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Project Players Monitor & Tracker

We also keep track of notable projects of the past as "best practices" analogs and general reference.
Major Shopping Centers Getting Redeveloped
Major Shopping Centers Getting Redeveloped – the Latest

The major shopping centers getting redeveloped is illustrating the concept of highest-and-best-use for retail properties everywhere.


Trends in product and consumer preferences that were already in progress have been propelled by the events of 2020.    Accordingly, these mall repurposing schemes are less about better opportunities for these properties and more about the impact of the Covid-19 shutdown, the resulting failures of anchor retailers, and the continuation of consumer preferences for online shopping, among other factors.   Such is the state of the retail industry these days.



There is some good news, in that many retail properties are well-located in their communities, and there are alternative anchors - even all-new uses.



What has emerged is an industry focused upon highest-and-best-use and simply “opportunistic use,” for many of these struggling malls.   The feasibility analysis for these potential alternate schemes involves several constituencies, each of which has objectives for these malls that may conflict:


  • The investors and lenders that have capital tied up in these retail properties have their investment interest and to some extent they are agnostic as to repurposing so long as their capital is well deployed.   But repurposing does require new capital!


  • The local municipalities and county (or state) agencies having jurisdiction also have their role, starting with property and sales taxes.


  • Then there are the consumers, many of whom have a stake in having a shopping center in their community, and may not take kindly to losing part or all of their local shopping center.


  • Oh, and then there the tenants themselves who not only chose their locations to based upon co-tenancy provisions and the overall critical mass of clustered tenants.


Clearly, a lot of parties with sometimes conflicting interests, all are involved in major shopping centers getting redeveloped.



The Good News – Good News and Sometimes Good Alternatives


There is some good news.  In general, many retail properties are well-located in their communities, along primary traffic corridors, quality ingress/egress, and visibility from approaches zones.   These site attributes that worked well for shopping centers, in many instances make for excellent locations for mixed-use repurposing – often at higher densities than prior retail use.   This higher density can allow for projects to carry affordable housing components, which is a dire need in most communities.


The other good news is that there are alternative anchors, and even all-new uses.   Active mixed-use anchors such as multi-family housing, senior housing and care facilities, sports and recreation venues, health care, local college and universities (and their satellites), and location-based entertainment, can be viable for specific locations.   And there are the additional possibilities although not with the same synergies, such as data centers, fulfillment and logistics warehouses, dark groceries, and the like.


Major Shopping Centers Getting Redeveloped and Repurposed

Malls that have obsolescent designs or less than optimal locations given their customer support, are in particular risk during this age of mall transformation.


For More Information


With regard to major shopping centers getting redeveloped – we are tracking announced mall repurposing efforts.   This list of such malls is growing each, and we can now refer to our mall redevelopment list, as the Top 100 Mall Redevelopment and Adaptive Re-Use Projects.


Our Top 100 Malls in Redevelopment list is available here:


> Shopping Mall Redevelopment and Re-Use


The World's Largest Mega Projects
The World’s Largest Mega Projects – the Latest

The world’s largest mega projects are tracked in our Global Top 100 index, including primarily private-sector and public-private real estate projects.  The largest of these mega projects are typically mixed-use (or multi-use as the Urban Land Institute may suggest), involve regeneration (redevelopment) of existing properties, and cost in excess of USD $1 billion.


There is great variety in these megaprojects.  In general, no two are alike since each is customized to its location, setting, and economic circumstances.   Some such as  the redevelopment of Philadelphia Energy Solutions’ refinery in Philadelphia include a large land area (here, 1,300 acres) and a vision of a huge build-out (15 million square feet).  Other mega-projects are developed at much higher densities on smaller project sites.  Sunnyside Yard Queen in New York is a proposed $14.5 billion development on 180 acres, that would include 12,000 house units.


During 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has not obviated interest in these projects proceeding, and in fact, new projects have been announced.


The Global Top 100 Mega Projects also include what are essentially, all-new cities.   Eko Atlantic in Lagos (Nigeria) is situated on 2,471 acres of coastal landfill and is well into development.   Egypt’s new capital city is under construction east of Cairo, and is a massive investment intended to fully replace Cairo in its central governance role.


The public sector is frequently a partner in these projects since the regional economic development impact can be enormous, net of public investment in infrastructure and other incentives.


During 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has certainly impacted the planning and construction of new mega projects, but in general, has not obviated investor and governmental interest in these projects proceeding.  In fact, new projects have been announced in the midst of the pandemic.



