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10 Mall Redos, the States Where Supermarkets Have Room to Grow, Outlets, Cult C-Stores and More

June 7, 2024

10 Malls Redeveloping, Renovating, Renaming, Retenanting or Razing

Emaar Properties will spend $408 million to upgrade its 12.9 million-square-foot Dubai Mall and add space for 240 retailers. The mall, pictured above, is already more than twice as big as the 5.6 million-square-foot Mall of America and features more than 1,200 retail tenants and over 200 dining options, plus entertainment options like an aquarium and a sports district.

DON’T MISS: C+CT contributing editor Ben Johnson recently visited Dubai Mall and shared what he saw

Two things no one would argue are unpopular these days are soccer — unless one takes issue with the Americanized label — and competitive socializing. Toca Social offers both. The interactive soccer and dining venue will locate in certain Westfield properties via a joint venture with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield. The first two — a 37,619-square-foot space at Westfield London and a 25,833-square-foot space in the recently expanded Westfield CNIT in Paris — will open next year. Toca Social operates two owned locations in London and still would like to open one in Dallas, despite the disintegration of initial plans. The concept also has a franchise location in Monterrey, Mexico, that’s operated by Ventura Entertainment, which hopes to be running 20 Toca Socials there by 2033. Check out this TikTok of the zombie-killing game pictured below to get a sense of what Toca Social is all about.

@tocasocial We may or may not have a new game coming….. Zombie Attack ��‍♂️���� #zombie #tocasocial #fyp ♬ original sound - TOCA Social

The former Eastland Center mall in Detroit is now a 1 million-square-foot industrial complex called Eastland Commerce Center. NorthPoint Development built the three warehouses on spec, and one was leased as of Monday’s ribboncutting.

Upscale grocery retailer Kowalski’s Markets is taking on empty mall space. The company just opened a 34,000-square-foot store in the street level space of a former Herberger’s at Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota. The 1.3 million-square-foot property opened in 1956 and is said to be the first and the oldest fully enclosed, climate-controlled U.S. mall. The store is the locally based grocer’s 11th store in the Twin Cities metro. Southdale isn’t the only mall Kowalski’s is into. It’ll open next year in a former Sears Automotive Center at Minnetonka, Minnesota’s Ridgedale Center.

Ontario, Ohio’s Richland Mall changed its name to The Ontario Center to reflect the property’s transition into a mixed-use complex. Avita Health System-Ontario Hospital, JCPenney and a public library branch are tenants at the center, which opened in 1969.

Now that the last anchor at Shenango Valley Mall in Hermitage, Pennsylvania, has closed, the mall can redevelop. Once JCPenney closed last month, the 50-year-old property itself closed. The owner, a Cleveland, Ohio-based LLC, plans to redevelop the 30-acre site into a mixed-use property called Hermitage Town Center.

Governor’s Square Mall in Clarksville, Tennessee, is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation to freshen up for new tenants Aldi, Dave & Buster’s and JD Sports. The center will host a grand reopening before the holiday shopping season.

Round1 bowling and arcade is moving into Humble, Texas’ 1.2 million-square-foot Deerbrook Mall. Construction is expected to end in February.

Roanoke, Virginia’s Tanglewood Mall will add a 46,000-square-foot YMCA with pickleball courts, yoga studios and saunas by year’s end.

The States Where Supermarkets Have Room to Grow

Grocery chains seeking growth have an opportunity to gain market share in states like North Dakota, Nebraska, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi and New Mexico. In those areas, consumers currently are more likely to buy their food from discount and dollar stores and superstores but have displayed interest in buying from grocery stores when they can, according to a white paper from foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai.

There’s no shortage of grocery chains in many areas of the U.S. like the Northeast, Midwest, South Atlantic and Pacific. But in some areas where dollar stores have strong presences, grocery stores are not as common, according to Placer.ai.

Residents of West North Central and South Central states have been much less likely to shop for food at grocery chains than those in other states and have been more likely to buy food at discount and dollar stores or superstores. In Mississippi, Oklahoma and Arkansas, too, grocery stores drew less than 20% of food shoppers’ foot traffic between January and April. In North Dakota, grocery chain visits accounted for just 11.7% of visits to food retailers during the period.

