the food court while they wait. Hundreds of high-school students in Joplin, Missouri, are taking classes in a converted mall after the town’s high school was destroyed in a tornado last summer.

    These projects may be more sensible than enclosed retailing. Universities and offices do not depend on passers-by as shops and restaurants do. But turning these spaces to fresh purposes requires some expense and experimentation.

    Rackspace, for its part, has spent more than $100m gutting and redoing the space. Windows were carved into the walls, and skylights installed. Workers were getting lost, so the conference rooms are now grouped by category rather than numbered. If someone makes it to the game-show zone, he can usually figure it out from there. There is, at the moment, an internal debate over whether to preserve the fountains. Allan Nelson, the facilities manager, warns that overenthusiastic “Rackers” would try to go swimming in them.

    And the idiosyncrasies of the space have spurred some creative thinking. Freestanding conference rooms adorn the walkways, their glass walls cut from the old shopfronts. A loading dock has been converted into a presentation room, with a rolling industrial door so that groups can spill over outside. Workers can take a break from their desks to work at a bistro table, or check in at the human-resources kiosk, or play catch in the vaulted interior. “I don’t think people think about it as a mall any more,” says Mr Engates. Some might think about it as an example.

  284. Hello I love your site, I grew up at Summit Place mall in Waterford MI as well as Oakland Mall in Troy MI. One I don’t see on you site is a mall called Marshall Mall in Marshall TX. Cool old mall bearly hanging on, it was in the movie Skateland 2008.

  285. Best Buy Should Concentrate on Store Experience Instead of Store Count, Retail Experts Say
    Apr 12, 2012 10:58 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    There might be no easy fixes for the challenge Best Buy faces in battling competition from online-only retailers, but industry consultants seem to agree that the measures the chain has announced so far won’t address the core of the problem. Closing 50 underperforming stores is a move in the right direction for operational efficiency, but Best Buy shouldn’t be competing with on price, they say—it should be competing on superior customer experience.

    Best Buy, once the category leader in the consumer electronics sector, has seen some challenging times of late, including a bad holiday sales season (same-store sales during the company’s fourth quarter fell 1.7 percent) and the sudden resignation of its CEO Brian Dunn on Apr. 10. The chain’s executives blame increasing competition from online sellers like for much of Best Buy’s poor performance, noting that customers have taken to reviewing products inside Best Buy physical stores and then purchasing them from online competitors at lower prices in a practice called “showrooming.”

    However, many retail consultants aren’t buying it.

    “If the only difference between you and is the 10 or 15 percent difference in price, you are dead anyway,” says Doug Stephens, head of Retail Prophet Consulting, a specialty consultancy.

    “‘Showrooming’ is a symptom, not a cause,” agrees Paula Rosenblum, managing partner with RSR Retail Systems Research. “‘Showrooming’ happens when all else falls apart and the customer is frustrated and bored inside the stores.”

    In fact, while the portfolio pruning Best Buy has concentrated on so far makes plenty of sense, in the absence of other measures it has all the markings of a retail chain winding down, notes Stephens. What Best Buy executives should be thinking about instead is how to make customers’ experience inside its stores and on its website so exciting they won’t even think about price differences between Best Buy products and products sold elsewhere, he says.

    What went wrong?

    To begin with, the chain has too much dead space inside its full-line stores, according to David Slavick, vice president of retailing consulting with Customer Communications Group, a Lakewood, Colo.-based customer relationship marketing agency. There is little traffic in the music section of the stores, and the camera area is “uninspiring.” Plus, there are problems with the signage and a lack of knowledgeable customer service representatives.

    “You walk in and you don’t necessarily feel excited, or feel an emotional connection,” Slavick says.

    Meanwhile, the products available and prices listed on Best Buy’s website seem to be at odds with its in-store offerings, adds Rosenblum. And while its customer loyalty program, the Reward Zone, gives the retailer in-depth insight into its best customers’ shopping habits, it’s not leveraging the information efficiently. For instance, even though Slavick has bought multiple boxed CD sets from Best Buy in the past, he doesn’t get notifications when newly released CDs arrive in nearby stores.

    This lack of strategic thinking puts Best Buy in the worst place in the consumer electronics marketplace—the middle, notes Stephens. It can’t beat its online rivals on convenience and pricing and falls behind smaller bricks-and-mortar electronics retailers when it comes to service.

    “I think part of the problem, frankly, is that their whole business model is predicated on a world without the Internet, and, unfortunately, post-Internet, Best Buy just didn’t react fast enough to the number of options available to them,” Stephens says.

    Brand value

    All that being said, Best Buy does have some advantages over its competitors. Its brand name still has significant value, according to Slavick. Plus, it has developed strong relationships with major electronics manufacturers, which means it could potentially work out deals on exclusive product offerings that could give it a pricing edge over Amazon on certain items.

    That means that the company can still save itself if it finds the right replacement for Dunn, says Stephens.

    “My hope would be that they go out on a limb and try to find someone who is truly innovative and creative and willing to break some rules,” he says. “I get worried when in a crisis the retailers call the operators and the accountants to the table instead of the marketers.”

    Some ideas to make Best Buy stores more appealing would involve offering classes for shoppers on how to use the digital cameras and computers they buy there, and staging special events when new video games are released, the consultants offer. Another important step would be expanding and training new customer service representatives, so Best Buy will offer the chance for human interaction and on-the-spot technical support that Amazon doesn’t, notes Rosenblum.

    When it comes to store closings, Best Buy might have to raise the number from 50 to 100, given the new market realities, according to Bob Phibbs, who runs consulting firm The Retail Doctor.

    “Maybe that would be unpopular to do, but they have too much real estate and their stores are way too big for their traffic,” he says. “It’s not like people in local communities are clamoring for large big-box stores.”

    The chain will likely announce more closings as its leases come up for renewal, says Rosenblum.

    Unfortunately, Best Buy won’t have the same opportunity to capitalize on its vacant locations as Sears does. At the end of the first quarter, the national vacancy rate for big-box stores nationwide stood at 8.2 percent, according to Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services,—only 10 basis points lower than a year ago and double the rate at the peak of the market in the first quarter of 2007. Rents averaged $10.43 per sq. ft., down from $10.55 per sq. ft. in the first quarter of 2011.

  286. Lifestyle Centers Launch a Comeback
    May 17, 2012 11:58 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    One of the most maligned retail formats of the past decade might be coming back in vogue, as investors begin considering acquisitions of lifestyle centers.

    Lifestyle centers, a concept whose development exploded in the early and mid-2000s, bore much of the brunt of the recession, as many were built in developing areas, featured no anchors and relied on elaborate co-tenancy agreements that brought vacancies sky high when retail chains started closing down in 2008 and 2009.

    Just as other property types have been picking up steam, though, the better positioned lifestyle centers are catching investors’ fancy, with Poag & McEwen, one of the pioneers of the concept, buying its first lifestyle center since the recession on May 10.

    The Memphis, Tenn.-based firm, in partnership with New York-based DRA Advisors LLC, just paid $55 million for The Avenue at Collierville, a 720,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle center in Collierville, Tenn. Cousins Properties developed The Avenue in Collierville in 2002-2003. At its peak, the center’s sales averaged somewhere around $325 per sq. ft., according to Steve Yenser, executive vice president with Jones Lang LaSalle Retail, who worked for Cousins while The Avenue was being built.

    Poag & McEwen has changed the name of the center to Carriage Crossing and plans to potentially expand the property by up to 60,000 sq. ft. DRA Advisors is currently shopping for a loan to put on the asset. The partners were attracted to the center because it’s located in a high-income, high-growth area, and because the project remained stable throughout the downturn, according to Josh Poag, Poag & McEwen’s president and CEO.

    “One a macro level, the retailers are doing better, and so we feel sales are increasing at a lot of projects that maybe struggled through the downturn,” he says. “On a micro level, this is an area of Memphis that is growing, and there is a major development happening two or three miles east of us, in Piperton Hills, that should bring 20,000 jobs to Memphis in the next 10 years.”

    More on the way

    In the coming months, Poag & McEwen executives plan to explore further lifestyle center acquisitions, as the investment sales market has finally bridged the bid/ask gap, Poag notes. And the firm is not alone. Last year, regional mall REIT Macerich Co. bought Atlas Park in Queens, N.Y. out of foreclosure. Phoenix-based Vestar is currently looking at purchasing lifestyle centers, among other retail properties. Los Angeles-based Champion Real Estate Co. is also scouting the market for lifestyle centers, since many of these assets are located on good sites and feature superior architectural design, according to Bob Champion, president of Champion Real Estate.

    “We believe that these centers will change their focus,” says Champion. “They will continue to attract a higher income discretionary spending customer for some portion of their square footage, but will fill vacancies with neighborhood daily needs, service and quasi-office tenants, which were often ignored in these projects. Many of these projects had second-phase development land, which cities may consider for residential development, as they begin to understand the lack of fundamentals required to develop more retail.”

    In fact, one of the main attractions of Carriage Crossing has to do with the fact that its substantial size, tenant mix and two traditional anchors (Macy’s and Dillard’s) make it more like an open-air regional mall alternative than a lifestyle center in its purest form, according to Yenser. Many of the lifestyle centers that suffered the worst through the recession were only a few hundred thousand square feet in size and featured no anchor tenants to drive shopper traffic.

    So while investors are expressing more interest in the format, “the trend mirrors the recovery in general,” says Yenser.

    “What it comes down to is the quality of fundamental real estate. The better quality class-A and class-A-plus centers have really charged back, there is a lot of demand for them. And a lifestyle center could be in that category if it’s fundamentally good real estate. But I don’t know if [the interest] has as much to do with whether it’s a lifestyle center or a mall.”

  287. In the eBooks section of my website there’s a link to a book that I’ve been working on fo the last couple of years. It’s on Cinderella City Mall, Englewood Colorado. I was lucky enough to get into the mall just before it was demolished. Here’s a direct link to the book.

    I’d really like to get it published by a real publisher. I’ve shown the photos at numerous museums and universities. They really seem to resonate with people.

  288. As many malls have Starbucks stores, the following article maybe of interest to some readers.

    Starbucks to buy La Boulange bakery for $100M
    The company will also hire La Boulange founder and French baker Pascal Rigo in an attempt to expand its food platform
    June 4, 2012 | By Lisa Jennings

    Starbucks will also hire La Boulange founder, baker Pascal Rigo Starbucks on Monday announced an agreement to acquire the San Francisco-based Bay Bread LLC and its La Boulange bakery brand for $100 million in cash.

    With the acquisition, the Seattle-based coffeehouse chain plans to beef up its food offerings in Starbucks stores with La Boulange-branded French pastries, croissants, breads and muffins, which company officials hope will drive traffic and build the chain’s food attachment rate.

    Long term, however, Starbucks officials also plan to build La Boulange into a national brand with its own retail outlets across the country, as well as moving into grocery and other channels with branded consumer packaged goods, or CPG, products.

    Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ chair, president and chief executive, said the company plans to bring the artistry of the French bakery to the marketplace in the same way it brought the “romance” of the Italian espresso bar to virtually every corner of America.

    “This is an investment in our core business. After more than 40 years, we will be able to say that we are bakers too,” said Schultz.

    Under the agreement, Starbucks will hire La Boulange founder Pascal Rigo, who will serve as senior vice president and general manager of the La Boulange brand for Starbucks. La Boulange currently operates 19 locations around the San Francisco Bay area. The bakery chain was founded in 1999 by Rigo, who began baking at age 7 in Paillet, France.

    The San Francisco bakery chain is known for its use of high-quality ingredients, including European-style butter, specialty grain and locally sourced produce, Rigo said in a statement. “We weigh, mix, divide, roll, cut, bake and care about every croissant, cookie, pastry, loaf and bread that goes into our pastry case, and we are looking forward to sharing our passion with Starbucks’ loyal and discerning customers,” he said.

    Starbucks also plans to continue offering Bay Breads wholesale products to restaurants, hotels and specialty grocery stores and may expand that aspect of the business over time, the company said.

    The French bakery is being sold by Next World Group, a team of management and investors that has worked with Rigo to build the brand over the past six years.

    Sébastien Lépinard, Next World Group’s founder and majority investor, said Starbucks shares the bakery chain’s values and vision for bringing premium products to customers in a socially responsible way. “We trust that Starbucks is the best partner to take La Boulange to the next level while staying true to the brand and bringing the romance of an authentic French bakery to life,” he said.

    Food now accounts for about $1.5 billion in revenues at Starbucks —about 20 percent of overall sales — Schultz said. “La Boulange gives us a significant catalyst to growth that even further.”

    Only about one-third of Starbucks transactions have food attachments, he noted. And, though the coffeehouse chain has made efforts to build its food sales in recent years with Bento box lunches, mini desserts such as cake pops and more healthful breakfast sandwiches, the opportunity remains to invest in that core aspect of the business.

    “Starbucks is the healthiest it has been in decades,” he said. “Now is the time to enhance the experience and create differentiation in the marketplace between us and everyone else.”

    However, food sales grew by 14 percent in each of the first two quarters of fiscal 2012, Schultz said.

    Starbucks locations in the San Francisco area will be the first to see La Boulange products in stores by 2013, Schultz said. The products will be added to Starbucks locations across the country and made using existing production facilities and outside facilities.

    While plans for eventual CPG products are “baked in,” Schultz said that won’t happen until La Boulange has been built into a national brand. Starbucks also will open “flagship” stores of La Boulange around the country, which would further bolster the strength of the brand and offer “icing on the cake,” said Schultz.

    “The unit economics are attractive and we could add something to it. It’s also an opportunity to showcase Starbucks coffee,” he said.

    La Boulange marks the second large acquisition aimed at helping to build Starbucks’ retail business. Last year, the company bought the Evolution Fresh juice brand for $30 million, bringing the bottled juice products into coffeehouse locations as well as launching a new juice bar concept the company plans to grow.

    Contact Lisa Jennings at

  289. @SEAN, Continuing the Starbucks theme, Seattle’s Best inks kiosk deal with Coinstar
    The coffee chain will debut automated coffee kiosks in grocery and retail stores around the country
    June 6, 2012 | By Lisa Jennings

    Seattle’s Best and Coinstar expect to open about 500 of the automated coffee machines by the end of 2012. Seattle’s Best Coffee has signed an exclusive agreement with Coinstar Inc. to roll out new automated coffee kiosk machines in thousands of grocery and other retail stores across the country, bringing premium coffee to places it was never served before.

    Under the five-year agreement, the companies will begin rolling out the unmanned machines — dubbed Rubi — this summer, with plans to install them at about 500 locations by the end of the year.

    The Rubi kiosks grind whole coffee beans and brew each cup to order. Specialty drinks are also available, such as mochas or vanilla lattes, with prices starting at $1.

    “This relationship is a logical next step in our strategy to bring great coffee to new and unexpected locations where it’s traditionally been hard to find great coffee,” said Jim McDermet, Seattle’s Best Coffee’s senior vice president and general manager, in a statement. “Our Seattle’s Best Coffee fans will be delighted to find their favorite coffee now available around-the-clock at places they visit regularly each day.”

    Seattle’s Best Coffee, a Seattle-based secondary brand owned by Starbucks Corp., has been aggressively growing its distribution presence in recent months with an expanded packaged line in grocery stores.

    The brand is served by a growing number of national restaurant chains, including Taco Bell, Burger King and Subway, and Seattle’s Best has also been moving into convenience stores at Chevron ExtraMile locations.

    Last year, Seattle’s Best lost almost 475 retail outlets in Borders Bookstores when that retail chain was liquidated. The coffeehouse brand continues to grow through franchising in nontraditional locations, and earlier this year said it was testing a new drive-thru unit.

    Coinstar operates the Redbox self-service DVD rental machines, as well as the namesake automated coin-counting kiosks. The company has about 36,800 Redbox outlets and 20,200 Coinstar machines in supermarkets, drug stores, mass retailers, convenience stores and restaurants.

    Paul Davis, Coinstar’s chief executive, said the Rubi machines will “reimagine” the coffee experience for customers, delivering “the kind of quality, convenience and value that we know coffee drinkers on the go will appreciate.”

    Rubi machines will initially be installed in grocery and drug stores, and other high-traffic locations in the Northeast and West Coast.

    Seattle’s Best Coffee has about 100 units in the U.S. and Canada.

    Contact Lisa Jennings at

    Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

  290. With new menu launched, Sbarro looks to expand beyond malls

    Business First by Dan Eaton, Staff reporter

    Sbarro LLC is dishing out a new menu in Columbus but bigger changes may be on tap for the food court pizza and Italian chain, including some non-mall restaurants.

    The Melville, N.Y.-based company introduced its new menu and operations at the Mall at Tuttle Crossing Thursday, one of 10 of 1,013 Sbarros participating in the new food and operations test.

    “Consumers are much smarter now,” President Anthony Missano said. “They know the difference between good food and great food. They’re more experienced at eating out.”

    The new dining choices include made-to-order pasta with new sauces and pasta choices and fresher pizzas with cheese shredded on-site daily and dough made in the restaurant kitchens.

    Missano said the company is aiming for the ever-increasing fast-casual dinning dollar. While Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.

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    Follow this company (NYSE:CMG) has the Mexican market cornered and chains such as Panda Express draw those craving Chinese, the Italian segment doesn’t have a signature brand. It is the same market Columbus-based Piada is making a play for.

    Customers don’t view food court operations the same as the fast-casual though, which has Sbarro thinking it may be time to expand beyond malls.

    Missano said in addition to adding more traditional food court units, the company also is exploring strip center sites.

    There are precedents.

    David Karam, Sbarro chairman, said Panda Express and Chick-fil-A started in food courts and now have stand-alone restaurants. Karam also is a Wendy’s Co. franchisee through Columbus-based Cedar Enterprises Inc.

    “This is an early test,” Karam said of the Tuttle upgrades. “We’ll get feedback on what the consumers think.”

    Missano said Columbus always has been a good market for the chain dating back to the City Center Mall restaurant, Sbarro’s first venture in Central Ohio.

    Sbarro has seven Central Ohio eateries. Missano said others could see changes this fall.

  291. Big -Box Space Remains Hard to Fill

    By KRIS HUDSON The Wall Street Journal.

    Close to a year after Borders Group Inc. collapsed, suburban shopping centers still are struggling to fill the vacated big-box space—and to cope with changes in the way Americans shop.

    Many shopping centers that lost Borders after the chain announced its liquidation are suffering high vacancies, falling rents and even debt defaults. Values have been falling in particular for the suburban shopping centers that rely heavily on big-box stores and have been bearing the brunt of the impact from online retail competition.

    Take the case of the Regency Park Shopping Center, outside of Kansas City, Kan. The former Borders store there stayed shuttered for months, and when its landlord—Dallas-based real-estate investor Henry S. Miller Cos.—finally filled it with a Natural Grocers, the rent was “significantly lower,” said Greg Miller, a senior vice president.

    By then Regency Park had defaulted on its $25 million mortgage. The center has a vacancy of 30%, and its value had declined to $9.3 million in December, from $32.8 million in 2006, according to loan data provided by Trepp LLC, a debt-analysis firm.

    “It’s been a two-steps-forward, one-step-back deal,” Mr. Miller said.

    A new survey of 205 closed Borders stores shows that one-third are still vacant, according to brokerage Colliers International. Those stores that filled the former Borders space are leasing at rates roughly 30% lower on average than what Borders paid, Colliers said.

    “Some landlords have been reluctant to, in effect, take the lower rents that retailers are offering [to pay],” said Mark Keschl, Colliers’s national director of retail brokerage. “Now that they’re going on sitting vacant for roughly a year, we think landlords will be a little more practical.”

    Some popular malls and downtown shopping areas have been able to replace Borders without cutting rents thanks to their locations and appeal to residents and tourists.

    But many big-box centers that depended on stalwarts like Borders, Best Buy Co. and Office Max have suffered higher vacancy, weaker cash flows and other problems as these retailers have closed or shrunken stores.

    After the Oaks Square Shopping Center, in Gainesville, Fla., lost its Borders, other tenants demanded rent decreases to make up for the fact that their big-name neighbor had gone dark, according to Trepp. The landlord, Retail Property Group, replaced Borders early this year with shoe seller DSW Inc., but the servicer overseeing the center’s $14.6 million mortgage started foreclosure proceedings last February. Retail Property, which has sued the servicer in an effort to pay off its loan at a reduced amount, declined to comment.

    Among those still looking to fill a Borders vacancy is the Watters Creek shopping center in the Dallas suburb of Allen, Texas. “We have a [tenant] looking at taking the entire thing, but we haven’t made a deal yet,” said Terry Montesi, chief executive of Watters Creek’s owner, Trademark Property Co.

    Some industry watchers believe that big-box centers are facing problems that go beyond a weak economy. Rather, they suggest that these shopping centers are going to suffer long-term declines because Internet shopping offers more choice and greater ease.

    “When [the big-box format] originated, it was about wide selection in a certain category,” said Suzanne Mulvee, retail strategist at CoStar Group, a real-estate-research company. “They had the biggest selection, and that’s why you’d go there. Now the biggest selection is online. So I am concerned about this sector long-term.”

    Many shopping centers that lost Borders after the chain announced its liquidation are suffering high vacancies, falling rents and even debt defaults. Overall, national vacancy statistics on big-box centers don’t appear too grim, and new construction is scant. With some retailers expanding, like DSW and Ross Stores Inc., the vacancy rate has declined to 6.6% after hitting a multiyear high of 7.9% in 2009, according to CoStar. Even so, rents are near the lowest level they have hit since 2006, and the vacancy rate is rising again and will likely hit 6.8% by the end of the year because of more closings, CoStar reports.

    Some large landlords are better positioned to keep their big-box centers filled because they have more clout with retailers and better properties. DDR Corp., which counts many big-box centers among its 469 properties, posted average occupancy of 93.7% in the first quarter, up from 92.6% a year earlier.

    “We’ve replaced Linens and Circuit with Bed Bath & Beyond, Marshalls, Ross, Wal-Mart, said Paul Freddo, DDR’s senior executive vice president of leasing and development, referring to the closed Linens ‘n Things Inc. and Circuit City Stores Inc. “We sit here three years later a much better company because of it.”

    But California developer Peter Pau also is giving up on the big-box concept in the Bay Area suburb of Newark, where this year he bulldozed most of his Mowry Crossings shopping center. The 200,000-square-foot center had only one viable tenant—a BJ’s Restaurant—after losing its Mervyns, Circuit City, Petsmart and Babies “R” Us. Mr. Pau still owns the project because he had paid its mortgage, but he now intends to rebuild it as a retail format other than big-box.

    “It is no longer a power-center,” Mr. Pau said. “We aren’t banking on big-box tenants.”

    Write to Kris Hudson at


    I understand the point of this WSJ piece, but wasn’t this just a little over the top? After all the big box retailers wanted ever larger stores & now that things are changing, they cant dump them fast enough. Also with population shifts to dencer & less car dependent communities, these box stores will have a tougher go at it compared to just a few years ago.

  292. It is many big box retailers causing this problem. For instance here in San Antonio, Target and Wal-Mart shuttered many smaller profitable locations in favor of larger supercenters. This leaves all these large buildings scattered around town that do not fit into other retailer’s needs. I personally preferred the smaller locations because it was easier to get in and out and to get exactly what I want. Also with Albertson’s shuttering in the area and K-Mart shuttering, there are still many buildings not filled. H-E-B, our only major grocery chain, keeps building newer bigger stores, leaving shopping centers or free standing stores standing vacant. Since they have a policy of chasing out competitors, it is hard for them to fill these slots which they still own. So for many of these companies, it is a case of cutting off their noses to spite their face.

  293. @Michael, Well said. Cities like San Antonio in past decades acted as if increasing sprawl was some how good for ecconomic development & would continue for ever. However as evidence has shown, all that has happened is ever increasing amounts of blight that is becomeing harder & harder to remove.

    There’s an organisation called Sprawl Busters that aid communities in fighting unessessary big box developments.

    Obviously NOT ALL big box development is bad, but There is a fine line that causes diminishing returns on investment if you overbuild.

  294. As far as Border’s, many of them are being redeveloped here in San Antonio. For instance the Border’s at Huebner Oaks is going to become an REI and the one at the Quarry Market is turning into a Nordstrom Rack. I did major in merchandising management in college and worked for May Company, Federated and Macy’s Inc for several years. I see many opportunities wasted in different markets.

  295. @Michael, Tell me more. What was done right & what was done wrong. This could be quite instructive as many large cities & there suburbs are more reflective of your hometown of San Antonio than New York, Boston or Chicago. Places like Phoenix, Las Vegas, Atlanta & Orlando come to mind, but the auto dependent suburbs can also be found in transit rich areas such as Paramus NJ or King of Prussia PA near NYC & Philadelphia respectively.

