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Monday, March 30, 2015

Au courant de Malls...

There comes a time when someone questions there best judgement and realizes what they enjoy isn't all what its cracked up to be. In the automotive industry, its a bad day for the mechanic when he cannot figure out what is causing the car to not turn on, in fishing, its a bad day on the lake when none of the fish take to the new bate you are using, and in the mall industry, what causes a shopping center to prosper, and what causes it to go down.

Some prime examples of thriving malls in the business are the ones that are in the higher-class areas of the city and suburbs, "are we all caught up to speed, good, lets keep going." Its a combination of stores, location, geography, and demographic.

Where there is a surviving mall, there is one that has not lived up to shopper expectations. Take the Mall at Short Hills, in one of the many higher income towns of outer Newark suburbs, very popular, housing some of the highest end stores like Nieman Marcus, Coach, and Versace. While, and hour away, in Burlington Township, the Burlington Town Center has come down to only being occupied by a hand full of stores and Sears.
Mall at Short Hills- Short Hills, New Jersey
 This is a simple comparison of some primary examples of how trends and location effect malls, why does this course of action only happen to these specific properties out of all other possible choices. The Crestwood Court Mall in lower St. Louis is well known around dead mall blogs and websites for being empty and dumped by several buyers because of location and maintenance issues.

Former Famous-Barr/ Macy's at the now dead Crestwood Court Mall in St. Louis, Missouri
People are all too aware of how this affects there community, from taxes to crime rates, when there is an abandoned property, that drives other retailers out, causing taxes to get lower in the area, which causes a lower- class grouping of people to take to the area, and drive the overall value of the area down, and that is how good and bad sides of town are formed.

As scary as it seems, its the brutal trust that this is how issues in this countries economy form, based on conclusions like this, there are the good areas, and there are the bad areas, and they are stereotyped because of how property value drops, specifically malls and shopping centers.

Former The Broadway Department Store at the dead Hawthorne Plaza in Hawthorne, California
 Even if the mall is not on the best part of town, its the demographic that keeps the level of luxury to the standard that the owner wants, if is borders bad parts of town, there are places that keep the people in that area occupied from going to a better place, and causing trouble, or dragging the value down, I could be totally wrong, but I rarely ever am, I just over examine.

Its all about being all too aware of how this happens and based on where you live, is what keeps the mall thriving and what brings the mall to close.
The very posh South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, California
I have made this a very controversial topic, so if anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to post below.

Thank you for reading

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Woodfield Mall: The Best Mall in Illinois- Construction Update

I said it before and I will come to say it again, Woodfield Mall is the best mall in the state of Illinois, and I can back myself up with also saying that the majority of the country thinks the same when Woodfield places in the top 10 best malls in America and is also one of the largest, placing 10th at over 2.2 million square feet and growing.

Over the last several months, there have been many changes going on, with the construction of a Namco- themed restaurant/ Pac-Man Arcade opening in part of the current Sears store, the Sears receiving new signage throughout the store, and all the old bricks and carpet and foliage is being torn up and will be replaced by new sleek and shiny white and neutral colored tiles to keep up with the trend of modern shopping centers.

This is an updated post to show the progress of the construction that is taking place around the anchor wings and center court.

Here is the link to my original article on the Woodfield Mall, it is a great way to compare older pictures to what is seen here, as most of them were taken back in late 2012, and some of 2013.

The Plan:
(Courtesy: Simon Property Group)

(Courtesy: Simon Property Group)

(Courtesy: Simon Property Group)
Sears and Level 257:

November 2014:

January 2015:
The Sears store went from brown to black-

February 2015:
Its show time-

The outside of the mall:

Sears Comparison:
November 2014-

February 2015:

The center courts and seating area is being torn up, and has since been removed, as the sequence of pictures below can show the changes.

The locally famous statue in front of Sears has been removed as the rest of the art pieces

If anyone has any questions or comments, feel free to post below.

Thank you for reading.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Toddle House: That Little Blue Roof at the End of the Block.

Ah, speaking of strange and odd, not Huddle House, no, not Waffle House, its Toddle House, and they were a national chain of quick service breakfast joints that were open 24 hours a day 7 days a week. The chain was started in the 1920's when an owner of a restaurant chain in Memphis by the name that I am not to familiar with was approached by a man that offered to supply the building goods if he could have him build his restaurants.

By the 1950s, Toddle House had more than 200 locations in almost 90 cities.

It was in the 1980s that the chain began to struggle, as earlier, in 1962, Toddle was bought by competitor Dobbs Houses. Then in January 1988, Carson Pirie Scott of Chicago borrowed 108 million dollars to buy out Dobbs Houses and later sold the chain to a private equity firm, that quickly liquidated the chain.

The chain was unsuccessfully revitalized by Carson's as they projected 500 locations to be opened, with 50 of the proposed to be opened in Florida by 1991.

The plan did not work out as they were sold off with little profit.


A picture I took of a former Toddle House in Mt. Vernon, Illinois during a drip down state in August 2013

Turned into a generic breakfast place, called The Waffle Company


Many former locations:

Green Street- Chicago, Illinois

Modern day:

Please feel free to post and comment below

Thank you for reading