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  #1  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 2:57 PM
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Atlanta's Plaza Fiesta a model for dying malls?

A video is provided in the link below.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/a-dying-...shopping-mall/

Transcript of the video:

Quote:
It used to be when a sign at the mall said EVERYTHING MUST GO, it meant a particular store was going out of business. These days it could very likely mean the entire mall is shutting down. Our Cover Story is reported by Mark Strassmann:

"This was a working fountain, wasn't it? Many, many years ago?" said Audrey Caligiuri.

"Yup," said Dayne Bihn, "it definitely was."

These are the ruins of a dying culture: the American shopping mall.

Caligiuri grew up outside of Toledo, and like many of her generation, she spent much of her teenage years hanging out at the Woodville Mall.

"The mall was always the place to go," she said. "It was always busy. I mean, you couldn't even get parking spots a lot here. I probably spent most of my paycheck in my high school years at JC Penney's and Petrie's."


With the explosion of the Internet and changing shopping habits, hundreds of U.S. malls are expected to close their doors - like the Woodville Mall outside Toledo, Ohio. CBS NEWS
Audrey wasn't alone -- everyone wanted to go to the mall. For half a century the mall was the Mecca of our booming consumer culture, a fact celebrated in many a teen movie.

America's love affair with shopping malls began in 1956, when the nation's first fully-enclosed mall, Southdale, opened its doors outside Minneapolis.

"This was the most exciting period in this economy," said Robin Lewis, author of "The New Rules of Retail." "Actually, the most explosive growth anywhere on Earth at any time during history, the early '50s through the '70s.

"In the mid-'50s Dwight Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act, and they constructed 54,000 miles of interstate highway. Now, what that did immediately is it provided mobility for the population which, prior to that, had been mainly rural. So they began to move into the suburbs and cities.

"But also, what it afforded was the ability to construct these regional malls, and they just exploded across the country."

Between 1956 and 2005, about 1,500 malls were built, including the Mall of America, one of the world's biggest -- 4.2 million square feet of stores, an amusement park, even a wedding chapel. And it attracts millions of visitors each year, from all over the world.

It was a Golden Age of shopping, which lasted until a new Golden Age came along, courtesy of the Internet.

"All of a sudden, the consumer now has every single retail store throughout the world a key tap away," said Lewis.

Today, malls across the U.S. are dying. No new enclosed mall has been built since 2006, and Lewis predicts fully half of all our malls will close in the next 10 years.

"Why would you get in your car and drive to a mall when you can just reach in your pocket?" asked Strassmann.

"That's the point," Lewis replied.

Plunging mall traffic is killing some restaurants and stores (CBS Moneywatch)
But on the outskirts of Atlanta, we found one formerly dying mall that's thriving. Where some saw financial ruin, Jose Legaspi saw opportunity.

In 2005 he took over a struggling, generic mall and transformed it into Plaza Fiesta, designed specifically to meet the needs of an exploding Hispanic population.

"We follow demographics," Legaspi told Strassmann. "Because it's nothing more than numbers game, I will tell you. You've got to have enough number of consumers to be able to support something like this, or any kind of mall."

Legaspi had turned dead space into successful Hispanic malls in several cities with large immigrant communities. Looking to expand, he discovered the Hispanic population of Atlanta had nearly tripled between 1990 and 2000.

But one thing was missing.

"The extended family concept is very, very key" to the culture of the Hispanic community, Legaspi said. "There was not a place where the families could gather. And shopping doesn't just mean shoes and clothing or eating at a restaurant; it's also a place where they can listen to music, sit down, relax, and spend some time with the family."

Plaza Fiesta has 280 stores, but there's also a doctor's office, and a dentist. There are hairdressers, money-wiring services -- everything you might find in a Mexican village. There's even a bus station to bring customers in; the mall had more than 4 million visitors last year.


Plaza Fiesta in Atlanta, Ga. CBS NEWS
And in another nod to the sense of community he's trying to foster, Legaspi has gone back to the future: "Every Sunday -- just remember 1950s America, people would come to the town square and they would listen to the band on the bandstand, right?" he told Strassmann. "Well, what we do every Sunday is we have music, and people can just come and sit down and relax and listen to the music."

