“The U.S. basically has been over-retailed since the 1990s. Maybe even the 1980s.” According to Carter, sites like Parkway Center Mall in Green Tree simply didn’t have the fundamentals of strong retail space, owing to the out-of-the-way location and the proximity to other shopping options. For Carter, the raft of closings we see now is an inevitable market correction.
“Without e-commerce, there would have been a churn, for sure,” says Carter.
While Jackson and Carter express confidence that the retail market will continue to evolve and settle, neither minimized the economic pain a dying mall can inflict on the local community.
“Communities lose when retail stores close … they’re losing jobs easily held by local people,” says Carter, “Those local people normally would have been paying wage taxes and retail stores would be collecting sales taxes. The fact that the property is now vacant means that it has reduced property value and therefore a reduced appraisal for real estate tax and subsequent vacancy and blight.”
While the challenges are real, Carter emphasizes that consumer habits can change rapidly, and are not easy for even experts to predict. He points out that farmers markets and food trucks have only become a staple of city life in the past decade.
“Things keep changing, and I expect we’ll be surprised.”