17 Apr

WSJ.com – How a Glitzy Mall Developer Built Its Way Into Big Trouble

In recent years, mall companies have performed well as
consumers continued to spend despite recession, terrorism and the war
in Iraq. The nation’s major mall developers — now big public companies
mostly run by the scions of the original mall magnates — expanded
primarily by buying other mall companies.

Link: WSJ.com – How a Glitzy Mall Developer Built Its Way Into Big Trouble.

08 Aug

Mixed Use in LA

The Beverly Center in LA might get a $125M makeover to turn into a mixed-use development.  As a means of competing with the neighboring Grove and Hollywood and HIghland, the Beverly Center needs to create some sort of connection to the city.  I’ve often referred to the BC as the best example of placeless mall building in the city of LA.  It’s a miracle that it managed to completely cut itself off from such a lively street.

But with the trend in urban development towards mixed use or lifestyle centers, the indoor mall has hardly a leg to stand on.

23 May

Malls as Entertainment

In Columbus, Ohio, Gordon Group Holdings is developing a hybrid mall / internet space called Epicenter.  This space, scheduled to open in 2006 at the Polaris Fashion Place, will combine the convenience of online shopping with the consumer desire to feel, touch and try on.  It looks like a mall, but something is different.  In this situation, visitors carry with them a little device called a "BuyPod" where they scan the items they’d like to purchase.  Subsequently,the item is available for pickup that day or is shipped from the warehouse.  According to John D. Morris, a senior retail analyst at Harris Nesbitt, "Today’s consumer demands convenience with specificity, instant gratification and minimal effort.  We’re a time-starved, demand-driven society" (NY Times, May 23, 2005).

One of the goals of this hybrid space is to reduce sales staff.  If consumers are comfortable with browsing on their own while online, then why can’t they browse on their own in geographic space?  It’s  the Internet-plus.  Retailers are clamoring for a solution to their labor problems.  And this would dispose of all those pesky service-sector jobs. 

If this model proves successful, we can expect developments in the technology with such things as google searches for products on the "buypod" and, eventually, the ability to use one’s own personal device to purchase things.  Whether in real space or digital space, we should be able to point, click, and buy.