The Economics (and Nostalgia) of Dead Malls

Reprint from NY Times

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Inside the gleaming mall here on the Sunday before Christmas, just one thing was missing: shoppers.

The upbeat music of “Jingle Bell Rock” bounced off the tiles, and the smell of teriyaki chicken drifted from the food court, but only a handful of stores were open at the sprawling enclosed shopping center. A few visitors walked down the long hallways and peered through locked metal gates into vacant spaces once home to retailers like H&M, Wet Seal and Kay Jewelers.

dead malls

Across America, the Dead Malls Are Growing

“It’s depressing,” Jill Kalata, 46, said as she tried on a few of the last sneakers for sale at the Athlete’s Foot, scheduled to close in a few weeks. “This place used to be packed. And Christmas, the lines were out the door. Now I’m surprised anything is still open.”

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City looking at hiking taxes on vacant properties

Reprinted from

City looking at hiking taxes on vacant properties

The RemGrit factory buildings facing Helen Street between Barnum Avenue and Grant Street on Bridgeport’s West Side on Tuesday, November 18, 2014. The partially demolished complex of buildings has suffered numerous fires in recent years. Photo: Brian A. Pounds

BRIDGEPORT — Anyone familiar with the abandoned manufacturing plants and vacant lots scarring Connecticut’s largest city has shared the same thought: Just get rid of the blight and build something already!

City officials are considering taxing at least some of those underused properties at a higher rate to compel owners to stop “land-hoarding” and either get more aggressive about redevelopment, or sell to someone who is.

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