Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Comical look at Retail
Retail ©2008 Norm Feuti
It may be presented in a humorous way, but yet I have to pause and think about how true it really is.
Friday, April 17, 2009
"An Interview with Brian Ulrich"
Brian is known for taking photos of dead stores. His website is notifbutwhen.
C: What are some of these things you want to get to, exactly?
BU: I'm working on the chapter of my bigger project called Dark Stores, Ghostboxes and Dead Malls -- not just the changing retail landscape, but also the change in our economy and an economic model that has been in place since the mid-20th century. It's an economy based on disposable goods, and a society that has a continual influx of leisure time and cash to spend on new stuff. But things are changing and happening so fast, it's insane. Literally, timing the photography of a lot of these sites and locations is key -- the places get bulldozed.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
Are Shopping Malls Endangered?
Roger Koskela of the Kitsap Sun (near Seattle, WA) asks the question, "Are Shopping Malls Endangered?". The answer of course is yes.
After you read the article, also read my comments.
-- Brian Florence
Sunday, April 12, 2009
"In hard times, empty stores fascinate and fuel mournful tributes."
"A skinny young minister in black pants and a golf shirt paces around a riser in the middle of a cavernous room as he preaches to the thousands of people sitting all around him on a Sunday morning.
“Wisdom in the Scriptures is a female. Figure that out and your marriage will be special,” pastor Rob Bell tells the congregation, drawing loud laughter.
The video on YouTube shows the members of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Mich., gathering for worship. But unlike congregants in most churches, they are not arranged in pews facing an ornate altar. Instead, they sit in simple plastic chairs in an enormous windowless room. The only architectural features are a few pillars and rows of metal ceiling joists. Until the late 1990s, when it closed, this was the Grand Village Mall.
Mars Hill illustrates one use for the growing number of ailing malls across the country. But while some malls are resurrected in unexpected ways, many aren’t as fortunate. As the economy continues to tumble, the fate of all those empty stores has fueled a cadre of watchers devoted to the topic."Brian and myself are quoted in the article, as well as others. More at the link above.
"A Challenging Time for Malls Across the Nation."
"This is a challenging time for malls across the nation, which are being squeezed by the credit crunch at the same time that consumers scale back and retailers go out of business. People's appetites for luxury and discretionary items are weak...Some people are even questioning whether the typical enclosed shopping mall is a dying breed as people flock to open-air centers or big box stores. Even before the recession, malls had started shuttering."Much more in the link above.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Retailer Wants Out of Dead Mall
This is the same mall that earlier this week was the subject of an NAACP boycott over alleged racism and xenophobia.
One of the mall's co-owners is General Growth Properties, a company on the brink of bankruptcy, as you saw here in late March.
Perhaps they should consider changing the word "General," to "Malignant," in light of recent events.
Labels: end of the world watch
Thursday, April 09, 2009
Tuesday, April 07, 2009
"The Looming Implosion in Commercial Real Estate."
Sunday, April 05, 2009
Indoor Surfing: a Sign of Desperate Times
In addition to dying malls now welcoming in formerly shunned "downscale chains" (there's a term to remember -- you'll be hearing it again) like Big Lots, the most amazing thing about the article has to be the segment on "The Flowrider," which some malls are installing to attract curious (and presumably unemployed and possibly brain-damaged) onlookers. Not only does the idiotic machine waste tens of thousands of gallons of water, but its developers are able to charge up to two million dollars for each installation.
Friedrich Nietzsche once famously said, "Those you cannot teach to fly, teach to fall faster." Or, you know: Hang Ten.
Labels: end of the world watch
Saturday, April 04, 2009
101 Uses for a Deserted Mall
Thursday, April 02, 2009
"The Best Buy That Never Was."
In an amazing display of understatement, the story blames "bad breaks and unfortunate timing," for the disastrous set of circumstances that has befallen Alexander Place Crossing (the perfect, ridiculous name for a mall conceived and constructed after the mall era has already ended), which in October of 2007 had secured Best Buy as an anchor store. Best Buy's involvement convinced other retail outlets to sign on, but then it was learned local regulations outlawed Best Buy's gigantic, garish signage from taking up a demanded 700 square feet of space. Best Buy bowed out, and then so did everyone else, the developer already having spent millions on construction.
The News and Observer's Jack Hagel waxes poetic on the current state of the deadmall-to-be:
"Today, a 30,000-square-foot box, the Best Buy that never was, sits dark. Its deep blue and egg yolk-yellow skin dictates the design of other empty store fronts, including one with a shattered window. Grass grows in an almost-finished parking lot."As America's love affair with the doomed and destructive suburban shopping mall becomes an ever-dimmer memory in the rear-view mirror of cars that will soon run out of gas for good, let us pause and reflect on the brilliance of a writer who could wring such touching prose out of the sight of a gaudy Best Buy sign.
Oh, to live in a world where one could see that nightmarish tribute to consumer excess as "deep blue and egg-yolk-yellow," and not as a warning of impending doom for a country bent on destroying itself as spectacularly as possible. Rather than a tragic collapse of retail hopes and dreams, one might view the ironic tale of Alexander Place Crossing as a bullet, dodged. Barely.
To quote James Howard Kunstler, "Ridicule is the unfortunate destiny of the ridiculous."
Ridicule, and a zero-percent tenancy rate, apparently.
Wednesday, April 01, 2009
"Malls R Us" Snubbed at Montreal Film Fest
Full details at The Art Newspaper.