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The Mall of the Future Will Offer Dinner, Movies, and a Colonoscopy

But not in that order. E-commerce is driving out retailers, and boomers are aging—so here come the doctors.
Photographer: Getty Images
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The Runway at Playa Vista in Los Angeles recently added a Whole Foods, a movie theater, and upscale shops and restaurants—retail center staples intended to attract affluent shoppers, condo-buyers, and tech companies to the mixed-use development. The next big tenant slated to move in, however, is a little different: A 32,000-square-foot doctors' office, where the Cedars-Sinai Health System plans to house outpatient services including obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics.

While urgent-care centers have been strip-mall staples for decades, the chance to catch dinner, a movie, and a surgical procedure under the same roof is new—and coming soon to a mall near you. The reason is commerce: Mall operators are looking for tenants that trade in entertainment and services to replace the brick-and-mortar retailers slowly being strangled by and its online competitors. Rents, particularly at older malls, are a bargain.