Making America’s Malls great again

Does Amazon accept EBT?

This is the situation in Metro Detroit, where I used to live

Detroit Free “you know what”

The key point is that lower income young people are terrorizing malls. Just a few days ago, two black punks (15 and 17 year olds) held up a shopper in the parking lot of SouthPark mall, the top “A” quality mall in Charlotte and maybe even North Carolina. They were quickly arrested, but the fear will ripple.

NorthLake mall in Southfield Michigan is described in the Freep article. In the 1980s, Southfield was the prime territory to find the people who fled Detroit or still had to live in the city limits for job reasons and shopped in Southfield. I think I was there once and felt decidedly unwelcome because of my light skin color. It was a long drive and I never went back. It is now owned by the city of Southfield and just like Eastland Mall in Charlotte, they can’t just do a tax sale and let market forces decide what to do. The purchaser must agree to a long list of demands like below market rent housing, so years go by and the property and surrounding neighborhood continues to deteriorate.

Much to the dismay of Countess, I have shares in Simon Property Group that specializes in “A” malls – not because I expect Donald Trump to make malls great again, but I think Simon has the clout and experience to repurpose the land to something valuable. It is off by 10%, while Amazon is up 133%. I consider SPG to be an AMZN hedge…

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5 Responses to Making America’s Malls great again

  1. TheChairman says:

    I’m a bit surprised the only mall which I am familiar with (in metro Detroit) is not an ‘A’ mall: Fairlane Town Center. I first visited Fairlane in the mid 1970’s; while the rest of my relatives were frantically Xmas shopping, I rode the monorail over to the Hyatt Regency for some peace and quiet, to look at the architecture, and watch the ‘silent elevators’ with fascination (I was 13 or 14 at the time). Fairlane also gave me my first introduction to sensory overload and disorientation, so the Hyatt became a refuge for me. Fast-forward several years, and monorail usage was limited to hotel guests… the writing was on the wall, that was my last visit. Eventually, after a few more years and ‘incidents’, the monorail was removed entirely. I’m not sure if the Hyatt is still there.

    I also recall my aunt in Northville imploring us to come down (from Lansing) for the ‘pre-closing’ sale at Hudson’s downtown… a caveat was that we needed to get there early and be out of the parking garage before sundown. Besides being jam-packed (it was holiday shopping season), the two things which struck me were: the giant Stouffer’s restaurant which consumed half a floor, and the neighborhood. When we left the store at around 5:30 pm, my aunt hustled us along like we were in Beirut.

    • CC1s121LrBGT says:

      Here reminds me of the Monroeville Mall in Monroeville, PA in the 1970s. It was worse than Beruit in the film “Dawn of the Dead”. Note the “Walden” store, not the peaceful place of Walden Pond? lol

      • Fred Stiening says:

        The street I grew up on was dominated by families sending their children to the nearby Saint Bernard’s Catholic school. Growing up, there was only one child close to my age who also went to public (aka Protestant) school.

        His parents decided to move to Monroeville when it was very new (guess 1965). His mom came back once to have Midas do work on her car, and I got to visit with him in his new home in the middle of nowhere with no streetcars to ride, no pizza place or Isaly’s to walk to. He seemed very lonely in his new suburban home. That was the last time I saw Roger Ingersoll. I was glad my parents could not afford to move there.

    • Fred Stiening says:

      I remembered it having the monorail. I think I visited it once, but I lived in Troy. Somerset mall was within walking distance of my front door. It was very popular with Indians (like my boss) to convert cash to gold and jewelry. The story mentioned it is still OK but a few vacancies are showing up.

      I went to the RenCen once with a friend and his wife. He flies helicopters one weekend a month. The retail area on the ground floor was apparently designed by a mugger, short vision lines of sight, cul de sacs, empty stores.

      His wife was a school teacher in the city, and we got on the elevator to go to the top. The doors opened on the mezzanine level with two young black men waiting. Her street smarts kicked in and she said loudly “get out”, without regard to the self esteem of the young men. Her tone of voice was not ambiguous. My only concern was we might be stepping into a secondary trap once we were outside the elevator.

      On my trip to Boblo Island (RIP) there was a similar gauntlet from the Joe Louis Arena parking garage to the boat loading area via a closed walkway over Jefferson Avenue. It was full of loitering black men looking for opportunities or maybe just eyeballing white people to express their hostility.

  2. haiti222 says:

    Metro Detroit is full of changes. On a forum about the city, detroityes.com, some of the posters are gleeful about the decline of certain elite malls, while bemoaning the older malls closure. Somerset and Partridge Creek (an outdoor mall) are the top mall destinations. Fairlane has been on a downward trend for a while, but is not near death. Northland and Eastland are indications of the change in the region. My bus to work stops at Northland, where the makeshift park and ride lot is the only open remnant of the mall as the rest is fenced off for destruction and renovation. The city of Southfield, which owns it, is planning to keep the original mall, with its tunnels, and knock down 50 years of additions. The Ren Cen was opened up to the street some by GM, which brags about that. Retail and restaurants there are mainly used by Ren Cen employees still.

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