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Posted on Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 8:30 a.m.

People want 'Main Street' shopping developments, not malls

By Lizzy Alfs

Ditching the more traditional malls that grew in popularity during the last few decades, developers are now trying to recreate “Main Street” shopping experiences.

Outdoor town center concepts with a mix of retail, residential, office space and even parks or schools, are growing in demand, the Washington Post reports.

And nationally, only 2 new mall developments have been erected since 2009, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

The owners of a mall in Maryland announced plans last week to tear the existing building down and replace it with an outdoor shopping center, complete with housing, shops, offices, a hotel, an elementary school and a public park.

The plan would span 5.2 million square feet and take 25 years to complete.

The owner of a mall in Virginia has proposed similar plans: Replacing the indoor mall with a mix of housing, retail, office buildings and a hotel.

Read the full report here.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at



Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 4:36 a.m.

These outdoor shopping centers are great on a sunny, 70-75 degree day...but we live in Michigan, and I'm not going to take my young child shopping if I can't park relatively close to the building and get inside away from the elements on a snowy, rainy, or blustery day. These shopping centers are perfect for Arizona, Florida, California, etc...but not for Michigan.


Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 6:58 p.m.

Typically, Reston Town Center, Reston, Virginia is held up as the model for this type of development. It really goes to show how gullible folks are. RTC was started about 25 years ago. It was never in the "town center" but was built to look that way out on the outskirts of town (there was such a thing 25 years ago, even around DC). You add a hotel, stores along the "town square", throw in some free local concerts, maybe a skating rink and some restaurants and a couple bars and there you have it. Except you still drive there, and park in a parking garage - and the real town center? Not anymore.


Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 6:22 p.m.

Yes, but what is misleading here is NOT that they want Main Street type experiences on Main Street --- they want Main Street type experiences in mall-locations outside of town centers....which in reality just makes it another shopping mall without a roof.


Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

Why "recreate "Main Street" shopping experiences" when we have it ready to go? We just need a better city council!

The Picker

Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 2:47 p.m.

Do you think their stupid enough to include parking meters in their plan ?


Thu, Nov 24, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

The outdoor mall-type centers DO have parking meters. But they usually also include a parking garage that is typically free. Park on the mall "streets" you pay. Park in the garage and walk around, free. See Crocker Park in Cleveland for example.