  296. @Michael, Year Into Borders Liquidation, Space Absorption Progresses as Expected
    Jun 14, 2012 1:44 PM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    A recent story in The Wall Street Journal bemoans the fact that big box vacancies remain hard to fill and that shopping center owners are defaulting on their mortgages because of it. But a brief survey of retail real estate insiders reveals that the story paints a misleading picture.

    For example, it is true that today, approximately one-third of former Borders spaces remain vacant, according to research completed by brokerage firm Colliers International. But given that the real estate sector only recently came out of one of the worst downturns on record and that less than a year has passed since Borders filed for liquidation in July 2011, the fact that two-thirds of its stores have already been re-leased speaks to a healthy amount of demand in the big-box sector, according to Andy Graiser, co-president of AG Realty Partners, a Melville, N.Y.-based retail real estate investment firm.

    In fact, because there has been virtually no new construction in the power center space in the past few years, expanding retail chains such as discounters TJ Maxx and DSW and upscale grocers such as Whole Foods, have no choice but to strike deals for second-generation big boxes, notes Mark Keschl, national director of retail services with Colliers.

    Today, vacancies in the junior anchor space average 4.2 percent, according to Bill Rose, director of the national retail group with Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. That’s only 80 basis points above the 3.4 percent national vacancy rate in 2007 and far below the peak vacancy of 5.5 percent in 2009. And while average rents are down from their high water mark of $11.62 per sq. ft., achieved in early 2009, at $8.77 per sq. ft. they are above 2007’s levels, when junior anchor rents averaged $8.36 per sq. ft., Rose says.

    “If you just look at the metrics, vacancy is improving across the country in big-box lease-up,” he notes. But if one looks at mid-market centers alone, “that could easily paint the picture of it being a very difficult environment.”

    The properties that are lingering on the market likely belong to one of two categories, according to Keschl—either the landlords own very high-quality real estate and are waiting to secure the same kinds of rents that Borders was paying, or they happen to be in secondary or tertiary markets with generally high levels of vacancies, so there is not enough demand to take care of all the supply.

    It is unlikely, however, that a Borders’ exit would, on its own, push a shopping center into default, Keschl says. That might happen with a freestanding store, but at a multi-tenant property, the retailer was just not large enough to cause that kind of damage.

    “Typically, at 25,000 sq. ft. or so, if that’s the only problem a shopping center had, it’s not enough to throw the center into default,” he says.

    The bell curve

    That’s not to say that big-box vacancies haven’t caused any problems for retail property owners, just that the centers most likely to experience delinquency or default issues tied to those vacancies are likely to carry some other burdens as well.

    For example, if a property already had one anchor vacancy when Borders announced its liquidation the additional cash flow loss might have been the final straw needed to put it into default, according to Frank A. Innaurato, managing director of CMBS analytical services with Morningstar Credit Ratings LLC, Morningstar Inc.’s structured credit research and ratings subsidiary. There may also have been some centers where the exit of a big-box anchor triggered co-tenancy provisions lowering inline tenants’ rents.

    “Where leasing of inline space was directly tied to the performance of the [big-box retailer], obviously a large problem can become a bigger problem,” Innaurato says. “If you have a recovering market, the [big-box] vacancy can be somewhat short-term. On the other hand, in some of these tertiary markets, or non-major markets per se, finding someone to take big-box space is easier said than done.”

    Currently, 6.24 percent of all U.S. properties that featured Borders as a tenant and were financed with CMBS loans are in some stage of delinquency, representing 24 loans valued at $309 million, according to Manus Clancy, senior managing director with Trepp LLC, a New York City-based credit research firm. That’s lower than the national retail CMBS delinquency rate of 8.07 percent.

    What’s more, 10 of the delinquent loans tied to Borders are secured by freestanding properties, as opposed to multi-tenant centers. The average size of the delinquent loans is approximately $13 million, compared to the $45 million average for all properties that housed the retailer.

    When Trepp, Morningstar and its peers were evaluating the potential impact from the Borders’ liquidation last year, that’s largely what they expected to happen, and the fact that some of the spaces have remained vacant doesn’t surprise anyone.

    “It’s been a difficult three or four years, punctuated by a host of retailer closings. When you look at Circuit City, Linens ‘n Things, Steve & Barry, Borders and then add Sears and Macy’s closings, it’s an awful lot of space that’s been opened,” says Clancy. “Some guys have successfully refilled these spaces, but it’s not easy.”


    If you noticed, there’s an obvious contrast between this Retail Traffic article & the one I posted a few days ago from the WSJ. The truth lies someplace between them & I wanted to make sure I gave a ballenced perspective.

  297. @regularjoe, I agree! Monroeville Mall was the largest mall in the country when it was built way back when. It definitely deserves an article. I wouldn’t say the mall is a goner, but South Hills Village, Ross Park Mall, and Mall at Robinson have plagued the once gleaming Monroeville Mall. There were over 20 vacancies in the mall just a year or so ago. There has been a big demographic shift in the area, reflected by some of the odd stores moving in to the once upper-scale store-studded mall. As part of a comeback, Strawberry NY and a shoe store opened, and JC Penn-YAY is revamping a brand new store in the old Boscov’s – Gimbel’s department store. The old JC Penney shall be a brand new movie theater. I think the mall is on a rebound. It still has many reputable stores like Hollister, Ulta, Coldwater Creek, White House/Black Market, Abercrombie, AE, etc.

  298. Malls Compete Harder as Economy Recovers, Says Moody’s
    Jun 20, 2012 12:06 PM, By Bendix Anderson, Contributing Writer

    The title of the report says it all: “US CMBS: Growing Gap between Strong and Weak Malls.” As the economy continues to creep down the long, winding road to recovery, strong malls are luring retail tenants away from weaker malls, according to this new report from Moody’s Investors Service.

    Strong malls have benefitted from a flight to quality properties among retailers, according to Moody’s. In contrast, weak malls struggle with the sluggish economic recovery and competition from online merchants and other brick and mortar retail formats such as outlets, power centers and lifestyle centers.

    Most malls are doing well—or at least not terribly, according to Moody’s. “The vast majority of the CMBS loans collateralized by regional malls that we have reviewed have been high quality,” says report co-author Robb Paltz vice president and senior credit officer for Moody’s.

    Also, retail properties overall are seeing the first glimmers of a recovery. Vacancies fell 10 basis points to 10.9 percent in the first quarter—that’s the first decline since 2005, according to data firm Reis. Within the healing retail sector, malls are relatively strong, with national vacancies declining by 20 basis points to 9.0 percent in the first quarter. That’s the second consecutive quarter of vacancy declines, according to Reis.

    However, weaker malls continue to struggle as their retail tenants focus on efficient space usage and close stores at underperforming or less profitable locations. That’s a worry for the underwriters at Moody’s because losses from failed malls tend to be larger than the losses from any other type of commercial property. “Should the location lose its viability for retail altogether, value would revert to land less demolition cost,” says Paltz.

    For example, Greeley Mall in Colorado was liquidated in May 2012 with a 96 percent loss severity, according to Moody’s. At one time the mall was anchored by Dillard’s and had an inline occupancy above 90 percent. But Dillard’s and a number of inline tenants closed their stores and relocated to another property in the same trade area. The sponsor had difficulty re-leasing the space and a downward occupancy and rent spiral began.

    So, what’s the difference between the winning malls and the losers? Attributes include being the dominant or only mall within a trade area, having four or more department stores as anchors, retail occupancies over 85 percent and tenant sales averaging greater than $450 per sq. ft.

    One particularly telling sign of success: Apple Stores. Simply having an Apple Store doing business at your mall may raise a mall’s average sales per sq. ft. by more than $100, according to Moody’s. “The Apple stores in our data base typically have sales equaling or exceeding those of the anchor department stores despite Apple operating from a fraction of the space.”

    Here is Moody’s checklist of high-risk characteristics for malls: – Not dominant within trade area (third or fourth best mall in a four mall market); – Three or fewer department stores as anchors, several of which have sales below their chain-wide averages; – Inline occupancy below 85 percent; – High level of short-term tenants or those whose rents are determined solely as a percentage of sales; – Inline tenant sales averaging $300 per sq. ft. or less; – Occupancy cost to sales ratio that is not sustainable from a tenant’s perspective; – Occupancy near a level that threatens to trip co-tenancy clauses; – Locations exhibiting weak trade area demographics, most importantly population and average household income; – Alternative non-retail uses occupying portions of the property (such as a school or office use); – Weak sponsorship with limited bargaining power with national retailers.


    This maybe true, but we’ve sene just how credible the raiting agencies like Moodies are when it comes to valuing debt instramints. There track reccord is questionable at best & down right fraudulent at worst. So I would take this with a grain of salt.

  299. From Retail Traffic

    Industry Doubts Best Buy Will Find a Buyer
    Jun 28, 2012 11:41 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    Word on the street is Best Buy’s founder Richard Schulze would like to find a buyer willing to help turn around the struggling chain. But retail industry insiders question whether anyone would want to invest billions of dollars in the electronics retailer in its current state.

    Schulze left his position as Best Buy’s chairman earlier this month and has reportedly hired the Credit Suisse Group to help him explore buyout options for the retailer. Schulze still owns a stake in the company valued at approximately $1.4 billion, but in order to present a viable buyout plan he would have to find a partner willing to put in anywhere from $6 billion to $9 billion of additional equity into the deal.

    Given Best Buy’s lack of a clear turnaround strategy and its oversize store fleet, however, private equity players are likely to forgo such a transaction, according to Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor, a retail consultant based in Coxsackie, N.Y.

    “It’s damaged goods,” Phibbs says of Best Buy. “The forces against them are huge. This is not a building brand and I don’t think it’s for lack of trying. It’s going to be a lot of money and how is [Schulze] going to find a guy willing to come in and do something different than what he’s been doing?”

    Value proposition?

    Private equity players have been investing in retail chains of late, including recent acquisitions of BJ’s Wholesale Club, kitchenware seller Sur La Table and apparel retailer Talbots. But they generally need to see some form of value proposition in the company, either through expansion potential or an attractive property portfolio.

    At the moment, Best Buy offers neither. While it’s possible to envision a scenario where the chain reinvents itself as an experiential retailer in the vein of Apple, it’s still struggling to come up with the right strategy to turn itself around, says Doug Stephens, president of Retail Prophet, a retail consulting firm. In the first quarter, ended May 5, same-store sales declined 3.7 percent domestically and 10.5 percent internationally. Revenue per sq. ft. at U.S. stores stayed flat with revenue reported during the same period last year, at $854.

    In April, the most recent month for which data is available, mall-based electronics retailers as a group averaged $1,937 per sq. ft. in sales, an increase of 27.6 percent over April 2011, according to ICSC.

    “I think there is room in the world for Best Buy, but they have to chart a different strategy and make it a reality before venture companies say that this is a viable investment,” Stephens says. “It’s a lot of money and I think there’s more pain [ahead] for them before anyone starts looking at them as a potential buyout target.”

    No flipping

    Best Buy’s real estate portfolio doesn’t carry much appeal either. The company currently operates 1,105 big-box stores in the U.S., totaling 42.4 million sq. ft. It’s been trying to shed unprofitable locations, including plans to close 50 stores in calendar year 2012, but its big-box fleet remains bloated, according to Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, a Phoenix-based retail real estate consulting firm.

    “It will be difficult for a buyer to reposition Best Buy because they have too much bricks-and-mortar square footage [and] much of this space is tied to long-term leases,” he says. “Best Buy is attempting to downsize most of these stores, but it has proven to be a long and difficult task for them.”

    Meanwhile, there is hardly a shortage of big-box space on the market, making the possibility of Best Buy capitalizing on its closed stores less than likely.

    “At the end of the day, U.S. retail is overbuilt by 20 or 30 percent,” says Phibbs. “It’s never going to go back to the go-go 80s. I don’t think real estate has proven to be a great strategy to buy a [retail] brand

  300. The Logan Valley Mall is a great mall, and I’ve recently been doing lots of research on it in old newspapers and online, so I could likely be a lot of help if you ever write about it.

  301. The Rise, Fall, and Rise of Sbarro
    Sbarro will use new pizza recipe and fast-casual rebranding to fight back from bankruptcy.

    One hundred days. That’s how long Jim Greco gave himself to right the sinking ship that was Sbarro when he took over as president and CEO in February.

    The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2011 and emerged from it in November, having shed $200 million in debt and 25 underperforming sites. But jiggering liabilities on a balance sheet had not addressed the limitations—which ranged from a subpar pizza recipe to an overreliance on mall traffic—that had caused Sbarro to drown.

    “I recognize that Sbarro had, over the last several years, lost its lead in the space it operates,” Greco says. “Sbarro is an iconic brand with name recognition. And that is something that’s really hard to create and is very valuable. So I thought that it was a great place to start to build something back.”

    On February 1, Greco stepped into Sbarro headquarters to recast the brand as a fast-casual contender. He concocted a formula called the 100 Day Plan, detailing how the Italian quick serve would leverage people, place, product, and positioning to enact its resurrection.

    The changes debuted in June, when Sbarro rolled out 10 test units showcasing an updated pizza recipe, open-flame ovens, and a made-to-order pasta station, all rolled into the brand’s new motto, “Hands On Italian.” Team members now undergo cultural hospitality training, and an outside firm holds the blueprints for a next-generation design to be unveiled in November.

    Five months into his reign as CEO, Greco says everything is going according to plan.

    “We wanted to settle on a vision, we wanted to design a strategy to realize that vision, and we wanted to create the 100 Day Plan that called for a number of initiatives to be accomplished,” Greco says. “And everything that we sought to accomplish in the 100 Day Plan has, in fact, been accomplished.”

    Sbarro’s Downfall

    In 1967, seven years before the first successful mall food court was built, Sbarro engineered a mall location in Kings Plaza Shopping Center in Brooklyn, New York. The idea was simple: cook fresh, Italian food in an open kitchen and serve it quickly. Consumers ate it up, and the modern Sbarro concept was born. The brand became a staple as food courts boomed throughout the ’80s and ’90s.

    But the quick serve that once offered “tastes to fit every palate” fell into troubled waters in the ’00s as rivals rose to challenge Sbarro’s offerings. Pizza Hut began peddling calzones in 2003 and pasta in 2008, and Domino’s stepped up to bat with a flashy new pizza recipe in 2011.

    Consumers, meanwhile, were slowly slinking away from Sbarro in favor of a rising restaurant sector: fast casual.

    “Fast casual was getting a really good grip on the consumer,” says Anthony Missano, president of business development for Sbarro. “It had done a great job of educating the consumer about quality and what to expect for a reasonable price, so the value equation was very strong, and I think at Sbarro we just were not consistent with that trend.”

    Part of the trouble was the brand relied heavily on locations in malls, and as the recession hit around 2008, consumer confidence dropped and once-vibrant malls became ghost towns.

    Greco concocted a formula called the 100 Day Plan, detailing how the Italian quick serve would leverage people, place, product, and positioning to enact its resurrection.“If you look at what real estate costs were and construction costs in that 2005–2008 time period, they were extremely inflated,” says Dave Bagley. Bagley is a principal at MorrisAnderson, an operational and financial turnaround firm that has led bankruptcy recoveries for Sonic and Popeyes, among others.

    “These malls that Sbarro was placed in were in geographic areas where there was a lot of continued growth during that period of time,” he says. “They were based on continued growth, and as we know now, some of those things didn’t come to fruition.”

    Coupled with real estate costs were rising commodity costs. While corn and protein prices skyrocketed, inflation drove up price tags on cheese and flour. Gas prices grew faster than sales of the Apple iPad, and suddenly every input entering the store was costing exponentially more.

    Coming in, Greco says, he noticed Sbarro was purchasing costly ingredients but charging low prices.

    “I saw a company that was using costly ingredients to produce food that’s much better for you than typical fast food,” he says. “And, as a result, to cover the cost of materials we need to charge prices that are above fast food. But we weren’t delivering the whole fast-casual experience that we could.”

    The Turning Point

    In 2007, private equity firm MidOcean Partners bought Sbarro for $417 million. In 2010, it installed a new management team and appointed one of its managing partners, Nicholas McGrane, as CEO.

    The changes were not enough. By 2011, Sbarro had accumulated more than $350 million in debt.

    Was the food just louzy & nothing else?

  302. @SEAN, The food’s always been lousy and the idea that they were paying too much for ingredients that’s “better for you” is just ludicrous. the guys just sounds like a typical vulture capitalist.

  303. @Rich, Yeah I know, but do you realize just how many chains are in the hands of these so called vultures? Now you can add one more.

    Centerbridge Partners to complete $1B purchase of P.F. Chang’s
    July 2, 2012 | By Ron Ruggless
    .Centerbridge Partners L.P., the New York-based private equity firm, said it planned to complete its $1.1 billion going-private purchase of P.F. Chang’s China Bistro Inc. on Monday.

    Centerbridge and its subsidiary, Wok Parent LLC, and Wok Acquisition Corp. had successfully completed a $51.50-per-share offer for outstanding shares of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based P.F. Chang’s. About 17.8 million, or about 83.7 percent, of outstanding shares were tendered, Centerbridge said.

    A spokesman for Centerbridge said that P.F. Chang’s intent, revealed in February, to speed up the purchase of a majority position in the five-unit True Food Kitchen, created by Fox Restaurant Concepts of Scottsdale, had reverted back to the terms of the original 2009 $10 million credit facility. P.F. Chang’s retains the option to convert that to a majority equity interest after True Food opens its sixth restaurant, the spokesman said.

    “Centerbridge intends to promptly move forward with a ‘short-form’ merger under Delaware law after exercising its top-up option under the merger agreement, and P.F. Chang’s will become an indirect, wholly-owned subsidiary of Wok Parent,” Centerbridge said in a statement. P.F. Chang’s shares would cease trading on the Nasdaq exchange.

    Centerbridge already owns the Rock Bottom Restaurants and Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant Group, which it bought in November 2010.

    P.F. Chang’s owns and operates 204 casual-dining P.F. Chang’s Bistros and the 170-unit Pei Wei Asian Diner and Asian Market.

    Contact Ron Ruggless at
    Follow him on Twitter: @RonRuggless

    Will this do anything to maintain or improve the quality of the food?

  304. @SEAN, probably not. Gordon Biersch and Rock Bottom have fairly mediocre reps. PF Chang’s actually is pretty good for what it is–much better than average Chinese for people who’ve never had the real thing.

    In general, the vultures have helped do-in or cripplecountless retail and related operations going back to the 80s. the usual strategy is to consolidate and eliminate middle management, gut the in-store personnel and maybe improve the logistics stream. Stores get closed–usually the most expensive real estate not necessarily the weakest. It usually means that the merchandiser are further from/less in synch with customers, investment in stores lags, and in-store service deteriorates. But the buyers get a big fee when they sell and the firm gets stuck with a lot of debt that the weakened “new business model” can’t generate enough volume to retire.

  305. @Rich,Have you ever sene the film Barbarians at the Gate? It’s about 1980s leverage buyouts the precurcer of todays hedgefunds in the way they suck a business dry. You also see this in the classic film Wall Street, but that’s small potatos compared to what’s going on right now.

    Just look at the venerable retail names that have gone away in just the past20-years & those that are in serious jeopardy right now. Ward’s, Circuit City, Sears, Penney’s, Linnons & Things. I could go on, but you get the point. How many of these businesses are way over leveraged as a result of being trapped by “the vampire squid” AKA Goldman Sachs & firms like them.

    Now restaurants are next on there plate as it were.


  307. @rob, No I didn’t here about Best Buy. However regarding the econemy, back to school sales are being front loaded by retailers this year by starting them July 1st rather than in August.

  308. @rob, Wash. Post reports… Best Buy cutting 600 Geek Squad jobs, 1,800 store workers as part of turnaround attempt

    By: Associated Press, Published: July 6AP NEW YORK — Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. is laying off 600 staffers in its Geek Squad technical support division and 1,800 other store workers as it seeks to restructure operations and improve results, the company said Friday.

    The cuts amount to about 1.4 percent of the company’s total staff of 167,000.

    Best Buy is trying to combat the “showrooming” of its stores, as consumers test out products at its stores but go home and buy them cheaper online or at discounters. Interim CEO Mike Mikan has vowed the company is committed to fundamentally changing operations to improve results

    Best Buy spokesman Bruce Hight says the layoffs are part of the company’s “ongoing turnaround plan.”

    In March, the company announced a restructuring aimed at improving results. At the time, the company said it would close 50 of its U.S. big box stores, cut 400 corporate jobs and trim $800 million in costs. Meanwhile, the company, which has about 1,400 U.S. locations, planned to open 100 smaller and more profitable Best Buy Mobile stores throughout the country.

    But shortly after that plan was announced, Best Buy’s then-CEO Brian Dunn abruptly left the company and Best Buy said it was investigating his relationship with a female employee. The investigation found he had had an inappropriate relationship with the staffer, and it also led to the departure of founder and chairman Richard Schulze, who knew about the relationship and didn’t alert the proper channels.

    Since then, Mikan, who is in the running for permanent CEO, has vowed there will be “no sacred cows” as the company reviews its business.

    Shares ended Friday trading down 15 cents at $21.59. The stock has fallen 8 percent this year.

  309. RT

    Abercrombie Faces Roadblocks to Store Growth
    Jul 12, 2012 11:23 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    As opportunities for store growth in the U.S. have dwindled, many retailers have set their sights overseas. But the latest headlines featuring teen apparel retailer Abercrombie & Fitch prove that in today’s precarious environment, even that strategy is no guarantee of success.

    Hit hard during the recession, Abercrombie & Fitch made plans to close 15 percent of its U.S. stores and decided to concentrate on Europe as its next expansion stage. When the retailer opened its first European store in 2007, the flagship on Savile Row in London, it targeted sales of $2,500 per sq. ft., more than six times the sales generated in its U.S. stores.

    Since then, the company added more than 75 stores in Europe in countries ranging from Germany to Italy to Sweden. In April, it opened its 16th store in Germany, a 23,680-sq.-ft. flagship in Hamburg. It also had plans to open new locations in Munich, Dublin and Amsterdam in fiscal 2012.

    While Abercrombie runs a handful of stores in Asia (in China, Japan, Hong Kong and Singapore) as well as 19 stores in Canada, Western Europe made the most strategic sense from an expansion point of view because of the chain’s hefty price tags, aimed at well-to-do consumers, says Jaime M. Katz, an analyst who covers the retailer for Chicago-based research firm Morningstar. In 2011, European stores accounted for approximately 16 percent of Abercrombie’s total sales and 22 percent of its operating income, according to Morningstar.

    But the deepening sovereign debt crisis in the Eurozone has led to a fall-off in sales in the region. In the first quarter, ended May 16, the company reported that total same-store sales declined 5 percent, mostly due to troubles in the international division—in the U.S., same-store sales posted an increase. And that was while the situation in Europe was relatively stable.

    In fact, the falloff in sales came as a shock even to some analysts.

    “We had recently returned from a trip in mid-April during which we visited the London, Milan and Paris flagships,” wrote UBS analysts Roxanne Meyer and Janice Ong in a May 16 note. “We came away thinking that trends had not deteriorated, and in fact improved versus 4Q sequentially, which was not the case in reality. We also came away believing that Hollister was still likely comping positive in the U.K., also not the case.”

    During the company’s first quarter earnings call, back in May, CEO Michael S. Jeffries expressed confidence in the European expansion: “While we continue to review trends closely and be very disciplined in how we approach new store openings, we believe the current economics of our business in Europe strong affirm our long-term strategy.”

    Given the rapidly changing headwinds, however, Abercrombie & Fitch might have to curtail its store openings in Europe, according to published reports. The company’s European stores tend to be larger than their U.S. counterparts, and can be more expensive to operate. “You can’t sell high-ticket items when austerity measures are in place,” says Katz.

    What now?

    With limited opportunities to open stores in its two main markets (U.S. and Europe), industry insiders now expect Abercrombie to expand its share buyback program to allocate capital. Currently, the company’s board has authorization to purchase up to 12.9 million shares of the company’s stock, but that figure is expected to increase significantly.

    The timing is fortuitous, as Abercrombie’s stock is currently trading at about half its fair value estimate of approximately $60, according to UBS, and far below its 52-week high of $78.25 per share. As of Thursday morning, Abercrombie shares were trading at $32.62 apiece.

    In the coming weeks and months, the stock price “is likely to be choppy—it will likely react to macro headlines as well as to other company reports that have European exposure,” write Meyer and Ong.

