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Doug Krizner: Have you spent much time at the shopping mall this holiday season? Seems fewer people have. Last week, mall traffic nationwide was down 22 percent from the week before.
So malls are far from becoming a home away from home for shoppers, but living at the mall could become a new trend. Joal Ryan has more from just outside Los Angeles.
Joal Ryan: It’s a weekday afternoon in the Glendale Galleria, a king-sized mall that has stood in the shadow of Los Angeles for 31 years. In here, under the lights, it’s big business as usual.
But step outside into the sun, and right across the street, it’s big business a bit unusual.
The concrete skeleton of Americana at Brand looms above the Galleria. When this complex is completed next spring, it’ll boast upscale shops, luxury condos, an 18-screen multiplex, and don’t forget the two-acre park.
You could call Americana a rival mall. But you’d be wrong: It’s a rival lifestyle center.
Delores Conway, a real-estate expert at the University of Southern California, explains:
Delores Conway: A lifestyle center is characterized as a place, almost like a community, where people can live, work and play. It’s actually a destination as opposed to, say, just a shopping center.
Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, for one, is betting that his city can accommodate the new and the old, side by side — J Crew to JC Penney.
Ara Najarian: There will be a synergy between the two complexes — very different. Each one will provide a unique shopping experience.
In Bridgewater, New Jersey, General Growth Properties, owner of the Glendale Galleria, built a lifestyle center right next to one of its malls. The company billed it as an addition, not a competitor.
Back in Glendale, Allen Magtibay walks between the Galleria and the up-and-coming Americana. This 17-year-old doesn’t see conflict. He sees a variety of shopping options — some of them tasty.
Allen Magtibay: Because like, they offer, like, a new variety of open merchandises, like Pinkberry. Pinkberry’s in the new mall, and Pinkberry’s not in the old mall.
In the end, Magtibay thinks he’ll spend time and money at both places. And that’s a sentiment retailers like to hear, no matter what the season.
In Los Angeles, this is Joal Ryan for Marketplace.
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