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Malls Ditch the 'M Word' as They Spend Big Bucks on Renovations

Malls Ditch the 'M Word' as They Spend Big Bucks on Renovations CNBC News (10/24/17) Thomas, Lauren

Billions of dollars are currently being spent to renovate shopping malls around the country to tailor them to the public's changing tastes and shopping patterns. While these changes often include fresh paint and new tenant mixes, often the malls' very identity is being changed. Chiefly, the word "mall" is being ditched. According to a Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) study, 90 regional malls have spent more than $8 billion in renovations over the past three years. JLL researchers found that since 2014, about 20 percent removed the "m-word" from their official title following the completion of renovations. Among the most popular replacements have been "shoppes," "village," and "towne center." The Tallahassee Mall in Florida, for example, has become the Centre of Tallahassee. Carlsbad Mall in California is now The Shoppes At Carlsbad.

Taking their upgrades even further, 16 percent of shopping mall owners have admitted to spending money on "de-malling," JLL determined. This could consist of replacing an apparel retailer with a virtual reality experience. Other mall landlords have taken vacated, big-box spaces and transformed them into medical offices and even call centers. Larry Jensen, director of business development for JLL's National Retail Property Management practice, states, "As a general rule of thumb, mall owners who place an impactful amount of capital into a renovation hope to see an 8-10 percent increase in sales."