    “I have no idea about what’s going on with the share buybacks, but maybe returning cash to shareholders [is] more fortuitous than opening stores that are going to struggle for some time,” says Katz. “When you are opening very big flagship stores, those stores need to work. If the productivity isn’t there, it just becomes a problem. [And] it could be that buying share at $30 makes more sense than buying them back at $60.”

  310. The Shopping Mall Turns 60 (and Prepares to Retire)
    Emily BadgerJul 13, 2012


    The enclosed suburban shopping mall has become so synonymous with the American landscape that it’s hard to imagine the original idea for it ever springing from some particular person’s imagination. Now the scheme seems obvious: of course Americans want to amble indoors in a million square feet of air-conditioned retail, of course we will need a food court because so much shopping can’t be done without meal breaks, and of course we will require 10,000 parking spaces ringing the whole thing to accommodate all our cars.

    The classic indoor mall, however, is widely credited with having an inventor. And when the Vienna-born architect Victor Gruen first outlined his vision for it in a 1952 article in the magazine Progressive Architecture, the plan was a shocker. Most Americans were still shopping downtown, and suburban “shopping centers,” to the extent they existed, were most definitely not enclosed in indoor mega-destinations.

    At the mall’s peak popularity, in 1990, America opened 19 of them. But we haven’t cut the ribbon on a new one since 2006.
    Gruen’s idea transformed American consumption patterns and much of the environment around us. At age 60, however, the enclosed regional shopping mall also appears to be an idea that has run its course (OK, maybe not in China, but among Gruen’s original clientele). He opened the first prototype in Edina, Minnesota, in 1956, and the concept spread from there (this also means the earliest examples of the archetypal American mall are now of age for historic designation, if anyone wants to make that argument).

    At the mall’s peak popularity, in 1990, America opened 19 of them. But we haven’t cut the ribbon on a new one since 2006, for reasons that go beyond the recession. As we imagine ways to repurpose these aging monoliths and what the next generation of retail should look like, it’s worth recalling Gruen’s odd legacy. He hated suburbia. He thought his ideas would revitalize cities. He wanted to bring urban density to the suburbs. And he envisioned shopping malls as our best chance at containing sprawl.

    “He said great quotes on suburbia being ‘soulless’ and ‘in search of a heart,'” says Jeff Hardwick, who wrote the Gruen biography Mall Maker. “He just goes on and on with these critiques. And they occur really early in his writing as well. So it’s not as if he ends up bemoaning suburbia later. He’s critiquing suburbia pretty much from the get-go, and of course the remedy he offers is the shopping mall.”

    Gruen wanted to create better versions of the American downtown in the suburbs. He wanted these places to be civic centers as much as commercial ones, with day cares, libraries, post offices, community halls and public art. He wanted the shopping mall to be for suburbia what the public square was to old European cities. In fact, that mall in Edina, called Southdale, was supposed to be the centerpiece of a 500-acre master plan to include houses, apartments, office buildings, a medical center and schools.

    In his book, Hardwick unearths a great quote from the president of Dayton’s, the downtown Minneapolis department store that developed Southdale. He, like Gruen, believed that all of this could happen at no expense to the city.

    “We do not believe,” he said, “we or anybody else will lose any business because of the suburban move.”

    Gruen’s creations did an amazing job of luring customers (and holding them captive in the shopping bliss now known as the Gruen Effect). The day Southdale opened, 75,000 happy shoppers streamed in. And it’s hard to imagine now where Gruen thought these people were coming from, if not in an exodus from downtown.

    He also built a series of satellite shopping centers around Detroit for the department store J.L. Hudson. When the first of them opened in 1954, Detroit was the fifth largest city in the country and the fastest growing in the East or Midwest. Of course Gruen’s shopping centers aren’t solely to blame for Detroit’s decline. But his idea helped set off a chain reaction that recurred in cities everywhere. Suburban malls drew consumers who found shopping and parking in the city too difficult. They contributed to a boom in development that enabled not just shopping dollars, but whole households to relocate to suburbia. Cities, eying this exodus, tore down buildings and tried unsuccessfully to recreate the ease of parking and the shopping experience people found in the suburbs. And this only further hastened their decline.

    “Gruen will often go on about how they’re going to push each other, ‘what we’ve created in the suburbs can now be a model for downtown,'” Hardwick says. “But he doesn’t imagine that what we created in the suburbs is going to bankrupt downtown.”

    In Edina, those plans for a whole town anchored around the mall were never executed, and perhaps Gruen was naïve to think the developers of shopping malls would also be interested in developing entire communities. At the time, Gruen believed that by locating all of a community’s shopping needs in an enclosed mall, with a nondescript exterior, we could do away with the “commercial blight” of scattered hot-dog stands and gas stations and neon storefronts that made America, in his eyes, so ugly.

    But the property value around Southdale quickly went up. And instead of developing the full 500-acre site, Dayton’s sold off chunks of it for what would become the kind of “anonymous mass housing” Gruen detested, and precisely more of the commercial sprawl he wanted to eradicate. Repeatedly, his plans did not turn out as he had imagined them, and later in life he bitterly lamented that Americans had debased his ideas.

    In one of the strangest legacies of his career, just as he was building these suburban shopping malls, Gruen was trying to revitalize urban downtowns with pedestrian-friendly master plans for cities like Fort Worth, Texas, and Kalamazoo, Michigan. He wanted to bring people back into the city even as he was trying to bring city-like amenities to the suburbs that lured so many people away.

    “They’re totally at odds,” Hardwick says. “He never is able to explain that, or justify it. It’s a fundamental contradiction of his career.”

    And then there was the problem in the suburbs of all that mall parking. How do you make a mall the civic heart of a community when it is, by definition, isolated in a sea of asphalt?

    “Even if we had realized Gruen’s ideas,” says Georgia Tech professor Ellen Dunham-Jones, “if it’s just this self-contained pod surrounded by berms that you drive to, I don’t think the suburbs would actually look or function all that differently [today].”

    By Dunham-Jones’ count, today about a third of our existing malls are “dead” or dying. That’s not to say they’re mostly vacant. But they have dreadful sales per square foot. High-end dress stores have moved out, and tattoo parlors have replaced them – “things,” Dunham-Jones says, “that would normally be considered way too déclassé for a mall.”

    About a third of our malls are still thriving, and those are the biggest, newest ones. But America is no longer building many new highways, which means we’ve stopped creating prime new locations for mall development. Some of the earliest amenities of the enclosed mall – air-conditioning! – no longer impress us. And the demographics of suburbia have changed dramatically. Malls draw the largest share of their customers from teenagers, and the baby boomers who largely populate suburbia no longer have teenagers at home.

    For all these reasons, the suburban mall of Gruen’s plan appears to be victim of more than just the recession. Dunham-Jones, who has tracked this trend in her book Retrofitting Suburbia, estimates that more than 40 malls nationwide have been targeted for significant redevelopment. And she can count 29 that have already been repurposed, or that have construction underway.

    In 2010, Columbus, Ohio, tore down the dead mall in its downtown for a park. Voorhees, New Jersey, demolished half of its dead mall, built a new main street and relocated its city hall into the remaining building. In Denver, eight of the area’s 13 regional malls now have plans for redevelopment. One of them, in suburban Lakewood, was converted from a 100-acre super block into 22 walkable blocks with retail and residences.

    “It’s the downtown that Lakewood never had before,” Dunham-Jones says. Ironically, this is what Gruen had been aiming for. “Except that now it’s open-air.”

    Americans haven’t particularly outgrown the consumer impulse that Gruen detected. We still love to flock to dense agglomerations of Body Shops and Cinnabuns and Brookstones. But now those places look increasingly like open-air “lifestyle centers,” with condos above or offices next door. Some of these places are just the old mall in a new Main Street disguise. But when you add residences, and cut Gruen’s mega-block into what actually looks like a downtown street grid, that begins to change things.

    “You’ve got to get a mix of uses, but the connectivity is probably even more important,” Dunham-Jones says. “The uses will come and go over time, but if you can establish a walkable network of streets, that’s when you’re really going to establish a ripple effect in changing suburban patterns.”

    Top image: The Beverly Center shopping mall in Los Angeles (Fred Prouser/Reuters)

    Keywords: Columbus, Detroit, Fort Worth, Minneapolis, Suburbs, Shopping, Retail, Shopping Malls

    Emily Badger is a contributing writer to The Atlantic Cities. She also writes for Pacific Standard, and her work has appeared in GOOD, The Christian Science Monitor, and The New York Times. She lives in the Washington, D.C. area. All posts »

  311. Interesting article on the grocery store, reflects what’s on this site.

    Grocery-Anchored Shopping Centers No Longer the Safest Bet in Retail
    Aug 2, 2012 10:30 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    “Everybody’s got to eat”: This bit of wisdom had become much quoted in the years since the recession as risk-averse real estate investors fled to the relative safety of grocery-anchored properties. It turns out that even when it comes to necessities, today’s consumers can afford to be picky about where they shop.

    As multiple retail operators, from general merchandising chains including Wal-Mart and Target to dollar stores to warehouse clubs to drugstores, have begun adding grocery products to their shelves, traditional supermarket chains found themselves squeezed in their own market segment. At the same time, the ever-widening pool of upscale and organic supermarkets gave more choices to well-to-do shoppers not swayed by Wal-Mart’s rock bottom prices.

    “Everywhere you look, people are selling consumables, so if you don’t have a good reason for people to choose your store, you’ve got a problem,” says John Rand, senior grocery analyst with Kantar Retail, a Columbus, Ohio-based retail consulting firm.

    The evidence is everywhere: In 2010, A&P, once the largest supermarket chain in the country, filed for bankruptcy; in late 2011, Winn-Dixie, a regional grocer with a focus on Southeastern U.S., was sold to BI-LO; Supervalu Inc., which operates more than 2,500 stores around the country, is on “death watch,” according to David J. Livingston, head of supermarket consulting firm DJL Research.

    Then there are the store closings: Earlier this year, Delhaize announced that it would close 113 underperforming Food Lion stores and Safeway sold off or closed stores in its Northeast-based Genuardi’s division. Plus, Supervalu will likely close more stores as it attempts a turnaround.

    In fact, traditional mid-market grocers as a group have all but stopped growing, notes Ryan McCullough, real estate economist with the research firm the CoStar Group. According to an index McCullough put together, since 2007, the amount of new leasing traditional supermarkets have done by square footage has declined approximately 60 percent. During the same period, high-end grocers expanded their square footage by 72 percent. Earlier this week, Whole Foods executives talked about growing to as many as 1,000 stores in the U.S., including in smaller markets.

    The anemic growth among mid-market supermarket chains has been reflected in the vacancy rates for neighborhood shopping centers. In the second quarter of 2012, the vacancy rate at neighborhood shopping centers nationwide averaged 11.3 percent, according to CoStar statistics. The figure reflected the highest vacancy rate for any property type in the retail universe and was also just 20 basis points below the vacancy peak reached in mid-2001 at 11.5 percent.

    “It really hasn’t come down significantly since the recession,” says McCullough.

    “One reason is the anchors and their [troubles with] profitability. Another important aspect is what’s happening with the in-line tenants. They are equally beleaguered because they don’t have access to financing. It’s a generalization, of course, but a grocery-anchored center is not the safe investment it was five years ago.”

    Adjusting for risk

    Investors certainly factor property occupancy levels into their pricing models—there is currently a $45 spread in price per square foot between neighborhood shopping centers with occupancy of 90 percent or greater and those with occupancy below 90 percent, McCullough’s research shows. But it’s unclear how much of a role the identity of the anchor tenant plays in pricing.

    It’s an important issue because as time goes by the mid-market supermarket sector will likely see more bankruptcies and liquidations, as well as further consolidation, according to both Rand and Livingston. In McCullough’s view, those chains that will attempt to beat competitors on price alone will have difficulty turning themselves around since Wal-Mart, Target and warehouse clubs like Costco have more experience with that strategy.

    “Let’s face it, Wal-Mart’s got better pricing power and better logistics,” he says.

    Mid-market operators that are in the process of adding on high-end and organic products or more ethnic food offerings have better chances of surviving, McCullough’s notes. The challenge for real estate investors is figuring out which grocers have a future and which don’t. That often requires the consideration of multiple factors and a fine balancing act, according to John Bessey, an officer of the Phillips Edison Co., the sponsor of Phillips Edison—ARC Shopping Center REIT. Last year, Phillips Edison-ARC formed a joint venture with CBRE Investors to acquire up to $200 million in grocery-anchored and community shopping centers throughout the country.

    Bessey notes that the performance of stores within the same company can vary by brand and by market. For example, while Supervalu as a firm is struggling, its Jewell-Osco division remains the dominant grocer in its home market of Illinois. Phillips-Edison-ARC’s acquisition criteria require that the anchors at the grocery-anchored centers it purchases serve as either the number one or the number two grocers in their respective markets.

    A supermarket chain doesn’t get to those market-leading positions unless its “personalizing its stores to its three-mile population,” Bessey says.

    “The biggest thing these stores are able to deliver is quality of perishables and loyalty to the store will be based on the consistent quality of those perishables,” he adds. “Because people will go out of their way to get the best quality perishables, but they can get a can of peas somewhere else because a can of peas is a can of peas.”

    Another thing real estate investors should consider is how much of a debt load the supermarket’s parent company carries and whether the chain owns its real estate or rents its stores, according to Livingston. He brings up the example of Weis Markets Inc., a Pennsylvania-based chain that operates 160 stores in the Northeast.

    “Their stores don’t perform very well, but they don’t have any debt,” Livingston says.

    Excluding fuel sales and adjusting for an extra week in 2011, Weis’ same-store sales went up 3.5 percent last year, compared to 2010. Total sales increased 3.3 percent. In the first quarter of 2012, same-store sales were up 0.3 percent on a year-over-year basis, while total sales rose 0.2 percent.

  312. Appreciate the commentary and the articles from various sources that say there’s not a big problem, (or perhaps there is) with filling vacant big box spaces.

    The commercial RE market I’m most familiar with is Northern NV–Reno, Sparks, Carson City, and the smaller towns surrounding them.

    Reno/Sparks are typically analyzed together because the cities are contiguous.

    In the region, there were two Circuit City stores, one Good Guys, one CompUSA, two Mervyn’s, two Target stores, three Long’s Drugs, and one Borders, among others.

    This is the state of those spaces now:

    The two Circuit City boxes are still vacant.
    The Good Guys space has been vacant for more than 4 years.
    The CompUSA space is now a Goodwill store.
    One Mervyn’s space is now a Ross–the other is vacant.
    One Target store moved to a new store in a mall constructed with state-subsidized bonds. The old location is vacant. (As an aside, the new store’s taxes are excluded from the city’s revenue stream.)
    All 3 Longs stores are vacant.
    The Borders space is vacant. It was rented short-term for a Halloween shop.

    In response to what I’m sure are well-connected, well-informed commentators in other regions, the view from here seems bleak.

    Unemployment is still over 9%, and the U-6 unemployment is nearly 20%.

  313. An interesting article in the NYT.

    Holiday Shopping on the FlyBy MICHAEL T. LUONGO
    Airport shopping used to be mainly for the desperate or bored. But as airports seek to generate more revenue, they have been expanding their offerings of stores and other services, and some time-constrained business travelers now say they find gift-worthy items before their flights.

    Ernest Troth, president of the North Loudoun Corporation, a military equipment supplier in Virginia, for instance, said stopping for layovers at the airport in Denver was “a life saver when it comes to shopping on an otherwise tightly scheduled business trip.” The connection, he said, is “easy to make, and there are two shops I always stop in for handmade, unique jewelry and gifts.”

    Mr. Troth said that the two shops, Mosaic and Earth Spirit, which are part of small chains run by Avila Retail of Albuquerque, let travelers “find a gift that looks like you shopped long and hard for it.” Rather than experiencing what he called “male shopping syndrome — go in, get confused and then you leave,” he said, “I’ve walked into both with 20 minutes to flight time, described a concept or color or type of gift I was looking for, and was out in time for the flight home with gifts I’m happy with.”

    Tyler Craig, vice president and general manager of NCR Travel, one of the nation’s largest airport retail companies, said airports had been adding stores and other services to gain a competitive edge. “In most airports, you’ll see a combination of national boutique brands as well as unique, independent stores that create a store mix similar to what you’d see at a local mall or shopping center,” he wrote in an e-mail.

    “A challenge for all airport retailers is letting shoppers know you’re there,” he added. “Since the main reason people are in the airport is to get on a plane, shoppers may be reluctant to wander around the airport browsing the stores for fear of getting lost and missing their flights.”

    Airport stores have long sold T-shirts and key chains with local cities’ names on them to tourists. But places that were once found only in the heart of cities are now setting up outposts in airports. Amy Lee, senior travel strategist at NerdWallet, a financial advice Web site based in San Francisco, said she often bought Christmas beer glasses from the Anchor Brewing Company’s branch at San Francisco International Airport as gifts for clients. “These glasses are not only a great San Francisco souvenir but useful.”

    At Indianapolis International Airport, Brickyard Authentics sells items related to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, site of the Indy 500. Carlo Bertolini, the airport’s director of public relations, said that “one of the benefits of this approach for business travelers is the opportunity to buy something iconically Indy,” even if they cannot visit the Speedway.

    For some travelers, quirkiness is the draw. Rustin H. Wright, the publisher of Streetcar Press in Portland, Ore., said he liked shopping at Renaissance Book Shop in General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee. With both new and used books, and a large aviation history selection, Mr. Wright said, “They are totally not what people think of with an airport bookstore. They are kind of funky and it is a very Milwaukee thing.” Mike Lowrey, an employee of Renaissance Books, said it was among the airport’s few remaining independent stores, defying what had been the common belief that “the only thing business travelers’ delicate sensibilities can bear are familiar, upscale, nationally advertised, brands.”

    Holiday shopping at airports abroad is an annual ritual for Suzanne Garber, who lives in Philadelphia. As the chief networking officer for International SOS, a company that helps its member organizations manage health and security risks for employees in foreign countries, Ms. Garber helps credential hospitals. “I travel at least once a year overseas for work, and I always buy my holiday gifts then,” she said. “It will be a unique gift nobody else has gotten before.” This October, Ms. Garber said, “I bought local spices at the airport from Senteurs d’Angkor,” in Phnom Penh, with special dyed banana leaf packaging. “It was a very local and handicraft item, and I think that food is a universally accepted gift,” she said.

    Sheridan Becker, an American who lives in Belgium and who is publisher of Bon Voyage magazine and travel books, said she told clients short on time that “chocolate is a fabulous item to purchase at the Brussels airport.” She said airport purchases “save time and work,” adding, “You would be surprised on the amount of chocolate one can find while at the airport.” In addition, she said duty free shops send purchases to the gate, allowing a traveler to continue shopping without carrying items or worry about getting through security with them.

    Olivia King Canter, a New York television executive, said she was surprised that she could buy roses in the Quito, Ecuador, airport to bring as gifts to the United States. “A client said you can bring back wholesale boxes of roses,” she said. “I bought boxes and boxes of roses, packed in cartons and sealed, long-stem roses. I had to fill out a customs form, and go through the agricultural line, but it was no big deal.”

    Some airports have made shopping easier for business travelers. In 2009, Heathrow Airport in London created a “Journey Team” that now has over 70 shopping specialists, who collectively speak over 40 languages. One of those specialists, Jessica Walls, wrote in an e-mail that her job “is to be familiar with each of the 340 outlets at Heathrow as well as the latest exclusives and new releases, enabling me to make sure my passengers get the product they want quickly.”

    Sometimes simply relaxing and eating at an airport can lead to a purchase. One such place is Vino Volo, a wine restaurant and shop at several airports in the United States, including Terminal 8 at Kennedy Airport in New York.

    Joanne King, a general manager at Westfield Concession Management who oversees concessions in Terminal 8, said that Vino Volo was ideal for travelers who wanted to relax and shop. And since the restaurant’s location is after the security line, customers can take purchases on most flights without difficulty.

    For those business travelers who truly want to relax, O’Hare International Airport in Chicago opened the Urban Garden in 2011. It grows herbs and vegetables for the airport’s restaurants. Brad Maher, director of operations for HMSHost, which runs a majority of the concessions at O’Hare, said the garden was between Terminals 2 and 3, in “ a kind of secluded place.” The garden was the brainchild of Rosemarie S. Andolino, commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Aviation.

    Mr. Maher said it is a “really peaceful place, and very aromatic, with basil, cilantro, chives and other herbs growing there.”

    He said that the garden recently opened a kiosk, “a farmers’ market, where we package some of the herbs for sale if people want to buy them.” He added, “we’re pretty unique for an airport.”

    Surprised the article neglected to mention Greater Pittsburgh International, as the airport mall concept originated from there.

  314. This mall seems to be very important to retail history. The bellevue Center opened in the early 90s and thrived back then.This mall has space for over 90 tenants, and four anchors (only three were ever built).
    The mall property is 80 acres. restraunts the two fist anchors that opened with the mall were Dillards and Kaster-nott.the mall was at full capacity back in those days.There was a food court with around 10. In the late 90s mall traffic started to decline, so a Sears was brought in to one of the achors(Kaster-nott was now Hetch’s). hetch’s converted to Macy’s in 2006. The occupancy rates on the second floor fell dramatically in the2000s. The mall lost Dillard’s in 2007. After this the mall officals closed the following may leaving macy’s,and sears. Macy’s closed in 2009 due to a bad holiday season leaving sears as the only operating anchor. The mall now has fallen into disrepair , but makes it a epic place to photograph. I sugest you check it out, its located in nashville TN . I believe this mall closed due to competition with Opry Mills ( a supermall ) and Greeen hills mall.

  315. Shopping not dropping

    According to experts, China now has 2,812 shopping malls, a number that is likely to exceed 7,000 by 2025. Of the existing malls in China, 80 percent are considered to be large, meaning they have between 50,000 and 100,000-plus square meters of floor space. [China Daily]

    As China rises, so do many shopping malls in the country.

    Last year, 15 million square meters of floor space for at least 1,500 malls were under construction in China.

    “And that’s just about enough,” said Guo Zengli, president of the China Shopping Center Development Association. “It’s enough of the large and trendy malls we see in megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai.”

    The number of malls being built last year in China far exceeded the figure for Western Europe, where only five were being built in 2011, according to the US-based CBRE Group Inc, a commercial real estate services company.

    China now has 2,812 shopping malls, a number that is likely to exceed 7,000 by 2025, Guo said.

    According to CBRE data, eight Chinese cities are among the top 10 cities in the world with the largest number of new shopping malls.

    Of the existing malls in China, 80 percent are considered to be large, meaning they have between 50,000 and 100,000-plus square meters of floor space.

    In the US, only 20 percent of malls fall within those dimensions, Guo said.

    Most Chinese malls are aimed at buyers of medium-priced and relatively high-priced goods. They tend to offer the same brands as each other and fail to meet the shopping needs of the general public.

    “The kind of shopping centers that most people need are the ones meant for the bottom of the pyramid,” he said, meaning those that serve “ordinary people” who “don’t want to spend lots of money but lead a decent life”.

    James Hawkey, executive director of retail services for Cushman & Wakefield China, a subsidiary of a US-based commercial real estate services firm, said few shopping centers in Europe and the US occupy more than 100,000 square meters of space.

    Guo said one source of trouble lies in Chinese shopping malls’ geographical distribution.

    He cited Shanghai for being better than most places at designing the centers and making sure large malls are both spread throughout the city and supported by a network of smaller shops.

    In contrast, Beijing and many other cities lack a comprehensive plan for commercial operations.

    Some cities are not suited to the construction of large shopping malls. But local governments often go ahead with building projects anyway.

    As a result, many recent projects undertaken to renovate old commercial districts in Chinese cities have been failures, especially in their mixing of new designs with traditional settings, Guo said. Those misguided attempts have both destroyed cultural treasures and repulsed long-standing customers, Guo said.

    Third- and fourth-tier cities do have a need for shopping centers. Still, such places should be smaller than shopping centers in megacities.

    “I would say 50,000 square meters (of floor space) is quite enough,” Guo said. “Both those cities’ population density and purchasing power are relatively small.”

    At a time when online retailers are increasingly taking business away from physical stores, malls should try even harder to differentiate themselves by building a solid position in their own markets, taking advantage of their strengths and improving their customer service.

    Guo said shopping malls should pay more attention to their customers’ experiences and try to not only sell them goods but also provide meals, movies and comfortable settings. Some mall managers have already done this by devising a variety of weekend offerings for customers and their families, Guo said.

    “Who can take away your sales if you can draw in entire families?”

