Mall Do’s and Don’ts: Use empty anchors as the foundations for new experiences
Levin: "Take down that empty department store box and use that space to create the experience you need today."
DO…change the experience that’s been in existence for 30 or 40 years and doesn’t work anymore. Create an open, activated plaza experience. Create a sense of place.
So take down that empty department store box and use that space to create the experience you need today. People want to take their kids and grandkids out and listen to music, sit on a patio and have dinner. But malls don’t have the open space needed to do that, so you take that box down and bring in the types of businesses—entertainment and food and beverage and experiential retailers—that people want today. That’s today’s anchor.
The problem is that most mall owners aren’t in a position to make these kinds of investments. Their locations are fabulous, but the malls are too big and they have too much debt to do what needs to be done. What we did was look at removing some of the GLA in the shop space. In order to re-merchandise and obtain the true value of your real estate, you have to change the physical plant.
DON’T… do nothing. You shouldn’t believe the mall will get better without you doing something about it. You’ve got to have a totally open vision and say the past is the past. The last thing you want to do is stay locked into the same footprint you had. You need to open your eyes and say, “I need to change what’s here,” not “I need to continue what was.”
Steven Levin’s Centennial recently acquired Bayer Properties, a successful developer of mixed-use centers, to help forge a new path in retail real estate.