Since we always encourage dissenting opinions here at the FirstWard, and even though I don’t agree with his basic mall premise, I thought this comment by reader Todd Martin was so well done that it deserved a more prominent posting.
So here goes:
Randall Road is a success today because of traffic count & the lower cost of building out on former farm land. These factors may be fleeting. As each stoplight is installed, the time it takes to travel on Randall increases. Eventually, it is like a downtown and no one drives there anymore.
For an indoor shopping mall, that means making it a desirable destination. Woodfield Mall is a roaring success; the size, scale & diversity of stores appeals to a broad range. There’s a lot of niche stores you won’t find elsewhere. I love the Lego store. Spring Hill mall has a play area for kids. My kids love the mall because of that. The St. Charles mall is a beautiful structure and can have those same ingredients. The names of anchor stores may change, but big box isn’t dead. Maybe they get a Home Depot instead of a JC Penny’s.
St. Charles mall went through a negative feedback loop. Losing tenants begets losing more tenants. That’s a hard truth. Equally true is that positive feedback loops work as well. As you add value and content, you gain more and more shoppers. I wish the luck with the re-development and will give them a try once they have tenants again.