    Foreign firms seek retail therapy in Australia
    Jane Wardell

    4:48 PM EST, December 16, 2012

    SYDNEY (Reuters) – The Americans are coming. And the Japanese and Europeans.

    Australia is being invaded by a swathe of foreign retailers, piling pressure on a local industry already battered by weak consumer spending and ruthless internet competition.

    U.S. retail giant Williams-Sonoma Inc opens its first owner-operated stores outside of North America in Sydney early next year.

    Japan’s Uniqlo and U.S. youth label Hollister are also scheduled to debut here in 2013, while womenswear store Zara , Britain’s youth label Topshop and U.S. lingerie chain Victoria’s Secret plan to expand after recent flagship launches. Sweden’s fast fashion chain H&M and makeup brand Sephora, owned by France’s LVMH , are also casting an eye Down Under.

    The timing appears incongruous as Australians fret over the tail-off in a decade-long resources boom that made the country’s growth a standout among its OECD peers in the wake of the global financial crisis.

    Spending has stalled in the A$260 billion retail sector, which accounts for around 18 percent of Australia’s economic output, and retailers are jittery about the Christmas season.

    But the overseas entrants have their eyes on a longer-term prize in a country that has a relatively high per capita income and home ownership rate, and a love of shopping.

    “There’s a plethora of retailers looking at Australia at the moment. They see the opportunity, they see that in the future there are great gains to be made and that’s why they’re setting themselves up now,” said Russell Zimmerman, executive director of the Australian Retailers’ Association.

    Australia is the only developed country that did not fall into recession during the global financial crisis. Australian growth is expected to slow to 3 percent next year from a forecast 3.5 percent this year. That still puts the country ahead of its rich world peers – U.S. growth was pegged at 2 percent and euro-zone growth at just 0.3 percent.

    That relative economic strength, along with the high Australian dollar, has spurred demand at foreign retailers’ online stores. Saks Inc , Macy’s Inc and Bloomingdales have all opened internet shops targeting Australia in time for Christmas.

    But a number of foreign retailers are now focused on the next step – building up a physical presence in a nation where 85 percent of purchasing is still done in shopping malls.


    Next up is Williams-Sonoma, the owner of furniture chain Pottery Barn, a brand that Australians recognize through namechecks on TV shows like “Friends.”

    The company has signed a lease for 2040 square meters of retail space in Sydney to house all four of its brands – Williams-Sonoma, Pottery barn, Pottery Barn Kids and West Elm – the first time the quartet will sit side by side.

    While Zimmerman bemoaned the lack of people laden with shopping bags just weeks out from Christmas in Sydney’s main retail strip, Pitt Street Mall, Williams-Sonoma isn’t concerned.

    “We definitely look at it as a long term play,” Craig Nomura, senior vice-president of Williams-Sonoma, told Reuters in a telephone interview from San Francisco.

    “The performance by country is all relative, so when you compare Australia against the U.K., it’s still doing well in the retail world.”

    Williams-Sonoma was enticed to Australian shores after opening up e-commerce sites in 85 countries just over a year ago. To the company’s surprise, it was Australia, with its population of just 23 million, that was the standout revenue generator, beating out larger countries including Britain.

    Nomura declined to divulge detailed figures but said the website provided key information on the demand for goods and seasonality factors.

    “It’s given us a real good insight in terms of product categories that work well for us,” he said, explaining that Williams-Sonoma will adapt to seasonality by delaying the delivery of U.S. product for six months.


    Other recent entrants, including Topshop and Zara, owned by Spain’s Inditex, followed the same path.

    “Foreign entrants now are able to do business in countries like Australia without putting a brick on the floor and when they gather that data and they know the market, they’re ready to grow,” Brian Walker, managing director of consulting firm The Retail Doctor Group, said.

    “They have a much better understanding of us than perhaps our local retailers do.”

    Topshop’s first Australian store, in Melbourne, became the brand’s best-ever franchise opening after it used data from its international online shop to pinpoint local demand.

    “We did a lot of research, we understood what the market is,” Hilton Seskin, chairman of Topshop Australia, told Reuters in an interview in the company’s flagship store in central Sydney, as shoppers flocked round the pink denim hotpants and sequined shirts.

    Seskin said he is planning to open 10 to 15 stores in Australia in the next few years, with two more already confirmed for Melbourne next year.


    The entry of foreign competitors, along with their speed bringing products to market and price competitiveness from economies of scale, is an enormous challenge for the local market.

    One of the toughest sectors is women’s fashion and evidence of the seismic shift is apparent in a large airy warehouse in Sydney’s east. Summer sun floods the space from high windows as a team of designers work on the autumn 2013 collection for Specialty Fashion Group’s Autograph label.

    The company, which encompasses seven brands, was among the few to quickly grasp that having Zara and Topshop next door, rather than half a world away, was a game-changer.

    “These were the retailers who we would go to in Oxford Street in London, or in LA, literally copy their product, go via China, knock it off, come back and bring it to market months later,” Specialty Fashion CEO Gary Perlstein told Reuters.

    “One, that’s illegal; two, if everyone’s copying a Zara shirt, there’s no point of difference and everyone’s just competing on price.”

    Specialty Fashion now employs nine in-house designers and has an office in Shanghai where the clothes are manufactured. While that’s a long way off the 150-plus designers employed by Topshop in London, the changes are pleasing analysts.

    Specialty Fashion Group is also the best performer, based on analyst revisions among 67 companies in Australia’s consumer discretionary sector tracked by at least three analysts, data from Thomson Reuters StarMine shows.

    That contrasts with retail stalwarts Myer Holdings Ltd and David Jones Ltd , whose belated play for consumers by signing exclusive access deals with overseas brands is being undermined by their direct entry.

    Retail Doctor’s Walker said the only way forward for Australian retailers was to embrace the revolution.

    “They can’t have an island mentality. They have to be as prepared to do business in Alaska as they are in Arkansas or Adelaide.”

    (Reporting By Jane Wardell; Editing by Emily Kaiser)

  317. Barnes & Noble Store Closings Likely as Chain Faces Uphill Battle with Digital Competitors
    Jan 10, 2013 10:43 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    Barnes & Noble’s disappointing holiday sales results left the retail industry with some sobering thoughts.

    The last big-box book retailer standing reported that for the nine-week period ending Dec. 29, its same-store sales fell 8.2 percent. Same-store sales excluding sales of NOOK e-reader products fell 3.1 percent. Revenue for the company’s digital business, encompassing the NOOKs, digital content and accessories, decreased 12.6 percent year-over-year, to $311 million.

    The overall drop in the bookseller’s same-store sales can be at least partially attributed to tough year-over-year comparisons with Barnes & Noble’s last holiday season, when the chain profited from the liquidation of its main rival Borders, according to Peter Wahlstrom, an analyst who covers the chain for Chicago-based research firm Morningstar. But the fall in the sales of NOOK products can’t be ignored, given that the tablet was created to allow Barnes & Noble to compete with digital rivals Apple and

    “We noticed that the company chose to even discount its newer devices in some cases, which was a bit concerning because Amazon and Apple were not discounting,” Wahlstrom says. “It was like Barnes & Noble was trying to buy market share and traffic into its stores and it didn’t work.”

    The NOOK’s failure to take off as a formidable competitor to the iPad and the Kindle makes Barnes & Noble’s position in the bookselling business ever more precarious, according to both Wahlstrom and Gary Balter and Simeon Gutman, who cover Barnes & Noble for Credit Suisse. After all, Apple and Amazon don’t carry the expense of bricks-and-mortar divisions. Barnes & Noble has to pay rent for hundreds of superstores, in addition to employing knowledgeable salespeople on the ground, notes Steven J. Montgomery, president of b2b Solutions LLC, a Lake Forest, Ill.-based consulting firm.

    “I think as long as anybody is selling physical books in a bricks-and-mortar environment, Barnes & Noble will survive,” Montgomery says. “The problem is those big stores require big sales in order to generate a reasonable return on investment and I am not sure whether or not that’s going to continue.”

    Shrinking giant

    The issue, according to Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a New York City-based retail consulting and investment banking firm, is that Barnes & Noble has been trying to survive in a business that has undergone fundamental changes since the chain emerged on the retail scene at the beginning of the 20th century. He likens the book sector to music retailers in the early 2000s, when the big music chains fell off the map one by one, destroyed by the emergence of iTunes and its peers.

    It is all but a certainty that Barnes & Noble will have to start downsizing its store portfolio in the coming months, according to both Davidowitz and Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, a Phoenix-based retail real estate consulting firm. And while some of its peers in the big-box space, such as Office Depot, can experiment with smaller stores because their customers come in looking for specific products that can be ordered through the chains’ websites, a bookstore is too much about the experience of exploring new products in person for that to be a successful strategy for Barnes & Noble, notes Montgomery. That means the downsizing is likely to take the form of store closings, rather than shrinking footprints.

    “The change [in the book industry] is enormous and Barnes & Noble is going to continue to shrink because it goes against the tide,” says Davidowitz. “It’s in a very tough place and its future is very uncertain.”

    Barnes & Noble currently operates 689 stores in 50 states. The company leases most of its stores on a 10- to 15-year basis. In 2013, 123 of its leases were scheduled to expire, followed by 136 in 2014 and 101 in 2015.


    Interestingly enough, I was talking to one of the CS staff members at Roosevelt Field when I went there yesterday. A lot of people including my self were shocked to see B. Daltons closed & it turned into a conversation on this very topic.

  318. @SEAN, Happy New Year Sean, interesting article I hope we dont lose B AND N LIKE WE DID BORDERS.
    I was at GARDEN STATE PLAZA saturday the new Burger joint is opening jan 15th. The prices a regular burger is 10.00 not including fries which are sep 5.00 plus a drink you are talking 21..00 for a burger meal at Joes American the whole meal wit drink 14,00. The new clothing store uglo mens pants only have 34 length the salesperson said there have been many complaints. They better fix that before they open in Palisades Mall. I wasnt impressed with the store at all.Have you heard of any more stores coming to shops at Nanuet.

  319. @rob, I don’t know what’s up with Nanuet.

    Uniglo semes to have a few bugs they need to work out, but give it time.

    I’m looking foward to Zin Burger’s opening so I can compare it to Bobby’s Burger Pallace at Bergen Town Center. Burger, fries & drink runs roughly $13 at BBP.

    Many mall expantions, lifestyle centers & downtown revitalizations included both cinemas & bookstores. The cinemas for the most part have been able to adapt, but this issue with B & N is problematic to say the least. Some locations will need to be closed to save money, but how many is still an unknown right now. Another question is, what will fill the stores that do close since a good number of them are 2 or in some cases 3 stories. Infact the Union Square flagship is a massive 4 floors.

  320. @SEAN, They’ll trim B&N locations, they won’t liquidate. In some areas of NJ, B&N’s are less than 10 miles apart!

  321. @mallguy, 10 miles apart? At one time B & N had 4 locations within 4 square miles between Yonkers & White Plains. The Hartsdale store closed a few years ago once the Whighte Plains location took off, Greenburgh closed last year since the store was small & lacked a Starbucks & Yonkers semes to do OK being in a very busy strip center on Central Park Avenue.

  322. @SEAN, I forgot to tell you als that garden state plaza is adding 20 m0re stores i heard from two sales people in Lord and Taylor

  323. @SEAN, There are B&N’s in borderding towns – one in East Brunswick in the Brunswick Square Mall and one on rte 1 & 130 in North Brunswick. Those are less than 10 miles apart. But because this is NJ, they can sustain themselves…at least it looks as though they do.

  324. @rob, Big article in the Bergen Record about it. When they build the new parking deck by Neiman Marcus, I believe they are going to connect the two entranceways (by Neiman Marcus and by Macys) that empty into the garage to place the new stores.

  325. @mallguy, Here you go.

    Garden State Plaza begins replacing parking deck, adding stores in $130M remodeling
    Wednesday, January 9, 2013 Last updated: Thursday January 10, 2013, 3:55 PM
    The Record

    Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus has begun a $130 million project to replace a parking deck and remodel existing mall space to carve out room for about 20 more stores.

    Construction crews at the Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus on Wednesday. The project will create some 50,000 square feet of retail space the shopping center hopes to fill with what its executives describe as “urban premium brands” — upscale and designer names that will complement existing tenants such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci.

    The new stores will be grouped on two floors adjacent to the new deck. With common areas and back-room space for the stores, the project will add about 80,000 square feet of space inside the mall. The new retail space is scheduled to open in the spring of 2014.

    The mall has reached the point where it can’t easily expand beyond its current size through additions, so it has to look for creative ways to add spaces within its existing shell.

    The new stores will bring the mall’s store count close to 300, but will not significantly change the mall’s total leasing area of 2.1 million square feet.

    The four-level parking deck adjacent to the Neiman Marcus store will be torn down and replaced by a five-level deck with a speed ramp. That ramp will allow drivers to exit without having to wait behind cars looking for spaces, and let incoming motorists drive directly to the level they want to park on. The new deck will have 1,800 parking spaces, 300 more than the existing deck.

    The project was approved by the borough of Paramus three years ago.

    Mall manager Deborah Mattes, who described the project for The Record on Wednesday, said demolition of the old deck is expected to begin soon. The mall closed the deck to cars this week.

    Mattes said the new deck is expected to be ready by November, before the holiday shopping rush.

    The project will create parking and traffic headaches for the mall during the construction. In addition to losing the parking spaces in the Neiman Marcus deck, the mall will have to re-route traffic away from the mall ring road closest to the construction site. Four walk-in entrances to the mall will be closed during the construction.

    Paramus Mayor Rich LaBarbiera said he is not anticipating any traffic problems as a result of the construction, because the mall has “a vested interest” in making traffic move smoothly, in order to bring a steady stream of shoppers to its stores. He said the mall usually goes beyond what the borough requests in terms of traffic management.

    The mall, starting this week, is taking steps to ease the construction-related parking crunch for mall visitors, including more aggressive policies to prevent mall employees from parking in the spaces closest to the mall before it opens. All the parking lots adjacent to the mall will be roped off until 9:50 a.m., 10 minutes before the mall opens, to save the best spaces for shoppers. Accommodations will be made for longtime mall walkers, Mattes said. The shopping center also is expanding its valet parking options and will offer half-price valet parking on Saturdays.

    Drivers who enter the mall from the Garden State Plaza Parkway road, the entrance commonly used from Garden State Parkway and Paramus Road, will be detoured if they want to make a right turn.

    Mattes said the mall is seeing renewed interest from New York-based premium brands in opening stores at the mall, compared with slower years during the recession.

    “This is such a great market, with the demographics,” Mattes said. “There’s not that much availability of these brands in the market right now, so if they’re looking to expand, this certainly is the place to do it.”

    In a separate leasing announcement, one New York luxury brand, Tiffany & Co., is scheduled to move into a part of the mall not affected by the construction project. The jeweler will open a store this summer in the former Williams-Sonoma location.

    The parking deck being replaced is one of two decks built as part of the 1996 mall expansion that almost doubled the size of the Plaza. The new deck will have the Parking Assist system, similar to the technology installed in the parking deck next to Nordstrom in 2011, that used red and green lights to steer drivers to open spaces.

    The parking deck and new retail project is the first major renovation at the Plaza since 2007, when it added a 160,000-square-foot addition that included a 16-screen movie theater.


  326. @mallguy, There’s also an enormous article in the Reccord on American Dream Medowlands being revived yet again, but I cant post it for some reason. I think this project has had more fits & starts than the Jets offensive line this season.

  327. @SEAN, I tell You the residents of Paramus cry over the traffic on 4 and 17 but yet the town of Paramus always let GSP EXPAND. You should have read the the selfish comments from residents when Christie suspended the blue laws for two weeks in November after Sandy.

  328. @rob, Oh I believe it. When I read the Journal News & a local online news site for Arlington VA, comments tend to be angry over just about everything.

  329. @mallguy, American Dream may be closer to reality as work on Meadowlands project expected to resume
    Saturday, January 12, 2013 Last updated: Sunday January 13, 2013, 11:33 AM
    The Record

    At a gala press conference in May 2011, Governor Christie introduced a new team of developers who would take over the moribund project once known as Meadowlands Xanadu, and said that their expanded version of the shopping and entertainment complex would be open in time for the February 2014 Super Bowl to be held at MetLife Stadium.

    Just six months later, though, an executive with the developer, Triple Five, said such a timetable would be “no easy task” — and months after that, that schedule was officially scrapped. It was just another in a seemingly endless series of delayed debuts for a project that has gone on for a decade, eaten through billions of dollars, and is not yet close to completion.

    Then late last month, Christie stood before an admiring crowd of unionized laborers and predicted that the project, now called American Dream Meadowlands, would be revived this month.

    “Here I’m looking at the men and women who are going to take that thing and turn it from ugly and into a job machine for the men and women of New Jersey,” Christie said, after securing their union’s endorsement in his bid for reelection this year.

    In the past decade, officials have predicted nearly a dozen different opening dates for the project, starting with 2005. The arrival of 2013 marks a third consecutive New Year’s Day with the dormant project — and its much-reviled exterior — standing as a garish symbol of a stagnant economy

    Since new developer Triple Five appeared on the scene publicly in mid-2011, there has been progress on permitting and repeated indications of an imminent financial deal with the state. But to date, no formal contract has been struck that binds the state and the developer to each other.

    But this time, it looks as if a project that has spanned the administrations of four governors might finally be moving toward a finish line after all.

    A resumption of construction at the site in the Meadowlands Sports Complex would be a significant boost to the economy of the state, according to James Hughes, dean of the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University.

    “In the short term, the construction industry desperately needs jobs, and that project would provide a major infusion of dollars from salary, wages, income,” Hughes said. “It’s sorely needed in that regard. If it were to be successful, that would be a big deal.”

    If American Dream lives up to its billing, it would add an international destination to the landscape of North Jersey — a sprawling shopping and recreation venue sitting just miles from midtown Manhattan.

    Triple Five estimates that a completion of the project would yield more than 9,000 on-site construction jobs and another 10,000 jobs via suppliers and other off-site partners, according to paperwork it filed with the state.

    More than 11,000 permanent jobs would be created, the officials estimated — at the 200 or more planned shops and at the recreation components, including indoor amusement and water parks Triple Five wants to add to the site.

    Christie’s is not the only voice predicting an imminent revival of American Dream.

    Jon F. Hanson — a former chairman of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority whom Christie entrusted to help close the deal — is usually far more measured in his tone than the governor. But Hanson, too, says change is at hand.

    “It is also my understanding that we could commence construction in January,” Hanson said recently. “We are all anxious to see everyone come back to work.”

    Neither Christie nor Hanson offered explanations for their optimism, but it appears to be contagious.

    Anthony Scardino of Lyndhurst, a longtime sports authority board member and former state Meadowlands Commission executive director, said recently: “It’s definitely going to happen. We’re closer now than we’ve ever been.”

    And on Thursday, state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said he believed a revival was in the offing. “The governor told me that he expects it pretty much any day, and I believe him,” the Camden County Democrat told The Record’s Editorial Board.

    Despite the recent buzz about a looming restart to the project, details about the contract between American Dream and the state have been scarce as both the developer and public officials have remained tight-lipped. It is not known, for instance, if the financing structure currently under discussion varies from the broad outlines laid out by the developer over a year ago.

    ‘I hope it happens’

    But even staunch supporters of the project have become resigned to delays.

    State Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, said that American Dream has been stalled for so long that he doesn’t even think about it much anymore.

    “I hope it happens because of all the jobs at stake, but there still seem to be a lot of obstacles still,” Sarlo said. “You’ve got a large public financing package involved, and we don’t know what the details are.”

    Jim Kirkos, the president of the Meadowlands Regional Chamber of Commerce, said he remains optimistic that American Dream will move forward, even if it happens at a slower pace than he would have liked.

    “For them not to be open in time for the Super Bowl is a great disappointment for guys like me who wanted to showcase everything Meadowlands while the Super Bowl is in town,” Kirkos said. “But ultimately, American Dream is about changing the game forever, and not just when the big game is here.”

    In at least one instance, the delays have caused problems that go beyond mere disappointment. Officials in East Rutherford are blaming a recent tax increase — an average of $300 per taxpayer — partly on additional police salaries and other expenses incurred as a result of relying on promised opening dates that came and went.

    East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella said that he believes the payments in lieu of taxes paid by the owners of the project to the borough — which under the current agreement would ultimately reach nearly $10 million a year — make American Dream a good deal for residents. But he added that there is resentment in town over American Dream’s part in the recent property-tax hike.

    “We try to be a good soldier, but nobody seems to want to work with us until they need something — and then we’re the old pal being asked to do this, or do that,” Cassella said, adding that any collaboration with Triple Five in a financing deal could run into some resistance from the Borough Council.

    Financing plans

    In late 2011, the developer met with the Editorial Board of The Record and laid out how it planned to come up with the $1.8 billion it said was needed to complete the project, which has already cost two failed developers and their investors nearly $2 billion.

    Triple Five would put in $200 million in equity, with another $800 million from the private sector and $800 million via two public entities.

    Hundreds of millions would come from public bonds backed with future payments in lieu of taxes paid to East Rutherford by the developer. Triple Five executive Tony Armlin said the borough or any other public entity that issued the bonds would incur no risk by doing so.

    And American Dream developers could be entitled to almost $400 million from the state Economic Development Authority, through a program that allows developers to pay just one-fourth of their sales and corporate business taxes until they have recouped 20 percent of the cost of the new development.

    The project, adjacent to the Izod Center, has been virtually dormant since a key lender pulled its financing in March 2009. That halt followed years of delays and the collapse of original developer Mills Corp. in 2006. Creditors took the keys from the second developer, Colony Capital, in mid-2010, and still retain that control today.

    Triple Five, which has promised to make over the exterior, has received environmental and other permits to add a 638,000-square-foot indoor amusement and water park to the complex. Last summer it also announced a partnership with DreamWorks Animation that would bring movie characters such as Shrek and Kung Fu Panda to the site.

    There are a lot of things that have to happen for the project to get back in full swing.

    With American Dream’s environmental permitting approvals finally wrapping up, sports authority president Wayne Hasenbalg said the next step is for his board to give final approval to a revised master plan that includes the amusement and water park. He said that approval could come at the next board meeting on Jan. 17.

    The project also faces a formidable obstacle in the form of legal action that could be filed by the Jets and Giants, the owners of the neighboring MetLife Stadium. The teams sued in June to stop the project over game-day concerns, only to be told by a Superior Court judge to come back to court if they were dissatisfied with the terms of the board’s final approval. Hasenbalg said state officials have been in talks with representatives of the teams to try to negotiate a compromise.

    Triple Five and the NFL teams have declined to comment on the status of the project or a possible deal. But even if agreements and financing are imminent, all parties acknowledge that it is too late for a remodeled American Dream to be open in time for the Jersey Super Bowl.

    Triple 5’s financing package would also need to be finalized, and approvals won from the involved public agencies. Hasselbalg said that appears to be nearly in place.

    Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, said that Christie — riding a wave of popularity for his performance in November in the wake of the damage caused by superstorm Sandy — should not expect the status of American Dream to be at the forefront of a re-election campaign.

    “Statewide, there isn’t that much awareness of the impact of it either way,” Murray said. “And even the people who drive by it probably hardly notice it anymore, even with the garish colors.”

    Murray also said that the Xanadu/American Dream saga has lasted so long that its faults and controversies “can’t be laid on anyone’s doorstep.”

    Twitter: @BergenBrennan

    The Reccord has a timeline of proposed opening dates.

  330. Another dead mall in the making.

    Westbury’s Source mall auction fails
    August 28, 2012 by MAURA MCDERMOTT /

    Lenders took ownership of the Mall at the Source, in Westbury, after a foreclosure auction Tuesday found no buyers willing to pay $148 million to pay off its debts.

    Scott Tross, the attorney representing the mall’s bondholders, said they will probably not hold on to the mall, and will eventually sell it. Tross declined to give a timetable.

    The bondholders are represented by a trust known as CMAT 1999-C1 Old Country Road Llc.

    The mall, a hit with shoppers when it opened in 1997, has struggled in recent years after the departure of former anchor tenant Fortunoff, which filed for bankruptcy in 2009, and other major retailers. It is likely to be 75 percent vacant by next month, according to local brokers.

    The sale will not interrupt business at the mall, said Bud Perrone, a spokesman for Miami Beach-based LNR Partners, which is the servicer for the loan.

    The new owner is likely to bring in new stores within six to nine months, to prepare it for an eventual sale, said Jeremy Isaacs, a broker with Ripco Real Estate in Jericho. “Right now there is someone in charge, someone who will focus on it and try to turn it around,” he said. “So it’s all good.”

