Thursday, August 13, 2009

More on Malls

So Fiesta Mall isn't the only one hurting, malls across the southeast valley are looking for creative ways to fill vacant storefronts. It sounds like a creative way to fill the space, while giving local merchants an opportunity to sell their wares in a space that they may not otherwise be able to afford.

It is also an interesting way to add a level of diversity to the shops found in a mall. Anywhere in the US, you generally find the same conglomeration of stores, just arranged differently. If some of the local malls can offer up creative and interesting destinations, they can attract people to shop in their mall instead of some other one that they normally go to. Finding an attractive niche is a great way to stay competitive.

On the other hand, the malls have to be careful that they don't become the next stage in swap meets, and must do whatever they can to avoid the monicker of "ghetto mall." Remember Tri-City in its final days as a "mall?" It had very few name brand stores and some that didn't even look safe to enter. Even the old reliable movie theater bit the dust.

As malls find ways to be relevant in the changing market, they must walk the fine line between creatively reaching out to local merchants, and becoming a glorified garage sale.

1 comment:

Heath Reed said...

Its been a while, but here we go.

The system of malls do not really work anymore. They are trying to do outdoor sections, or just do it all outdoor like San Tan has done. This is more of a main street new urbanist view. Even though New Urbansim has opened many people eyes to the way city does not function, there are still many flaws in this system, even with its many successes. So, can this outdoor mall succeed in the hot deserts of AZ? Well, its all about numbers. Or should it be? Fiesta was excited about Dicks and Best Buy. Has it really improved the mall? Well, it took a huge anchor of an adjacent strip mall lose their major tenant.

Problem is, most developers are followers and look to use the current trend and stamp that everywhere. That is why our system of sales taxes and retail fails the current model. Thing is, with banks not lending, do not expect anything different or innovative. If the zoning codes allows it, most likely you are going to get the same ol crap in our city………….if that is what we want. For now, the life cycle of these malls and strip retail centers are around 20 years and then they go in despair. Look at the Fiesta so called District?

The Gateway area will assist in recreating retail and how it mixes in with other uses and how it is thought about. So can Riverview survive the pitfall of a massive development of mostly retail? As of now, I would say no. But if you look around the area, it has a chance. The offices can bring some life to the area during the day, but not much. The fate of Riverview IMO relies on 3 areas. “If” Waveyard ever develops, the gravel pit north of Riverview and the reinvention of the site to be more functional and have a permanent population living within Riverview/if the city will allow the rezoning of the parcel.