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G W North

Traditional malls now harder sells

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Traditional mall now a harder sell

Bad economics paving the way for new concepts One major trend is toward upscale,

open-air centres

DANA FLAVELLE

BUSINESS REPORTER

Faced with rising costs and waning consumer interest in large traditional enclosed malls, North American mall developers are experimenting with a variety of new concepts, a leading Canadian retail consultant says.

One of the biggest trends is toward smaller open-air shopping centres, featuring clusters of 20 to 30 upscale stores, each with its own entrance onto a "main street" with sidewalks and angle parking in front of the stores, Ian Thomas, of Thomas Consultants Inc., said in an interview yesterday.

Called "lifestyle" centres, they're anchored by a Starbucks coffee shop, where consumers can sit and soak up the atmosphere, as well as shop, Thomas said in an interview during the annual Canadian conference of the International Council of Shopping Centres.

In Canada, the first example is scheduled to open this week in Vancouver, Thomas said. It's called the Village at Park Royal and includes a new concept Home Depot store spread over two storeys with a heavy emphasis on d

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Just south of Providence in Cranston we have one of these "lifestyle centres" called Garden City. It evolved from a traditional strip mall, and still features a big box section. The strip was gussied up with a gazebo and landscaping, and they have "events" at the gazebo from time to time. It's quite popular, but it's still a strip mall. Down the street a "new urbanist-ish" centre is being constructed.

Our winters aren't quite as harsh as Canada's, but it does well enough in the winter months. Actually people will shop pretty much anywhere at the holidays, and then January (the depths of winter) is a traditionally slow month anyway. The summer is when retailers are stuggling to attract business, and the outside environment could be a plus when trying to do that. As long as the centre has good snow removal policies in place, and adequate parking, I don't really think the outdoors environment should be too much of a deterrent.

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The best kind of malls are the ones that can carry on an urban (not a pseudo-urban atmosphere. These have storefront shopping, pedestrian walkways and hidden parking garages. The ideal urban mall would be one that could be plopped right into a downtown, and look authentic to its surroundings. Take a look at this mall in West Hollywood, CA for example:

mall1.jpg

mall2.jpg

mall3.jpg

This is the time for malls to improve their images in the eyes of urban enthusiasts. Malls have such a negative look today because of their negative impacts on the downtowns of North America. If malls can become a major part of downtowns themselves, then everyone wins.

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Oh, I really like that outdoors mall in West Hollywood. When I was reading the article I didn't think it would be a good idea, but seeing the pictures put it into perspective and changed my mind. But, how could a mall ever fit into a downtown? It just wouldn't look right.

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Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto seems to blend in quite well. It was built to bring people out of the suburban malls and into downtown again, and it has been quite successful.

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So the Main St Malls are coming back eh?

I would rather see these types of things than these huge malls. I really despise going to malls more than anything, and I make it a point to go in and get out fast.

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Outdoor malls like Bayside in Miami, I think are far more appealing than indoor malls. I think that with the way that malls are developing, they will be more appealling.

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But, how could a mall ever fit into a downtown? It just wouldn't look right.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Providence's downtown mall fits in pretty well. It is an enclosed mall, but the restaurants (aside from the food court) are all set on Francis Street, forcing people out of the mall to access them.

The mall is connected to the Westin by a skybridge and the Westin is connected to the convention centre.

The mall sits at the head of Waterplace Park and is served by public buses.

2004-0204%20017.jpg

2004-0204%20024.jpg

051403-Prov006B.jpg

State013.jpg

Taken from the mall

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My hometown is building a lifestyle center to replace the historic downtown it thoughtlessly demolished in the 1960s. The plan looks nice, although the parking that surrounds it is attrocious! Why can't we bury the parking, or at least stick it in a parking garage?

On average, I find these so-called "lifestyle centers" to be slightly better than a traditional enclosed shopping mall. If they really want to improve upon the concept, they can make the lifestyle centers more transit oriented and less car oriented. I notice that the lifestyle center in L.A. appears to have a trolley of some sort running through it, although it seems to me that the vast majority of the lifestyle centers are built only for people driving to them. So in reality, little improvement has been made on the traditional mall.

One thing I do like about lifestyle centers is that they are typically scaled more to people than typical malls. Additionally, the aesthetics of the buildings are improved.

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"Providence's downtown mall fits in pretty well. It is an enclosed mall, but the restaurants (aside from the food court) are all set on Francis Street, forcing people out of the mall to access them."

(Can someone teach me how to quote on this new software? I click quote and nothing happens)

You're right, Providence's mall does blend in well, but what about more large-scale cities, like Philadelphia or New York?

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this may seem like a stupid question to some of you. ive never been to nyc and i was under the impression they didnt have malls? different stores are spread out throughout the city? i dont know im probably worng. if any of you know.

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I know of at least one mall in NYC, the Manhattan Mall in Midtown. It's multi-level (5 or 6 stories?) and I don't remember a parking garage. Seems popular with the kids.

I always end up there looking for a bathroom. I'm sure there are others.

Miami has a quite a few jewelry "malls" downtown. They take up the bottom 2 or 3 floors of a building and most of the stores face inward. It fits in ok.

They don't fit the mold of the typical suburban mall, but they're there.

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There's also a new mall at the new Time Warner Centre on Columbus Circle in Manhattan. And there are malls in the Outer Boroughs.

