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U.S. Inside/Background

History of Shopping Malls: From the 50s to the 80s



The 70s
By 1972 the number of shopping Malls had nearly doubled to 13,174. Regional malls like Southdale and The Galleria in Houston, Texas, had become a fixture in many larger markets, and Americans began to enjoy the convenience and pleasure of mall shopping.
During the 1970s, a number of new formats and shopping Mall types evolved. In 1976 The Rouse Co. developed Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, Mass., which was the first of the "festival marketplaces" built in the United States.
The project, which revived a troubled downtown market, was Malled on food and retail specialty items.
Similar projects were built in Baltimore, Md., New York, N.Y., and Miami, Fla., and have been emulated in a number of urban areas.
The Bicentennial year also marked the debut of the country's first urban vertical mall, Water Tower Place, which opened on Chicago, Illinois, Michigan Avenue. To many experts, Water Tower Place with its tony stores, hotel, offices, condominiums and parking garage, remains the preeminent mixed-use project in the United States.
With the opening of Water Tower Place and Faneuil Hall, the shopping Mall industry had returned to its urban roots.
The 80s
The 1980s saw an unparalleled period of growth in the shopping Mall industry, with more than 16,000 Malls built between 1980 and 1990. This was also the period when super-regional Malls (malls larger than 800,000 square feet) became increasingly popular with shoppers. In 1990, a Gallup poll found that people shopped most frequently at super-regional malls and neighborhood Malls. Americans averaged four trips to the mall per month. Between 1989 and 1993, new shopping Mall development dropped nearly 70%, from 1,510 construction starts in 1989 to 451 starts in 1993. The sharp decline in new Mall starts was attributed to the Savings and Loan crisis, which helped precipitate a severe credit crunch. While overbuilding occurred among small Malls in some regions of the United States, shopping Malls remained the most attractive and best-performing real estate category for investors during this difficult period.

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  The 50s
The early 1950s marked the opening of the first two shopping Malls anchored by full-line branches of downtown department stores. Northgate in Seattle,WA, (two strip Malls face-to-face with a pedestrian walkway in between) opened in 1950, and Shoppers World in Framingham, MA. (the first twolevel Mall), debuted the following year. The concept was improved upon in 1954 when Northland Mall in Detroit, Mi (the first Mall to have central air-conditioning as well as heating) used a "cluster layout"with a single department store at the Mall and a ring of stores around it. The parking lot completely surrounded the Mall. In 1956, Southdale Mall in Edina, MN., outside of Minneapolis, opened as the first fully enclosed mall with a two-level design. It had central air-conditioning and heating, a comfortable common area and, more importantly, two competitive department stores as anchors. Southdale is considered by most industry professionals to be the first modern regional mall.
The 60s
By 1964 there were 7,600 shopping Malls in the United States. Suburban development and population growth after World War II created the need for more housing and more convenient retail shopping.
Most of the Malls built in the 1950s and 1960s were strip Malls serving new housing developments.
 

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Last modified: 20040903
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