Jan 12, 2019

Making the most of dead malls

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Arcade Providence, which, when it opened 188 years ago, was America's first shopping mall. Today, its a collection of 48 apartments, restaurants, a coffee shop and a salon.

"If you've got a dead mall, look at that as an opportunity," says Ellen Dunham-Jones, a professor of urban design at Georgia Tech who is tracking more than 1000 mall carcasses across the U.S.

She shared a few favorites:

  • Cleaning up the environment: A shuttered mall in Ohio was turned into a water treatment plant to clean up the nearby lake.
  • A doctor's office: The top floor of a struggling, two-story mall in Nashville was turned into a clinic. Instead of flipping through old magazines while waiting for the doctor, patients can check in with the doctor upstairs and then head downstairs to shop.
  • A college campus: Abandoned strip malls in east Austin have been transformed into satellite campuses for Austin Community College.

Still, there are far more ghost-town malls than there are retrofitted ones, she says.

"I wish there were more really great examples of down and out communities finding a silver bullet in dead retail."
— Ellen Dunham-Jones, Georgia Tech

Special report: The future of retail

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 1,237,420 — Total deaths: 67,260 — Total recoveries: 252,944Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 1 p.m. ET: 312,762 — Total deaths: 9.132 — Total recoveries: 15,044Map.
  3. Public health latest: CDC launches national trackers and recommends face coverings in public. Federal government will cover costs of COVID-19 treatment for uninsured. Surgeon general says this week will be "our Pearl Harbor, our 9/11 moment."
  4. 2020 latest: "We have no contingency plan," Trump said on the 2020 Republican National Convention. Biden says DNC may have to hold virtual convention.
  5. States updates: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state "literally going day-to-day" with supplies.
  6. Work update: Employees still going to work face temperature checks, distanced work stations, protective devices and mass absences.
  7. What should I do? Pets, moving and personal health. Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Cuomo says New York is "literally going day-to-day with our supplies"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference on Sunday that New York is struggling to maintain medical supplies while combatting the novel coronavirus — operating "literally" on a "day-to-day" basis.

Why it matters: New York City has become an epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, facing mass quarantines and stay-at-home orders. Cuomo said Saturday that New York reported 630 new deaths in 24 hours — an "all-time increase" that beat the previous day's record of 562 deaths.

Illinois governor: "The president does not understand the word 'federal'"

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that President Trump's comments about the federal government's stockpile of medical equipment suggest he "does not understand the word 'federal.'"

Why it matters: White House adviser Jared Kushner argued at a press briefing last week that the "notion of the federal stockpile was it’s supposed to be our stockpile; it’s not supposed to be state stockpiles that they then use."