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5 Surprising Second Acts for Dying Malls

Big tech is taking over some former retail spaces.

By Gabrielle Olya October 19, 2020 

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As brick-and-mortar retailers struggle to stay afloat, many malls around America are slowly dying — and Amazon may capitalize on these now-empty spaces. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the e-commerce giant is in talks with mall owner Simon Property Group to take over anchor department-store spaces previously occupied by Sears and JCPenney — both of which have filed for bankruptcy and closed numerous locations in recent months — and turn them into fulfillment centers. This would allow Amazon to have fulfillment centers in more places and cut down on delivery times.

Although the deal hasn’t been finalized, Amazon wouldn’t be the first company to make use of former mall real estate.

Last updated: Oct. 19, 2020

Doctors and Dentists Move Into The Landings in Columbus, Georgia

“Now, supply of available space is up and retailer demand is softer,” Ami Ziff, director of national retail for Time Equities, told CNN. “So you have to be nimble and creative with who to lease it to and go out there and pull in a different type of tenant.”

At a Time Equities property — The Landings in Columbus, Georgia — Ziff said that there’s been an increase of doctors and dentist offices signing leases.

See: American Malls That Have Fallen Into Ruin

A Charter School Is Opening in a Former Sears in Idaho Falls, Idaho

A former 70,000-square-foot Sears anchor store at the Grand Teton Mall in Idaho Falls, Idaho, is being converted into a charter school, set to open in the fall of 2021, CNN reported. Alturas Preparatory Academy — owned by Alturas International Academy — will house around 600 students in grades six to 12 and will include an outdoor recreation area built on part of the mall’s parking lot.

A 600-Apartment Complex Stands in the Former Site of the Cloverleaf Mall in Chesterfield, Virginia

The Cloverleaf Mall was opened in 1972 and closed in February 2008, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported. Crosland LLC, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based developer, bought the entire property and built a shopping and housing complex where the mall once stood, which includes the 600-apartment complex Element at Stonebridge.

Be Prepared: 30 Ways Shopping Will Never Be the Same After the Coronavirus

Google Takes Over the Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles

In 2019, Google signed a 14-year lease to take over the entirety of the office space available in the now-closed Westside Pavilion mall in Los Angeles, Curbed Los Angeles reported. The former shopping mall will eventually be home to nearly 600,000 square feet of Google offices.