Sunday, April 12, 2009

"In hard times, empty stores fascinate and fuel mournful tributes."

Columbia University's Columbia News Service reports on the long existing and ever increasing downfall of the suburban retail environment and how it could become even more widespread with the current hard economic times.

"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.

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