Or do they.
When the mall biz loses its way, perhaps these design prescriptions can show owners a new path to profit. So says Jim Anderson of DIALOG design. As reported by Rebecca Keillor in Postmedia outlet The Vancouver Sun.
Some of his ideas involve thinking about transportation, as used by customers to get to the mall. Rest assured it isn’t all about bigger parking lots, he says. And it does involve consideration of the nature of the surrounding community.
Mr. Anderson spoke in part about his firm’s design for a $550M, 210,000 sq.ft.expansion and renovation of 1971-vintage Sherway Gardens, a 200-shop mall in the former Etobicoke, operated by Cadillac Fairview. It’s anchored by the Bay and Holt Renfrew. The usual suspects in mall retail are all there. Nordstrom has announced it will arrive in September 2017.
“People don’t go to the shopping centre to buy any more,” says Anderson . . . “They used to go to shop, but they can buy it online, so the experience needs to be a richer experience, more a sense of place.” . .
. . . When DIALOG designed Toronto’s Sherway Gardens, one of the largest malls in the GTA, Anderson says it applied this philosophy.
“We deliberately expanded it towards the street to start to address the street in an urban way, rather than simply be an island in the middle of a parking structure,” he says. “And not just addressing it in a ‘façadism’ type of way, like dressing up the exterior — a brick fortress in the middle of a parking lot — but actually activate the experience so that from the outside things were happening.” . . .
. . . They also designed the mall around where the transit stops are, and are going to be, preserving part of the site for a subway station, and really thinking about how people will be arriving at the mall, not simply “from a car to the entrance”.
“So how will people actually arrive by bicycle?” he says. “How would they arrive by foot? How would they arrive by bus? How would they first experience the shopping centre?”
Mr. Anderson makes a nice sales pitch. But. Frankly. Sherway Gardens is still a freeway & car dependent mall, now comprising roughly 1,200,000 sq.ft. It strongly reminds me of Tsawassen Mills. It has more local population, more freeways, and probably more competition. Today, Sherway Gardens boasts 6000 free parking spots (according to Parktopia) and valet parking for only $10. I couldn’t find the word “subway” in any publicity for Sherway Gardens, except for the sandwich shop.