Can Mall Real Estate Keep a Focus on Community?

What is the future for malls in America? The COVID pandemic had a major impact on retail shopping, but were consumers already looking for new types of experiences? This intersection of reactive pandemic responses and an acceleration of existing mall retail trends is reaching an inflection point, as the percentage of shoppers that are “very concerned” with in-store risks dropped to 16%, down from 29% in April 2020.

This foot traffic led to a successful Q1 for the U.S. mall footprint, reflected in Q1 numbers for Simon Property Group, the largest U.S. mall operator. Despite the increase of mall shopping in the first part of 2021, though, many mall locations are being razed or converted into fulfillment centers for retailers like Amazon.

How should malls adapt to the needs of today’s retail customer? For insights into the real estate side of the business, Neal Golden, President of Rastegar/Light Tower Holdings joined host and Voice of B2B Daniel Litwin for an in-depth discussion of emerging trends in the industry. Golden has decades of experience in real estate and was previously President & Head of US operations at Newmark for 20 years.

Litwin and Golden delved into how the mall concept is transforming and creating opportunities for investors and consumers to explore different concepts.

“These changes will be a reflection of a better strategy for how to interact with a much more educated consumer who is demanding a better experience when they decide to leave their home,” Golden said.

Golden sees consumers redefining what constitutes an experience and looking for something new and innovative, such as an art immersive. But critically, Golden also highlights how important it is to center local communities as the deciding factor for Leaders in this space are creating new experiences for consumers that go beyond shopping, and Golden has insights into how this sector of the real estate industry will evolve in the future.

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