empty mall

Pandemic Pummeling Indoor Shopping Malls

  July 20, 2021

By Dan Hounsell

No segment of the institutional and commercial facilities market has been immune to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare facilities are emerging slowly after the pandemic all but turned off traditional revenue streams. Commercial office properties are trying to figure out how to lure business owners and workers back to their buildings. For indoor shopping malls -- not that long ago a healthy segment of the market -- the situation is bad and getting worse.

New real estate industry data for June reveals that vacancy rates in the United States' indoor malls could surpass those in suburban shopping centers and strip malls, according to Reuters. The figures from property consultancy Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) come on top of a series of bankruptcies and takeovers.

The JLL data predicts that U.S. indoor mall vacancy rates will peak at just under 9 percent this year compared to 7.8 percent for outdoor shopping centers and 7 percent for power centers, industry code for open-air centers anchored by big box retailers like Best Buy or Target.

Experts say a deeper change is underway, with retail property owners focusing investment on open air locations and smaller stores in cheaper locations where shoppers can feel more at ease in the post-COVID world.

Dan Hounsell is Senior Editor, Facility Market. 



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