Shopping Mall Reimagined

Dated: March 27 2021

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Foot traffic at malls across the country has been on the decline for 20 years. Consumers were changing their shopping patterns even prior to the pandemic and shopping online rather than flocking to their regional shopping mall.  This change in consumer behavior means retail needs to adapt and be reimagined.

The first airconditioned indoor mall opened in Arizona in 1961.   Malls were favored investments and heavily developed throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s where they became a central area for the community to gather, eat and shop.  The United States has 25-30 sq ft of shopping space for every citizen which is much more than other countries and more than is needed in a world of online shopping carts.  Across the nation malls are being converted into other uses such as residential multi family living spaces, office spaces, medical centers, schools, entertainment zones or in some cases industrial warehouse fulfillment centers for online marketplaces.

The Prescott Gateway Mall is currently listed for sale at $15 million by BHGRE Commercial, a division of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate.  Since it was built more recently than most malls, it has some modern elements: half of the shopping area is outside and a spine street runs through the center to break up the typical shopping mall “block”.   It covers 35 acres and visitors to the site enjoy sweeping views of the surrounding area.

BHGRE Commercial listing broker Matt Fish says that he has seen the most interest in mixed use redevelopment, “In addition to the retail mall space there are 5 one-acre parcels available around the mall for stand-alone retail or restaurants, plus more space for residential projects.” Diversified Partners owns two parcels with a site plan and preliminary plat for a multi-family project on the west side of Dillards.  Future residents will have the opportunity to enjoy a live, work, play experience and bring more traffic to the retail spaces along with restaurants, entertainment and jobs.  The sites are also zoned for hotel, office or medical development.

Interest is high in bringing more entertainment to the mall area.  A national Trampoline Park named “Get Air” has already signed their lease and is preparing to open soon.  Get Air has over 70 locations in the USA and was voted best trampoline park for family fun in Tucson.  It will be located in between Best Buy and Texas Roadhouse in the old Cost Plus World Market building. Recently there have been new tenants moving into the mall such as In Season Deli, Beyond Keys Piano Lessons and McQuality Designs and Services photography studio.  Rockstar Ventures, Addicted to Deals expanded into another suite and increased their inventory, and the Prescott Action Center opened a skate park and retail store in Sears.

As consumer demand changes retailers must continue to shift their business models. Strategic Planning and careful market assessment of the highest and best use of the mall is essential.  Malls are still a central gathering place for the community and an important part of the tax base.  Attracting more visitors to the mall area with mixed use development will become even more important as Prescott continues to grow.

For additional information on the Prescott Gateway Mall contact listing broker Matt Fish of BHGRE Commercial, a division of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | BloomTree Realty.  Visit us online at bloomtreerealty.com or at 102 W Gurley St in downtown Prescott.  Leslie Guiley is a co-founder of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate | BloomTree Realty and currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer.   Both Matt and Leslie can be reached at 928-443-8800.  For more information on Get Air Trampoline Parks visit getairsports.com.

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