"It's more than one-stop shopping, it's a one-stop experience?" Strassmann said.

"It's a one-stop experience, absolutely."

Robin Lewis says the lessons here can be learned by other malls, in other places: pay attention to a changing America, and give your customers something they can't get sitting at their computer.

So, if some dying malls are going to have a second life, Strassmann asked Lewis, what are the keys?

"Experience," he replied. "Entertainment. If we're going to drag them away from their smartphone and shopping on the Internet, you've got to give them a reason to spend the time to go and make the effort to go there. And the only way they're gonna do that is if there's a fun thing going on."

And an experience you can't get online.
Thoughts?
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  #2  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 7:43 PM
TarHeelJ TarHeelJ is offline
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That mall has been dying for as long as I can remember. In the early '90s it was a low-rent outlet mall with Burlington Coat Factory and other crappy stores. It's great to hear that Plaza Fiesta is successful.

The idea of catering to the surrounding population shouldn't be a difficult one. The Buford Highway corridor where Plaza Fiesta is located in heavily international (Asian and Hispanic) so it is a no-brainer to create a Mexican village atmosphere - although the previous "Oriental Mall" idea didn't work out for the same location. It looks like the new owners invested a lot more money in the Plaza Fiesta idea than the previous owners?

Last edited by TarHeelJ; Mar 24, 2014 at 7:57 PM.
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  #3  
Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:18 PM
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Quote:
Today, malls across the U.S. are dying. No new enclosed mall has been built since 2006, and Lewis predicts fully half of all our malls will close in the next 10 years.
I find it hard to believe.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:26 PM
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Excellent read. Props to the new owner/redeveloper. Impressive.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:46 PM
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I live right around the corner from Plaza Fiesta, and it is hugely successful now. They did a great job, it truly feels like an enclosed Mexican town square.

There is some great food there, including a couple of very authentic Vietnamese pho shops. It is also served by one of MARTA's densest bus routes.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:57 PM
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haha the woodville mall. ahh my beegee.

i think conversion to light industry is a good use of those old horrible 60s-80s main street killing enclosed malls.
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 10:01 PM
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So he turned a mall into a flea market?
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Old Posted Mar 24, 2014, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by brickell View Post
So he turned a mall into a flea market?
Sort of...but it's very well done. Marshall's left for a new mixed-used town center type development a couple of miles away, but was quickly replaced by Ross.

The old Burlington Coat space has been subdivided and leased up. The entire place is busier than it has ever been, and is thriving. I call it a win-win for the region, and the immediate neighborhood.

We have several other dead/dying malls. One (Shannon Mall) has been sold recently, and will be demolished and replaced with warehouses/distribution centers. It will be interesting to see what happens with the others, several of which are in pretty prime areas.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 12:07 AM
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Maybe our cities should understand they can't support so many shopping malls, and they should have not approved so many retail developments in the first place.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 12:26 AM
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^ or if the mall managers had decided to invest in their properties to include greater walkability, mixed use, and improved shopping experience, rather than letting them become retail anachronisms and paying themselves and their shareholders big dividends/buybacks.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 12:47 AM
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Originally Posted by miketoronto View Post
Maybe our cities should understand they can't support so many shopping malls, and they should have not approved so many retail developments in the first place.
Yes, because hindsight is 20/20, isn't it Mike?

All of these malls were a product of their time, including in your home town. How many people in Toronto remember that one of the original anchors of Square One was a huge Woolco?
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 3:53 AM
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Originally Posted by atlantaguy View Post
Yes, because hindsight is 20/20, isn't it Mike?

All of these malls were a product of their time, including in your home town. How many people in Toronto remember that one of the original anchors of Square One was a huge Woolco?
I'm not sure when Plaza Fiesta was built, but it was a crappy mall 25 years ago so I'm pretty sure it had to be in the '70s or early '80s. The area was probably very different at that time, and now it's an inner ring suburb that is being revived. It definitely was (and is) a product of its time, and now has again become profitable through logical redevelopment. Bravo.

