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Page added on April 30, 2007

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Trend could spell trouble for malls

The American mall, with its department store anchors, culinarily challenged food courts, concrete shells and native denizen, “the mall rat,” is becoming an endangered species.

One anchor mall is being built in 2007 and none are planned for 2008.

What is being built in massive quantities are “off-the-mall” retail and urban-friendly, largely upscale, open-air lifestyle and mixed-use retail centers.

They include projects such as the The Wilder Cos.’ The Loop, a mixed-use retail center planned for Punta Gorda.

They also include projects like Coconut Point, a 1.2 million-square-foot, $229 million, outdoor lifestyle center in Estero, in Lee County, that Simon Property Group opened recently. Simon also is getting ready to fling open the doors at The Domain in Austin, Texas, another lifestyle/mixed-used hybrid that is 700,000 square feet and cost $195 million.

“The trend is more towards those large open-air centers,” said Patrice Duker, a spokeswoman at the International Council of Shopping Centers. “There are a lot of naysayers out there who say traditional malls are dead.”

Herald-Tribune (Florida)

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