Retail wasteland

The dead mall problem


"Our country has six times more retail space per capita than any other county," said Ellen Dunham-Jones, director of the architecture program at Georgia Institute of Technology.

"We're just cannibalizing our existing stores by building more stores even when sales aren't increasing," she said. "We were long due for a retail correction and we're going through it now."

Dunham-Jones said big-box enclosed malls have become a dying breed as more shoppers prefer going to shop at strip malls or "lifestyle" open-air malls.

Brookdale: A ghost of its former self


Built in the 1960s as one of the four Dales, Brookdale has had a variety of problems in the past several years, including the loss of major tenants and owners that fell behind on property taxes.

But not all the problems have been self-made. Brookdale has faced increased competition from a boom in retail development in nearby Maple Grove. Demographic changes have led to a decline in per capita income in its trade area.

A new set of owners, Brooks Mall Properties, took over about three years ago and settled the tax bill. But the Coral Gables, Fla.-based company stumbled in efforts to redevelop the mall, and recently called off a project that would have filled the former Mervyn's store space with a Wal-Mart Supercenter, according to Gary Eitel, Brooklyn Center community development director.

Comment: Too many stores! Too many restaurants (consider the strip of restaurants along I-94 in Maple Grove).


  1. Ask Dewey Russell about the Sears store there sometime. You'll get an earful!

    You mean it wasn't a good idea to give 200 million bucks or whatever to the Zoo of America? Really? :^)

  2. You have not seen restaurant row until you visit Bell Road in Peoria, AZ. (I think it is Peoria) Anyways, for about a mile there are stores upon stores and restaurants upon restaurants, as well as a mall.


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