Nov 29, 2019

Saving America's abandoned malls

A deserted mall in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP/Getty Images

America is dotted with ghostly, long-abandoned carcasses of malls — massive structures that were once bustling shopping centers but were forced to close down after seeing dismal foot traffic.

The state of play: Many of these malls have been repurposed. Some have been retrofitted into community centers or water treatment plants. Others have been turned into big warehouses to serve e-commerce companies (that one's a little on the nose).

The big picture: The trend of retrofitting abandoned malls is catching on in more and more communities, reports the Washington Post's Abha Bhattarai.

  • An evangelical Christian church bought a mall carcass in Lexington, Kentucky, to turn it into a megachurch.
  • The Landmark Mall in Alexandria, Virginia, has turned part of its unused space into a 60-bed homeless shelter.
  • And esports giant GameWorks is looking at empty spaces in malls to turn into video-gaming hubs.

The other side: While the failing malls repurpose themselves, the high-end centers continue to spend money and add attractions to draw in shoppers.

  • Manhattan's Hudson Yards cost $25 billion to build and features luxury brands and apartments.
  • The American Dream, a New Jersey mall that will open next spring, is a $5 billion project that will have a water park and indoor ski slopes in addition to stores.
  • Even grocery chains are adding fitness classes to bring in customers, CNN's Nathaniel Meyersohn reports. Hy-Vee, a Midwestern chain, has partnered with boutique fitness company OrangeTheory to build studios attached to its grocery stores. And Whole Foods’ flagship in Austin is introducing yoga and barre classes on the roof.

Go deeper: Making the most of dead malls

Go deeper

Italy reports lowest number of new coronavirus cases since February

Italy’s aerobatic team Frecce Tricolori fly over Milan in Duomo Square on May 25. Photo: Francesco Prandoni/Getty Images

The Italian government reported 300 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, the lowest daily increase since Feb. 29.

Why it matters: Italy, the first country in Europe to implement a nationwide lockdown after emerging as a hotspot in March, appears to have finally weathered its coronavirus outbreak. Italy has reported nearly 33,000 total deaths, the third-highest total behind the U.S. and U.K.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.