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|It could happen. With shopping mall vacancies at 9% (the highest in a decade, according to Reis), TPN's Jim Polowy and Ben DiSanti have a plan: make space adaptable to more uses. The two work at a retail marketing agency that, among other services, specializes in planning and environmental design. They say the reason retail vacancy is so high is due to the design of stores or malls: The four-anchor mall now reminds some shoppers of a prison. Owners and developers like Westfield are making plans to bring in unique tenants like churches, auto showrooms, or grocery stores (sometimes replacing anchors), which might appeal to a mixed family of shoppers. Another solution to design faults might be to go outdoors. Lombard's Yorktown Center made its former Montgomery Wards space into an outdoor lifestyle section two years ago.|
|Downtown, Jim and Ben are seeing high vacancy in what were once thought to be desirable riverwalk locations. This space at Trump Tower is 0% occupied, and there's vacancy at Marina City across the street. Jim says the reason is simple: They're hard to get to. Both are less than two blocks from the Mag Mile but walking through the Wrigley Building and down a flight of stairs to the river is too confusing for many casual shoppers. They say the buildings will need a big-name tenant to draw customers in. TPN, with clients including 7-Eleven, Bank of America, and Cricket, says that designing pop-up stores could help draw attention to hard-to-lease spaces.|