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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

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
1 hour ago - Health

New clues emerge on long COVID

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

The presence of certain autoantibodies or high amounts of coronavirus RNA in the blood could be indicators a patient has a higher chance of developing long COVID, according to a new study in the journal Cell.

  • Other factors include a person having Type 2 diabetes or the reactivation of the Epstein-Barr virus.

Biden says he'll make Supreme Court pick by end of February

President Biden speaks on the retirement of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer in the Roosevelt Room of the White House. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden on Thursday said he will announce the nominee for Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer's replacement by the end of February.

Driving the news: Biden also affirmed that he will nominate a Black woman to replace Breyer, saying "it's long overdue."

Stephen Breyer formally announces retirement from Supreme Court

Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Justice Stephen Breyer on Thursday sent a letter to President Biden formally announcing his retirement from the Supreme Court.

State of play: Breyer said his retirement will take effect when the court "rises for the summer recess (typically late June or early July) assuming that by then my successor has been nominated and confirmed."