‘What Mall?’ Landlords Laugh Nervously While Trying to Hide Giant Sign Reading ‘MALL HERE’

What mall? I don’t see a mall! Photo: Getty Images.

When you see 360,000 sprawling feet of retail options, you may
assume you can safely call it a “mall.” But landlords insist
that you are a silly goose and in fact it is a “promenade.” Or
“shoppes.” Or a “crossing.” But it is definitely not a
mall, and they don’t know where you got that impression!

The Wall Street Journal
reports
that more and more landlords and developers are
frantically stripping the word “mall” off things that are
definitely malls:

The former Ballston Common Mall recently scrubbed the
four-letter word from its name, part of a makeover designed
to obscure that it is, well, in fact, a mall.

“The mall needed to de-mall,” said Jean Komendera, president
of marketing firm Gold Dog Communications Inc., who worked on
rebranding the property. Also off the list was any word that
sounded like a mall, such as pavilion and galleria.

Landlords are expunging the m-word from shopping-center
entrances,
Facebook
pages and corporate materials. Of the 90
regional malls that have undergone renovations since 2014, 17
have removed “mall” from their names, according to property
consultancy JLL.

And, to be fair, many times they’ve made changes to justify the
name change:

Owners of upscale multipurpose leisure-time consumer
destinations [I love it when the Journal
gets sassy -KF]
say a name change is in order, since
they have ripped off roofs, planted trees and otherwise
reimagined their properties. The centers no longer are
rectangular boxes of windowless stores surrounded by
rectangles of parking. They now boast gyms, office space and
restaurants as well as street lamps, apartments and hotels.

“Retail, especially in the context of mixed-use projects, is as
much about place, experience, entertainment, wellness and
community as it is about shopping, and the word ‘mall’ doesn’t
fully embody those qualities,” Will Voegele, SVP of development
at the parent company of what was Ballston Common Mall, but
with the addition of “apartments, a food hall, and outdoor
event space” has become Ballston Quarter. Totally not a mall!
Just like those upscale food halls featuring a variety of local
restaurateurs are definitely not regular old mall food
courts with a graphic design sensibility that borrows heavily
from Etsy.

Just think of all the rebrands the future holds. Miniature golf
courses from the ’60s can become “destination experiences” for
millennials hunting social media photo ops, in the style of

the Museum of Ice Cream.
Insist all the shopping bags are
made out of plain brown paper and suddenly it’s like an
old-time general store. Add a shuttle bus to a giant parking
lot two doors down and it becomes “ride sharing.” Those aren’t
massage chairs—they’re a networking hub. The possibilities are
endless!

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