Shoppers walk through the Westfield Garden State Plaza shopping center in Paramus, New Jersey.
Emile Wamsteker | Bloomberg | Getty Images
One of the most valued shopping malls in America will soon be completely redesigned, indicating that stationary retail is developing into jobs, workouts and even lives – not just buying clothes.  Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield's Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey, which is considered one of the top 1
More than 200 million visitors a year are counted in this mall. It is considered one of the more productive assets in the portfolio of Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Today, 92 centers are represented in a dozen countries. The real estate investment fund also owns Westfield Century City in Los Angeles and the Westfield World Trade Center in New York. Unibail-Rodamco, Europe's largest commercial landlord, bought the owner of the Westfield shopping mall last year.
"What people demand from the mall is much more," said Unibail-Rodamco-Westield US President Jean-Marie Tritant. "People want convenience … being able to make contacts."
American shopping centers tend to be "much more closed" and "a bit like bunkers," he added. "Now we have to connect them to the local environment."
Mall owners across the country are realizing that consumers' tastes are changing. More and more people are turning to the Internet to buy clothes and furniture. And if you dare to go shopping, you want to discover unique experiences and good food. This means retailers are closing hundreds of shops left and right, big and small, forcing mall owners to get creative with empty spaces, or risking their properties becoming irrelevant. In 2019, more than 6,000 store closures were announced by US retailers. 2018 will be surpassed in this area. There are an estimated 1,100 shopping malls in America, probably too many.
"Hundreds of branch closures, especially from large department stores, are speeding up the transformation of shopping malls and forcing landlords to re-lease an unusually large portion of their centers," said bus driver Green Street Advisors analyst Daniel Busch. "The ability of a center to attract good tenants is being tested more than ever."
Green Street estimates that there are currently nearly 800 anchorages available in US shopping centers.
A representation of what Garden State Plaza will look like Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield's redesign of the mall.
As part of ongoing renovations at Garden State Plaza, a former JC Penney store in the mall and a freestanding Best Buy store at the mall's property is being gutted for new purposes.
Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said it will begin refurbishing the center this year to add more cooking-assisted dining, family entertainment, and health and wellness tenants. The unveiling of the new living space, the office building, the hotel, the public park and the open green spaces will take place in 2022, it said.
"If you bring extra food and entertainment, you'll increase your stay," Tritant said. "The length of stay is much higher … and as a result people spend more."
Garden State Plaza is now anchored by the department stores Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Macy's, and Lord & Taylor. And while the mall includes luxury retailers such as Louis Vuitton and Tiffany, it also managed to attract so-called local brands such as eyewear manufacturer Warby Parker, shirt retailer Untuckit, sportswear company Fabletics and cosmetics chain Riley Rose to open stores there.
] Hudson Yards, owned by New York, is another development that mimics this so-called future-model mall, with residential, work, dining, and shopping opportunities, as well as an entire floor, the online brands is dedicated.
There is not much evidence to support the idea that "experiential" tenants will bring in shopping malls to boost activity. A recent study by the Thasos Group found malls with so-called "experiential tenants" that are not just geared to selling products – such as Apple, the Italian Food Hall Eataly and Tesla – no additional traffic. By the end of the last three months of 2018, indoor shopping malls with "experiential" tenants would not have benefited from increased buyer traffic compared to indoor malls without one of these unique, non-obvious tenants year-on-year, Thasos said.
However, there is evidence that revenue per square foot – a key indicator monitored by industry analysts – is growing significantly as mall owners add real estate to their offices and homes.
Macerich, one of the few publicly traded The mall's owners traded sales per square foot for each of their assets to reveal the Tysons Corner Center in Virginia's 1.5-acre outdoor venue for events, a 22-story office tower and A 28-story residential building transforms Apartment Tower and a hotel operated by Hyatt.
Tysons Corner posted 2009 sales of $ 645 per square foot to nearly $ 1,000 by the end of 2017, said BTIG REIT analyst Jim Sullivan. "By mixing some of these assets together, you have a really dramatic productivity growth."
Macerich is also one of the first owners of a shopping mall to add coworking spaces to its shopping malls that fill the space formerly used by department store chains. Other REITs are trying this too. Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield has added a WeWork to the Fulton Center in New York. And the Pennsylvania REIT recently provided a coworking space for the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey. For the first time, they worked with this type of tenant, with plans for more. The 1776 room is located near Forever 21 and Nordstrom and can accommodate more than 200 members.
Meanwhile, Simon Property Group, the largest US shopping center owner, has recently started Atlanta with the redevelopment of the Phipps Plaza shopping mall in Plymouth. It will include a Nobu Hotel, a 90,000 square foot Life Time Fitness and Entertainment Center, and a 13-story office tower, which was completed after completion.
Simon CEO David Simon talked to analysts about some of the malls this week. The owner's "never-to-be-guaranteed" new developments are no longer being cleared for retail this year – such as closures and bankruptcies.
Later this month, all of these mall owners will be meeting Las Vegas at the International Retail Council's Annual Retail Real Estate Conference, the industry's largest event in the world, to discuss how companies tackle store closures Emerging digital brands work together to open stationary stores more.