THE MALL .... some thoughts

The social center of the 80 ‘s and 90’s – THE MALL.   The Mall used to be the place where people went to socialize, shop and simply spend time – the world is changing – can these large buildings morph with the times? Personally I only venture to the mall to go to the Apple Store for the most part.   At times we may go to a restaurant located at the mall.   Yesterday I had to venture to THE MALL to go to the Apple Store to get my iPhone screen replaced.  It had been cracked for months, but the last fall did it in and it went black.   I picked Gigi up at 12:30 and over we went on our mall adventure.   She is 5 and has probably been to the mall less than 10 times.   She does remember that she can build a bear at the mall.  After dropping off the iPhone to get the screen replaced, over to the place where she can build a bear.   It was a lonely walk with very few people walking the large corridors and as you glanced into stores most only had the people working inside them.    This is 1ish on a Monday afternoon – totally crowded I would not expect – but I would expect more life in such a large building costing millions of dollars that charges exuberant rent.     Sears has abandoned the one side of the building and what are they doing building new and more square footage to a dying building…

I contemplate the future of these buildings.  Will it transform into something else 10 years from now or will it be stripped apart and crumbled to the ground.   When a real estate property charges the types of rents for these retail spaces – part of that promise is that the property itself will attract large numbers of people for exposure.    

I am back today at the mall because after I had the screen replaced yesterday I was not able to plug it in to charge.   Already went to the Apple store and silly me – a piece of lint had gotten into the port.   Simple fix and off I went.   I am sitting in the food court working until I have to pick up my daughter from K at 12:30.    

It is 11:30 and people are arriving to get lunch – it does have one of the few Chick-fil-A’s in the Boston area – which is busiest of them all the food court options.   Maybe Chick-fil-A and the Apple Store can save the mall. 

Some of the new shopping centers that are being built where all the stores are open to the street mixed with a grocery store, restaurants and entertainment are on the right track.   I think they are failing also.   Developers should be looking from the past to build the future.   Town centers that mix life with retail are the future – future development should cultivate community not simply isolated retail.   We no longer need retail stores – except the Apple Store of course – we will always need development that fosters community and more so than ever as technology has an isolating affect.     

The mall distracted people away from town centers since the 80s – the revival of the town center and new development that mimics town centers of old and of Europe will be the future.   It would be even better if the car can be eliminated from it – it becomes a place where people walk and mingle in the open air – a place that draws people in and rejuvenates them.   Great design feeds the soul and the human senses.