My husband and I get tired of using our fitness machines so we have started to walk at malls when it is too cold or rainy to walk outside. I always thought this was a practice reserved for “old” people, but it is actually a good idea if you like to walk (as long as you leave the wallet and purse in the car). There are lots of things to look at and they usually have piped-in music. It is particularly pleasant when the mall is open, but when most of the stores are not: a lot more room and less people. The West Hills mall in Knoxville was great for that when we lived there–all one floor and really large. But the walking itself is not the topic of today’s blog; I wanted to talk about the number of empty storefronts.
Since we have returned to New England the mall walking is more important, but the choice of malls is not so good. Most are smaller than in Knoxville; and many are two floors. The other thing we have noticed is the number of empty stores — a lot more of them and not so many nice windows to look at.
MSN recently had an article about commercial real estate and how many commercial real estate loans are upside down, just like loans on homes. Add to that the fact that consumers are not spending and I think we will see more and more empty storefronts. What does that mean for the future of malls like Westgate in Brockton? When the mall owners are bankrupt and they can’t upkeep the mall? They lose more and more tenants as businesses go under or choose to move to other property, since there will be more and more to choose from. I wonder how many empty shells we’ll be left with in the future…not even good for walking anymore.