    The auction took place at 11:30 a.m. at Nassau County Supreme Court in Mineola. It lasted slightly more than a minute.

    Tross gave the “upset price” — or minimum price needed to win the auction — as $148 million, eliciting whistles of amazement from the crowd of a few dozen people, many of them attending other residential or commercial auctions. That price represents $142 million in outstanding debt and $6 million in accrued interest, Tross said after the auction. The minimum initial bid was $10.2 million.

    A man who gave his name as Michael bid $11 million, and Tross countered with $11.1 million.

    “I should just jump to the end, right?” the man said.

    “We could go all the way up to 148,” Tross replied.

    “Our final bid is $25 million,” the man said.

    Tross again outbid him by $100,000. There were no more bids.

    After the auction, the man named Michael who bid on the mall said he was a broker from the tri-state region but declined to identify himself further.

    A spokesman for Simon Property Group, formerly minority owner of the mall, declined to comment. It was unclear from public records who owned the remaining stake in the property.

    The retail center’s value was appraised at $51 million in May, according to Trepp, a company that tracks information on commercial loans. The vacant Fortunoff store has a separate, $46.2-million loan that is also in default, according to Trepp.


    Cant believe I missed this article when it was published, but this is hardly a shock since I saw it coming after Fortunoff went out of business.

  331. @mallguy & Rob, I posted three articles above & below this post including a tour of The Mall at the Source for you. The one on American Dream Medowlands is rather lengthy

    Enjoy guys!

  332. @SEAN, That’s depressing. I went in there once years ago and was surprised to see it co-exist being so close to Roosevelt Field.

    On another LI related topic: any movement with the Shops at Oyster Bay?

  333. @mallguy, Yeah that mall was depressing wasn’t it? Who would think that a dead mall would be on one of the tri-state areas busyest retail streets.

    I haven’t herd much recently regarding the Mall in Oyster Bay. What I do know is that Neiman Marcus pulled out & is opening at Roosevelt Field in 2015. Also Lord & Taylor is Taking Neiman’s spot, but Nordstrom is still onboard. The project has been alterd numerous times since inseption & has also been miered in litigation & I think it still is at this point. I guess Taubman or some really connected politicos really want this mall built.

    Speaking of really well connected politicos, did you read the article on American Dream above? This project has been punted more times than the NY Jets special teams could ever achieve.


  335. @SEAN, NJ malls are still preparing for American Dream opening, as each one has expanded or renovated within the past 10 year – one twice, namely Garden State Plaza.

    Has the construction on the Roosevelt Field expansion started yet? I don’t get out to the Island very often and haven’t been in a while, but when I do, I do tend to stop at Roosevelt Field to check things out, as it’s on the way to where I’m heading.

  336. @mallguy, The funny thing is that GSP & other malls have been preparing, but for what exactly? American Dream has changed so many times, I cant recall everything that has happened. Now get this, not only will the existing structure be altered inside & out, but it’s being expanded for more entertainment & retail.

    Construction on Roosevelt Field hasn’t started yet, but it should begin in the near future.

    I visited The gallery at Westbury Plaza today & Old Navy is opening soon. It semes although obvious, but this two sectioned strip center finished off what remained of The Mall at the Source with a better retail configguration. There’s also The Container Store, Trader Joe’s & of course Starbucks all be it a nice one at that. You can find the center at 900 Old Country Road at the corner of Eastgate Boulevard, just off the Medowbrook Parkway exit M1 East.

  337. @mallguy, I should add for transit users, that TGAWP is served by NICE routes N22 & N24 with stops on Eastgate Boulevard at Old Country Road. These routes also serve key transfer points at…

    165th Street bus Terminal (numerous bus connections)
    169th Street Jamaica Queens (F Train)
    179th Street Jamaica (F train& busses on Hillside Avenue)
    Minneola Intermodle Center (4 connecting routes & LIRR Trains)
    Roosevelt Field (several routes at 7 bus platforms)
    Hicksville LIRR station (several routes at 6 bus stops at or near the main entrance to the station building)

    Also note although both N22 & N24 busses travel to & from Hicksville, only the N24 serves Old Country Road.

  338. I’m a native of Richmond, Virginia and would love to send you guys some stuff on some of the dead chains, dead malls and such in the area, from pictures to full articles I wrote. How can I send them to you?

  339. Back on January 31, I started a new retail history blog similar to this site, though it will focus only on southeastern Michigan. Right now, I have a detailed history (and many photos) of my local mall for most of my life, Southland Center in Taylor, Michigan, near Detroit, on there.

    If you want to read it, just click on my name or if you skipped past it, here:

    I was wondering if you can link to my new site, plus I need to know how to add links to other sites on mine, just like The Curator from the Mall Hall of fame site (see near the beginning of the comments on this page) was trying to do when he started his site. Thanks.

  340. We have some intel on a mall that is not found in the Texas part of the directory of malls. The mall is the Grapevine Mills Mall in Grapevine, Texas. We hope you will check out this massively thriving mall in the near future, and if needed we have some info from past travels to the location. We will also provide links and locations to the mall as well.

    The Mall’s Main Site:

    Another Information Page:

    Address: 3000 Grapevine Mills Pkwy, Grapevine, TX 76051

    Phone Number to Mall: (972) 724-4910

    Please contact us by:

    Thank you

  341. Office Supplies Merger Likely to Present Challenge to Landlords
    Feb 21, 2013 11:45 AM, By Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    The freshly announced merger between Office Depot and OfficeMax might help save the struggling office supplies retailers from extinction, but it will also lead to some headaches for landlords, market observers speculate.

    In a published release about the deal, Office Depot’s management estimates that the merger will result in anywhere from $400 million to $600 million in annual cost synergies by the third year following the transaction’s close. A significant portion of those synergies will likely come from store closings in areas where the two chains compete with each other, as well as less productive stores that are nearing the ends of their lease terms, according to Liang Feng, an analyst who covers the office supplies sector for Chicago-based research firm Morningstar.

    Feng estimates that the combined entity will close at least 100 or 200 stores over the next few years, and possibly more.

    “The existing office supplies superstores are just too large,” Feng says. “So regardless of whether the merger goes through, they will shift to a smaller storefront.”

    In recent months, both OfficeMax and Office Depot have launched small store concepts, ranging from 5,000 sq. ft. to 15,000 sq. ft.

    Orderly process

    On the positive side, both chains have already done a significant amount of portfolio pruning post-recession, according to Mark Keschl, national director of the retail services group at Colliers International. Keschl also served as senior vice president of real estate for OfficeMax between 1993 and 1998. He expects that most of the projected store closings will involve locations where Office Depot and OfficeMax might cannibalize sales from each other.

    “It’s not like they haven’t been paying attention [to portfolio rightsizing], so you’ve got to operate under the assumption that there aren’t too many unprofitable stores,” Keschl says.

    OfficeMax currently operates 851 locations in the United States. During 2012, the retailer closed net 45 stores domestically.

    At the end of December, Office Depot operated 1,112 stores in North America. It closed net 19 stores and relocated another 28 during the year prior.

    Both Keschl and Feng also expect that any further portfolio downsizing will be done strategically, with the retailer waiting for lease expirations rather than dumping hundreds of stores on the market at once. Keschl notes that many OfficeMax and Office Depot stores opened during the expansion wave of the late 1990s/mid-2000s have now moved into the lease extension options period, meaning they likely have less than five years before the end of their terms.

    “It makes it much easier to deal with things like inventory and human resources,” Keschl says about shuttering stores as expirations come up.

    Filling the holes

    In fact, shopping center REIT DDR Corp., which owns a combined 65 Office Depot and OfficeMax stores in its portfolio, issued a statement describing the merger as an exciting “opportunity.”

    But given that most big-box retailers have been in a downsizing mode recently, finding alternate tenants to occupy vacant OfficeMax and Office Depot locations might prove problematic, according to Lew Kornberg, managing director in the corporate retail solutions group of real estate services firm Jones Lang LaSalle. For one thing, Kornberg expects that over the long term, the combined entity might close up to 1,000 stores, replacing them with smaller locations. In addition, most of the existing stores are in the 20,000-sq.-ft. to 25,000-sq.-ft. range and their spaces tend to be very deep, making them less appealing to other end-users.

    “The older, larger prototypes are as much as 100 feet deep,” Kornberg notes. “That’s a difficult size box to demise without creating a bowling alley. So I think the landlords will be challenged in many instances to find ready tenants to step in and take these spaces as they are currently configured.”

  342. @SEAN, JC PENNEYS report was out and it was not good. They are on their last legs for survival. I hope for our economy sake they will stay alive because then there will be an empty anchor store at many malls and loss of jobs. They need to get rid of this ceo and get someone who can save JCPENNEY.

  343. @rob, I am not surprised. I’m going to find an article & post it on the JCP page.

  344. An Open Mind For Open-Air Centers

    Trademark redeveloped the entrance to its La Palmera in Corpus Christi, Texas, into an open-air environment as part of its overall renovation. The center’s sales are up 50 percent since the remodel.Creating a successful open-air environment is tricky, especially in an uncertain economic climate. Categories of open-air centers, such as neighborhood and community centers, remain top investment choices, while lifestyle, power and mixed-use centers tend to consistently draw the most shoppers.

    To explore the universe of open-air centers, Shopping Center Business interviewed a wide scope of visionary developers, owners, investors and architects who are pioneering many types of centers. From investment to design to retaining tenants, we found that location, leasing and demographics are the key ingredients for a successful property.

    Among open-air centers, grocery-anchored neighborhood and community shopping centers top the list for institutional investors who buy retail properties.

    “The hottest centers are grocery-anchored centers,” says Whitney Knoll, principal, capital markets, of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank. “Everyone buys groceries. Therefore, you get daily traffic that helps you keep your smaller tenants. This becomes important in times like the downturn of the past few years. Across the board, location, demographics and population density are the driving forces after your grocery anchor.”

    Vying for good quality neighborhood and community centers is a tough business today. Low interest rates have fueled a buying frenzy among investors who can afford the low cap rate premiums that top centers bring.
    “The feeling is there is a lack of core properties for sale,” says Knoll. “Although cap rates for these properties are strong, some [current] owners are wondering where they will reinvest their money if they sell. No one has been building grocery-anchored centers for the past four years. The lack of supply to be sold makes a big difference in the market.”

    Lifestyle and mixed-use centers, while in demand among some buyers, are leasing intensive and rely on discretionary income more than needs-based shopping trips.

    “In a needs-based shopping center environment, such as a grocery-anchored or power center, the rents you charge to your tenant are based on the cost of your project,” says Yaromir Steiner, CEO of Steiner + Associates, which has developed some of the top open-air leisure-oriented centers in the nation. “In a discretionary spending environment, like Easton Town Center [Columbus, Ohio], the rents of the developer are not based on cost; they are based on the sales of merchants.”

    That differentiation is what separates these two major categories of open-air centers: power centers, neighborhood and community centers fall into the needs-based category, while lifestyle, most mixed-use and entertainment centers fall into the want-based category, says Steiner.
    For investors who acquire open-air centers, the easy access of property and tenant information and data has made owning shopping centers a nationwide business, even for private investors based in one area of the country and buying elsewhere.

    “The transparency of information that flows via e-mail and the Internet in today’s real estate business compared to 15 years ago has made it easy for everyone to take advantage of the market,” says Joe Dykstra, executive vice president of Los Angeles-based Westwood Financial, which owns centers across the country. “With more capital looking for a safe place to invest, you are seeing [cap rates on] deals drop lower and lower.”
    That, he adds, forces buyers to look out of their home markets and into markets where they are more comfortable owning assets.

    For some investors in open-air centers, the best sign of a good center is the potential for upside or net operating income improvements. Atlanta-based RCG Ventures acquires centers in secondary and tertiary markets where it sees potential for turnaround investments. The company looks for centers in markets that are missing retailers or for properties that have financial or operational difficulties. RCG’s game plan is to improve the asset through leasing and improving operational efficiencies. After repositioning the center, RCG will either refinance the asset or sell to private or institutional investors, depending on the quality of tenants and market size.

    “Our acquisition strategy for a center is based on what retailers are willing to pay in order to locate in that specific market,” says Mike McMillen, CEO of RCG Ventures. “We can be offered a center at an above-market cap rate or low price per foot, but if no retailer wants to be there, we wouldn’t have interest in buying it. Most of our buying decisions are made based on our cost basis and where we believe we can stabilize the net operating income. We are not looking to acquire the most attractive center in town, but we are looking to buy assets that have the potential for significant improvement.”

    Many companies in the open-air center sector have become experts at making great places where people want to spend time. Thinking creatively, many developers have transformed former regional malls in good locations to open-air environments that see marked sales improvements. Lifestyle and leisure center developers have reset the idea of what a shopping center can be to some consumers. Centers like Caruso Affiliated’s The Americana at Brand and The Grove in the Los Angeles area have set a high bar for other developers. Projects like Steiner + Associates’ Easton Town Center also continue to set the stage for open-air lifestyle retail as they continue to evolve after years of successful operation. Creating a great open-air center takes more than just a developer and an architect sitting around a table.

    Listening to the community helps form the basis for a well performing center, says Terry Montesi, CEO of Fort Worth, Texas-based Trademark Properties. Rather than having a developer place its vision on the community, receiving input from the community helps create a great open-air center.

    “Really great open-air centers spend a lot of time with, and are committed to meeting the needs of, their communities,” says Montesi. “If you listen to the community, find out what it needs, and give residents a center that exceeds their expectations, it customizes the center to the individual community.”

    Trademark has added lifestyle elements like public spaces to community centers as well as its lifestyle and power center projects. This, says Montesi, creates environments where people want to spend a little bit more time. Eventually, that translates to repeat visits and dollars for owners. In larger centers, listening to what the community wants pays off in creating a new project.

    To redevelop Padre Staples Mall into a center called La Palmera in Corpus Christi, Texas, Trademark held several focus groups with members of the community. Those resulted in the idea to de-mall the main entrance of the center and create an open-air lifestyle court with water features and seating.

    “We wanted La Palmera to be an indoor/outdoor environment,” says Montesi. “The results have met or exceeded the community’s needs. The center’s sales are up approximately 50 percent in the past four years since we did the major renovation.”

    Trademark purchased a 200,000-square-foot shopping center across from LaPalmera that had not been renovated in the past 30 years. The company is doing a complete transformation of the center. So far, the company has landed Dick’s Sporting Goods and a number of lifestyle tenants. Trademark is also renovating and evolving Saddle Creek Village in Memphis, Tenn., widely known as the first lifestyle center in the country, for Heitman, who owns the center.

    “We believe that retail has to constantly evolve,” says Montesi. “With Saddle Creek, you are seeing a smart owner who wants to keep its center relevant.”

    Even community and neighborhood centers can have amazing market draw that leads to high sales, if they are well located in areas of strong demographics and have the tenants shoppers want. Such is the case with the community shopping center portfolio of Federal Realty Investment Trust, which boasts the highest median household income for its trade area of any community center REIT. Federal Realty’s assets are predominantly in mature markets that have high barriers to entry, with highly educated and affluent consumers.

    “Because of the demographics, our centers have the ability to be a lot more than just a neighborhood grocery-anchored shopping center,” says Chris Weilminster, senior vice president of leasing for Federal Realty.
    Congressional Plaza in Rockville, Md., which Federal Realty has owned for decades, found a niche in the market by serving mothers with young children. Federal took features it learned from its on-street retail program and incorporated them into the community center environment at Congressional Plaza. These included seating areas and a strong landscaping program.

    “That added an extra level of ambiance that created an environment of a town center for the community,” says Weilminster.

    With a new center, Pike & Rose, just down Rockville Pike from Congressional Plaza, Federal Realty is creating another experience for the community. The first anchor to be announced at the project was iPic, a theater and dining entertainment experience. Federal is seeking to attract a sophisticated audience for the center, one that will stay for a few hours versus short daily trips [for more on Pike & Rose, see page 50].

    Federal is also developing The Point, an extension of its Plaza El Segundo at the high traffic corner of Rosecrans and Sepulveda Boulevards in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

    “We are planning to add something that is very complementary to an already successful shopping center,” says Weilminster. “That makes the entire district stronger; [Plaza El Segundo] is the place people think about shopping if they live or work within that community.”

    For lifestyle and large open-air mixed-use centers, keeping the customer coming back is the key to getting them to spend their discretionary income.

    “Aspirational environments have to go one step beyond,” says Yaromir Steiner. “People come because they want to go, so we have to offer them things that they aspire for. The environment is about place-making and leisure time uses.”

    The New Method of Development
    For many developers, getting a project of significant size off the ground over the past few years has been Shea Properties, CenterCal and Oak Tree Capital are developing The Collection at Riverpark in Ventura County, Calif. The center began opening last summer and will see a number of retailers open in 2013. Pictured is the Century Theatres cinema at the center.impossible. For some, it just means changing the way development is done. Rather than build a center all at once, some developers have staged development, even going so far as to build centers store by store.

    Southpoint, a project south of Atlanta along Interstate 75, was developed in phases by Jim Baker, president of Atlanta-based Baker & Lassiter, starting with two stores in 2007. The strong numbers during the recession from those two stores, JC Penney and Kohl’s, had significant bearing on other retailers’ decisions to move ahead with their locations at Southpoint, says Ralph Conti, principal of RA Co Advisors, who is leasing the center. Later phases, developed from 2009 to present, have included Toys R Us, Haverty’s, Hobby Lobby and Movie Tavern.
    “We had negotiated leases with many tenants before the recession,” says Conti. “Hobby Lobby emerged first after 2008 and became our third tenant.”

    Hobby Lobby moved ahead with its original position at the center, which caused it to be in a location that had no co-tenancy at first. When the store opened in late 2009, it performed strongly. In 2010, other retailers began to express interest in the center. Academy Sports + Outdoors, Toys R Us/Babies R Us and TJ Maxx were the next anchors to open. Junior anchors Five Below, Ulta and Party City were constructed next to Kohl’s in 2011.

    “Shopping centers are like jigsaw puzzles,” says Conti. “Southpoint is a classic example that you have to come out of the gate knowing what the jigsaw puzzle is going to look like, but you may not build the puzzle right away.”
    For Southpoint and other centers in development, the market was in place and demand indicators, such as sales leakage to other markets, were significant before the projects were started.

    “Market fundamentals have to be there; you have to have good access and good visibility,” says Conti. “They have to be in place in order for a project like Southpoint to continue to have success year after year, and it will for a long time. You can’t replicate the center in that market; the fundamentals do not exist elsewhere.”

    In California, Shea Properties is developing The Collection at Riverpark in Ventura County, Calif. Delivering to an environmentally conscious community was a strong theme for the project, says Andres Friedman, vice president of development and acquisitions for Shea Properties. The project was originally conceived as a regional mall when the master developer envisioned the plan for Riverpark, a 700-acre planned community in Oxnard, Calif. The project sits on 80 acres along the 101 Freeway, which was acquired by Shea Properties in 2007. Anchors for the project are Whole Foods Market, Target, Century Theatres and REI. The center called for strong sustainable and architectural features, as well as a lot of art work, elaborate landscaping and other features that tied it to the community.

    While construction started in 2007, the project halted in 2009 as the economy suffered. Despite the fact that all the anchors remained with the project, Shea couldn’t move forward until the economy improved.
    “We had to rethink how we were going to face this project and open it,” says Friedman. “We knew we did not want to compromise the quality of the center.”

    Shea created some flexibility for tenants who had signed on to the project, since they were all rethinking the way they did business as well. It subdivided some of the buildings that were already under construction and looked at ways it could merchandise the center more efficiently. In January 2011, the project restarted with no plans to stop. Target opened in summer 2011 as the first retailer at the project. Soon after, the center’s other 10 anchors were ready to move forward with opening, so the second phase began construction in January 2012. In October 2012, Century Theatres opened along with six other tenants. In March, REI will open, followed by Whole Foods Market in June. This summer, Friedman expects the center will be at 60 percent occupancy. He hopes to have the entire center fully leased and built by the summer of 2014. A few months ago, Shea Properties partnered with CenterCal Properties and Oak Tree Capital on the center.

    Like many successful open-air centers, The Collection at Riverpark has found a hole in the doughnut in its market. The center provides an attractive environment for needs-based shoppers and entertainment seekers. With tenants like Whole Foods and Target, it serves daily needs, while others, like Century Theatres and restaurants, serve entertainment and nighttime traffic.

    “We think the merchandising we have fills the center throughout the week,” says Friedman. “All the retailers and restaurants that have opened so far have suggested a strong center. That has helped us go to a lot of tenants we are negotiating with and prove to them that the location and the type of project we are developing is a successful one.”

    At Menin Development’s Magnolia Park development in Greenville, S.C., location tops the list of why the center is successful. The 550,000-square-foot center is situated at the intersection of Interstates 385 and 85 and Woodruff Road — the busiest intersection in the state. Add to that Greenville’s sophisticated demographics — the city is home to BMW’s U.S. manufacturing facilities, Michelin’s U.S. headquarters, a regional headquarters campus for TD Bank, and those of a host of other companies in various industries — and you have the recipe for a successful center. Menin envisioned bringing a number of new national and regional tenants to Greenville when it came across the former regional mall that was on the site.

    “We only look at centers that have excellent land and location,” says Marc Yavinsky, executive vice president of Palm Beach, Florida-based Menin Development. “Our philosophy is if you have good real estate, there will always be a tenant to fill that space.”

    Like Southpoint and other large centers developed in recent times, Magnolia Park took time. Over the past six years, Menin has been creating an open-air center, retaining anchors from the mall — Sears and Regal Cinemas — and attracting a host of top anchors to the market. Regal Cinemas, which opened at the former center in 1997, remains the top-grossing theater in the Carolinas. One of the first tenants to open at Magnolia Park was Costco, which Yavinsky says is the warehouse club’s top performing unit in the state. Old Navy, Bed Bath & Beyond and Rooms-To-Go also have their top stores in the state at Magnolia Park, according to Yavinsky.

    “For us, it is about bringing tenants who are unique and different than other centers,” says Yavinsky. “It is about keeping customers visiting the center on-site for longer periods of time throughout the day. From a design standpoint, we like to allow tenants to create their own personality through their facades that are unique to their business.”

    To accomplish that, Menin has a lineup of tenants that accomplish everything from goods and services — like Sears and Costco — to entertainment, with Cabela’s, Dave & Buster’s and Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. Menin has signed a number of tenants to Magnolia Park that will have their first location in the state. To create a dinner-and-movie atmosphere, the company is also adding a strong restaurant lineup to Magnolia Park that will be second-to-none in the state, says Yavinsky. Charlotte-based Firebirds and Texas-based Cheddar’s are among the restaurants opening their first South Carolina locations at Magnolia Park.

    “We are close to announcing four or five other tenants where this will be their first location in the region or state,” says Yavinsky.

    Cabela’s alone is expected to be one of the largest tourism draws in the Upstate area of South Carolina. It is expected that the retailer will have a draw radius of several hours, and that visitors will spend the weekend in Greenville with their visit centered around their trip to Cabela’s. In future phases, Menin plans to add up to another 520,000 square feet of retail to Magnolia Park.

    Menin had success with this formula at its Downtown at the Gardens project in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where it brought the first Whole Foods and Yard House to the area, among other retailers.
    “Greenville has been discovered by a lot of the hot tenants,” says Yavinsky. “Every [national] retailer who has gone there has been successful.”

    Trademark is also constructing a new phase of its Alliance Town Center in Texas. The 800,000-square-foot center is anchored by Kroger, Belk and JC Penney and has many lifestyle and power center tenants, as well as a significant offering of restaurants.

    “Some call this center a ‘power village,’ but it has really become the replacement for the regional mall,” says Montesi. “You can do lots of fashion shopping, but you can also do your daily needs shopping. That’s where retail is going: people will build centers to meet the needs of the area. They are not building just a power center or a community center; they are building a retail center that meets the diverse needs of a specific community.”

    Trademark Properties developed Alliance Town Center in Texas. The open-air center is a hybrid lifestyle, neighborhood and power center that CEO Terry Montesi says has taken the place of the regional mall.Tenant Focus
    Watching — and aiding — tenant sales is at the heart of open-air center ownership. Regardless of the type, a center is only as good as its tenants and location. Many owners have learned to watch, assist and foster tenant performance to ensure a healthy and growing center. Doing so means knowing the geographic market, the competition and the tenant’s business.

    “In our case, we tend to follow the grocery business pretty closely,” says Howard Paster, president of St. Paul, Minn.-based Paster Enterprises, whose company has owned and operated community shopping centers in the Twin Cities market for decades. “We can walk into a grocery store and tell you what works and what doesn’t work. Not to say that we would know how to run a successful grocery store; but we know from a consumer’s perspective what entices and compels them.”