The World's Largest Mega Projects



Defining a Mega-Project

Most definitions offered for mega projects define such projects as having a capital budget in excess of USD $1 billion. According to the Oxford Handbook of Megaproject Management, “Megaprojects are large-scale, complex ventures that typically cost $1 billion or more, take many years to develop and build, involve multiple public and private stakeholders, are transformational, and impact millions of people.”


For more Information

Our ongoing mega project research is available here > Global Top 100 Mega Projects – the Latest List

Retailer bankruptcies and store closings.
Lifestyle Retail Centers the “Evergreen” for Malls?
As winners and losers become apparent, lifestyle centers may be well-poised for the future.

Are lifestyle retail centers, the “evergreen” among mall formats?    For several important reasons, we believe this may be true.


Let’s start with the capacity for lifestyle retail centers to adapt and retrofit over time.   Most of the best lifestyle centers feature single-story retail, or at maximum two-story.    And these centers are also commonly set up in main street configurations, sometimes even with a city grid (block) format.   As the businesses that reside in a lifestyle change evolve, grow, get replaced, and the like, the cost of change-outs are simply less expensive than enclosed malls or shopping centers set within fixed overall shells.


Lifestyle retail centers are also less likely to be anchored by the department store and big box retailers that are facing their possible obsolescence.  And where a lifestyle center has been “anchored” by a retailer or lifestyle center (such as a fitness club) that has lost its lease, the vacant store and its pad are not difficult to re-purpose for even a new land use.   And since such anchors typically have had some amount of adjacent dedicated parking, re-configuring a building shell is somewhat more flexible when some surface parking is used.


Like politics, the feasibility and success of all lifestyle centers are local.    Accordingly, as local market conditions change and consumer preferences evolve, the mall product augmentations may head towards location-based entertainment, to mixed-use reconfiguration, and of course, a full scraping of the original mall concept.   Some of the reconfiguration possible include last-mile fulfillment for online retailers as well as dark grocers handling similar online fulfillment.   Shopping centers are usually well-located with regard to their local customer support for of course these centers work well for fullfillment.


Then there’s the placemaking and “gathering place” aspects of lifestyle retail centers.   The open-air design of lifestyle centers is conducive to providing attractive (and green) walkways, approaches from parking, sunshine (when available), and outdoor settings and structures that we all of enjoy.   When a shopping trip is more about having an experience, enjoying some camaraderie, and doing some people watching, it becomes apparent that … just maybe … lifestyle retail centers may be the new mall “evergreen” format.


Our directory and history of lifestyle retail centers, is available at the link provided below.



Lifestyle retail centers the new mall evergreen?

Lifestyle retail centers may be the new mall evergreen, in terms of mall configuration and customer appeal.

Water City Niagara Falls, a Cocov Destinations Niagara property
The Artificial Ski and Snow Era Begins, as New Venues Open in the U.S.
Elsewhere in the world, the artificial ski and snow era began in the 1990's.

The artificial ski and snow era begins in the U.S., as man-made facilities begin to open.   These facilities featuring artificial snow and ice have become common throughout Europe, China, and other regions of the world.


The opening of Big Snow at American Dream Mall in East Rutherford (New Jersey) may be venue that marks the beginning of this new era in the U.S.   American Dream Mall is a development of Triple Five Worldwide, the developer of mega-malls such as West Edmonton and Mall of America.   Triple Five also has a next mega-mall in planning, the American Dream Mall in Miami, Florida.  Although such places as Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre (opened 2009) at Liberty University, Pigeon Forge Snow (opened 2018), SnoBahn Colorado (2018), and Buck Hill in Burnsville, Minnesota (2016), each opened well before Big Snow, the U.S. retail and outdoor recreation industry may have needed to see Triple Five’s more large-scale examples in operation.


Outside the U.S., artificial ski and snow facilities are common throughout Europe, the UAE, Egypt, Turkey, Russia, India, Japan, and in particular, China.  Between 2010 and 2019, at least 42 of these man-made projects have been completed.   The European “artificial” era got its start in the 1990’s with such facilities as Vuokatti Ski Tunnel (Finland), Montana Snowcenter Westerhoven (The Netherlands), and Noeux Les Mines (Pas de Calais, France).