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(Can someone teach me how to quote on this new software? I click quote and nothing happens)

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

It's a little different, but actually quite handy when you figure it out. Took me a minute too.

If you click the "REPLY button under a post, it will quote that post in your reply.

p_quote.gif

If you click the QUOTE button it turns red, if you click the quote button under multiple posts...

p_mq_remove.gif

...then click the ADD REPLY button at the bottom. It will quote all the posts you marked red in your reply.

t_qr.gift_reply.gif

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Just south of Providence in Cranston we have one of these "lifestyle centres" called Garden City. It evolved from a traditional strip mall, and still features a big box section. The strip was gussied up with a gazebo and landscaping, and they have "events" at the gazebo from time to time. It's quite popular, but it's still a strip mall. Down the street a "new urbanist-ish" centre is being constructed.

Our winters aren't quite as harsh as Canada's, but it does well enough in the winter months. Actually people will shop pretty much anywhere at the holidays, and then January (the depths of winter) is a traditionally slow month anyway. The summer is when retailers are stuggling to attract business, and the outside environment could be a plus when trying to do that. As long as the centre has good snow removal policies in place, and adequate parking, I don't really think the outdoors environment should be too much of a deterrent.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

LOL. Not all of Canada has harsh winters you know. That's like saying all of the United States has harsh winters.

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LOL. Not all of Canada has harsh winters you know. That's like saying all of the United States has harsh winters.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Yes, I know that. But the article you posted made reference to Canada's winters as a drawback to the outdoor mall concept. I was pointing out that it works in New England and why it should not be a terrible problem for it to work in Canada.

I've also been to Montreal in January and winters up yonder are definately harsher than down here in southern New England.

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Well, I don't know if this directly relates to this article, but I thought I'd throw this out there anyway. San Francisco is currently constructing the largest urban mall west of the Mississippi with over 1.5 million sf of space. (It's actually an addition the the existing San Francisco Shopping Centre.) The project consists of the second largest Bloomingdale's in the country, a 9 screen Century Theater, a food pavillion, over 200,000 sf of office space, and 130 new retail shops. It will be connected to the existing San Francisco Shopping Centre (which has the second largest Nordstrom in the US) and to the BART/MUNI Powell station. Interestingly, the project includes no parking on site.

A breakdown of the project:

ba_mallgraph.jpg

Here's the preservation of the historic Emporium rotunda:

mn_dome19137lh.jpg

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>>Interestingly, the project includes no parking on site.<<

The Toronto Eaton Centre, currently the largest downtown mall in North America (around 300 stores), is tearing down it's massive parking garage for a huge expansion :)

This is great IMO, as there's no need for parking in a mall with 2 subway stops, 2 streetcar lines, and 24-hour transit service.

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Its nice to see the "back to nature" movement taking off in retail but even though they are trying to get more "local" with these structures its taking away from the "real" downtowns. Like that center in SF, why not just have it on Market Street downtown? Why not have things like the Waterfront in Pittsburgh downtown? Especially in this age of higher gas costs and a search for less dependency on foreign oils.

just my 2cents ;)

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Wow! Providence looks nicer than I remember. I like it much better now. The last time I was in Providence was the late 1970s when I lived in Springfield, Mass, with my mom. And upon visiting Providence, I thought that city ugly because it looked so run down...or so it was in neighborhood I visited with my Uncle...The town names in Rhode Island were funny too like Woonsocket. I think that was one of places we passed through...

Providence's downtown mall fits in pretty well. It is an enclosed mall, but the restaurants (aside from the food court) are all set on Francis Street, forcing people out of the mall to access them.

The mall is connected to the Westin by a skybridge and the Westin is connected to the convention centre.

The mall sits at the head of Waterplace Park and is served by public buses.

2004-0204%20017.jpg

2004-0204%20024.jpg

051403-Prov006B.jpg

State013.jpg

Taken from the mall

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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GREAT! No parking site! I don't drive & sometimes hate cars in The City. But then again, there's already enough parking garages nearby with a very big one at 5th & Market near the Chronicle Building.

Some car people are extremely dangerous here! I've almost gotten hit a number of times, including twice last week because the drivers were in a rush and not paying attention to one side of the street. There was an apology but what if she had hit me? I thought, and I assured the shaken woman I was all right and could still make my date as I walked on to catch to K-Ingleside.

Well, I don't know if this directly relates to this article, but I thought I'd throw this out there anyway. San Francisco is currently constructing the largest urban mall west of the Mississippi with over 1.5 million sf of space. (It's actually an addition the the existing San Francisco Shopping Centre.) The project consists of the second largest Bloomingdale's in the country, a 9 screen Century Theater, a food pavillion, over 200,000 sf of office space, and 130 new retail shops. It will be connected to the existing San Francisco Shopping Centre (which has the second largest Nordstrom in the US) and to the BART/MUNI Powell station. Interestingly, the project includes no parking on site.

A breakdown of the project:

ba_mallgraph.jpg

Here's the preservation of the historic Emporium rotunda:

mn_dome19137lh.jpg

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

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Wow! Providence looks nicer than I remember. I like it much better now. The last time I was in Providence was the late 1970s

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Providence is nearly unrecognizable to someone who last saw it in the 70s. Everything between the State House and Kennedy Plaza has been completely transformed. And we resurrected the rivers too.

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I just heard they are tearing down an inner city mall in Worcester MA, and plan to buuild a $1B project of housing, office and labs.

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