November 21, 2011

CHANGE: Main Street making a comeback at the expense of the shopping mall. “Development of new malls has almost completely stopped, with only two being erected in the country since the beginning of 2009, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. Outdoor town center concepts, featuring brick sidewalks, streetlights and even public clocks evoking the Main Street of yore, are climbing to a degree that many owners of enclosed malls are considering dramatic makeovers, some including plans to tear off the roof of, or ‘de-mall’ enclosed shopping centers.”

That’s certainly true here. Knoxville’s giant enclosed malls are visibly suffering, while the revitalized downtown, and the faux-downtown at Turkey Creek, seem to be thriving. But I wonder if “de-malling” is really an answer. The biggest problem with our big malls is that the owners drove out all the lower-price tenants (like Walgreen’s or Morrison’s Cafeteria) and replaced them with more expensive stores that don’t generate as much traffic.

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