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  #21  
Old 21 July 2013, 11:29 PM
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I don't mind the demise of enclosed malls. I usually get claustrophobia or mild anxiety in them due to the lack of windows and fresh air. There's also something about the air conditioning, it's always too cold, or it smells of mildew, and the mall is just too big. Certain malls are just sensory overload for me: the pounding music from the trendy fashion stores puts me on edge, the smell of the food court and the perfume counters make me gag, the lighting gives me headaches, and the anchor department stores are like a maze where you might never find the outside world again. I really don't like enclosed malls. I was in one a few weeks ago and I had to leave because of the sensory overload and the crowds.

I do find it interesting that the "strip mall" is back in fashion, only now often being renamed a "town(e) center". They work here in Florida because of our year-round good climate. I prefer this type of shopping center because as soon as I leave a store, I'm outside in fresh air and nothing triggers my anxiety.
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  #22  
Old 21 July 2013, 11:34 PM
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Actually, thinking about it the only reason I go to traditional malls is for women's clothing. I could maybe get away with ordering pants online with just my measurements, but I have a really hard time finding tops that fit right. Clothing is one of the things I really hate shopping for, so when I need new shirts I'll grit my teeth and hit the mall so I can walk into every store in my price range until I manage to find something that fits decently. A single boutique wouldn't cut it, so if I lost mall clothing stores I'd dislike clothes shopping even more.
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  #23  
Old 21 July 2013, 11:43 PM
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It would take some urban planning, but it's not totally impossible to imagine some sort of hybrid concept where the stores could be accessed from both inside and outside with both car and intown foot traffic.
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  #24  
Old 21 July 2013, 11:58 PM
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The suburbs around here are encouraging stores to build close to the street, with parking areas behind them.
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  #25  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:04 AM
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  #26  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cervus View Post
I do find it interesting that the "strip mall" is back in fashion, only now often being renamed a "town(e) center". They work here in Florida because of our year-round good climate. I prefer this type of shopping center because as soon as I leave a store, I'm outside in fresh air and nothing triggers my anxiety.
The town centers around here are very different from strip malls. You are in open air as soon as you leave a store, but the resemblance ends there.
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  #27  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:11 AM
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The ones I'm thinking of would be the "lifestyle centers" in Joe's post above. They're open air, but unlike the traditional strip mall they're attempting to recreate something like a small town's Main Street, but with trendier stores and restaurants.
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  #28  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:20 AM
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That's what the "town centers" around here are like, too.
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  #29  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lainie View Post
The town centers around here are very different from strip malls.
Here, some older strip malls have a grocery store or Kmart as the "anchor store", but some don't have anchor stores at all. But essentially it's the same concept as the town center or "power center": a strip of stores and cafes that face a parking lot. I guess the "small town Main Street" concept isn't popular here (yet).

Wikipedia says the terms are pretty much interchangeable, so I guess it's just marketing or local variation.
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  #30  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:26 AM
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I guess one question to ask are big box stores and the larger almost big box store style grocery stores ever going to fill the "anchor store" niche.

The problem is in older traditional malls the anchor stores tended to be department stores which usually stuck to clothes, housewares, and in Sear's case tools and appliances. There were plenty of things they didn't sell. If a bookstore or a video game store is put next to a J.C. Penney's neither store is going to siphon off the business of the other, and they can both get walk in traffic from the other.

But Walmart or Target have a "Sell everything" mentality. They are going to be directly competing with a large number of possible stores that they would be an "anchor" for. So anchor stores in a concept, regardless of how exactly it was set up arcitechuraly, in a mall/shopping center with a Big Box anchor would either have to be very, very niche (which often puts them into direct competition with internet retailers) or in some other way is going to have to operate in a different demographic then the Big Box store. For instance I've noticed a "Dollar Store" next to a Big Box store often does well while something like a video game store does not.
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  #31  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:36 AM
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I think our local codes have prevented the true Big Box stores, thank goodness--do you mean something like Super Wal-Mart or Super Target? We have regular old ordinary Wal-Mart, which I never set foot in except to stop by their McDonald's, and a regular old ordinary Target. They're in shopping centers with supermarkets, furniture stores, etc. The only things that don't seem to thrive there, for some reason, are restaurants.
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  #32  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:41 AM
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My city is always wanting a "downtown" area. They think this is something that can be willed into existence in a 100% car-oriented suburb, and that this is something that can be placed on a dead end street in a field between Walmart and an airport. The city council's last plans for "downtown" involved two strip malls and a few big box stores, all surrounding a huge parking lot peppered with freestanding chain restaurants. Unfortunately for them, the "make a map of how awesome it would be" plan failed to attract any developers or retailers.

I think what would set "downtown" apart from the adjoining Walmart and strip mall would be the retention pond in the middle of the parking lot.
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  #33  
Old 22 July 2013, 12:46 AM
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And I'll be honest... if you travel a lot you really do learn to welcome the site of a Big Box store. Sometimes you don't want shopping to be "an adventure" and want to go into a place where you're reasonably sure you'll be able to find what you want and get out quickly. And they tend to either be 24 hour or opened extended hours which if one works a swing shift is an absolute God send.

