The Real Fate of Retail

Inside America’s Dead Malls

It has been discussed on several news outlets that the fate of the brick and mortar retail stores have been up in air since around 2018. There have many theories to why this is happening such as Millennial’s preferring the ease of the internet over physical shopping, the slow decline of the middle class in America and now recently the COVID-19 pandemic making difficult for many retail businesses to recover financially.

However, the term “Dead Mall’ coined as early as 2016 is defined as a mall with either zero stores or very little stores left leaving most of their massive structure empty. This has provided great content for YouTubers and other content creators but this has been detrimental to those who have careers in retail. In 2019 CNN Business reported that more than 9,300 stores closed, this was a 59% hike from the previous year in 2018. This was in addition to the announced bankruptcies and store cuts from major chains such as Forever 21 leaving even more mall space vacant.

The COVID-19 Pandemic put more of a strain this industry as the furloughs, layoffs and the shelter in the place that spread across the United States. It was reported by Fortune.com that 12,200 stores closed their doors for good and Statista.com reported that 164,884 retail jobs lost in 2020 as well.

The now virtually empty hallway of Cincinnati Mills Mall

The Dead Mall is also a reality for the 18,657 residents of Forest Park, Ohio the locations of the Cincinnati Mills Mall also called Forest Fair Mall or Forest Fair Village. According to Cincybeat.com the powerhouse mall that opened in 1988 now only house a few businesses Kohl’s, Outdoor World, the infamous Arcade Legacy and a few others. Cincinnati Mills is now dubbed on Google as the “Coolest Dead Mall Ever”

Is now only a shell of its former self leaving the residents to remanence on the great times at this mall as it deteriorates as the city of Forest Park to become creative on how to use this space. According to WCPO Cincinnati the mall’s massive parking lot is being used to house Amazon delivery trucks and as of February 2020 when WPCO Cincinnati published their article there no clear plans to revitalize or sell the space.

As Cincinnati Mills is not the only mall that is consider a “Dead Mall” many malls across the state of the Ohio are reimagining using their empty mall spaces redesigning them for office spaces, schools and even apartments/condos.

Journal-News.com reported that Springfield Ohio’s Upper Valley Mall will close its doors for good in June 2021 and will revamp the mall into a business park. Also, across the country are following suit According to Bloomberg.com Alderwood Mall located in Seattle, Washington revamped the location into a 300-unit apartment complex with underground parking. 

There is still hope of a revitalization of Cincinnati Mills Mall, if the plans ever come into action it would undoubtedly help the residents with jobs that were lost as the result of the stores in this mall closing as well as the boost of the local economy. The residents will continue to keep watch and on as the country recovers economically the reimagining of these spaces will be inevitable.


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