    Good leasing starts with good lease planning, and that starts in the design — or redesign — phase of a center.
    “We are very conscious about what constitutes good planning for creating good space to lease,” says Kevin Zak, principal of architecture firm Dorsky + Yue International. “We are always thinking about the last space leased at a shopping center. A center starts with great planning so there isn’t ‘bad’ lease space.”

    Creating that space involves vision and imagination on the part of the architect and the developer.
    “We put ourselves in the project we’ve designed and make sure it is a comfortable space that has the right scale and amenities,” says Zak. “There is a lot of detailed thought that goes into tailoring each of these projects to make sure that they maximize the customer’s experience.”

    Finding the right tenants who will add to the center’s draw and conduct high sales volumes is a challenge that many shopping center leasing executives view as highly rewarding.

    “A strong center exists because it has good fundamentals that are in place: it is well located, has good access and the market has strong demographics,” says Conti. “In leasing, you have to look at who is going to do business there. You can have the best piece of real estate in the world. That doesn’t matter if the tenants don’t like it. If you build a power center, you want to have the best in class power center tenants.”
    Retailers who create an emotional connection with shoppers are finding success in today’s market. While this may resonate with apparel and other softgoods, tenants like Apple, Anthropologie, Babies R Us and Whole Foods Market create this appeal for different reasons.

    “We look at whether a tenant connects emotionally with a customer, as opposed to just providing commodities,” says Trademark’s Montesi. “If you look at a tenant like Whole Foods, many of their customers view the retailer as a part of their lifestyle. Those consumers feel that Whole Foods is serving them and has the same goals for their lifestyle in mind. Whole Foods has an emotional connection that a conventional food purveyor doesn’t have.”
    Many shoppers now stay connected with retailers via e-mail and social media. It’s important that the physical store reflects shoppers expectations for the brand and its merchandise.

    “We look for tenants who will draw folks more often and who will have a much deeper connection with consumers,” says Montesi. “These tenants are much less likely to lose their customer because some other store opened half a block closer to their location.”

    This factor also extends to how willing developers are today to let retailers stand out from the crowd in their centers. Gone are the plain boxes; retailers today are differentiating their stores with design features and elements that go beyond widened storefronts and additional windows.

    RDL Architects is working on a building for Arhaus Furniture at North American Properties’ Avalon open-air project in Alpharetta, Ga.

    “With tenants like Arhaus, we try to give them their own identity within a center,” says David Parrish, director of business development for RDL Architects. “They want to fit in, but they also want to stand out.”

    RDL also works with Pinstripes, an entertainment anchor, that finds it necessary to make its units stand out from the crowd to exhibit a fun atmosphere to consumers.

    In some cases, this differentiation is extending to the center itself. At Shea Properties’ The Collection at Riverpark, the sustainable features Shea Properties was hoping to implement have come to life: the project uses LED lighting throughout, has a system to collect and reuse rainwater, and the company is reusing many materials throughout the center. Shea hopes to achieve LEED certification at the center.

    “Our company culture is to be sustainable and responsible,” says Friedman. “We also believe that the community is embracing a sustainable environment and we want to be supportive of that. Also, our tenants are embracing sustainability and our sustainability helps them know where this project is going. At the end of the day, sustainability saves money by saving water and electricity.”

    As well, the center’s public art program has added to its attraction in the community.

    “The center isn’t just a collection of retailers, but it is a collection of experiences,” says Friedman. “Of course, the merchandising is the key element of any retail project, but the architecture and the art at The Collection at Riverpark adds a sense of discovery to the center. When people walk the center, they always discover something new; there are 17 different pieces by five different artists here.”

    Some owners are also looking at how they can differentiate their properties through leasing. While many institutional neighborhood center owners raise an eyebrow when it comes to non-credit small shop tenants, Westwood Financial has embraced them.

    “There are a lot of small businesses out there who want to be in the best properties,” says Westwood’s Dykstra. “If you have vacancies, you will find in most neighborhood retail in major MSAs, many tenants are gravitating toward the better properties. They have determined that is the place to be if you want to continue to benefit from foot traffic and give your business the highest probability of succeeding. Mom-and-pop tenants are becoming more sophisticated and smart landlords are wisely looking to add that kind of user to the rent rolls.”

    Time can never stand still at existing shopping centers, warn developers. Letting a center go stale is the kiss of death; you never know when a developer down the road could be getting ready to redevelop and take your tenants. Staying strong is the key to staying healthy.

    “When sales are not productive with your retail base, you have to shore that up,” says Paster. “Bringing new tenants in is usually the precursor to spending a lot of capital dollars on a center. You are not going to spend capital with the hope that you are going to land a tenant. Just like a new development, you have to have that anchor tenant in tow before you can deploy a redevelopment strategy.”

    Federal Realty’s Weilminster says that landlords shouldn’t be afraid of turnover if they are seeking to constantly keep their customers coming back. At Federal Realty’s Santana Row, a mixed-use town center in San Jose, Calif., Federal constantly reviews the tenant mix to stay ahead of what the market wants. The center has recently introduced Kate Spade, C-Wonder and Madewell.

    “We brought new faces to a center that is already established,” says Weilminster. “We like our [tenant] turnover; it is not anything at all that we are fearful of. As a developer and landlord, you need to embrace the fact that there is going to be transition and use that to your benefit to enhance and improve your assets.”

    Making projects stand the test of time is a challenge for designers. One Dorsky + Yue-designed open-air project, Legacy Village in Cleveland, Ohio, is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year. Zak says that one of the reasons that the center is successful is that its owner, First Interstate Properties, has been open to retailers who want to break out of the box.

    “They have tenants who want space, but they want to do certain things that maybe the center didn’t do before,” says Zak. “We are always encouraging creativity and allowing the center to evolve. If the tenant wants to do something that the design of the building did not support before, how can we accommodate that? What other ideas are there that will accommodate an idea? For us, it’s trying to be creative and open-minded through every step of the process. Retail evolves year to year, and tenants come and go. It is a matter of being open and trying to help the center be successful.”

  345. Macy’s, Others Turn Stores Into Online Fulfillment Centers

    Tom Ryan, Contributor

    All Macy’s locations may someday serve as online fulfillment centers. (

    A number of major retail chains are now expanding their capacity to fulfill online orders from stores, essentially turning their hundreds of retail locations into local distributions centers. The benefits include faster delivery of merchandise and the leveraging of existing store personnel.

    In February, Macy’s announced it was expanding online fulfillment from 292 stores to 500 by the close of 2013 as part of its “omnichannel” push. It currently has a total of 840 Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s locations.

    “We’re finding that customers don’t really care from where we pull the goods, as long as we fill the order accurately and the delivery is timely,” said Karen Hoguet, Macy’s CFO, in February on her firm’s fourth-quarter conference call. “We’ve built algorithms to help us determine from where to pull the inventory, and we are learning more each day about how we need to refine these formulas.”

    She added, “We expect these fulfillment locations will be key to offering faster and even same-day delivery, and also will enable the customer to buy online and pick up in-store.”

    The challenges come when an online order delivery leads to out of stocks at the store level. Readdressing commission structures is also an issue as many associates only see the website stealing sales from them.

    “It’s totally an issue,” said Jason Merrick, director of e-commerce for Peter Glenn Ski and Sports, which operates 11 stores in Florida, Georgia and Virginia, in a statement. “We measure how much each store ships and communicate those metrics to the stores.”

    Algorithms help Peter Glenn’s web operation pull product from stores where the product is selling more slowly and avoid fulfilling from a store where the product is moving fast. Technology is also used to avoid the need for phone calls, faxes and having store associates constantly re-key web transfers into the point-of sale (POS) system.

    Peter Glenn employs one staffer at each store to fulfill web orders, regularly keeps store managers up to date on the latest fulfillment techniques, and bases store managers’ bonuses in part on the accuracy of shipments from stores. Its headquarters’ web team monitors open orders.

    Retailing experts discussing the trend on generally saw a need for physical store retailers to take this route, if not to gain a competitive advantage, perhaps to avoid falling too far behind online giants, i.e.,

    “It will change the mindset as retailers,” wrote professor and retail consultant Gene Detroyer. “Retailers must first evolve into primarily an online retailer with their brick and mortar locations becoming the showroom and pick-up locations.”

    Other experts on the RetailWire BrainTrust panel addressed the fact that the cost per square foot at retail is much higher than warehouse space.

    Kenneth Leung, a retail strategy manager at Cisco Systems, commented on the need for a proper balance between the two. “Pulling inventory from stores can be part of the overall customer strategy to decrease the lead time to delivery for online customers,” he said. “The challenge will be the data visibility needed and the decision support needed not to cause store out-of-stocks if there is a run on the item online.”

    From another perspective, this may present a good excuse to reduce unnecessary retail floor space.

    “In the omnichannel era, many big box stores are looking a little too roomy. Retailers are tightening assortments and reducing facings in an attempt to lower inventory carrying costs,” wrote retail consultant James Tenser on RetailWire. “This presents somewhat paradoxical consequences. First, it creates an opportunity to condense the selling area in some larger stores and allocate more space to the back room. Even if some of this space lies empty, it ties up much less capital compared with excess item facings on the shop floor.”

    Nikki Baird, managing partner, RSR Research, agreed. “For fashion, with its color/size complexities, this is a must do. And with Amazon, eBay, and even Google pushing hard to close the gap between online ship and in-store ‘instant gratification,’ retailers are going to need their stores to respond to that competitive threat—a retailer in 48 states already has a ‘local’ distribution network, if they can leverage stores.”

  346. @SEAN, The Macy’s I work in, Temecula Promenade does that! Me and my coworkers do ‘picking’, that means we get a printed sheet with the online customers orders, usually 20 to 30 items a day but during Christmas we got 200 in one day, then we go around our store (we have 2 Macy’s, one men’s, one women’s) and we get the items requested, then I am the one who takes the deliveries from the Men’s store where I work down the mall to the Women’s store so our ‘fulfilment’ team can pack them and ship them to our customers! It works out great since those orders are considered profit to our store, if we don’t one one item in stock, we just ‘close it out’ and that order gets sent to another fulfilment Macy’s to be filled! We send stuff all over the country, we sometimes have to send them down the street or to the town next door but we’ve gotten deliveries to South Korea, Puerto Rico and ‘International Customers’, those doesn’t say where it goes to but I think it’s really cool!

  347. Hello,
    I was wondering if you all would be interested in me digging up some info on some failing malls and shopping centers I am familiar with. The malls are all in Missouri: Jamestown Mall in Florissant, Capital Mall in Jefferson City, and Columbia Mall in Columbia. These all rate to be on death watch at least I believe. Also, when I lived in North Carolina an outdoor shopping center called the New River Shopping Center was just down the street from us. It is in trouble as well. If you all are interested I’d be glad to research these.

  348. Hi there, I’ve recently moved to North-Eastern Alberta, Canada where there is a dead mall in Grande Centre / Cold Lake. It is called Tri-City Mall as it is in the middle of 3 former towns which have now been amalgamated into one “city” of Cold Lake, AB. The 3 towns were Cold Lake North, Grand Centre, and Cold Lake South.

    Anyways, I’ve snapped some photos of the mall with my cellphone camera and can send them to you to upload on the site. This mall dead as can be. It had a Zellers which just recently closed so now its only remaining anchor is a Sobey’s grocery store (formerly an IGA). There is only one restaurant in the food court and maybe only about 7 other businesses currently operating in the mall: a hair salon, a drug store, 3 clothing stores, an electronic store (The Source, formerly RadioShack Canada) and a jewelry store. There was an Athletes World store but it just closed up at the end of February.

    Apparently Sport Chek is going to move into where Zellers was, maybe that will to revitalize a bit. There was alos a rumour that the mall was slated to be demolished so that they could build a bigger newer mall in hopes of attracting big retailers to the area. The jury’s out on whether that’s gonna happen or not. I did some searching on line and found that the entire mall is up for sale on some commercial realty website. There’s space in the mall for up to 50 stores, its so under utliized.

    Anyways, if you want the pics let me know and I’ll send them along.

  349. Entertainment Tenants Can’t Save All the Struggling Retail Centers
    Elaine Misonzhnik
    Thu, 2013-04-25 13:18

    In the age of showrooming and multiple struggling big-box chains, retail landlords and managers have been increasingly looking at entertainment and restaurant tenants to take up spaces left over by large-format traditional retailers. The logic goes that while a Best Buy or a Barnes & Noble store may be taken out by Amazon, movie theaters and restaurants are more immune to online competition because they offer an experience that can’t be duplicated online.

    Speaking about the future of power centers, for example, R.J. Hottovy, a retail analyst with Chicago-based research firm Morningstar, notes that “there will be a lot more non-traditional tenants—restaurants, lifestyle brands, entertainment concepts. [Tenants] that don’t necessarily have pressure from online retailers: you are looking for somebody who has that natural protection.”

    Brokers at firms ranging from Jones Lang LaSalle to Cushman & Wakefield to SRS Real Estate Partners point to concepts like Studio Movie Grill, a dine-in movie theater that takes up approximately 45,000 sq. ft. of space, as a viable replacement for many large-format tenants. There is also LOOK Cinemas, out of Dallas, which opened its first location at Prestonwood Creek in Texas in March. LOOK Cinemas combines an 11-screen movie theater with a restaurant and a wine bar.

    The Alamo Drafthouse, a similar venue, now operates at least six locations in Texas, while AMC has eight dine-in theaters around the country offering a premium theater-restaurant experience. Offering that kind of premium experience can help serve as an added draw to get people to see movies on the big screen instead of at home.

    The movie theater sector has experienced some competitions from online players like Netflix and iTunes, but the impact has been more limited in comparison to the fallout for retail chains in categories like books, office supplies and electronics. Last year, the U.S. box office totaled more than $10.9 billion, according to Box Office Mojo, representing an increase from $10.1 billion in 2011. And while ticket sales plunged to a 16-year low in 2011, at 1.29 billion, they rose 5.6 percent in 2012, to approximately 1.36 billion.

    But landlords shouldn’t count on miracles—today, movie theaters are not expanding rapidly enough to fill holes in every struggling center and they are not likely to go into centers that are on a death spiral either. At best, they can make a mediocre property stronger and a good property great.

    “I think there continues to be expansion in the category, but it’s not as much as it was,” says Greg Silvers, COO of EPR Properties, a Kansas City, Mo.-based specialty REIT that invests in and develops megaplex theaters and entertainment retail centers. “We really are not seeing as much screen growth—we are seeing older theaters [torn] down and newer theaters come in. We think there is annual growth in new product, but that becomes kind of a net number.”

    In 2012, EPR built 12 new movie theaters. In 2013, the REIT plans to start construction on eight to 10 new theaters.

    As of 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, there were 38,974 indoor movie screens in the U.S., and 5,331 indoor cinema sites, according to the National Association of Theatre Owners. The number of indoor cinema sites has been gradually decreasing since 1999, when there were 7,031 of those sites in the U.S., in part due to the emergence of multi-screen movie theaters. In 1999, there were 36,448 indoor movie screens nationwide.

    Good tenants are hard to get

    It’s easy to understand why retail landlords might want to bring more movie theaters to their centers. The theaters don’t just have the ability to take large chunks of space—they serve as true traffic drivers, according to Larry Rose, a consultant with DJM Realty, a Gordon Brothers Group company offering consulting and advisory services.

    “The movies are recession-proof. It’s a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment and the other nice thing for landlords is that more often than not, you are not just going to the movies you are going to the restaurant before or after,” Rose says. “So it allows the landlord to increase the customers’ stay at their location.”

    Plus, movie theater operators might not be as averse to opening locations in smaller markets as some retail chains, Rose adds. Depending on the operator, they may be looking to open new theaters in secondary and tertiary markets where theirs would be the only theater in town.

    That being said, movie theaters also come with very specific site requirements that may be difficult for a landlord to satisfy, according to Silvers. In suburban areas, they normally require a three-mile “film free” zone—meaning that they can’t open within a three-mile radius of another theater in an effort to avoid competition. Their parking requirements are based on the number of theater seats and are therefore much greater than the parking needs of a regular retailer. And it’s often too much of a challenge for a movie theater operator to refurbish a vacant big-box space because the ceilings tend to be too low, the columns too many and the bathrooms too few. While movie theater operators remain open to replacing traditional tenants, they normally prefer to build from the ground up or renovate an existing theater space, Silvers says.

    Ultimately, the decision comes down to demographics. If the retail center is in the right trade area, offers good access and plenty of parking and already has restaurants on site, helping drive customer traffic, multiple movie theater operators might be interested in moving in, according to Silvers.

    If the center is struggling and desperately needs a movie theater to fill an empty space, it might be a challenge and the landlord would have to offer plentiful discounts to make the deal work.

  350. The Future of Retail in the Age of the Flagship Store.

    ByTom Gara

    The invention of the car didn’t lead to the extinction of horse-drawn carriages — it just made them a rarer and more distinguished way of getting around, and primarily a tourist attraction. Now apply that same kind of idea to online shopping and the old-fashioned brick-and-mortar store: far from dying off, it could make them a less common but more impressive sight.

    When Americans moved to the suburbs in the second half of the last century, retailers followed, with strip malls springing up and often displacing the need for big stores based in high-profile downtown locations. Flagship storefronts in city centers closed up, and the suburban mall thrived.

    That trend now looks to be in reverse, and it suggests a new era of flagship city stores, according to Credit Suisse analyst Michael Exstein. In a note today, he said the rise of online shopping is slowly but surely helping reshape the world of brick-and-mortar retail, driving a revival of the idea of the big flagship downtown store — the same thing once made less appealing by the malls of suburbia.

    In a future where the Internet takes an increasing share of basic shopping but also helps brands boost their reach and appeal, the big-city store will become more of an attraction in itself, Mr. Exstein wrote.

    “In an age where e-commerce is emerging from its infancy to a more established and integrated part of the retailing system, it seems that flagships serve two purposes. These include retailers’ affirming brand stakeholders in addition to a hedge against how the retailing structure could evolve in the next decade,” he said. “The result could be fewer locations, less inventory, but more powerful locations in their own right.”

    The new focus on grand flagship locations naturally benefits a smaller number of urban areas that could support such stores, highlighting a broader trend of consolidation of economic power in the world’s most prosperous cities. But Mr. Exstein says it also “reaffirms that the physical retail store is alive and well, but going through a transformation, similar to when the industry went from an urban based strategy to a suburban one.”

    See also:
    Macy’s Spends $400 Million to Update Manhattan Flagship Store – WSJ
    A Different Kind of Plan B for J.C. Penney’s Real Estate – Corporate Intelligence
    Can Penney and Sears Make U-Turns Like GM and Ford? – Corporate Intelligence


    I agree to a point, but lets not forget there are flagship malls in this country that have real drawing power as well. Some of these properties include…
    South Coast Plaza/ Newport Fashon Island/ Irvine Spectrum
    Roosevelt Field
    Garden State Plaza/ Riverside
    King of Prussia Plaza
    Lenox Square/ Phipps Plaza
    Tysons Corner Center/ Galleria
    Aveentura Mall/ Bal Harbour Shops
    Galleria Dallas/ Northpark Center
    Houston Galleria
    The Mall in Columbia
    Malls on the Las Vegas Strip
    Scottsdale Fashon Square
    South Park Charlotte

    Any changes or omitions?

  351. @Nordrike, Oh boy, they must be keeping you quite busy.

    Sorry I didn’t respond sooner.

  352. I’m not so sure the Mall in Columbia qualifies. It draws widely, but the some of the stores are small (the LL bean is a fraction of the size of the one at Tysons and the anchor tenants are smaller than some of their other branches), and it doesn’t have the kind of one of a kind stores that you’d find at Tysons.

    The trend toward urban flagships has been a round for quite awhile. The REI near downtown Seattle opened about 10 years ago, and the one in Denver followed soon after. Specialty chains like Patagonia have sought out urban locations for decades as their primary stores in large metros. Although Michigan Avenue in Chicago has hosted upscale shopping since the 20s, it’s really built up as a “flagship” strip since the 80s.

    Healthy downtowns and other urban shopping districts like Georgetown have been drawing flagships for ages. Moderately to very upscale super-regionals also have been elbowing out their weaker competition for years. there’s no new “trend” here, just a recitation of what’s been happening for years.

  353. @Rich, Yes – not a new trend, but rather a revival of an old one. That was the point of that piece.

    When comparing Columbia to Tysons Corner, no doubt that Tysons is king although Columbia has it’s own ability to draw.

  354. @SEAN, Hi Sean look at palisades mall web they are doing a whole new makeover inside and out. They finally heard customers and need to stay in competition with nanuet coming. Its going to look like GSP.

  355. @rob, Saw the Patch article on the remoddle of Palisades this morning with all the nut cases & their obnoctious comments.

    I also went to Pyramid’s site & let me tell you I’ve never read such garbage on retail in my life. On the portfolio page, you will find links to all of there properties. When you click to a property, you get such info as population, average household income & a list of anchors & larger tennents. Now that’s all well & good, but despite the fact Palisades HHI is over $90K per year & Crossgates HHI is over $65k, they have nearly the same anchors & box stores. The only conclusion you can draw is… the higher income shoppers are doing there shopping elsewhere as the store roster & restaurant lineup reflects a more mid-tier customer bass outside of perhaps Cheesecake Factory, RestorationHardware & Apple. This trend semes to playout company wide.

  356. I guess they are not doing enough to appeal to higher end shoppers. I have never shopped in those places, but judging by photos of its current state, it does not look like it would really appeal to higher end shoppers. I used to work at Foley’s/Macy’s in North Star Mall and The Shops at La Cantera in San Antonio, both are former Rouse now GGP properties. They are also considered the premier shopping venues in the region. Shoppers shop with their eyes. Not just in the stores but in the centers themselves. They appeal to higher end shoppers by offering higher end services and updated decor. Maybe the renovation at Palisades will bring this. The reputation of the center might already be cemented. Most of the higher end tenants left Ingram Park Mall and Rolling Oaks Mall here in San Antonio. They now mostly cater to middle/lower demographics. A big part of this is the escalation in crime around Ingram Park and the lack of renovation and updating. Rolling Oaks has not been updated since it was built in the 90s. Rolling Oaks is facing stiff competition from nearby power centers like The Forum at Olympia Parkway. To be competitive and to attract the higher dollar, centers need to maintain a pleasant shopping experience. RiverCenter in San Antonio has also gone down over the years. I know the new owners are investing more money into the center and there are some better restaurants that have opened like Fogo de Chao. I think it would be great if they could get a City Target to open at RiverCenter since there is no grocer in downtown San Antonio and there is a real estate boom in the area. I feel Rolling Oaks could be saved with a major renovation. Update the flooring and decor, add seating areas, and other decorative elements. They have a space for a new Anchor, by doing these renovations, they could probably attract another anchor like H&M (which I think would work great there) or Belk.

  357. @SEAN, the people here in rockland are such whinners about this mall for 15 years and still think that palisades hurt nanuet which was the fault of simon.I am truly glad palisades is doing it because nanuet will be outdoors and now at least palisades will be a decent looking mall for this area something like GSP OR BTC

  358. @rob, We’ve been posting about that fact since the Nanuet thread went live in 2008 & nothing has changed. Although the Patch article neglects to mention the mall in the Medowlands, that’s another reason why Palisades needs to renovate as it will open at some point & GSP is also in renovation mode as well.

  359. @SEAN, A follow up…

    NJSEA declines vote on American Dream Meadowlands master plan
    Thursday April 18, 2013, 6:51 PM
    The Record

    The state agency that oversees the American Dream Meadowlands project has again declined to vote on an amended master plan for the long-stalled shopping and entertainment complex near the Izod Center.

    Wayne Hasenbalg, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority president, said Thursday that the agency still hopes to see an agreement reached between the developer, Triple Five, and the Giants and Jets before voting on the plan. The National Football League teams sued last summer seeking to stop the project from creating what they said would be game-day gridlock at the Meadowlands Sports Complex.

    “It’s preferable to us to see whether we can achieve an agreement between all those who have an interest before we take action,” Hasenbalg said. “The process obviously has been complicated. But we’re really down to final issues that are serving right now as an impediment. And this project is so big that once we can move the ball across the goal line, the impact is going to be enormous.”

    The teams were told by a Superior Court judge last summer that their suit was premature, pending final approval by the sports authority board of a revised plan that would include a new 639,000 square foot indoor water and amusement park addition to the existing 2.3 million square foot site. The teams say that new construction would void their 2006 deal that allowed for the original project to be open on game days —usually Sunday ­— when Bergen County’s Blue Laws prevent most retail shopping in Bergen County.

