Georgia Institute of Technology

As department stores exit, mall makeovers begin

As department stores exit, mall makeovers begin

As big-name retailers prepare to close hundreds of stores this year, many traditional shopping malls and the communities where they reside face a disturbing dilemma: What to do with all that empty space?

For healthier malls, it may come down to cutting deals with new types of retail tenants. But for modest and marginal shopping centers, filling space will require thinking outside the traditional big beige mall and repurposing all or some of these enormous spaces to meet radically different demands.

Already in other parts of the country, malls are being rebirthed as medical centers, data processing hubs, micro loft apartments, office parks and even megachurches.

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