Open-air malls are gaining favor, forcing some aging enclosed malls to add their own outdoor shopping space.
A new enclosed mall has not opened in the United States since 2006, and some analysts question whether warm climates will ever see another one.
Instead, developers have built a series of outdoor retail centers that shoppers have increasingly embraced.
"Indoor malls are becoming dinosaurs, and shoppers are seeing this," said Debra Sinkle Kolsky, president of Redevco Management in Miami. She said the outdoor centers are like small downtown areas in new communities that don't have any.
Outdoor centers attract shoppers because they are often smaller, making them easy to navigate on foot, developers say. Shoppers have the option to park very close to stores and can drive through and around the center to see what it has to offer.
Andrea Riffle, a shopper from Weston, Fla., likes the Weston Town Center and the Shops at Pembroke Gardens. "It's a shame to be locked in a huge building with no windows when we live in such a great climate," she said.
"Parking always seems to be easier," she added. "Generally outdoor plazas have several small lots around the shopping area rather than a couple of big lots."
In sunny Florida, one of the newest open-air malls will be the replacement for the Palm Beach Mall in West Palm Beach, Fla. Built as an indoor mall in the 1967, it will be demolished in April to make way for a $150 million, 1.1 million-square-foot outlet center scheduled to reopen in fall 2013.
Jason Samreny, vice president of leasing of Kite Realty Group, said stores are only part of the outdoor center formula. "The trend is to incorporate a tenant mix of retailers, restaurants and entertainment in an area accessible to neighborhoods."
Enclosed malls aren't dead yet. Some malls are trying to get in on the outdoor trend by creating semi-outdoor dining and shopping areas.
Even when developers propose an enclosed mall, cities can balk. Developer Kathy Sawin approached Coconut Creek, Fla., about building an enclosed shopping center. "The city didn't approve it. It wasn't what they wanted," Sawin said.
So the Promenade at Coconut Creek was redesigned to look more like a village. "These open-air centers are town centers in places that otherwise wouldn't have a downtown area at all."
Most Popular Stories
- Apple Wants Samsung to Pay $22M for Patent Dispute Legal Bills
- NASA Fellowships, Scholarships Bring Diversity to Workforce
- Twitter Coming to Phones Without Internet
- Dish Network Leads 2013 Top 50 Advertisers List
- Networks Vie for U.S. Hispanic TV Viewers
- Ad Counts Rise in 2013 for Hispanic Magazines
- Jobs Report Brings Cheer As Unemployment Drops to Five-year Low
- Starbucks Gets Grinchy; No Gingerbread Lattes for Tampa Customers
- Entravision Initiates Quarterly Cash Dividend
- Warner Bros. Unleashes 'Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug' Merchandise