How e-commerce is impacting Boston real estate, as it pertains to commercial retailers that long occupied the largest spaces in shopping malls across Massachusetts, the rise of e-commerce has meant shrinking, or in some cases, going out of business altogether for many store owners.

The result is that its hurting the commercial section of the Boston real estate market.

Saddled with these large spaces to rent, landlords are increasingly welcoming non-retail tenants like coworking spaces, healthcare facilities, and experience-based pop-ups.

It’s a fundamental paradigm shift — it’s not the end of retail, but a substantial repositioning of it,” says Mark Dufton, CEO of Real Estate at Gordon Brothers, the global advisory, restructuring and investment firm. “We’re seeing an explosion of non-retail and quasi-retail uses backfilling open space — including healthcare, education services, fitness and entertainment — much more than we were seeing before.

General Growth Properties, Inc., the second largest shopping mall owner and operator in the U.S., owns 127 retail centers across the country. At least part of 46 of these centers were replaced by new tenants — and only a quarter of them were other department store retailers, JLL data shows. The rest were filled with a mix of food and beverage, sporting goods and entertainment uses.

Entrepreneurial footholds – Boston is adapting

Smaller retailers are taking advantage of the available space, leading to a rise in entrepreneurial retail concepts. Dufton points to the Seaport neighborhood of downtown Boston, where short-term pop-up She-Village flourished earlier this year.

Ten different women-owned businesses had a little space inside, which allowed them the retail presence to build up their brand, but didn’t require the huge capital investment of taking a whole new store and a ten-year lease,” Dufton says.


Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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