Not exactly news, but I've run accross this site recently and thought I'd share it with the group. The indoor shopping mall, that giant that supposedly slaughtered downtown shopping as we knew it, is apparently now dying out itself in many places. I find this topic very interesting for several reasons.
First and foremost, I loved going to the arcade when I was younger and malls are where arcades used to be. I'm sad to see that so many arcades have dies. Malls in general are only worse off for it.
Secondly, I've always been intrigued by the relationship between downtown shopping, malls, and "big box" stores like Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc. Wal-Mart catches a lot of flack for killing Downtown USA but malls already got that ball rolling as early as the late 60's and early 70's in many locations. Also, those smaller Wal-Marts being left behind in the wake of building Super Centers is nothing compared to the gigantic carcasses left behind from a dead mall.
The third reason I find this sort of thing interesting is that I've personally seen the decline of all three malls I used to frequent as a kid out in Dallas, TX. One is finally dead (Forum 303 - listed on the Dead Malls site). It's death blow came when the AC went out and would cost $3,000,000 to fix. That AC was installed when the mall was new in 1969 and I can remember it failing quite often. The second is severely crippled with the loss of three of its four anchor stores (Six Flags Mall) with only a movie theater and a Dillards Outlet store keeping it afloat. Many of the stores surrounding this mall have been levelled now. To get an idea of the area, imagine an old chateau-style House of Pancakes converted into an adult book store. That actually happenend to a store just outside Six Flags Mall. The rest of the stores had even worse fates. The last mall is in such a crime ridden neighborhood that the mall has even changed its name from Red Bird to Southwest Center in an attempt to change its terrible image. Southwest Center is still hanging on with three of its 4 original anchors (out of 5 current anchor spots), but only because there is virtaully no competition in the area. I've also seen the death of Roswell Mall here in Georgia.
Some of the more interesting malls listed on this site are Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, IL. That is the mall featured in the car chase in Blues Brothers. Also Sherman Oaks Galleria is listed. That is the California mall where they filmed the interior mall scenes for Fast Times at Ridgemont High and was once the happening mall for the valley girl scene in California. The site also has a glossary with some pretty interesting terms like labelscars (Fading or dirt left behind from a sign on or in a mall. Labelscars leave a readable marking, which is very helpful when identifying former stores.).
So what is taking the place of the indoor mall? The two newest fads are outdoor shopping centers and power centers. Many of the outdoor centers claim to be outlet malls but don't typically have many outlet stores in them. Others are trendy "lifestyle centers" offering the upscale shops that malls used to have. The other trend seems to be the new "power centers." A power center is a shopping area that has several "big box" stores and little else. A good example of this is in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. There's a shopping center with a Target, Dick's, Office Max, and Publix. The parking is a deck in the middle of the stores and the stores themselves are on the perimeter.
Many of these dead malls are eventually converted into something useful but some, like Forum 303, are still standing since the cost to level the mall (which is built like a Soviet militray bunker) and rebuild on it is more than the land sitting on it is worth.
(Edited after further reading to clear up grammar a bit.)