For real estate, retail mall, and municipalities, these artificial ski and snow venues can take many forms, and can act as an effective anchor “gathering place.”   Indoor and outdoor “all weather” operation are a possibility.   Recreation sports such as downhill and cross-country skiing are a popular format, but non-sport artificial environments can include all forms of immersive attractions and themed entertainment.


Outdoor recreation consultants and designers - The Artificial Ski and Snow Era Begins

Artificial snowtubing hill, conceptual design.

Film Studios Development Consultants - SCP Experience
There Are 20+ New Film Studios in Development, Worldwide
Much of the development is occurring in the U.K., Canada, and in New York.

There are 20+ new film studios in development worldwide.   The slate of new production facilities is coming to market even as the global film industry copes with re-opening after the Covid-19 pandemic and the concurrent economic shutdown.


In fact, the number and scale of these new stages and production support venues may be at an all-time high for delivery of such facilities within a couple-year period.  As well, this surge of studio development arrives just as burgeoning content production has been overwhelming existing facilities.  In the following, we’re sure a few of these will lag due to financing and local land use approvals, but regardless, there’s a lot coming.


This new facility surge is primarily focused in the U.K., in Canada, and within the U.S., in the New York and New Jersey.  Many of these new film studios are coming to market as a direct result of visionary public officials seeking local economic development through creative repurposing of former warehouses, rail yards,  factories, and industrial buildings.


In the U.K., new film studios coming to market include Ashford International Studios (former Newton railway works site), Blackhall Studios (Reading), Dagenham Film Studios (at London East Business and Technical Park), OMA Film Studios (London), and Sky Studios (Elstree).  Mercian Studios (Birmingham) may also be on the horizon but does not appear to have a project site fully confirmed.    The Dagenham project may lag a bit with Pacifica Ventures having dropped out after being awarded the tender.


Over in Scotland, First Stage Studio (Port of Leith) now has a developer having won the tender by Screen Scotland for a repurposed site that has been used temporarily production of portions of the Disney/Marvel film, Avengers: Infinity War.


Among the largest new facilities coming to Canada are Martini Film Studios (Langley, BC) and Studio City Toronto (Ontario), and possibility, along with First Studio City (Markham) and Aeon Studio Group’s Hamilton Studio District.


In New York and New Jersey, newly-arriving film studios include Lionsgate Studios (Yonkers)), Netflix New York (Brooklyn), Sunset Park (Bush Terminal), Robert De Niro’s Wildflower Film Studio (Queens), as well as in New Jersey – Caven Point Studios (Jersey City) and the Industry Go facilities also in Jersey City.


A full list of the 20+ new film studios in development is provided in the Global Directory of Film Studios at the link below, along with a roll call of existing facilities worldwide.

Sports mega-complexes the new multi-purpose anchor
Sports Mega-Complexes are a Flexible Anchor; a New Kind of Gathering Place

SCP’s Projects Tracking & Monitoring


Sports mega-complexes (“SMC’s”) are a flexible new anchor for private and public sector projects.   The term “sports mega-complexes” refers to facilities that include playing fields (and surfaces), practice facilities, and support amenities, for more than one sport as part of a single integrated complex.   Sports mega-complexes can be outdoor, indoor, or a combination of both.


The coming generation of sports mega-complexes will pull from an array of “best practices” culled from like-kind venues.  Consider, the real estate industry has already grown accustomed to fitness venues situated within shopping centers.    Communities and private developers have now made the case for sports mega-complexes.   Some family entertainment center (FEC) operators have brought elements of both place-products within their facilities.   Even elements of so-called “recreation adventure parks” are adaptable and worthy for a role in sports mega-complexes.


All of the above place-products are adaptable to relatively horizontal suburban and exurban locations, as well as more dense (vertical) urban settings.    The best mix of activities for a particular location is a matter of consumer demand and preferences in a local market.   Given the variation possible with the place-product, sports mega-complexes are a flexible anchor for consideration in a variety of real estate settings – malls, mixed-use, town centers, and of course, standalone community center locations.


Some examples past and present include Cocov Destinations’ repurposing of Summit Mall in Niagara Falls, to form the Niagara International Sports & Entertainment (NISE) complex.  Cocov has not only slated indoor and outdoor sports at NISE but has an adjoining outdoor soccer and baseball playing fields complex in planning.


Another very different example, Sport Center Las Vegas (1998), was a terrific new place-product that happened to be developed at a poor location, but included both indoor and outdoor sports and entertainment in a themed setting;  some nice ideas worthy of consideration for upcoming developments.

Sports Mega-Complex the new Anchor?


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