Again I get that a lot of people don't like big box stores / traditional malls but I don't want to swing too far in the other direction and make shopping a multi-stop hassle where half the stores close at 5 or are closed on weird days.

I do want to retain some concept of a basic "everything under one roof" place to go for the basics.
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  #34  
Old 22 July 2013, 01:05 AM
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Yeah we have a Target as an anchor store in a local mall, right dab next to a very upscale "City Center" the city has been pouring money into for a while now, and both it and the mall seem to be doing okay. But stuff like that remains the exception, not the rule.
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  #35  
Old 22 July 2013, 01:36 AM
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I was surprised to find that the high class suburban mall in the neighboring county, the one all the others wanted to be, was barely functioning last time I visited. It also surprised me how small it was.
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  #36  
Old 22 July 2013, 01:40 AM
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Our local "Upscale" mall is still doing real well but... well it's decor and design is already looking sorta dated.

I think that's one problem with trying to be "trendy," it ages you faster.
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  #37  
Old 22 July 2013, 01:43 AM
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I think it depends so much on the purpose of your shopping. If I need groceries on my way between work and home, one place. If I want to make a very nice fruit salad , different place. when I went on vacation to Savannah , I didn't want to eat at McDonalds . But when I found out I'd left myphone charger at home, I want about to find ye olde mom & pop fleece the tourist store, either. To everything there is a season. Including Wal-Mart.
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  #38  
Old 22 July 2013, 01:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hero_Mike View Post
I can't imagine wanting to walk around outside in Canadian winter, or Arizona afternoon heat, and I don't suppose many people do either.
While I agree that outdoor malls are kind of stupid in areas where the climate reaches extremes, that's what's being built now. I work at one, in fact, and it's crowded unless it's raining or snowing heavily. Cold? Hot? People still go.

Speaking of outlet malls, there are two of them in my relative area, and they're both un-enclosed. One is a typical "lifestyle center" with all storefronts and you can walk along from store to store, the other is semi-enclosed, in that there is a roof over some of the interior corridors. Both are packed at the weekends, unless the weather is pretty extreme.
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  #39  
Old 22 July 2013, 02:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
So I guess the question is how long is the traditional enclosed mall going to last if no (or very, very few) new ones are being built.

Because the mall doesn't seem to be dying the way other once widespread retailers that are being ran out by the internet and big box stores seem to be. There's 6 big traditional enclosed malls within a half hour drive of my house and they range from thriving to holding on. One is in the middle of a pretty major renovation (ironically enough with an attached Target as an anchor store) and enough mall centric retailers still exist so that it seems like business isn't done with the concept.
The mall downtown in my area is pretty much dead. The other one (the one with free parking) is remodeling and getting larger for I think the fourth time in the last 10 years or so. It's so bad that you can't find parking near stores like Old Navy and most of the time when I drive my mother the handicapped spaces are gone so I have to drop her off and find parking somewhere else, and then pick her up. One guy honked at me when I stopped and got out and my mother with her cane and I simultaneously flipped him the bird and then I held the door for her; he had the grace to look abashed when he realized that was why I was getting out. One of these days I am going to go around and take pictures of all the cars without permits or plates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
I guess I'm just weird about this. I avoid shopping period across the board but the last thing I want is the return the some Norman Rockwell version of mainstreet where every single category of item you wanted you had to go to a separate store for.
We have a power centre, and that's not quite so bad; you can usually park in one spot and go to several stores, than park in another and go to several stores more. If you were at a mall you would be walking back and forth so it's about the same in spring and fall, but it sucks in winter and summer.
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  #40  
Old 22 July 2013, 02:31 AM
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The advantages of walkability aren't for the people who have to drive there. If you have to drive there, that's not walkable, that's just a different kind of mall to you. The advantages are for people who live and/or work there or who already have to be there for some reason. Then they can get whatever else they need without having to drive. Preferably live, work, and shop all in the same walkable area. I've lived downtown here and gone over a year without a car and was perfectly comfortable. Everyone is different, but it makes a big difference in my well being not having to get in a car all the time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeBentley View Post
It would take some urban planning, but it's not totally impossible to imagine some sort of hybrid concept where the stores could be accessed from both inside and outside with both car and intown foot traffic.
We've always had a thriving downtown here, and that's pretty much how it works. The "main" street is almost entirely commercial storefronts. Mostly small to mid-sized. A few department stores, but not warehouse style big box stores. Wide sidewalks, bike lanes, lots of pedestrian crossing lights, and only one lane of traffic in each direction. Basically 1.5 miles of outdoor shopping mall.

But the two streets that run parallel to the main street are both one way in opposite directions, with two lanes of traffic and fewer stops. So that's where you drive to get around town, not the main street. There are lots of parking garages all up and down those parallel streets, discretely tucked away in the middle of the block, behind the stores. So you can just drive to whatever block you're going to down one of those streets, stop in the nearest parking structure, and pop out half a block away from your destination. The parking is free for the first 75 minutes and $1.50 each additional hour.

Office buildings are more often a block or two away from the central street, an easy walk, but not right in the center of foot traffic. Residential zones mostly start two or more blocks from the central street and are less densely built up.

So it is a highly walkable downtown, yet still accessible to vehicles if that's how you roll. Downtown here has a walk score of a perfect 100, but you also don't get shafted if you have to drive.
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