Columbus built more malls than any city in the nation from 1997 to 2001, as the Mall at Tuttle Crossing, Easton Town Center and Polaris Fashion Place came to life. But the prognosis for their predecessors—Columbus City Center, Northland Mall and Westland Mall among them—hasn’t been as rosy.
Aging indoor malls are suffering nationwide as shoppers shift toward outdoor “lifestyle centers” like Easton.
Polaris is getting into the trend too, converting the vacant Kaufmann’s department store into 160,000 square feet of open-air space. These newer outdoor developments are walkable, parkable and very profitable, according to an analyst.
By contrast, of 2,000 old-fashioned indoor malls included in a 2001 study, 19 percent were dead or terminally ill.
For those still clinging to their fond memories of escalators, atrium fountains and food courts, the country’s retail zombies have been eulogized by DeadMalls.com.
The website memorializes more than 300 dead or dying shopping centers, including 21 in Ohio. The Columbus malls included on the deathwatch are City Center, New Market Mall, Northland and Westland.