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Commercial Law Land Use and Planning

The 'Death Spiral' of Malls

It's impossible not to notice the vacancies when walking into a shopping mall in the United States. To stem the tide, certain mall owners in high-profile bankruptcy cases have addressed the retail bankruptcy trend in a unique and (virtually) unprecedented way.

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It’s impossible not to notice the vacancies when walking into a shopping mall in the United States. The New York Times recently reported that 15% of malls are 10%-40% vacant — up from 5% with that range of vacancy a decade ago. However, in comparison, in 2006, 94% of malls had a vacancy rate of 10%. In addition, 3.4% (or approximately 30 million square feet) are more than 40% empty. Taking all of this into account, Green Street Advisors, a firm that tracks the performance of the mall industry, recently said that the increased number of mall vacancies signals the onset of the “death spiral” of malls in the United States.

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