Several posts ago, I wondered aloud why there wasn’t a more critical discussion surrounding City Creek. The questions raised in that post, however, were promoted by a general sense that malls are bad investments and on the wane. From a piece on a mall in New Jersey from The Daily Beast:
The scale and scope of the project would be breathtaking in its own right. But what makes Xanadu extraordinary is the fact that it is emerging just as the American mall—that most quintessential of American institutions—is in its dying throes, if not already dead. Moribund malls have not gone unnoticed amongst industry analysts and Web sites like Deadmalls.com that feature photos of hundreds of now-abandoned sites. But what were once just worrying signs appear to have finally flat-lined.
That’s a description that could certainly apply to City Creek.
But more importantly on the hyper-local level, what does it mean for the malls in Utah County? I’ve written before that I believe Provo’s Towne Center Mall is better poised to succeed long-term than Orem’s University Mall. I’m more and more convinced of that fact all the time — not because I like Provo’s mall better but rather because Provo seems better managed and Orem seems to be a victim of circumstance.
But long term, will either mall survive? I truly can’t imagine how. Neither mall is particularly successful. Neither is in a particularly good location. And the investment going into both cities, and especially Provo, is directed to other areas.
I have no idea what will happen in the future to the malls in Utah County, but it’d be wise to start thinking about what will replace them in a generation or less.