The world of retail has seen some dramatic changes over the past several years. Many, once packed malls with a flurry of activity, within and around, now sit vacant. Some see these unoccupied, large mass buildings as desolate eye-sores while others are more optimistic and see opportunity.
Turning Voids into Opportunities
Architects and Developers are getting creative, seeing opportunity where others have turned a blind eye. These mega structures offer many unique qualities. Some are challenging but some are gems just waiting to be transformed. The sheer volume of these buildings delivers unobstructed open spaces that can be easily sub-divided. With easily dividable space it can serve a variety of purposes, conveniently and within one facility. Depending on the desired use of the space the ability to divide the space as needed is very desirable. Creating more intimate settings within a larger space is a key deliverable.
Large traditional malls that once housed food courts many times had large widows and skylights providing ample natural light to stream into the building. The natural abundant light offers an ideal atmosphere for community gathering spaces, event spaces, child care centers or even higher-end food markets.
Creative Adaptive Re-Use
Large parking lots that are typically adjacent to these larger-than-life buildings are another opportunity for development. The former parking lot may no longer be in need- at least not in its entirety. Many times this leaves an empty parcel that in some cases has been given new life by placing housing, adding landscape and natural surroundings and creating walking trails throughout the space. This in combination with the transformation of an adjacent building that may house a library, fitness center, medical clinic, even a church now becomes a born-again micro community.
Adaptive re-use is not a new concept. It has however found ways to push the creativity of investors, developers and owners to meet the changing needs of our communities.