A spokesperson for Cleveland-based Forest City Realty Trust Inc. tells 7 Eyewitness News that the company has decided to sell the Boulevard Mall as part of a new strategy to pay down its debt and focus on its core markets in areas such as New York City and Washington, D.C.
Forest City has operated the Boulevard Mall since 1962 when it became the company's first regional enclosed shopping center.
The sale is expected to take several months to complete and Forest City says it should not have any impact on day-to-day shopping for customers.
An asking price was not revealed, but if no buyer if found, the spokesperson said Forest City will continue to operate the mall and keep it open for customers.
For Western New York shoppers, it is the latest change involving malls that are dealing with new trends and different attitudes by consumers.
They use to be a place of social gatherings and consumerism. Now, malls across the country are shutting their doors.
Notable tenants such as Macy's and Sears have been closing stores too. We've seen a few of these stores in local malls close in our own backyard, and for good reasons. According to a Green Street report, Sears would have to close around 300 stores if it wanted to be as productive and profitable as it was back in the mid-2000s. That's 43 percent of it's stores.
However, while some malls across the country struggle to attract customers, others are swimming in cash. According to Fortune.com and Green Street, high quality malls that have growing specialty stores, such as Apple and luxury department stores like Nordstrom are rising in value in sales per square feet.
In fact, and Green Street report showed mall sales per square feet in quality malls are up 36% since 2010. While Green Street Advisors predict steady growth for quality malls in the future, they do highlight a number of risks that could have a negative impact on malls over time, such as a decrease in income growth and eCommerce.
Remember the Rainbow Mall up in Niagara Falls? It was considered to be one of the premiere malls in the area. Now, it's home to the NCCC Culinary Institute. If you ever want to explore the mall again from the seat of your home, there are photos online up at deadmalls.com.
Shopping malls haven't been around that long. It all started back in 1948, when an architect by the name of Victor Gruen got stranded in Detroit because of a snow storm. He decided to visit a department store by the name of Hudson's. He noticed that downtown Detroit was in decline, while the suburbs were growing.
Gruen convinced Hudson's to move their department store to the suburbs and build a shopping center that would have other tenants in it. Gruen's initial plans to build the shopping center were put off because of the Korean War. However, this gave him time to thoroughly think his plan through. He came up with an idea to surround Hudson's with three smaller stores , and the rest is history. For a more detailed look into shopping malls, click on this link.
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