Shopping Malls: From Big Business to Ghost Towns and Back Again


Shopping malls used to be the bastion of booming retail business, attracting not only shoppers, but groups of people who were looking for a place to hang out. A study published in July of 2018 stated that approximately 20-25% of shopping malls would close over the next five years. What this means is a vast swath of unused real estate in desperate need of creative repurposing. Enter: the AEC industry.

On this week’s episode of the MarketScale AEC Podcast, we’ll take a look at the ways that developers and architects are rethinking empty shopping malls, revitalizing not only the former shopping space, but also the surrounding areas in the process. We’ll also look at the growing possibility of a bullet train for the state of Texas and break down the positives and negatives of such a project.

There’s a Silver Lining for Empty Shopping Mall Real Estate

Though the numbers look grim for shopping malls across the country — Some experts say one in four malls will close by 2022 — there are plenty of examples of successful retail building renovations and redos popping up across the country. On this episode, Marketscale sits down with Stephenie Sullivan, owner of Sully Consult and returning guest to Marketscale Retail for a lively discussion on creative uses for repurposed shopping malls.

“It’s encouraging to see old shopping malls turning into something new and helpful for the community,” Sullivan says.

The Good & the Bad of the Texas Bullet Train

With the Texas bullet train looking more and more like an inevitability rather than a pipe dream, MarketScale Correspondent Sean Heath takes a look at the positives and negatives of the project.

Reduced pollution, increased leg room, and easier ticketing are a few of the tangible benefits of the train for travelers in the Lone Star State. There are drawbacks, however, that have some residents and detractors speaking up. One of the primary negatives that people have cited is the issue of land acquisition. At this point, Texas Central has acquired roughly a third of the land necessary to complete the project.

Another issue is the problem of “last mile” transportation to and from bullet train stations. Integrating rideshare programs along with pre-existing public transportation will be crucial to the longterm success of this project.

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