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(10,048 posts)
Thu Apr 11, 2024, 11:01 AM Apr 11

America is full of abandoned malls. What if we turned them into housing? [View all]

Amy Casciani, a longtime real estate developer whose corporation built housing across seven states, watched her local community struggle for years to add new homes.

Casciani grew up in upstate New York, in a suburban town outside Rochester. She eventually started a family and raised her children there, and in the early 1990s, a new mall opened up, bringing over 100 new stores including anchor retailers like Sibley’s, J.C. Penney, and Sears.

The mall was a proud boon to the town of Irondequoit, and a go-to spot for teenagers to hang out. “Hands down the most attractive shopping mall in the area,” an editorial for a newspaper serving Albany declared. “From its blue Legolike entrances and splashing fountain to its light-trimmed glass roof, columns and carousel, the mall exudes carnival gaiety.”

But in a few short years, retail patterns across the United States began to change. Mall foot traffic slowed and online shopping ticked up. Stores in the Irondequoit Mall began to close, and by 2016, the last major anchor, Sears, called it quits.

Casciani ached for her town, which not only was dealing with the eyesore of the abandoned mall but also lacked enough vacant land to develop desperately needed affordable housing. Her nonprofit development group, PathStone, embarked on a complex but meaningful project: They retrofitted the Sears department store into 73 rental apartments and built a new four-story multifamily building with 84 rental units on the adjacent parking lot.


No reason, other than lazy developers who'd rather take the tax loss.

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That Mall JustAnotherGen Apr 11 #1
Another Rochester area DUer. SergeStorms Apr 11 #14
I was born in Rochester, grew up in the village of Geneseo budkin Apr 11 #39
Marketplace is still going... SergeStorms Apr 11 #49
Guys are different like that. GenThePerservering Apr 11 #66
if our walmart were to pull up stakes , id love to see it as a homless shelter or put AllaN01Bear Apr 11 #59
I've been in NJ since 2006! JustAnotherGen Apr 11 #64
I love Scottsville. SergeStorms Apr 11 #65
I've been thinking this for some time mcar Apr 11 #2
Same, here. But it will require government support. $$ lindysalsagal Apr 11 #6
Absolutely mcar Apr 11 #16
Office buildings wouldn't be a problem to convert NanaCat Apr 11 #56
the challenge with converting office space or malls into homes is the plumbing RAB910 Apr 11 #3
And the air conditioning, and the electrical... tinrobot Apr 11 #10
Yep, lots of code and construction issues involved Zeitghost Apr 11 #11
Yes many code issues. Old Crank Apr 11 #44
They could face a center green space and communal areas. pandr32 Apr 11 #25
Yes this is beginning to happen and could be just the thing for families Peacetrain Apr 11 #4
Someone has to do it. Srkdqltr Apr 11 #5
Several old malls are considering that in my area. I'm just not sure they are looking at really affordable housing. Silent Type Apr 11 #7
Only governement can help this Johnny2X2X Apr 11 #8
According to the article State and federal governments are. Fla Dem Apr 11 #33
McMansions & "Townhomes from the low 800s" Dulcinea Apr 11 #57
Several decades ago I tried to get the city to convert a hospital into housing MagickMuffin Apr 11 #9
One of the biggest problems with getting housing available for people ScratchCat Apr 11 #12
The system is broken and there is no ideological capacity to admit this. Voltaire2 Apr 11 #13
Actually Jilly_in_VA Apr 11 #15
Housing became unaffordable due to the Great Recession, orthoclad Apr 11 #34
The parking lots of these closed malls offer a place to build new housing. h2ebits Apr 11 #17
good idea. some have HUUUUGE lots. BlueWaveNeverEnd Apr 11 #47
Almost no one wants to do anything unless RipVanWinkle Apr 11 #18
Why did the mall idea not succeed? CTyankee Apr 11 #19
Malls destroyed Main Street, orthoclad Apr 11 #38
Retail was over-expanded in the 80s and early 90s GenThePerservering Apr 11 #67
Make them retirement homes for Gen X! Bettie Apr 11 #20
converting some buildings into housing is harder than it looks dembotoz Apr 11 #21
Blaming "developers"'is easy.. brooklynite Apr 11 #22
Stop injecting reality into this discussion. maxsolomon Apr 11 #26
The White Plains Galleria is being converted Scrivener7 Apr 11 #41
Nope malls were never 'nice' IbogaProject Apr 11 #23
Much of it is moniss Apr 11 #24
Either that or pickleball courts! Goodheart Apr 11 #27
I have seen some articles about dead mall conversion into pickleball, tennis, yellowdogintexas Apr 11 #37
It is often cheaper to build from scratch than to renovate a property. totodeinhere Apr 11 #28
They want to turn ours into a casino. twodogsbarking Apr 11 #29
Nashua NH jgorman1962 Apr 11 #31
Suitability, cost and ease of conversion depends on age, condition bucolic_frolic Apr 11 #30
Communist! orthoclad Apr 11 #32
Why not AFORDABLE housing? jgorman1962 Apr 11 #35
+1 leftstreet Apr 11 #42
Very difficult and expensive. Elessar Zappa Apr 11 #36
They're attempting it at one site near me. Scrivener7 Apr 11 #40
Maybe convert to services instead of housing Kaleva Apr 11 #43
My local mall worked with the city council to lease to the library meadowlander Apr 11 #48
Yes. Turn the mall into a community hub Kaleva Apr 11 #61
With a big increase in local population Mossfern Apr 11 #45
And truck parking! marybourg Apr 11 #46
I read a great article about this... WarGamer Apr 11 #50
The answer is simple but controversial. WarGamer Apr 11 #51
You are right about controversial Redleg Apr 11 #52
+100...nt WarGamer Apr 11 #53
The city/county/state can't just "take land". It has to buy it. meadowlander Apr 12 #69
I should have been more clear... TAKE their own land. WarGamer Apr 12 #70
I think it would take a lot of work, but it's possible Deep State Witch Apr 11 #54
Reminds me of 2004's 'Dawn of the Dead' Bonx Apr 11 #55
Turning abandoned malls into housing may seem like a good idea, but most are faced with big building code issues. elocs Apr 11 #58
But we need to pay for the next football stadium Kennah Apr 11 #60
They did it in Providence drmeow Apr 11 #62
One of our malls Texasgal Apr 11 #63
Santa Ana, CA, has done exactly that...great project in area needing both supportive housing and wiggs Apr 11 #68
Windows. Windows are why. jmowreader Apr 12 #71
you mean like this? Skittles Apr 12 #72
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