    Governor Christie predicted in mid-December that work would resume in January. Then in late February, Christie said that he was “convinced” that a revival would take place “in the first quarter of 2013” — meaning by the end of March. A day later, Triple Five executive Tony Armlin told Bergen County Improvement Authority officials that he expected activity to resume in “early March.”

    Instead, no significant construction activity has taken place on the project, which has been dormant since a key lender defaulted on its loan agreement in March 2009.

    Spokesmen for Christie and for Triple Five declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the teams. Jon F. Hanson, Christie’s adviser to the project, said only that “Rome wasn’t built in a day.”

    East Rutherford Mayor James Cassella, in whose borough the entire project is located, said talks are continuing with Triple Five on a revised payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, agreement.

    “We want to see this go forward, and my frustration is getting higher now just because things haven’t moved ahead as quickly as I’d like,” Cassella said. “There are other things involved here that never seem to get settled.”

    In addition to a truce with the football teams and final approval by the sports authority board, several other major pieces that still have to fall into place include a Project Labor Agreement with the local construction unions a turnover of control of the property from a project lending group to Triple Five, formalizing their status as operator.

    “The concern for me is that there are so many different pieces of the puzzle that still need to come together,” said state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Wood-Ridge, whose district includes East Rutherford. “And for every month that goes by, that means there’s still a loss of economic development in the region.”

    Triple Five officials estimate that more than 9,000 on-site construction jobs would be created, with just as many more jobs being added indirectly via suppliers and other off-site partners. More than 11,000 permanent jobs — mainly in the retail sector — also would be created, officials have said.

    The project’s lengthy stalemate has raised questions about whether the much-criticized multi-colored exterior would remain unchanged as visitors from across the country and the world come to the sports complex in the week leading up to the Feb. 2, 2014, Super Bowl. But Hasenbalg said “there is still time to allow for those kind of improvements” in a remodeling before the end of the year.

    Email: Blog: Twitter: @BergenBrennan

  360. @SEAN, Sean a few places have been announced for shop at Nanuet Bonefish Grill Zinburger whIch just recentky opened in GSP MICHAEL KORS VERA BRADLEY 15,OO FOR A BURGER AT ZINBURGER AND PEOPLE THINK 11,00 IN FIVE GUYS IS HIGH. PEOPLE HERE DONT EVEN WANT TO PAY THE PRICES IN MCDONALDS.

  361. GGP Performance Solid, But Growth Opportunities for 2013 are Limited
    May 9, 2013 Elaine Misonzhnik

    This week proved a busy one for General Growth Properties (GGP)—the mall REIT secured a $1.5 billion term loan from U.S. Bank and RBC Capital Markets to refinance 16 of its assets and the Blackstone Group, one of its shareholders, revealed plans to sell its 2.5 percent stake in GGP through a secondary offering.

    Yet in spite of the activity surrounding it, GGP remains largely in the same place it’s been in for the past year—delivering solid returns to its shareholders, but not outperforming its peers in the mall REIT sector. The reason is that the firm still carries a relatively high debt load, limiting the possibility of new acquisitions and development projects, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Rich Moore.

    “There are many things that are positive on the operation front—the capital allocation track record has improved nicely. But the balance sheet philosophy is one of higher than average leverage and I don’t see it changing going forward,” says Cedrik Lachance, managing director with Green Street Advisors, a Newport Beach, Calif.-based consulting firm. “It’s a company that’s comfortable operating with more leverage than many of its peers and that [causes] caution on the part of investors.”

    In fact, a large portion of GGP’s shares continues to be owned by institutional investors, a legacy of the bankruptcy and reorganization the firm went through in 2009/2010. Less than a year ago, one of the REIT’s largest shareholders, Pershing Square Capital Management, tried to orchestrate a sale of GGP to Simon Property Group, although it dropped the issue after selling warrants for 18,432,855 of the REIT’s shares to Brookfield Asset Management, another major stakeholder. In the past few months, global investment manager Cohen & Steers upped its stake in GGP by 1,826,214 shares, to 37.39 percent.

    Solid fundamentals

    For the first quarter ended March 31, GGP reported a 5.3 percent year-over-year growth in net operating income (NOI) for its portfolio, to $531 million. Tenant sales went up 6.3 percent, to $558 per sq. ft., while rents for leases beginning in 2013 rose 11.1 percent, to $64.44 per sq. ft., compared to rents on expiring leases.

    In addition, the firm reports that 95.8 percent of its portfolio is now leased, an improvement of 210 basis points over last year’s level.

    At the same time, however, GGP’s management has been eager to take advantage of today’s low interest rates and availability of capital, resulting in a relatively large debt load, Lachance points out. Year-to-date in 2013, the company closed on $1.5 billion in property level loans, in addition to the $1.5 billion term loan. RBC’s Rich Moore estimates that at the end of the first quarter GGP had a debt-to-total capitalization ratio of 48 percent. The figure marked a 400 basis points improvement from first quarter of 2012, but was still much higher than the 35 percent debt-to-total capitalization ratio of closest peer Simon Property Group.

    Given the high quality of GGP’s malls, this has not caused typical over-leverage concerns, but the REIT’s limited equity does put constraints on acquisition and development possibilities, Moore notes. GGP’s planned development portfolio currently totals only $898.5 million, according to Barclays Capital. It is one of the few mall REITs that has not tried to dabble in the outlet center space. And its ability to buy new malls is also curtailed by its focus on class-A product, which has been scarce in this market.

    “We’ll be aggressive for high-quality retail properties that are in line with our business strategy, “ GGP CEO Sandeep Mathrani told analysts during an earnings call on Apr. 30. “We truly believe that over the long-term, good things happen to good assets.”

    Meanwhile, with the company completing most of its leasing (roughly 85 percent) for this year and up to 30 percent of its leasing goals for 2014, that part of the business will not be a source of great growth in the near term either.

    And, according to Moore: “When the valuation frenzy begins to cool, the strongest outperformers in the sector will be those companies with the most significant growth platforms.”

  362. I have a mall you guys might like to feature in your death watch list. The University Mall in Tampa, FL has definitely seen better days. I used to go there a lot when I was younger with mom when she held a senior walking group. The thing I liked most about this mall was the atrium right in front of Macy’s. It had bright fish overhead and two sets of bubble machines that fascinated me to no end. Found this pic of them here:,%20Florida%20-%20buble%20panels%20and%20columns.jpg

    It was much busier back then. A few years ago, more or less, the mall underwent renovations and changed to an earth tone theme. Unfortunately, I don’t think it helped. The Dillard’s was converted to a clearance centre, and the outer doors (as well as the upper entrance indoors) were pretty much blocked, so those who parked in the garage had to walk over to The Burlington Coat Factory to get in. The anchor that housed J.C. Penney is closed all year except for October, when it’s used as a Halloween depot. The can’t be entered from there at any time, which hurts worse because it faces the main street.

    Macy’s and Sears face the main street now, and are accessible, but Burlington, the last anchor, faces the backstreet and can’t be seen from the front. There’s almost no human traffic on that side of the mall. Last time I was there, I counted 10 or so regular stores unused. The cinema was downsized after the original 16 theatre closed down, and the Starbucks that faced the atrium left a few years ago. The kicker is that even though the mall has no close competition, people in the area are willing to drive 20-30 mins to reach Westshore, the International Plaza, the mall in Brandon, and the Citrus Park mall.

    I don’t have any decent pics of the mall at the moment, but I could certainly get some! I haven’t been in a while and am wondering if anything has drastically changed. I plan to get a better image of the Sears Roebuck and Co. label I spotted before. If you want any more info, the Wikipedia article provides a bit, along with the sources.

    Your website is truly spectacular. Hope I can contribute!

  363. I just found this site a few days ago I really enjoy it. I go on frequent road trips for pleasure but also for my business, mainly in the western two thirds of Pennsylvania but also often to Ohio and West Virginia. I am really into touring these starving shopping centers, can’t believe (but am really grateful) to find others into it too. I was on a “mission” yesterday and my route took me past the Schuylkill Mall in Central Pennsylvania. I stopped in and got a few pics including a great scar of an original Spencer sign. This mall has to be costing the owners money to run every day, because *no one* was there, I was there over my lunch around 12:30 and the word desolate doesn’t even quite get it. Couldn’t stay as long as i wanted due to time constraints but would be glad to share the pics and some more details about my visit.

  364. Cinemark Buys Rave Cinemas for $240M
    Jun. 10, 2013 NREI Staff

    Cinemark Holdings Inc. completed the acquisition of Rave Cinemas for approximately $240 million in cash and the assumption of certain liabilities. Rave Cinemas operates 32 theaters in 12 states, with a total of 483 screens.

    “The Rave theaters are well positioned in their markets and include multiple patron amenities, including expanded food service offerings and premium large format screens,” said Cinemark CEO Tim Warner in a statement. “With this addition, we will extend our presence into new markets and increase our industry leading XD premium large format brand to 129 screens worldwide.”

    Based on a Department of Justice ruling, Cinemark will have to divest of three Rave theaters.

    Stewart National Title Services provided title insurance and closing services for Cinemark Holdings in the transaction.

    For more information, or & enter Rave Motion Pictures in the search field.

  365. NYT DealBook

    June 24, 2013, 4:14 pm
    Owner of Hudson’s Bay Explores a Deal to Buy Saks
    Will the owner of two of the oldest department store chains in North America be adding a third to his collection?

    Richard A. Baker, a shopping mall developer who emerged as a major player in the department store business with his purchases of Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay, is now exploring a bid for Saks, according to a person briefed on the matter.

    Saks, a 90-year-old department store chain, hired Goldman Sachs last month to explore a possible sale. Its shares soared to a five-year high after news broke that the company was in play.

    Among the potential buyers that have explored purchasing or making an investment in the company are the private equity giant Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company and the sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, this person said. K.K.R. had also floated an audacious deal that would have merged Saks and Neiman Marcus, which is also on the block, but that outcome is highly unlikely.

    On Monday, the private equity owners of Neiman Marcus — TPG, Warburg Pincus and Leonard Green — filed for an initial public offering. They have owned Neiman Marcus since 2005.

    For Mr. Baker, chief executive of Hudson’s Bay, the parent of The Bay stores in Canada and Lord & Taylor in the United States, an acquisition of Saks would cap an extraordinary run of deal-making. In 2006, at the market peak, he acquired Lord & Taylor for $1.2 billion. He later acquired Hudson’s Bay and combine the two into one company, which posted about $4.1 billion in revenue during its 2012 fiscal year.

    Last November, Mr. Baker orchestrated an initial public offering of Hudson’s Bay, listing the company on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

    Adding Saks to his portfolio holds great appeal to Mr. Baker, 47, who lives in Greenwich, Conn., and is based in New York. In the United States, there are significant synergies between the Saks and Lord & Taylor, whose flagship stores are 11 blocks from one another on Fifth Avenue. And there is also growth potential in Canada for both Saks Fifth Avenue department stores and and its discount arm, Off 5th.

    Should Mr. Baker make a bid for Saks, there would also, presumably, be a real estate angle. After acquiring Hudson’s, Mr. Baker struck a complex deal to sell the rights to leases on an under-performing division Hudson’s Bay to Target for about $1.8 billion. The deal enabled him to pay down a large amount of debt.

    Mr. Baker’s interest in Saks was first reported on Monday by Women’s Wear Daily. Shares of Saks were flat at $13.49 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.



    PREFACE: iF you’d like any more info, contact me via email and I will provide you with additional pics, maps, etc. I recently took. Thank you for your efforts!

    Music City Mall ( is still alive and well along with one of the NEWEST CBS television affiliates in the nation ( built – basically – with entirely with NEW equipment this past decade (their previous location – and equipment) was completely donated to the one of (of 3 or 4) school districts in Midland/Odessa (SOURCE: NOTE: The January 2010 Census pop was 274,000; June 2013 has already exceeded 300,000 (an influx of over 26,000 people for the high paying $$ jobs here (an area with an infrastructure not ANYWHERE NEAR ready for this continual growth (see Forbes magazine link nleow)!
    Although it’s a decent size mall with over 750,00 square feet with the ONLY ice skating rink between Dallas and {either El Paso or Phoenix) with two anchors being 2 story (Sears still uses the original 1980s Montgomery® escalators still in use: IDENTICAL to these:, it’s not among my favorite mall even with the Regal 11 Multiplex built-in Theatre (one of 5 theatres there). Admittedly, after growing up in Austin, Dallas, and Irvine, I guess I’m used to a different kind of mall (oddly enough, the owner actually “carpeted” the mall: “high-traffic”…not the smartest move IMHO. Still, with the current economy, it’s fully packed unlike some of the dead malls I recently (and sadly) visited in Dallas (Valley View Mall (for those of you who remember that mall…holy crap! I was just there a couple months ago and, to put it nicely, it’s both practically empty and perfect for Halloween. Back to Music City Mall, though I don’t have many pictures with me, the city turned a “eye-sore” pond across the street (about a decade ago) into an incredible Pond with a Water Fountain, Water Fall, Hiking track, Elaborate Lighting (I actually have before and pictures stores on one of my servers if you want them). Mind you, this incredible transformation was done directly in front of the mall so this MCM Mall is now the backdrop to this lovely pond/park renamed Memorial Gardens Pond (ironically, in OVER a decade, nobody has bother to update pics on Google…perhaps b/c there’s so much focus/bldg. going on elsewhere. Growth, while good, has its downside: the cost of living here now rivals parts of CA; just Google it! $2000.00 small 1 bedroom apts!

    Anyway, about 15-20 to the east, there’s yet another mall alive and well called Midland Park Mall (a Simon Mall Property who JUST completely renovated it (see website: Like most “upper scale malls, it houses two separate Dillard’s (Women’s and the Multi-Level Men’s Dillard’s along with several other anchors).

    Indoor malls, a dying breed of course (recently read an “actual” indoor mall hasn’t been built in the USA since in, like 7 years or more!

    OKAY, MOST IMPRESSIVE FOR AN AREA THIS SIZE (when I last visited, I found out about this HUGE venture between The Epps Corp in Dallas and the Sewell Corporation ( In Odessa…something IS going on out there!):

    The “Latest” is one of the NEWEST OUTDOOR MALLS (very much still under construction: Phase 1 is Completed I believe)/”Living Centers” is what I believe they call them now (a “mall where you can do “IT ALL” they claim. And although 300,000++ population is relatively small to me (simply based on where I’ve grown up), in between these two mall this emerging “metro” area ( is building a HUGE OUTDOOR MALL in 4 stages (!) (See the WEBSITE address (above)!!!!!! DISCLAIMER: I am NOT affiliated with this company.

    On to the point of this REPLY: In your GREAT effort to track retail centers across this nation (what a feat; kudos; REALLY!), you have INCORRECTLY labeled a LONG DEFUNCT mall (Odessa’s first) called:

    “WINWOOD MALL” is NOT (NEVER HAS BEEN; NOT EVEN IN THE SAME LOCATION) MUSIC CITY MALL. You have it labeled incorrectly (see links below). The latter was opened (albeit on the same street: 42nd but several blocks east) originally in 1980 I believe (I was a kid when we moved away from here) called “Permian Mall” which was later renamed “MUSIC CITY MALL (Source: Wikipedia {read the end of the 2nd short paragraph):

    WINWOOD MALL (Iconic for it’s VERY unusual Center Water Fountain found in unusual places across the world (see pic 2 link below) was COMPLETELY DEMOLISHED once all its tenants finally left in the 1980s. Ironically – in what one can ONLY assume a last ditch effort – Montgomery Wards (one of the anchors) did a multi-million dollar remodel to try and save the dying mall only to have Target COMPLETELY demolish this recent remodel. Go figure! At any rate, in Winwood Mall was – as I said – torn to the ground and rebuilt ENTIRELY with new “outdoor retailers: like Target, Office Depot, Hastings, HEB Grocery Superstore, etc. The VERY last remnant of the mall – and practically the ONLY info I’ve EVER been able to find on the Internet about the mall was its last tenant: a United Artists theatre which too was completely demolished.

    Verbosity aside (sorry…just trying to give you some interesting and CORRECT info), YOUR 2 links below are INCORRECTLY LABELED “MUSIC CITY MALL WHICH IS WRONG. THEY SHOULD BE CORRECTED TO:

    WINWOOD MALL (defunct/demolished in the late 1980s…btw, YOUR PICS are CIRCA late 1970s):……0.0.0..1ac..17.img.1LtH1t0o_4k#facrc=_&imgdii=_&……0.0.0..1ac..17.img.1LtH1t0o_4k#facrc=_&imgdii=_&

  367. Check out the Desoto Square Mall in Bradenton, FL, which is in its final death throws. Having lost 2 major anchors in the last 5 years, the mall was sold over 7 months ago to a NY rehabilitation company that has yet to do anything at all as far as I can tell other than open a dollar movie theater — a true sign of the end. Two out of every 3 storefronts are empty, the anchors haven’t been updated in decades and are sad examples of retail blight.

  368. Hudson’s Bay to Acquire Saks for $2.9 Billion

    Toronto and New York — Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) will acquire Saks Inc. (NYSE: SKS) for $16 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at approximately $2.9 billion, including debt. The acquisition has been approved by the board of directors for both companies and is expected to close before the end of 2013.

    The transaction will bring together three retail brands — Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue. The combined company will operate 320 stores, including 179 full-line department stores, 72 outlets and 69 home stores throughout the United States and Canada.

    HBC will continue to build upon the Saks brand and identity as a luxury retailer, introducing the company to Canada through full-line, outlet and online formats.

    “This exciting portfolio of three iconic brands creates one of North America’s premier fashion retailers,” says Richard Baker, chairman and CEO of Toronto-based HBC. “With the addition of Saks, HBC will offer consumers an unprecedented range of retailing categories and shopping experiences. This acquisition will increase our growth potential both in the U.S. and Canada, generate significant efficiencies of scale, add to our powerful real estate portfolio and deliver substantial value to our shareholders.”

    The $16 per share price represents about a 30 percent premium to Saks’ closing stock price on May 20, 2013. HBC plans to finance the transaction with $1 billion of new equity, $1.9 billion of senior secured loans and $400 million of senior unsecured notes, in addition to available cash on hand.

    BofA Merrill Lynch acted as lead financial advisor to HBC. RBC Capital Markets acted as an additional financial advisor on the transaction. Stikeman Elliott LLP and Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acted as legal counsel to HBC. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Guggenheim Securities acted as financial advisors and Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz acted as legal counsel to Saks.

    HBC was originally founded in 1670. NRDC Equity Partners purchased the company in 2008 and had previously purchased Lord & Taylor in 2006. In Canada, HBC operates Hudson’s Bay, a department store with 90 locations, and Home Outfitters, a home specialty store with 69 locations. In the United States, HBC operates 48 Lord & Taylor stores.

    New York-based Saks Inc. operates 41 Saks Fifth Avenue stores and 67 Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th locations throughout the U.S. The retailer’s stock price closed at $15.31 per share on Friday, up from trading at $10.25 per share this time last year.

  369. Starbucks Plans Massive U.S. Expansion. Can Its Growth Plan Succeed?

    Retail Traffic

    Elaine Misonzhnik, Senior Associate Editor

    It’s certainly a bold move. Just four years after over-expansion forced Starbucks to shutter hundreds of locations, the coffee chain is stepping up new store openings in the U.S. more aggressively than anyone expected. During an investor conference held on Dec. 5, Starbucks executives announced the company plans to open at least 1,500 new units stateside over the next five years.

    Yet while retail real estate consultants wonder whether this is ultimately the right move, they concede that Starbucks can make the expansion work—if it’s handled better than its previous growth push.

    The reason the seemingly ubiquitous chain feels the need to grow likely has to do with maintaining market share—downscale rival McDonald’s has been investing a lot of time and money into promoting its coffee line, according to Jeff Green, president of Jeff Green Partners, a Phoenix-based retail real estate consulting firm. The good news for Starbucks is that it continues to experience strong sales in spite of McDonald’s’ lower price point, notes Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates Inc., a New York City-based retail consulting and investment banking firm. Increasing its food offerings and investing in better customer service has served the chain well, he says.

    Now Starbucks will have to both continue on its improvement and innovation path and ensure that it’s not opening locations haphazardly, across the street from each other, the way it happened in the early and mid 2000s.

    “When they collapsed before, it wasn’t just [because of the] bad economy,” Davidowitz says. “There were a lot of strategic real estate mistakes.”

    RJ Hottovy, an analyst who covers Starbucks for Chicago-based research firm Morningstar, expresses a similar view.

    “I think [the new expansion plan] is a little aggressive, but what gives me confidence in that goal is the unit economic numbers we’ve seen in the past two years, which have been some of the strongest in the history of the chain,” he says. “The way they characterized their last expansion phase was ‘undisciplined’ and now they are really prioritizing the customer experience. I do think there is substantial opportunity, especially in an environment where we have excess real estate capacity.”

    Where to go?
    Finding the right formula to take advantage of that opportunity will be no easy feat, however. While Starbucks was all but made for urban markets in Davidowitz’ view, Jeff Green points out that the chain has long ago saturated most of the major urban and suburban areas in the United States. What’s more, Starbucks risks losing its brand appeal if it can be found anywhere and everywhere, according to Doug Stephens, president of Retail Prophet, a consulting firm.

    “As it is now, I think Starbucks is really walking a fine line between healthy growth and losing their brand magic,” he says. “The thinner they spread the brand the more ‘average’ and ‘ordinary’ they become.”

    The fact that a substantial portion of the chain’s new stores will come as a result of licensed partnerships with retailers like Safeway and Target shows solid strategic thinking, in RJ Hottovy’s view. He notes that the store-within-a-store model allows Starbucks to encourage consumers to buy not only its ready-made coffee and snacks, but also its branded consumer products from its partners’ shelves. Hottovy anticipates that approximately two thirds of the new stores will come from licensed partnerships.

    When it comes to stand-alone locations, Green notes that there are still some areas where Starbucks can grow without cannibalizing its own sales, including locations on national highways connecting major cities and in smaller towns where the chain hasn’t yet occupied every corner.

    “Certainly there are a handful [of stores] in each major market they can still do, but I don’t see that as a major growth push,” he says. “They need to make sure that they definitely do a better job of assessing cannibalization than they did when they were opening stores several years ago.”

  370. Hi, I would like to suggest adding the Bellevue center to your dead malls section. It was a 800,,000+ square foot, two story indoor mall in the suburb Bellevue, of Nashville. The mall had space for 90 tenants, and four large anchors.(only three were built).
    Mall history: The mall opened in 1990, with two anchors Dillard’s and Caster-Knott, and at the time, was considered one of Nashville’s most upscale malls. The mall thrived through the early to mid 1990s, but started to have a lack of foot traffic during the late 90s. In 1999, a third anchor, Sears was added to the mall. Despite this extension, the mall continued to lack foot traffic, but still had a low vacancy rate. Caster-Knott became profits for a short while, before converting to Hetchs in the mid 2000s. Macy’s replaced Hetchs in 2006. By this time the mall was in a fast decline, and occupancy rates dropped at a extreme rate. The first anchor to ditch the mall was Dillard’s, who left in the October of 2007. Shortly after, the mall announced plans for redevelopment, and shut it’s doors on may 31st 2008. Macy’s, and Sears remained, until 2009 when Macy’s ditched the mall, leaving Sears as the last remaing store. As of August 2013, when I wrote this post, no construction, or any kind of redevelopment has occurred. The shuttered mall remains standing, and is slowly withering away.

  371. I am a FL resident who started two blogs- one about affordable fashion and one about malls.
    I have covered 14 so far, one if which is already on labelscar (Orange Park). I went to 7 malls in 4 days recently to collect data and I write reviews so people know what to expect. Mine are all live malls (mostly) But I may cover a few dead ones in the future. Also I will do another tour for outlet malls
    and another for town centers. All FL, eventually I’m hoping to add GA or if I go out of state again. Plus mine will be getting updated periodically with renovations or closures.
    Does any of this interest Labelscar?

  372. September 9, 2013
    CPPIB, partner buy upscale retailer Neiman Marcus for $6-billion

    Pension fund and Ares Capital Management LLC will hold equal stakes in the high-end U.S. retailer
    The Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board is taking a big stake in the U.S. luxury retail market, teaming up with a U.S. private equity partner, Ares Management LLC, to acquire a majority stake in Neiman Marcus Inc. for $6-billion (U.S.).

    The two buyers are splitting an equal interest in the upscale retailer, with Dallas-based Neiman’s management team retaining a minority interest in the business.

