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Six out of 10 Americans are rooting for a mall comeback

Al Urbanski
Three-quarters of those surveyed said they’d pay higher taxes to have dying malls renovated.

The American mall appeared to have been one of the most aggrieved victims of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now a new survey indicates it could prove one of its most victorious survivors.

IPX 1031, a leader in 1031 real estate exchange services, asked 1,005 Americans if they wished that their malls would experience revivals and 61% responded in the affirmative.

And the youngest shoppers were among the mall's biggest supporters. Sixty-six percent of Gen Z respondents were gung-ho for malls maintaining a presence.

Two-thirds of Gen Xers, 59% of millennials and 54% of baby boomers voted pro-mall, as well.

Nearly seven out of 10 people surveyed said they lived within an hour’s drive of a “dead mall,” and two in five reported two or more declining locations within that distance. IPX 1031 defined a dead mall as one with a high vacancy rate, low traffic, or abandoned altogether.

Three out of four of those surveyed believed their local governments should offer incentives for repurposing troubled malls, and nearly one in three said they’d be willing to pay higher taxes to have empty spaces turned into gathering spaces or multifamily housing.

What most draws them to malls? The No. 1 answer was the availability of a certain store. After that came the convenience of multiple stores in one spot, the ability to experience items in person, restaurants, and movie theaters.

A quarter of respondents don’t think there are enough stores in the areas where they live, and four out of 10 wish a mall would open in their area.

More than three-quarters of those polled thought online shopping was the chief reason for malls declining. Nearly half blamed economic recession, and a third mentioned poor mall management.

Those most interested in continuing to have malls to shop lived in Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, Maryland, and Georgia.

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