June 12, 2019

What is the Fate of Shopping Malls?

Retail stores are popping up everywhere. Everywhere except in shopping malls.

Shopping Malls- What is the Fate

shopping retail architectureShopping Malls

Once upon a time, shopping malls were thriving as metropolis of retail establishments and entertainment venues. These were the good ol’ days. Today, the footprint of shopping malls has not changed much. But the vacancy rates have. Many retailers are offering alternative online shopping and delivery services, once only available in stores.  With retailers like JCPenney, Sears, and others going out of business, we have to wonder. What is the fate of our shopping malls?

Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield at The Boulevard Mall by SCA Design, Architectural firm
Re-imagined space

Once considered as a Las Vegas iconic shopping metropolis, The Boulevard Mall, was a combination of entertainment, shopping, dining.  The shopping mall has been re-imagined. What has changed? The addition of call centers and office space. Anchor tenant, Macy’s department store closed. The multi-level space and was turned in to over 100,000 square foot of call center space. Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield now occupies the newly renovated space. Will this help the mall survive? Owners are hopeful, but statistics and projections say only time will tell.

The Fate

Boulevard Mall SCA Design Las Vegas Architect
Boulevard Mall Re-imagined

Across the country, mall owners are looking for alternative tenants for mall retail spaces. If they don’t fill them, vacancies will continue to hurt malls.  “The biggest mall owner in the U.S., is warning of more store closures and even bankruptcies to rattle the retail industry in 2019.” as CNBC quoted CEO David Simon of Simon Property Group. (1) “As more shopping moves online and stores close by the thousands, the financial services firm Credit Suisse has predicted that 1 in 4 U.S. malls will shut down by 2022.” (2) In Vegas, we see malls like Primm Outlet Mall on the decline. Previously at 95% occupancy, things have changed since 2015. Owners filed for bankruptcy in September. In October 2018, the mall was reported to be at only 66% occupancy. (3)

New Retail

Goodwill SCA Design Las Vegas Architect
Goodwill re-imagined space by SCA Design

While online retailers are seeing a steady growth, brick and mortar retailers are seeing steady decline in sales.  Yet, new retail stores are popping up in small strip malls, but not in the traditional malls. Free standing buildings and small strips seem to be most popular. Live, work, play space is on the rise. It’s expected that fitness gyms, office space, and possibly even hotels will take over vacant mall spaces.  We are already seeing churches move into the spaces. Some are seeing museums and  youth sports complexes. Some speculate, that large shopping mall buildings may be imploded and start over with a fresh footprint. The Goodwill moved into the Boulevard Mall occupying more than 28,000 square foot of retail space.


Brighton Retail Stores- Desert Passage Aladdin
Brighton Retail Stores

Turing these unused, now ghost-town like, mall spaces into new footprints, is a matter of smart design and intelligent execution. Some retailers are taking benefit from the fall of other retailers and utilizing the space to fit their needs. Some discount retailers are growing during the retail downturn. (4) There is “still strong demand for new stores from popular brands and well-run businesses.” (5)

Re-imagining the space through renovation and smart design can be a very good return on investment. Some of these large shopping malls are being sold for pennies on the dollar. Hiring a talented retail design architect, like SCA Design in Las Vegas, will leverage your abilities to recreate the space and turn it profitable. Retail space is about engaging the senses and creating a social experience for the most sophisticated shoppers through renovation and new construction building designs that are rich in character. Turn your vision into reality. Renovate space and change its purpose. Turn your vision into a visually appealing space tailored to lifestyle and audience. When you combine a smart design with intelligent execution, you can make profitable change.

Retail Architecture

Brats department store by SCA Design
Brats Retail Store

SCA Design is an experience Las Vegas architectural firm familiar with what it takes to re-imagine space. With an extensive portfolio of retail design, we can help you re-imagine your space. View our portfolio and see some of the re-imagined space at The Boulevard Mall.





Established in 1995, SCA Design, LLC, is a medium sized architectural and design firm. SCA Design is located at 2525 W Horizon Ridge Parkway, Suite 230 Henderson, NV 89052. SCA Design specializes in Residential, Commercial, Retail, and Interior Design. Visit and view the portfolio of local design projects completed. Contact Nickel Lowman at SCA Design at 702-719-2020, for media related questions and inquiries.









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