    The transaction includes not only the 41 Neiman Marcus stores, but also two Manhattan-based Bergdorf Goodman stores and 36 discount Neiman Marcus outlets named Last Call. There is also an online division of the company that operates alongside these businesses.

    “This is an excellent opportunity to invest in a leading omni-channel luxury retailer, operating two of the most iconic retail brands in the U.S.,” said André Bourbonnais, senior vice president of private investments at CPPIB.

    He cited an expected increase U.S. luxury spending as one of the attractions to the deal, and said the Neiman’s “strong market position” would help it build on the existing business.

    The transaction is expected to close before the end of the year.

    Neiman, with sales of about $4.5-billion in its latest year, has been owned by private equity firms TPG Inc. and Warburg Pincus since 2005, when they bought the company in a leveraged buyout for $5.1-billion.

    Neiman’s owners have been in pursuit of a strategic change.

    The luxury retailer was preparing for an initial public offering, having filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June.

    But TPG and Warburg Pincus are now selling their stake in the business while U.S. equity markets have been strong – the S&P 500 has climbed 16 per cent in the last year and consumer discretionary spending figures have shown modest improvements in recent months.

    Pension plans have been investing in retail – including U.S. luxury chains – and Ares and CPPIB have partnered before. In 2011, after the worst of the recession, they acquired a majority stake in 99 Cents Only Stores for $1.6-billion.

    The deal also comes hot on the heels of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan’s investment in Hudson’s Bay Co. to help pay for its acquisition of high-end department store Saks Inc. In late July, Teachers put $500-million into HBC to help in that deal, which could act as a benchmark to help price a Neiman Marcus takeover.

    And last month, Ares partnered with Teachers to buy CPG International Inc., a company that makes engineered building materials at a time when the U.S. housing market is recovering and spending on home-improvement projects is bouncing back.

    CPPIB and Ares were in discussions Sunday for Neiman Marcus, though few details were available.

    CPPIB is focused on long-term investing and has spent the past few years hiring managers and experts who can spot opportunities around the world in a variety of industries. The pension fund picked up a 50-per-cent interest in a South Korean real estate investment trust in August, for example.

  373. Dillard’s at Collin Creek Mall in Plano, Texas has just announced it is closing this holiday season. For the past 5-10 years, this mall has faced intense competition from Stonebriar Center in Frisco, Firewheel Town Center in Garland, The Shops at Willow Bend in West Plano, and most recently, The Village at Allen/Village at Fairview in Allen. This might be a good mall to feature in the near future, as its days are likely numbered without a remarketing effort.

    Funeral and casket outlets are heading to the mall

    LOS ANGELES — We eat there, buy our clothes there and some people suspect teenagers may actually live there. So perhaps it was just a matter of time until funeral homes began moving into the local shopping mall.

    Over the past two years, Forest Lawn has been quietly putting movable kiosks in several of the malls that dot Southern California’s suburbs. Malls with the kiosks include the Glendale Galleria. Previously: Forest Lawn mortuary takes its marketing to local malls

    The move, by one of the funeral industry’s best known operators, expands on a marketing innovation that appears to have begun at the dawn of the decade when a company called Til We Meet Again began opening casket stores around the country.

    “We try to reach our audience where they are at and the mall is a great way to do that,” said Ben Sussman, spokesman for Forest Lawn, whose cemeteries count among their permanent residents such notables as Walt Disney, Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson.

    “And it’s also, perhaps, a way to reach people who might be a little leery about coming directly into one of our parks,” Sussman said.

    As to why folks would be leery about that, industry officials acknowledge the answer is obvious: Who really wants to enter a funeral home even one day before they have to?

    “Funeral planning is something everybody knows they must do, but at the same time it’s something nobody wants to do,” said Robert Fells, executive director of the International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association.

    “Nobody gets up on a Saturday morning and says, ‘Gee, it’s a nice day. I wonder if I can go out and get myself a burial plot,’” Fells said.

    But if they’re strolling past a funeral outlet at the mall, where they’re surrounded by happy, lively people and maybe clutching a bag of Mrs. Field’s cookies, the thought is that they’ll feel differently.

    “When they’re going to the mall, people are not going out of need,” said Nathan Smith, co-founder and CEO of Til We Meet Again, which has outlets in malls in Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Indiana and Texas.

    So if they do happen to see a place peddling coffins or urns while they’re pricing T-shirts and hoodies, Smith said, it will look far less intimidating.

    Forest Lawn’s effort began modestly, with just one kiosk (one of those movable things that usually sell stuff like calendars or ties) in a mall in the Los Angeles suburb of Eagle Rock.

    When no one was creeped out, the program expanded to about a half-dozen malls. Now Forest Lawn periodically shuffles them from one mall to another to reach the largest audience.

    Unlike the people at other such stations, who can seem like carnival barkers as they walk right up to you and hawk discount calling plans or free yogurt samples, Forest Lawn’s operators are more discreet.

    At the entrance to a Macy’s department in the L.A. suburb of Arcadia last year, operators were quick to smile and hand out brochures when approached. But they kept their distance until people came to them.

    It was the same at a mall in Glendale last week, where people stopped to examine cremation urns ranging from one with a subdued design of leaves to another that brightly featured the logo for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

    Also on display was a recruiting poster for potential future Forest Lawn employees, complete with a picture of the great Dodgers pitcher Fernando Valenzuela, who urged them to consider “joining a winning team.”

    Still, not everyone is thrilled with the idea. “You’re in a shopping mall and you’re walking along and there’s a funeral place?” retired high-school teacher Stan Slome said incredulously. “That sounds too deadly.”

    After thinking it over, however, he acknowledged it’s something that could catch on.

    At age 86, Slome said, he gets his share of mail from funeral operators inviting him to seminars at local restaurants, where he can have a meal on them while he hears a pitch on why he should use their services when he exits this mortal coil.

    He doesn’t care for that either, he said, but he figures somebody is attending those seminars.

    If the mall effort catches on, said Jessica Koth of the National Funeral Directors Association, credit the aging Baby Boom generation at least in part. Historically, people have not wanted to talk, or even think, about their demise.

    But Baby Boomers, the oldest of whom are pushing 70, are different. Many are beginning to press for so-called green funerals that don’t require the use of coffins or burial vaults, Koth said. Others want custom-made coffins or urns that say something about who they were.

    That often means something that represents a favorite car or sports team, said Smith of Til We Meet Again. He pointed out he even got a request once for a coffin built to resemble a portable toilet — from a guy whose company made portable toilets.

    With that mindset, could going to the mall and planning the whole deal just steps away from the Merry-Go-Round really be that unusual?

  375. Posted on Fri, Feb. 21, 2014

    Aventura Mall to expand with more luxury shops
    By Allison Horton
    The Miami Herald

    Aventura Mall One of the nation’s biggest and most prosperous shopping malls is about to get even bigger. The Aventura Mall will soon demolish its existing food court to build a new three-story wing of stores and a parking garage of up to seven levels tall.
    Turnberry Associates, which owns and manages the mall, got the go-ahead from the Aventura City Commission earlier this month. The company hopes to begin construction by the end of the year. Plans for relocating the food court are not yet finalized, said a mall spokesman.
    The 241,000-square-foot expansion will be constructed on the current food court site, near the JCPenney store. The parking garage could include as many as 1,400 spaces.
    The Aventura Mall already is Florida’s largest mall and one of the nation’s biggest, with 2.7 million square feet of floor space. That makes it the nation’s 16th largest, according to Mall Directory of America; by other measures, it comes in as the third largest. It also is one of the top five highest grossing malls in the country in terms of sales per square foot, according to Turnberry.
    Aventura’s owners said they have not yet inked leases for the new space. But shoppers can expect to find more luxury brands, a segment the mall has pursued in recent years.
    “Continued resurgence in South Florida’s real estate market along with tourism growth and has led to significant increases in the number of affluent shoppers, specifically at Aventura Mall,” said the mall’s owners via an emailed statement. “We’ve had tremendous demand from retailers and simply don’t have enough space to satisfy their needs.
    Currently, the mall houses about 300 retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Macy’s, according to Turnberry Associates. Other retailers include Louis Vuitton, Cartier and Burberry stores. The mall also features several restaurants and a 24-screen AMC movie theater with IMAX.
    “It’s been incredible watching South Florida evolve into one of the world’s premier fashion destinations,” said Jackie Soffer, principal with Turnberry Associates. “We’re very excited about the continued transformation of Aventura Mall, which will provide an enhanced shopping experience for our local and international visitors.”
    The increase in online shopping has stressed traditional brick-and-mortar stores, which have seen a decrease in foot traffic. But malls have responded by focusing on the in-store experience, said John Fleming, spokesman for the Florida Retail Federation. Many have increased events and freshened facilities.
    “Shopping is a experience that a lot of people appreciate,” Fleming said. “It is just not the same surfing the Internet from your chair as it is walking around and having lunch and all the things people love about the retail experience.”
    Aventura Mall specifically benefits from being categorized as a “destination mall” that draws residents from both Miami-Dade and Broward counties and tourists as well. To serve the needs of those shoppers, the mall will create an enclosed transportation facility for buses on the ground floor of the new parking deck.
    “The bus stops are currently at five to six locations around the mall and are not that convenient to some people,” Aventura City Manager Eric Soroka said. “It is not an ideal situation as far as … mixing the pedestrian and motor vehicle traffic. This will allow all traffic from … buses to go into one consolidated place, which will be safer and … more convenient for people to use mass transit to get to the mall.”
    The city is currently reviewing a traffic impact study submitted by Turnberry, said Joanne Carr, Aventura’s community development director.

  376. Attracting The Right Shoppers

    In a time when every good can be bought on the Internet, creating an experience is what continues to draw shoppers to retail centers. Over the past five years, retail centers have had to up their games to lure consumers away from screens and to their centers. Since the experience of interacting with a retailer’s web site and visiting its store is intended to be seamless, it’s left up to the shopping center to make up a large part of the experience that draws a shopper out of her or his home. Amenities and design work to create an atmosphere that’s inviting and attractive to consumers, while the retail — and restaurant — mix provides the experience they crave.

    From revitalized lifestyle centers to regional malls to outlet centers to grocery-anchored centers, open-air shopping centers are the preferred method of redevelopment or development today. SCB spoke with a number of executives active with open-air centers to see where the sector is headed and what is driving activity.

    What’s New in Ground-Up Development

    Creating new large-format centers has been challenging over the past few years. Not only do developers have to fight community opposition and a challenging financing market, but they have to create environments for shoppers that don’t already exist in the market.

    Dorsky + Yue is working on the next phase of Easton Town Center for Georgetown and Steiner + Associates called Easton Gateway. Nearly 15 years after the original center opened, Easton Gateway will introduce a grocery- and power-anchored component. The 600,000-square-foot project adds more amenities and retail to the iconic development in Columbus, Ohio. The project is anchored by Costco, REI, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Saks Off 5th and Whole Foods Market. Steiner and Georgetown made the effort to give Easton Gateway a cohesive look with Easton Town Center, despite the fact its uses are different.

    “While Easton Gateway is spatially distinctive and organized for convenience and accessibility, the project reflects many of the same thoughtful architectural details and innovative design elements that give Easton Town Center its familiar brick-and-mortar appeal,” says Anne Mastin, senior executive vice president of real estate for Steiner + Associates.

    “We walk each center in our mind in the planning stages to make sure they work and that visitors have places to hang out,” adds Kevin Zak with Dorsky + Yue International, who worked on the center’s design. “We have to have an understanding of how the spaces are going to go together so that, ultimately, when the center is built, it is not just pieces that are thrown into the soup; it has been orchestrated in a way that makes sense and extends the stay, making it memorable. In addition to the great tenants that are there, that’s what makes a successful center.”

    Dorsky + Yue also designed the new Palm Beach Outlets for New England Development and Eastern Real Estate, which opened in February in Florida. The company is also working on a new outlet center for Tanger Outlets in Grand Rapids, Mich.

    “We are bringing to the outlet centers a lot of the town center-like walkability and amenities,” says Zak.

    In addition to walkability, other successful open-air centers are making strategic tenanting moves. Petrie Ross Ventures built Woodmore Towne Centre in Landover, Md., a few years ago. The center was a model of how a community and a developer can both learn from each other. Prince George’s County had been historically under-retailed; many developers and retailers missed the demographics of the predominately African-American population. Petrie-Ross saw the affluence in the market, and set out to make retailers understand it as well. The results show in the 245-acre mixed-use project that it built and opened in 2010, the retail portion of which is anchored by Wegman’s, Costco, JC Penney, Best Buy and Petco.

    “We tried to bring in the bell cows — the tenants that would really generate the traffic — and then fill in the shop space to feed off that,” says Walt Petrie, chairman of Petrie-Ross Ventures, which is based in Annapolis, Md. Sales of the anchor stores, he reports, are phenomenal.

    At Woodmore Towne Centre, Petrie-Ross separated the mixed-use components of the project since it was developed during the recession. Now, the company is working on tying the project together.

    “It is hard to make all those components work together unless you are in an urban market,” says Walt Petrie. “At one point in time, retail is going to be hot and office is not; or office will be hot and multifamily will not. It is hard to hit all that at one time.”

    Petrie-Ross also added restaurants with outdoor seating to Woodmore Towne Centre.

    “We spent a lot of time creating pedestrian-friendly walkways, lighting and all the amenities; that has turned out extremely well,” says Petrie.

    Not all profitable centers can rely on the latest trends. For some developers, classic design can be a solid bet on success for years to come.

    Weingarten is a developer who has continually built and redeveloped centers over the past few years. The Houston-based company was formed in 1948 and has been building, buying and redeveloping shopping centers for more than 65 years.

    “While a tremendous amount has changed during those 65 years, a tremendous amount has stayed the same,” says Drew Alexander, president and CEO of Weingarten. “A good location with good anchors, layout and adjacencies is essential so that you are giving the customer something that is exciting, convenient and fills their needs. That is as important today as it has been during the entirety of the time we have been in existence.”

    Architecture is one of the ways that Weingarten makes sure that its centers are always up-to-date. The company opts for traditional centers with long-lasting looks.

    “Architecture should be pleasing and interesting, but should stand the test of time and be reasonable in maintenance costs, not something that is trendy that will go out of style quickly,” he says.

    Lighting is another area where developers have paid more attention, says Alexander.

    “As dual income households need to get more shopping done in the early evening, keeping the centers well-lit has become more important,” he says.

    As developers strive to incorporate features that were once only found in malls and lifestyle centers to convenience and grocery centers, architects say that doesn’t mean that they have to break the bank to make a project look good.

    “We are very careful about the way we spend money on a project,” says Zak. “We are very much about how to get the most bang for the buck. It has to plan well from a retailing standpoint and it has to get the most out of every dollar that we spend as a designer. That is what our clients are expecting and, moreover, they are coming to us with per square foot budgets.”


    Redevelopment has been the main focus of open-air center projects over the past few years. Owners often redevelop centers when they feel the market may be slipping slightly, or they need to increase the amount of GLA at a property.

    Levin Management assisted a client with the redevelopment of Hamilton Plaza in Hamilton Township, Levin Management redeveloped Hamilton Plaza in Hamilton Township, N.J., recently. The company created a smaller store for anchor ShopRite while remodeling the store. The older center was completely remodeled at the time. The resulting 175,000-square-foot redevelopment improved traffic flow at the center. New signage and new facades also refreshed the look of the center. The property was the secondary center in the market before its redevelopment, now it is the top center.

    At Post Road Plaza in Pelham Manor, N.Y., Levin took a former Kmart space and subdivided it. The company brought in Dave & Buster’s — a tenant that will bring in multiple uses during different times of the day — and has a lease out for the other part of the space. The center is anchored by Fairway Market, another area draw.

    “When the demographics of a property and the tenant mix call for it, bumping up the amenities will help,” says Harding. “But malls and lifestyle centers have a different set of tenants and a different purpose than a typical grocery-anchored shopping center. In many places, a fountain will not apply to sales. Grocery-anchored centers are generally a focused shopping trip based on convenience.”

    Levin Management often redevelops centers for its clients, from overseeing design to land use to construction.

    “In a redevelopment, we want to make sure that we are maximizing the ability to make the project function as best as possible for the tenants,” says Harding. “We also take the opportunity to add in amenities that can create life and activity in a center, such as pad sites, restaurants or an active use.”

    Building shopping centers that won’t require extensive renovation cycles seems to be a focus for many developers today, who are tired of sponsoring redevelopment every 10, 15 or 20 years.

    “Most of our clients are focused on more permanent places,” says Zak. “They want places that are going to stand the test of time, both from a materials standpoint and a design standpoint.”

    Legacy Village near Cleveland is one such example that Zak points to. The project opened in October 2003 and, 10 years later, “it still looks fresh,” he says. “Because it was designed with the intent to feel permanent and handmade. You have to have a sustainable approach so the center looks to be a part of the landscape.”

    “Look and design is more important than it used to be,” adds Harding. “Retailers definitely focus on that more. It also helps set your property apart more from the crowd.”


    Tenants remain the largest draw of centers, and developers know they must push the familiar names to shoppers to get them to the centers. But they also must keep them interested once they’ve gone to the stores that were the reason for the initial visit.

    “At the end of the day, the reason that someone is going to a shopping center is a tenant or a collection of tenants,” says Harding. “We focus on the core mix of tenants and try to bring in tenants that are draws. We mix in types of tenants who bring in shoppers at different types of the day. Today, that includes gyms, restaurants, coffee shops and other retail venues where people ‘hang out’ before they cross-shop at other tenants.”

    Most notably, restaurants are drawing larger crowds to centers in recent years. At the very least, many supermarkets now have cafes inside that supply the restaurant offering at smaller centers. It’s a trend that’s growing in the supermarket industry, with many becoming known for their specialty subs, fried chicken or other offerings.

    “The vast majority of our supermarkets have cafes,” says Weingarten. “Home meal replacement has become a huge item; most people don’t know what they are having for dinner on a given evening at 4 p.m. Having a great, convenient place that they are naturally drawn to with easy access, helps aid that. As we’ve been involved in larger centers with larger supermarkets, the access and traffic flow are super important today when you have a 140,000-square-foot supermarket.”

    Tenants have boosted their presence in the shopping center. In addition to using traditional methods like advertising and marketing, many are now participating in social media campaigns and social coupon campaigns that drive visits, and customers, to the center.

    “Omni-channel retailing is clearly where it’s at,” says Alexander. “You still see supermarkets promoting and driving traffic by doubling or tripling the value of a coupon. Some online retailers have gone as far as to give away grocery delivery, which could be a $25 or $30 expense. Buy online and pick up in-store is also effective for retailers. It offers the opportunity for a salesperson to find other products the consumer wants. It drives the [retail] experience.”

    Weingarten has shifted its focus to maximizing adjacencies for supermarket tenants to increase sales for its centers. Weingarten is the retail developer for the redevelopment of the Walter Reed Army Hospital facility in Washington, D.C. The company expects to develop approximately 250,000 square feet of retail space as part of the 3 million-square-foot mixed-use project that is anticipated to also have residential, office and hotel uses.

    Tenants have also used technology to help sales at stores. Accessing locational data of consumer cell phone activity while consumers are at the centers helps this cause, as does social media interaction with shoppers via mobile device. Connected consumers are now able to receive offers via mobile phone while shopping the store. While this was pioneered by apparel retailers, grocery and other needs-based retailers are now using this technology to increase sales.

    “While the Internet certainly has a place in retail, even surveys of the Millennials show that they like the physical shopping experience for all the reasons the generations before have,” says Alexander.

    Other centers have looked to design and amenities as attractions to shoppers.

    “We see curb appeal as very important,” says Harding. “We want the property to stand out not only to customers, but to tenants as well. We look at different amenities to make the shopping center more attractive to customers.”

    WiFi has become an amenity at many centers. More urban centers use it to create a sense of place; free Internet service attracts people to spend time in the strip center environment just as much as in malls.

    “You want to create an environment where people are happy to stay for long periods of time,” says Alexander.

  377. Brookstone’s bankruptcy woes don’t mean the mall’s dead

    By Claire Zillman, reporter March 31, 2014: 10:17 AM ET

    The mall in all its 1980s glory may be gone, but “lifestyle centers” are thriving.

    FORTUNE — Brookstone, everyone’s favorite massage chair retailer, is on the brink of bankruptcy. That news last week came on the heels of pizza chain Sbarro’s Chapter 11 filing. While Brookstone and Sbarro failed for lots of reasons (like lots of debt and food that tastes like cardboard, respectively) their downfalls have given consumers good reason to resume the death of the shopping mall drumbeat.

    Sure, there are some shopping mall staples that are suffering. You can add Dots, Disney Stores, and Radio Shack to the list. And yes, it’s somehow entertaining to point and laugh at vacant, decrepit shopping centers — icons of American consumerism gone bust — but it’s wrong to write off the shopping mall altogether.

    The shopping mall is changing; it isn’t dead.

    Here’s proof: Total shopping center sales for 2012 topped $2.4 trillion, up 2.8% from 2011, and shopping centers account for more than half of all retail sales in the United States, according to a report by Nielsen.

    How do you reconcile those figures with the notion that shopping malls are disappearing? What’s happening is that the shopping mall is transforming from the junky teenage hangouts of yesteryear to luxury shopping and entertainment destinations.

    Nielsen reported that the biggest decline in shopping centers came from its more traditional, product-focused regional and super-regional centers. Regional centers decreased as a proportion of all shopping centers by 7% between 2009 and 2013, and super-regional centers decreased by 4% in the same time period. Those kinds of malls are closing and will continue to close — 15% of all malls are projected to fail in the next 10 years, according to Green Street Advisors — because of the struggles of traditional shopping mall anchor tenants like J.C. Penney and Sears. Earlier this year, J.C. Penney announced 2,000 layoffs and the closure of 33 stores. Sears, meanwhile, is set to close its flagship Chicago store.

    You can blame those two stores’ troubles on penny-pinched customers who are trading down when it comes to shopping because the economy keeps squeezing the middle class. The traditional J.C. Penney or Sears customer has flocked to cheaper chains like Wal-Mart, Target, or discount retailers like T.J. Maxx and Marshalls.

    “The mid-level mall is getting crushed,” says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of Davidowitz & Associates, Inc., a retail consulting and investment banking firm. “If you’ve got a dunky mall with a Penneys or Sears, say bye-bye.” Those malls’ would-be shoppers are instead opting for lower cost and more convenience. They’re simply driving to Kohl’s for a set of bath towels instead of traipsing across a massive parking lot and wandering a mall maze to get to Sears, Davidowitz says.

    And here’s where the American shopping mall industry splits, because for as poorly as mid-level malls are performing, high-end shopping centers are doing just fine.

    What Nielsen calls “lifestyle centers” — locations with mixtures of traditional retail stores and upscale “leisure uses” such as movie theaters, spas, and high-end restaurants and coffee shops — made up 15% of the mall landscape in 2013, up from 9% in 2008. Pairing entertainment with retail is key because while Americans’ average expenditures on apparel are still below pre-recession levels, spending on entertainment is up, from $2,376 in 2006 to $2,572 in 2011, according to Mintel Group, Ltd. Lifestyle centers are typically anchored by upscale department stores such as Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus, and attract higher-end specialty stores like Brooks Brothers, J. Crew, Ann Taylor, and Louis Vuitton, according to Davidowitz.

    So in this sense, the much-touted death of the shopping mall is really a thinning out of the industry’s ranks. It’s further evidence of the bifurcation of consumer spending and of Americans’ livelihood in general. After all, since 2009, spending by the top 5% of earners has risen 17%; it’s risen just 1% among the bottom 95% of earners. That makes sense since as of September 2013, 95% of income gains since 2009 have gone to the top 1%.

    “We’ve really got about 400 good malls in the United States. They’re good because they’re an upscale experience,” says Davidowitz. “That’s what works, and it’s going to keep working because the customers who like it keep getting wealthier.

  378. Very surprised to not see any mention of Fiesta Mall in Mesa, AZ. This mall has been struggling for a few years now. It may be even worse off than Metro Center. There is a lot of dead/languishing retail space around it, and the mall has been bleeding tenants for quite a while. The Dillard’s downgraded to a clearance center a few years ago. Victoria’s Secret, Disney Store, Radio Shack, Hallmark, Forever 21, American Eagle, and Macy’s have all left in the last three years. There is the usual mix of urban and mom-and-pop stores frequently seen in similarly struggling malls. The last remodel of any kind was maybe 10-15 years ago. The mall isn’t in an incredibly unsafe area, but has somewhat of a “ghetto” reputation. It was once a centerpiece of the East Valley, but the surrounding area has not been maintained to keep viable mainstream retail. Worth checking out and documenting.