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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Malls are becoming ghosts of retail past. But the left-behind real estate is being reimagined for a post-pandemic world.

Why it matters: As many as 17% of malls in the U.S. "may no longer be viable as shopping centers and need to be redeveloped into other uses," per Barclays.

What's going on...

  • Amazon — a major contributor to the mall demise — is using old mall space for fulfillment centers, NBC News reported last week.
  • Part of a downtown shopping mall in Vermont is now home to a high school, the AP reported.
  • Fortnite creator Epic Games' global headquarters will be a North Carolina mall that was "close to total death," a local mayor told WRAL.

By the numbers: Regional mall vacancy rates hit a record 11.4% last quarter, per a Moody's report last week.

  • Vacancies have been rising for years. But that was the biggest-ever jump from a prior quarter (90 basis points).

Driving the news: Mall owner Simon Property Group releases earnings later this month after a hell year grappling with store closures and unpaid rent. All eyes are on now on occupancy.

  • Things are looking up as vaccinated and flush consumers return to stores, a fact that led an analyst to upgrade the stock today. But the long-term trend of more online shopping isn't working in their favor.

Where it stands: To survive, malls are bringing in tenants that aren’t traditional clothing stores, like gyms, bowling alleys or grocery stores.

  • The sprawling American Dream mall — complete with a water park and indoor skiing — is an extreme example. (Even there, things aren’t going so well.)

The bottom line: "There's tremendous turnover in mall real estate right now. We've known for years we just have too much out there," says Michael Brown, a partner at consultant firm Kearney.

Go deeper

Pelosi's Republican playbook

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As Republicans fight among themselves, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is showing the myriad ways she deals with the GOP herself.

Between the lines: We've seen Pelosi cut opponents off at the knees, like she did with President Trump, or pretend to forget their names, as she did to Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.). Now she's feeding oppo research against her House counterpart, Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), so others can use the same harsh rhetoric to frame the Republicans as the party of dysfunction.

Exclusive: Houston mayor to lead Black mayors group

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner speaks during a private funeral for George Floyd. Photo: Godofredo A. Vásquez/Pool/Getty Images

The mayor of the city where George Floyd was raised is taking over a group that represents 500 Black mayors in the U.S. amid national pressure to revamp police departments.

Why it matters: Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner will become the new president of the African American Mayors Association as municipalities across the country examine police reforms and deal with the economic fallout from the pandemic.

Delivery industry sees biggest monthly job losses in more than 20 years

Data: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic's biggest job winner is losing steam.

Driving the news: People who deliver packages to businesses and homes — classified as "couriers and messengers" by the Labor Department — saw the industry's biggest monthly job losses in more than 20 years in April.