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Post-Pandemic Era of Shopping Malls Creates Opportunities for Downtowns

The COVID-19 pandemic and massive mall-retailer closings has left millions of highly skilled workers from the retail and food and beverage industries unemployed and eager to work. Many will seek to open their own businesses in downtowns.
June 1, 2020, 10am PDT | gibbsplanning
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Charlottesville Downtown mall

An article by Robert Gibbs, FASLA, for The Dirt, is sampled here. For the rest of the article, click on the link below.

Since the earliest human settlements, the retail experience has evolved to meet the needs of the public. This evolution has taken us from rural markets to towns, cities, suburban shopping malls, big box mega stores, and, more recently, the Internet. But what will retail shopping look like once COVID-19 lock downs are over and people return to the wild for their shopping experiences?

When all the dust settles, the post-pandemic era should provide a boost to downtown areas, in part due to newly unemployed but highly skilled restaurant and retail workers opening new businesses in downtowns where rent prices will trend downward.


Downtown shopping districts will capture traffic from fading malls

Malls will struggle in the wake of COVID-19. Being inside an enclosed bubble will not be the ideal situation for most shoppers for the foreseeable future. Morning Consult reports that 24 percent of U.S. consumers fear shopping in malls for at least the next six months due to the COVID-19 threat.

As an article about a newly reopened mall in Atlanta explains, the experience won’t be very welcoming in the near term. Play areas are roped off, water fountains covered, and stores are limiting the number of shoppers due to social distancing. Add in the inconvenience factor, and it’s clear why so many malls are facing a reckoning in the coming years.

As regional malls continue losing consumers due to changing shopping habits and fears of COVID-19, an excellent opportunity presents itself for villages, towns, and cities to regain their dominance as thriving centers for retail and entertainment.

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Published on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 in ASLA The Dirt
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