What should we do to keep Jersey malls alive? Your ideas (Opinion)
The owner of a few South Jersey malls may have to file for bankruptcy to borrow $150 million. PREIT, the major owners of the Moorestown, Cherry Hill, and Cumberland malls along with several in Philadelphia and its suburbs is in big financial trouble. Malls in general around the state and the country struggle to attract customers amid a partial lockdown and growing online commerce, drawing clients away.
Traffic at malls has been dwindling in recent years and this year's pandemic may be the final straw. Many of the relics of the last century are still landmarks in many of our communities and provide much-needed tax revenue for towns and the state, not to mention the value of the properties they sit on.
Can these complexes be "repurposed" or "reimagined" to attract people of all demographics and tastes to come and spend their time and money? Many people think they can. Maybe not on the scale of The American Dream complex, which just opened after years of anticipation, and promises to draw thousands of visitors with its indoor ski slope. But on a smaller scale, there are some good ideas that just might remake these malls into popular attractions. Here are some ideas we and our listeners came up with.
- PICKLEBALL AND TENNIS COURTS
- INDOOR GROW FARMS FOR PRODUCE AND LEGAL WEED
- WATER PARKS
- INDOOR BOARDWALK VENUE WITH A WATER FEATURE
- ADULT ENTERTAINMENT COMPLEX WITH GAMBLING AND ADULT SHOWS
- TURN THE STORES INTO UPSCALE LIVING SPACES WITH SHOPS ALONG THE WAY
- GIANT INDOOR SKATE PARKS
- YEAR LONG CARNIVALS
- RESIDENTIAL LONG-TERM CARE FACILITIES
- MANUFACTURING CENTERS HOUSING SEVERAL COMPANIES IN ONE COMPLEX
- INDOOR SPORTS FIELDS LIKE SOCCER, BASEBALL, FOOTBALL AND FIELD HOCKEY
Whatever malls evolve into someday down the road, and they will, some of these ideas may be put to use. You heard it here first!
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis' own.