Several circumstances converged on influencing us to create a story line about warehouses and malls which we could consolidate and share with our clients.
The first circumstance was, well our clients. Namely the brokers who transact in the industrial market. Brokers always need an edge and some of the most competitive brokers we work with were mentioning the same phenomenon in different ways: Amazon was buying malls, Amazon was “renovating malls, Malls were the next big Amazon play.
Of course the demise of the mall was, at least in terms of the speed of the market and the times, old news.
But what Amazon was doing with malls was a rumor based upon perhaps one project in the very early days of these musings. We wanted to understand the “phenomenon” better and define it relative to industrial- why is it important that Amazon who was warping warehousing typologies via e-commerce needs was interested in malls?
And frankly we were tired of all of the prognostications that the future of industrial was vertical. That story line had been out for over seven years and had lost its purchase on the term future- let alone its false premise that it would be something new to have vertical warehouses. Many making this “prediction” have not been to Chicago as best we could tell. We wanted to define a more interesting speculation about how to imagine the future of industrial.
Adaptive re-use is a better option for malls being converted to last mile. Malls in the right demographic spots were too expensive to buy and demolish. And the building types that accommodate last mile needs don’t need excessive land bays in most cases, as well as having some positive vitality potential for what would be left of the mall- the employees of Amazon.