Plans To Rethink America’s Malls Can’t Keep Up With Retail’s Collapse

by MR Magazine Staff

Outside Detroit, plans have been in the works for two years to transform the outdated Lakeside Mall into an open-air center with green space and a waterway. With the property in foreclosure and its ownership in limbo, the blueprints will have to be flexible. The mall’s troubles have spiraled since landlord GGP Inc. stopped paying the mortgage last year and then failed to find a buyer for the property amid turmoil in the retail industry. The center’s value, already less than the $135 million loan, was slashed another $25 million in February. Officials for the city of Sterling Heights, Michigan, aren’t giving up on their project. They’re preparing to court new investors with opportunities that go well beyond retail, and anything from apartments to hotels and restaurants is possible. “We understand that malls will never be the same,” said Luke Bonner, an economic-development adviser working with the city on the Lakeside project. “E-commerce is taking a toll on malls whether people want to admit it or not. It’s a reality.” The forces bearing down on the project at Lakeside are playing out across the U.S., pushing property owners to redraw development plans to keep up with rapid changes in the industry. With store closures accelerating, landlords are having to change course and find ways to create malleable space that can accommodate a revolving roster of tenants. Read more at Bloomberg.