You know people love to criticize from their glass homes.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 7:58 PM
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For an Atlantan who is not hispanic Plaza Fiesta is a great experience and we often take visitors there for food and enjoyment. There are, unfortunately, a number of old malls and strip centers that are dying or have died. In contrast, some of the big Malls, e.g. Lenox and Perimeter are doing very well primarily because they are destination Malls where people come from some distance and are also accessible by the subway (MARTA). What Plaza Fiesta and Lenox have in common is that they function as town centers where one goes to shop or just look around. At the same time there is a resurgence of specialized street oriented shopping areas that are essentially Malls without a cover! E.g. Atlantic Station and the developing Buckhead Center in Atlanta. There is no doubt that what is emerging is a very different mix from what we had 20-30 years ago. My prediction for the near future - a mix of street based shops in new limited areas integrated with mid-rise residence, street shops, the internet, destination malls and the continued strength of the big boxes such as Home Depot, Costco, Walmart.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 8:40 PM
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No new enclosed mall was built since 2006? Not sure about that, if you include enclosed outlet malls.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosement was just completed last year. It is fully enclosed. I'm sure there are other examples elsewhere.

Yes, many malls are dying, but many malls are also reinventing themselves and thriving.
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 8:45 PM
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One way to revitalize malls is to allow gambling, prostitution, and open drinking. It's a perfect place for it: an enclosed environment, usually separated from the community by large roads and huge parking lots. I say throw all of our vices into one giant building and let the party go on!
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Old Posted Mar 25, 2014, 8:51 PM
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The #1 culprit is lassez faire zoning in many cities....malls leapfrog to the outskirts, and reduce demand for the closer-in malls. With growth management and/or topographical barriers that can be controlled a lot better.

That's not the only factor of course. Square footage of retail per person in the US has fallen a little since peaking in the last boom (42 sf or more?). A lot of stores have closed and financing new ones is difficult. Some areas have population declines.
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2014, 12:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post
No new enclosed mall was built since 2006? Not sure about that, if you include enclosed outlet malls.

Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosement was just completed last year. It is fully enclosed. I'm sure there are other examples elsewhere.

Yes, many malls are dying, but many malls are also reinventing themselves and thriving.
An upscale enclosed mall is being built in Sarasota, FL right now. The Mall at University Town Center is expected to open this October.



http://themallatuniversitytowncenter.com/
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Old Posted Mar 26, 2014, 3:39 PM
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Originally Posted by the urban politician View Post

Yes, many malls are dying, but many malls are also reinventing themselves and thriving.
This. Not all malls are inherently bad. I think for example The Grove in Los Angeles or the Americana in Glendale, with their emphasis on trying to integrate with the nearby urban fabric, are a huge improvement and they attract tons of people all the time. The Grove really offers something rare in LA--the ability to people watch, stroll around without crazy traffic, kind of a pedestrian-street feel.

Americana


What this article nails in terms of why these malls are failing is their lacking the "experience" factor--and you know what, it boils down to quality control. Why have a gazillion generic Westfield malls when you can have a few that really offer something unique and exciting?

I don't buy that everybody only wants to shop online nowadays--I for one really like the experience of meeting with friends, browsing the stores together, physically seeing what I want and leaving home with shopping bags full. There are of course certain things I'll get online and do so because it's convenient, but it's not be-end-all and I'm pretty sure many Americans feel that way. What I do know is that I like to go to the mall that not only has a large selection of high quality stores, but I like to go to one that offers a unique ambiance and has a great restaurants (the mall in downtown SF is pretty fantastic to be honest--as is Santana Row in San Jose).

Santana Row


Mall in DT SF


As these 60's era, tissue-box style malls die out, we can take the few good ones left and really make them entertainment destinations as the article pointed out. People still are going to want convenience no matter what, in the sense that not everybody wants to order online and have to return what they don't like via shipping or drive 30 miles downtown and deal with the hassle of parking.
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Old Posted Mar 28, 2014, 4:15 AM
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i remember when i was a kid and they built one mall across the street from another mall in tampa. i was flabbergasted.
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