- Despite a recent trend of shopping malls shuttering, GGP is building a $525 million enclosed shopping center in Norwalk, CT, according to The Wall Street Journal. Located around 50 miles from New York City, the mall could be one of the last such malls ever constructed in the U.S.
- Dubbed the SoNo Collection, the mall is scheduled to open in 2019 with Nordstrom and Bloomingdale's as its anchor stores. The developer, however, has the option of replacing those anchors in the future, should a supermarket or sporting-goods chain be better suited to attract consumers.
- American mall development peaked in the 1970s and has been on a downward trajectory since. Six large malls were built between 2006 and 2015, compared to 54 the decade before.
The face of retail is changing and, with it, so have the developments associated with it. E-commerce giant Amazon has been leading the charge in transitioning the shopping experience from the retail store to the online browser, prompting retail developers to rethink the traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
Although dozens of malls have closed their doors in recent years, and analysts estimate up to 25% of those remaining could close by 2022, some could say the mall itself isn't dead — it's simply evolving. What the next generation of malls holds will depend on those developments' ability to figure out how to attract today's consumers.
Millennials have been a key driver for understanding how malls can adapt. As more millennials reach adulthood and come into disposable income, their spending habits are becoming increasingly important to the overall economy. Research has shown that many prefer to spend money on experiences rather than things. As a result, they're more like to frequent restaurants, bars and other such experience-oriented venues.
Developments, like the $5 billion American Dream Meadowlands, aim to be one potential model for attracting the experience-seeking millennial demographic. Set to be finished in 2019, the East Rutherford, NJ, development is being billed as a hybrid between a shopping mall and amusement park, and perhaps the gold standard for what future shopping malls will be — though it's careful to not identify as a mall.
The same developer also received initial approval for an American Dream Miami from Miami-Dade County officials. Through a mix of commercial space, hotel rooms, retail and entertainment venues, it hopes to attract twice the number of tourists compared to Walt Disney World.
Of course, some closing malls could take on other life forms altogether. Retail Dive suggests some may be repurposed as distribution facilities, living spaces, lifestyle centers, mixed-use spaces or simply be torn down to let developers start with a blank slate.