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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

Go deeper

Senate confirms retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as defense secretary

Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate voted 93-2 on Friday to confirm retired Gen. Lloyd Austin as secretary of defense. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) were the sole "no" votes.

Why it matters: Austin is the first Black American to lead the Pentagon and President Biden's second Cabinet nominee to be confirmed.

House will transmit article of impeachment to Senate on Monday, Schumer says

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced that the House will deliver the article of impeachment against former President Trump for "incitement of insurrection" on Monday.

Why it matters: The Senate is required to begin the impeachment trial at 1pm the day after the article is transmitted.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Private equity bets on delayed tax reform in Biden administration

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

In normal times, private equity would be nervous about Democratic Party control of both the White House and Congress. But in pandemic-consumed 2021, the industry seems sanguine.

Driving the news: Industry executives and lobbyists paid very close attention to Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen's confirmation hearings this week, and came away convinced that tax reform isn't on the near-term agenda.