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Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,921
Registered: ‎03-09-2010

Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

When I was growing up we had a "town center." It was in our community and had a grocery store, department store, drug store, movie theatre, restaurants (2), dry cleaner, bank, beauty salon, and variety store. You were supposed to be able to do everything you needed in one place without going far. And we did. We would gather there, sit on the brick pathways, and splurge on sodas to drink. It was THE place to be seen by everyone. My mom shopped at the grocery store, drug store, and department store. My parents banked at that bank. They didn't go anywhere else because they didn't need to. I used to run into my school teachers in the grocery store! 

 

While I was in high school the local "mall" opened. Everything was INSIDE, and it took about 40 minutes to get to it, but it had everything you could imagine - four department stores, restaurants, card and book stores, etc. - all of the things a major mall had back then. Our local town center faded. Stores started closing - the department store closed, followed by the drug store and the A&P. There were empty stores everywhere. The movie theatre was one of the last to go. They had special matinees for a while, then closed completely. (Today, it is a somewhat thriving "strip mall," with all different specialty independent stores and restaurants (one owned by my high school best friend's son!). The beauty salon is now a barber shop.)

 

Of course we all know what has happened to malls in the last 20 years. Our mall here has a Macy's, Penney's and Sears. The other two anchor stores are gone (Macy's couldn't buy out BOTH of our department stores), and are big empty places. I hate going there. Even Williams Sonoma went out. They are catering to the younger set, with stores like Forever 21, Hot Topic, Hollister, etc. There is still a card store, but the bookstore closed. There are a lot of empty stores. There is an eatery, but the two main restaurants closed. At one time you could eat in the department store's restaurant on a balcony overlooking the fountain below. 

 

Twice last week, while traveling for workshops, I found myself near the new "town centers." These were expanded versions of what I grew up with, only with apartments and condos above the stores. They were in the middle of everything, and again had almost every convenience you would need. Both were huge. I couldn't even begin to see what was there. We sat outside eating at a nice restaurant. Across from us was Old Navy. I looked down and saw Bath and Body Works, White House Black Market, and a deli. When I left, I drove down and saw a Hallmark store, Sephora, and a beauty salon. The landscaping and bench/chair arrangements were both so pretty, with brick walking paths winding around. If it wasn't so far I'd go back. 

 

While we were eating I thought how it seems we are going back to shopping, eating, etc. in the middle of our communities, as it was once. We don't have anyplace like this near us yet, but I'd really be happy if we could! Smiley Happy

Trusted Contributor
Posts: 1,789
Registered: ‎06-26-2014

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

Housing over businesses: it's the Live / Work concept.

 

The idea is to roll out of bed and into your workplace, or walk to whatever necessity store you need.

 

In some places it works very well.  But they tried this the downtown area of my city and so far both the live and work units are still empty after almost 10 years.

I think this will change as we now have a transit train thrown into the mix and also re-unified square area downtown to draw in people and special events.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,668
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

@beach-mom, That sounds nice ,it must be a larger town, for small towns  the buildings are just going to waste , my old home town in Indiana is just falling apart, so so sad.

When you lose some one you L~O~V~E, that Memory of them, becomes a TREASURE.
Honored Contributor
Posts: 18,415
Registered: ‎11-25-2011

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

We are beginning to see the work/live set up more & more here in DFW.  Personally, I wouldn’t want to live above/near a deli or noisy retail. That’s why the heavens built the suburbs.  

Respected Contributor
Posts: 2,186
Registered: ‎03-13-2010

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

I grew up in reverse to your post.  A few large malls under roof and now at many of those malls they've added a brand new extension onto the back which is like one or two streets like in a strip mall with smaller more upscale stores - about 4 or 5 restaurants, an Apple store, and my credit union.  Once thet did that (years ago) they renamed our Mall and now it's known by the local county's name followed by Towne Center.  

 

The new extensions have cobblestone walkways in a few areas - it's funny cuz our local paper said that there are many ppl here who never realized that the new area out back even exists.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 33,581
Registered: ‎03-10-2010

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

There is an area that is an outdoor mall that has stores of every kind, restaurants, a movie theatre, gym and grocery store. There are also condos there that are very high dollar.  Most people who live in those condos don't work in the businesses they are above.  It's a really nice area and a great place to be, if the weather is nice.  But it stinks to have to walk around there if it's raining or super cold.

 

When the weather is nice, it is always packed, even with people just sitting on benches and chairs throughout the area people watching.  At the holidays they do a really great tree lighting and the holiday decorations are fabulous.

Honored Contributor
Posts: 10,616
Registered: ‎09-22-2010

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

They are redoing two old malls in the city where I live.  They both will have a mix of apartments, offices and retail stores.  Whole Foods is going into one of them and a Kroger store in the other.   Both will have new movie theaters, etc.  

Honored Contributor
Posts: 13,323
Registered: ‎01-02-2011

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

@DiAnne -- I am hoping for some new and interesting restaurants🙂

Respected Contributor
Posts: 3,622
Registered: ‎07-11-2010

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

[ Edited ]

I have not been to a mall (those under roof) for years and the reason has been the unsavory people who began to overran the malls.....no desire to be there.  Certain malls here are not safe for an older woman shopping by herself. Unfortunately, all that over the years is what prompted me to increase my use of internet over brick/mortar for shopping.  I go the open shopping centers where there are small varietal shops. I much prefer the small mom&pop shops locally and it is more personal, satisfying and safer....

Valued Contributor
Posts: 748
Registered: ‎08-28-2010

Re: Just Musing - Town Centers and Malls

We have all that.  We have a town center with condos and shops and restaurants, and then outlying strip malls which are quite nice with the other stores such as old navy, etc.  We also have Target and Walmart.  Then the regional malls are about ten miles away if you care to go to them.