Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American Genius Real EstateThe American Genius Real Estate

Real Estate Marketing

Recycling dead malls into affordable housing

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) How do you recycle a building? There are more and more examples each year of the death of the indoor mall, but all that space can’t go to waste.

empty mall

Like, OhMyGAWD! I totally LIVE at the mall!

I can 86 the localized 90’s-isms for readability’s sake, but the fever dream of having a penny fountain in immediate view when I leave for work could soon be realized at a fraction of the price of purchasing (pfft!) a home, and that’s honestly thrilling.

As we’ve been reading for the past 10-ish years, while the physical retail experience hasn’t flatlined, the concept of the indoor mall has been crumbling just as badly as pre-Amazon edifices themselves.

Usually the answer to ‘What do we do with this huge building we can’t wring any more cash out of’ is keep it around, Ozymandias statue style, to shelter from the eventual zombie outbreak, but there are other options! One small company is working on a big project.

No, it’s not another coffee table book of abandoned mallscapes, even though those ARE incredibly cool. They’re repurposing giant retail spaces into low-income housing!

The project lead, quite rightly assesses that “The [housing] market is screaming out for a solution”, and the entrepreneur hit on it by scoping out malls in already dense, already prime, already…BUILT locations and buying owners out or partnering with them to create the living spaces the elderly, hardship scholarship students, and no-collar/apron class workers need so badly.

“Adaptive reuse” is the name of the game, and I’m ALL about it.

Yours truly is the kind of person who’ll dare you to point out which of my home furnishings I bought new and which were restored from a dumpster dive session, so recycling whole BUILDINGS to serve the most in need makes me all kinds of tingly.

And as amazing as it is, turning former arcades of excess into spaces to celebrate on the wider portions of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is neither a new concept, nor an isolated one.

A few years back, McAllen, TX converted a dead Walmart Supercenter into an amazing library. Here in Austin, the famously be-curfewed Highland Mall was made over into a huge community college! I love stopping by for voting and watching community theater just as much as I Ioved the rock-bottom sales that hit as everything cleared out…even if I never DID figure out what they did with the much-coveted gates in front of that empty Hot Topic.

It’s awesome. Cities are also looking at buying out hotels to turn the already-livable structures into stable, COMFORTABLE housing for anyone living on the streets. Empty swimming pools become the centerpieces in community-run skateparks! Cracked, empty parking lots can be unpaved, converted to neighborhood gardens, and made into paradise again!

When you have the will, the cash, and the necessary bulldozer operating licenses, nothing’s impossible, especially when it comes to securing community health/wealth! And considering the rising cost of living in urban areas is driving the much-needed service sector out FAST, ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ in realty, needs to be a reality ASAP.

This article was first published in February 2020.

You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

Advertisement

The Daily Intel
in your inbox

Subscribe and get news and EXCLUSIVE content to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Homeownership

There are a dozen factors involved to make the decision, but this new tool can help predict whether moving is right for you!

Real Estate Marketing

With the infinite memory of the internet ever present, can or should your right to be forgotten exist or is memory the key?

Op/Ed

If your online shopping for the holidays has you dealing with endless cardboard piles in your home, you aren’t alone.

Real Estate Marketing

Ads might be fun, but are they also reducing our overall happiness? Advertising is about adding to customers' lives, not taking away.

The American Genius' real estate section is honest, up to the minute real estate industry news crafted for industry practitioners - we cut through the pay-to-play news fluff to bring you what's happening behind closed doors, what's meaningful to your practice, and what to expect in the future. We're your competitive advantage. The American Genius, LLC Copyright © 2005-2022