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Malls Ditch Shopping to Fill Vacant Retail Stores

  • Replacements include casinos, apartments, medical offices
  • Landlords are heading into 2022 with oversupply of empty space
Mall Of America Reopens After Delays Following Protests
Photographer: Emilie Richardson/Bloomberg

Imagine 16 deserted Mall of Americas. That’s how much space battered mall owners need to fill heading into 2022, more than 90 million square feet. It’s no easy task, with dozens of retail chains already cutting back or shutting down, and it won’t get any better if the newest pandemic wave scares off shoppers.

So landlords are wooing businesses that have little or nothing to do with shopping. Casinos, amusement parks, medical facilities, storage units, hotels, schools, offices and residences are fair game, as even healthy shopping centers are forced to rethink their game plans for next year and beyond.