There are other examples of malls that are waiting too long to be redeveloped to their highest-and-best use and are becoming a blight on their community:
- Oakview Mall in Omaha, a 1.1-million-sq.-ft. center is significantly declining as a retail asset and no plans are in place to redevelop the center into a mixed-use asset.
- Montclair Place, a 1.2-million-sq.-ft. center in Montclair, Calif., continues to lose retail tenants, yet it is an excellent site for various non-retail uses.
- Elyria Mall in Elyria, Ohio, is a highly distressed and blighted mall where the real estate asset has other, longer-term sustainable uses given its location at the confluence of two interstate highways
There are many examples of distressed malls on excellent pieces of real estate that are being redeveloped to incorporate other uses that maximize the economic and financial value of the real estate and, therefore, transform a blighted project into a newer long-term sustainable asset. For example, Paradise Valley Mall in Phoenix, a former Macerich mall, was in significant decline. Costco had been added to the mall, yet traffic to the balance of the center was declining. Phoenix-based RED Development recently purchased the mall and has quickly demolished almost all of it except for J.C. Penney and Costco. Plans call for a smaller mix of convenience and grocery retail and restaurants as well as residential, entertainment, office and self-storage uses.
Municipalities need to be thinking long-term about the highest and best uses for distressed retail properties and working with ownership to redevelop those properties into community assets. The sooner the better.