Fall Of The Mall? How Mergers And Millennials Are Changing An American Icon
JUL 21, 2016 @ 11:15 AM | Bryan Pearson CONTRIBUTOR | Forbes.com
In Dearborn, Michigan, Lord & Taylor has been tailored for Ford.
The Fairlane Town Center in suburban Detroit is retrofitting the former department store space and several other vacancies to accommodate offices forFord Motor F +1.32% Co. The automaker will move 2,100 workers to the mall as itconverts 240,000 square feet of former retail space into a product-planning center.
If it sounds unconventional, that’s the point. “Most major malls are overbuilt, meaning they can’t support the square footage they have allocated to retail,” retail analyst Jeff Green told Michigan Live for a story about the project. “Which is why they’re starting to look at nonretail uses being brought on the mall site.”
True enough, Fairlane is one of many malls across the country signing on non-traditional, high-traffic tenants as mall vacancies rise. Retail mergers and consolidations have resulted in fewer traditional department store anchor options. And younger consumers, accustomed to round-the-clock digital stimulation, are more likely to find the standard mall, with its cavernous walkways and recurring terrain of familiar shop windows, boring.