It is no secret that the fall of multiple large, long-standing retailers — otherwise known as the “retailpocalypse” — has left a number of massive commercial spaces completely vacant. Given our world’s increasing reliance on online distributors like Amazon, many have begun to feel as though this is the beginning of the end of the brick-and-mortar shops we have held dear for so long.
However, losing our favorite stores should not be our primary concern. Instead, we ought to wonder just how we are going to fill the abundance of warehouse-sized spaces the retailpocalypse has left in its wake.
With that in mind, let us explore some viable ways commercial retail developers can repurpose our nation’s emptying malls, shopping centers, and freestanding stores.
In some areas, these short-term ventures crop up during the summertime and during the holidays. Both of these times hold their own benefits — warmer weather and heightened tourism, and a greater likelihood that a smaller brand gains attention and support, respectively.
Depending on the location and overall attention the space receives, some tenants may be willing to pay more for their rent, as they will see the value in being positioned in such a high-traffic area. Therefore, if the space you are seeking to fill is large enough, you may want to entertain the idea of renting it out to multiple tenants.
Depending on the store’s location, subdividing it into smaller compartments could make it a more feasible option for smaller companies, startups, or even local retailers. This option certainly is more permanent than others, however, it could create a larger opportunity for long-term, high-value leases, which would certainly balance out the expenses one would have faced in converting the building.
More often than not, one drives past a mall and sees a large, windowless building with no indication of what is inside — that is, aside from the massive department stores that flank every wing.
If you find yourself with the opportunity to renovate a long-standing mall, consider adding storefronts and other exterior features that allow shoppers to see the popular stores that are inside. Such a tactic not only makes malls look more inviting, but effectively catches the attention of prospective consumers as they walk or drive by.
Although the retailpocalypse is likely far from over, there are some creative ways in which we can repurpose our vacant retail spaces for the betterment of the area. It will certainly be interesting to see how such ideas continue to be developed and executed over the years.