The mall was a big part of my adolescence. In my teen years there was just nothing better than getting together a group of girls and being dropped off at the mall by someone’s parents with a cool $20 bill burning a hole in my little purse. We’d spend hours there — eating, drinking, oohing and aahing over Guess jeans and Swatch watches, and just enjoying feeling grown up and out on our own.
It seems some things don’t change. During a lovely conversation with Brian Lade for this month’s cover feature, he shared that Gen Z (currently those between ages 6 and 24) are “power shoppers” — and the good news for malls is there are approximately 68 million of them in the U.S. right now. While today’s youth may never have known a world without smart phones and online shopping, they still seem to feel the same draw to the mall as a social gathering place.
In addition to the experience of wandering a mall or shop, there’s just some things that, to me at least, are hard to imagine purchasing online. I’m picky about how my shoes fit, the comfort level of my furniture and finding the perfect shade of foundation, so those are all among the things I need to experience before I purchase. I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Someday I imagine I will be dropping off my own daughter and her friends at the mall to make their own memories, so I was happy to hear Brian report that Lakeside Shopping Center is not only surviving, but “I am not sure if new leasing activity has ever been stronger than it is today.”
Long live Lakeside.
On another note, I’m excited about next month’s issue. Our October magazine is our annual real estate issue, the highlight of which is the chance to pick the brain of top people in both the residential and commercial sectors. There’s plenty to talk about right now — from the crazy residential boom, to the continued struggle for affordable housing options, to all the uncertainty in the office market. Stay tuned!
Kimberley Singletary, Managing Editor