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The vacancy rate of U.S. malls in the third quarter declined to 8.2% from 8.3% in the second quarter, according to new statistics released by Reis Inc., REIS +0.31% a real-estate data firm. Mall vacancy was 8.7% in the third quarter of 2012, said Reis, which tracks the top 77 markets in the U.S.

But the improvement hasn’t been as strong with shopping centers—typically open-air retail strips that face parking lots. The average national vacancy rate for neighborhood and community shopping centers held steady in the third quarter at 10.5% from the previous quarter, down from 10.8% in the third quarter of last year.

The national average asking rent at shopping centers was $19.25 per square foot, up just 1.5% from the recession low of $18.97 in 2011. The average asking rent for malls in the largest 77 U.S. markets rose to $39.77 per square foot in the third quarter, up 1.4% from the same quarter last year, according to Reis Inc.

Malls are recovering faster because people go to them for high-end retail, entertainment and dining. People are more likely to go to shopping centers, on the other hand, for basic consumer needs that they can also satisfy online, real-estate economists and executives say.

Tags: Malls
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A 2003 article in the Military Review has proven darkly prescient with last weekend’s terrorist siege of an indoor shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Written by two retired U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonels, the piece outlines the emergence of modern-day siege warfare tactics, or the invasion of large architectural structures.

In the magazine’s September/October 2003 issue, Lester W. Grau and Geoffrey Demarest collaboratively warned that, “while perhaps not a likely target in a traditional military sense, an indoor shopping mall could be attractive as a terrorist target.”

Their article goes on to imagine what might happen when armed groups lay siege to megastructures—prisons, malls, airports, embassies, cinemas, skyscrapers, even entire gated subdivisions—asking, in the process, how we might protect ourselves when acts of war or terrorism erupt in the midst of our everyday, civilian environments.

The disturbing realization is that, for the U.S. Army, the vulnerable targets of tomorrow are shopping malls and schoolyards, airports and sports stadiums, perhaps even suburban streets. The mall siege in Nairobi is perhaps only the most recent, horrifying example of how this will look.

I was waiting and hoping for this — Geoff Manaugh on the Kenyan mall attack. Highly recommended.

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Extremely old story, tarted up with charts and a dramatic headline.

Tags: Malls
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The company that built the Mall of Georgia in Gwinnett County and the upscale St. John’s Town Center in Jacksonville, Fla., is planning a 560,000-square-foot luxury outlet mall in Pooler.

The Outlet Mall of Georgia is projected to open in the summer of 2014 in the southwest quadrant of I-95 and Pooler Parkway with four anchor stores, a food court, restaurants and a wide variety of shops.

The proposed $200-million project is set to break ground next spring and would create as many as 2,000 construction jobs, according to Ben Carter of Ben Carter Enterprises. When fully open, the mall would create between 1,700 and 2,000 retail jobs, Carter said Tuesday.

The 170-acre site will accommodate another half-million square feet for peripheral retail and hotel construction.

Tags: Savannah Malls
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Exhaustive, but interesting, examination of strip malls…
(via The Urbanophile » Blog Archive » Big Boxes: Keeping All the Ducks in a Row by Eric McAfee)

Exhaustive, but interesting, examination of strip malls…

(via The Urbanophile » Blog Archive » Big Boxes: Keeping All the Ducks in a Row by Eric McAfee)

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Vacancies declined at U.S. malls and held steady at strip shopping centers in the third quarter as landlords attracted new retailers to fill space as stalwarts such as Best Buy Co., Staples Inc., Gap Inc. and Office Depot Inc. closed stores or shifted to smaller ones.

Malls in the top 77 U.S. markets posted an average vacancy rate of 8.7% in the quarter, down from 8.9% in the second quarter, according to new data from real-estate research company Reis Inc. The latest figure is a notable step down from the recent high of 9.4% set in last year’s third quarter.

Mall rents, meanwhile, continued their slow rise, climbing 0.3% in the third quarter from the previous quarter to an average of $39.24 a square foot per year, according to Reis. The increase marked the fifth consecutive quarterly increase for malls, a group that includes large, enclosed shopping centers typically anchored by department stores.

Tags: Malls
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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."

Tags: Malls
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As for big regional shopping malls, almost no new malls are being built any more anywhere in the country. In fact there are scores of malls that are dead and abandoned. Many others are on life-support and are close to being boarded up or redeveloped into more productive use. Here in Puget Sound, the last regional mall built was Silverdale, almost 20 years ago — even though the central Puget Sound population has grown by more than 2 million people in that same time! (I am not counting outlet malls as they do not fill the same role as regional malls anchored by major department stores.)

Tags: Malls
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The giant mall you see in the photos here … didn’t die. It has never lived, having been nothing but empty since it opened seven years ago. According to its Wikipedia entry, it has an astounding 2,350 available retail spaces, only 47 of which are occupied.

Why This Huge Chinese Mall Is Empty - Jobs & Economy - The Atlantic Cities

The giant mall you see in the photos here … didn’t die. It has never lived, having been nothing but empty since it opened seven years ago. According to its Wikipedia entry, it has an astounding 2,350 available retail spaces, only 47 of which are occupied.

Why This Huge Chinese Mall Is Empty - Jobs & Economy - The Atlantic Cities

Tags: Malls Vacancy
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Schools, medical clinics, call centers, government offices and even churches are now standard tenants in malls. By hanging a curtain to hide the food court, the Galleria in Cleveland, which opened in 1987 with about 70 retailers and restaurants, rents space for weddings and other events.

Other malls have added aquariums, casinos and car showrooms. Designers in Buffalo have proposed stripping down a mall to its foundation and reinventing it as housing, while an aspiring architect in Detroit has proposed turning a mall’s parking lot there into a community farm. Columbus, Ohio, arguing that it was too expensive to maintain an empty mall on prime real estate, dismantled its City Center mall and replaced it with a park.