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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La. braces for 3rd hurricane in 2 months as Zeta, now a Category 2 storm, closes in

The probable path of Zeta, per the National Hurricane Center. Photo: NHC/NOAA

Zeta strengthened on Wednesday afternoon, on track to make landfall along the southeastern coast of Louisiana by the afternoon as a "significant" Category 2 hurricane, per the National Hurricane Center.

The state of play: Zeta is producing 100-mph maximum sustained winds and stronger gusts. The storm is gaining strength as it heads northeastward at 20 mph. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) requested a pre-landfall Emergency Declaration in a letter to President Trump on Tuesday.

"Anonymous" senior Trump official revealed as ex-DHS chief of staff Miles Taylor

Miles Taylor in a Republican Voters Against Trump ad. Screenshot via YouTube

Former Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Miles Taylor on Wednesday publicly claimed to be the author of the anonymous New York Times op-ed that described a "resistance" within the Trump administration working to thwart President Trump's agenda.

Why it matters: Taylor already publicly endorsed Joe Biden in a video funded by Republican Voters Against Trump in August, accusing the president of wanting to "exploit the Department of Homeland Security for his own political purposes and to fuel his own agenda."

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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