Source: https://www.constructiondive.com, February 20, 2019
By: Kim Slowey
Centurion’s plan is far from a novel approach to vacant mall properties. It’s representative of a trend that is widely considered to be a result of the rise in the popularity of internet shopping, providing commercial renovation contractors with plenty of work.
In Phoenix, the former Park Central Shopping City retail center, built in 1957, will get new life courtesy of the Plaza Cos., according to Builder. The building is currently being used primarily for office space, but Plaza intends to transform the center into a nine-story, 450,000-square-foot mixed-use development featuring Creighton University’s medical school, apartments and an arts center. Eventually, Park Central will also include more residences, senior housing and a hotel.
South of Phoenix in Tucson, Arizona, the Arizona Daily Star reported that defunct big box stores — not really malls in the traditional sense but still suffering at the hands of the current online-centric retail economy — are being renovated and reopening as charter schools, gyms, movie theaters, indoor sports complexes and more. In other words, a venue for the things that consumers can’t order or do online.
Of course, the name of the game for these developers is to find a use that will make them money, but even nonprofits are entering this market. The Florida Housing Coalition is converting an empty grocery store in St. Petersburg, Florida, into much-needed affordable housing, with extra space for retail startups. A Fannie Mae grant is paying to create conversion plans and documents that other nonprofit and for-profit organizations across the country can use to create their own.
Amazon, a titan of internet retailing, is also taking advantage of what many would say is its own part in the death of the traditional shopping mall. The company converted the Randall Park Mall in North Randall, Ohio, into a fulfillment center and will do the same when it is finished renovating the Euclid Square Mall in Euclid, Ohio.