The now-empty Landmark Mall, Alexandria, Virginia. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty

In a twist of the knife, developers are turning defunct malls and failed big-box stores into warehouses — for e-commerce businesses, among other uses.

What's happening: Since 2016, 7.9 million square feet of U.S. retail space has been turned into warehouses, according to a new analysis from CBRE, the research firm. These redevelopment projects span the country, impacting cities in every region. But, per the report, they are especially prevalent in lower-income areas.

  • As we've reported, retail options are vanishing disproportionately in poorer parts of the country.

"We’ve got a recession coming, and that’s likely to further widen that gap," says Ellen Dunham-Jones, a Georgia Tech professor who tracks obsolete malls. "I expect we’re going to see more malls and strip malls go under."

The big picture: At 28 square feet per capita, the U.S. has 20 times more mall space than the world average, and the repurposing of dead malls goes beyond warehouses. Of the 1,000 or so malls open today, around a quarter are at risk of shuttering in the next five years, per Credit Suisse's analysis.

  • These old structures are turning into community college campuses and doctor's offices, and even Amazon is reportedly looking at turning old Sears stores into Whole Foods outlets. Amazon did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

Go deeper: Read the Axios special report on the future of retail

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Updated 32 mins ago - Science

Florida braces for potential hurricane as Tropical Storm Isaias nears

Two men put shutters over the windows of their business in Stuart, Florida, as Tropical Storm Isaias approaches on Saturday. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

As Tropical Storm Isaias neared Florida's east coast Saturday, Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) urged communities to "remain vigilant and be prepared for heavy rain, strong winds and potential flooding."

The state of play: With the National Hurricane Center (NHC) warning that Isaias was expected to "regain hurricane strength" overnight, Florida evacuation orders were issued for the barrier islands and for those in mobile homes near the coast, effective 8 a.m. ET Sunday. North Carolina evacuations for Holden and Ocean Isle beaches and Hatteras and Ocracoke islands began Saturday evening.

In photos: Thousands ordered to evacuate as Southern California fire grows

A 747 Supertanker makes a retardant drop on a ridge at the Apple fire near Banning, California, on Saturday. Photo: Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

Southern California officials ordered multiple mandatory evacuations as a growing wildfire burned across some 12,000 acres on Saturday, per CalFire.

The big picture: Some 7,800 people were under evacuation orders after the Apple fire in Riverside County, about 75 miles east of Los Angeles, "doubled in size" Saturday, reports KTLA, citing local officials. Hundreds of firefighters have been battling the blaze, but Riverside County Fire Department said in a statement Saturday night none of it had been contained.