But a low share of grocery store visits doesn’t mean a dearth of demand. In some underserved regions, visits at grocery chains are growing significantly, according to the report.

Which states look promising for grocer expansion? In North Dakota, the state where the smallest share of food shoppers visited grocery chains between January and April, grocery store visits still climbed 9.1% year over year, well above the 5.7% U.S. baseline growth. Other states in which grocery stores’ share of food shopping trips was low also saw higher-than-average growth in visits to grocery stores. In Nebraska, grocery store visits climbed 8.5%, in Arkansas 6.8%, in Alabama 6.6%, in Mississippi 6.3% and in New Mexico 5.9%.

The relative scarcity of grocery stores and shoppers’ displayed interest in shopping in them reveals substantial untapped potential for grocery stores to expand.

7 Retailers Making Headlines: Outlets, Cult C-Stores and More

Belk will convert the upper level of its Northlake Mall store in Charlotte, North Carolina, into a Belk Outlet by September. The department store company will continue to operate its traditional store on the first level, while upstairs shoppers can find discounted merchandise. Belk debuted its first outlet in January 2023 in Greeneville, Tennessee, and now operates 17 outlet locations.

Sephora also is tapping the outlet trend. This year, the cosmetics chain will open five stores at Tanger outlet properties, in Charleston, South Carolina; Deer Park, New York; National Harbor in Maryland; Palm Beach, Florida; and Glendale, Arizona. The locations will average 5,000 square feet. Sephora has an existing location at Tanger’s Bridge Street Town Centre, a traditional retail center in Huntsville, Alabama. The store was in operation when Tanger acquired that property in late 2023.

Buc-ee’s is set to open its largest location. The 75,000-square-foot store with 120 fueling positions will replace the company’s original 2003 family travel center in Luling, Texas. The chain has been called a “mega-convenience center” and a “supersized gas station.” Beyond its size, Buc-ee’s is known for the variety of its offerings, including Texas barbecue and fudge, and for the cleanliness of its bathrooms, offering 120 fueling positions. Buc-ee’s reached beyond Texas in 2019 and now operates in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Colorado. Virginia and Mississippi locations are under construction.

Another cult-favorite convenience store chain, Wawa, is relying on prefabricated buildings with drive-thrus to help double its store count by 2030. Despite its categorization as a convenience store, Wawa’s food offerings are quite popular, hence the drive-thrus, which also will offer some snack items from the stores, such as candy bars. The chain’s first prefabricated unit opened two years ago in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and four more prefab units are underway. According to modular construction firm Modlogiq, building a modular Wawa offsite takes about 40 days. A few days of on-site assembly follow, and a certificate of occupancy takes about 20 working days.

Lowe’s is using its physical stores to introduce customers to its Lowe’s Style Studio that lets them design dream kitchens in virtual reality using an Apple Vision Pro headset. The in-store experience will operate in a Charlotte, North Carolina, Lowe’s tomorrow through Wednesday; and in North Bergen, New Jersey, and Sunnyvale, California, from June 22 through 25.

Trader Joe’s will open 24 new stores nationwide, including eight in Southern California. The supermarket chain currently operates 549 stores.

Giant Food is banning large bags from select stores in Washington, D.C., to stem shoplifting, according to statement cited in numerous media outlets. Reusable shopping totes are allowed, but closed knapsacks and duffels larger than 14 by 14 by 6 inches are forbidden.

Malls and Downtowns Are Ghost Towns? Look Again

Mall traffic grew by 10.5% year over year in May thanks in large part to owners’ investments in these properties, according to MRI Real Estate Software. Meanwhile, pedestrian traffic in U.S. downtowns increased 3% year over year, according to MRI senior director Cederick Johnson. He said: “As annual trends remain positive in both malls and downtowns, [business improvement districts], retailers and mall operators have the opportunity to continue capitalizing on these trends by delivering engaging experiences that attract consumers back to physical retail spaces.”

By Brannon Boswell

Executive Editor, Commerce + Communities Today


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