retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Some time ago we reported here on MNB about how the Westside Pavilion mall in Los Angeles, which had fallen from stagnation into near-desolation as retailers defected, followed by shoppers (though it actually was the shoppers who defected first, which forced retailers to close their doors), is being converted by its developer-owner into an office complex that will be dominated by Google.

Now, the New York Times has a story about how this is a development that is being repeated in other locations. It is, the story says, “one of the latest examples of a nationwide trend in commercial real estate: the conversion of malls into office space.

“Offices are less risky than retailers, and in some cases they can generate foot traffic for the mall’s remaining stores and restaurants.

“The biggest beneficiaries of the conversions are co-working enterprises, like WeWork, which provide shared work spaces primarily to entrepreneurs, freelancers and start-ups. The highest concentration of co-working spaces in retail nationally is in malls, according to an August study by the global property company Jones Lang LaSalle. The same study predicted that co-working space in retail in general would grow at an annual rate of 25 percent through 2023.”
KC's View:
It seems pretty clear that in places where such conversions make sense, they are a good thing for everybody. Developers et more stable tenants, and communities get a stronger tax base. And consumers don’t give a damn, because those malls had largely outlived their usefulness anyway.

I have a mall near me, the Stamford Town Center in Connecticut, that if they shut it down tomorrow and converted it to office space, I’m not sure all that many people would notice. Or care. Hell, they could already use much of it as a bowling alley, because there are many times that you roll a bowling ball down its corridors and not hit anyone.

With few exceptions, just another casualty of the fast-changing retail environment.