What To Do with Dead Malls?

With the migration to online shopping and consumers opting for experiences over material things, shopping malls are dying.

The Westside Pavilion Mall in West Los Angeles, an over 700,000 sq ft, 3-story shopping center that opened in 1985, has now closed its interior retail area.

“It’s a humble ending for a place that was once considered Los Angeles’ hottest mall. It’s where popular movies such as “Clueless” and Tom Petty’s video for “Free Fallin'” were filmed…But like so many American malls, Westside Pavilion has fallen.”

What were once gathering places bustling with shoppers, moviegoers, and diners are becoming “super scary horror movie ghost towns,” said RosaLinda Diaz, a Social Networking Strategist based in LA, during her visit to Westside Pavilion in May 2018.

“The fate of Westside Pavilion is not unique. Over the last decade, malls nationwide have slowly been rotting away and eventually closing because of change in shopping tastes.”

Many “dead” malls have become faceless eyesores surrounded by cracking blacktop. Others have been resurrected as schools, office space, and micro-apartments. The plans for Westside Pavilion were updated during the pandemic to pivot from retail to tech and media tenants.

If past events are a good predictor of what’s to come, then the number of shopping malls will continue dwindling. The pandemic only accelerated already-existing shopping trends. Will these properties be abandoned, or can their structural resources be creatively revamped as places where people come together for another purpose?

“There is nothing creepier than being in a mall that is empty and pretty much all the way closed,“ Ms. Diaz said as she filmed empty, stationary escalators and silent corridors void of retailers. Gathering places beckon people, and we are unsettled when they don’t.

Read more HERE.

Reality Changing Observations:

1. Has the frequency of your mall shopping changed in the last 10 years? Why or why not?

2. If your local mall has closed, what do you hope will replace it?

3. Have you been to a “dying” mall recently? What was your experience like?

Quotes courtesy of RosaLinda Diaz at: www.thesocialnetworkingdiva.com and @socialnetworkingdiva on Instagram.

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