Not a Boston condo topic, but still interesting …
From the WSJ: Recession Turns Malls Into Ghost Towns
One industry rule of thumb holds that any large, enclosed mall generating sales per square foot of $250 or less — the U.S. average is $381 — is in danger of failure. By that measure, Eastland is one of 84 dead malls in a 1,032-mall database compiled by Green Street. (The database focuses heavily on malls owned by publicly traded landlords and doesn’t account for several dozen failing malls in private hands.) If retail sales continue to decline at current rates, the dead-mall roster could exceed 100 properties by the end of this year, according to Green Street. That’s up from an estimated 40 failing malls in 2006, before the recession began.
“This time around, because of the dramatic changes in consumer spending practices, we’re very likely to see more malls in the death spiral than we’ve ever seen before,” says Green Street analyst Jim Sullivan.
For towns and cities that are home to dying malls, the fallout can be devastating. Malls hire hundreds of workers and are significant contributors to the local tax base. In suburbs and small towns, malls often are the only major public spaces and the safest venues for teenagers to shop, hang out and seek part-time work.