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Second Life for Malls

National Retail

We snapped BSB Design’s Mike Rosen at Bisnow’s fourth annual NY Retail Real Estate Summit, where he told us mall redevelopment is all the rage. That could mean razing completely and developing a Main Street-style center, as Greenberg Gibbons did with the Laurel Mall halfway between Baltimore and DC (now called Towne Centre at Laurel). Another way to go is demolishing part of the property and redeveloping around the anchors, as at Granite Run Mall west of Philly. And adding residential is vital, Mike says. It brings users to the retail and is the only way to get these projects financed. Mike opened BSB Design’s eighth office (its first on the East Coast north of Florida), in DC, and NY and Philly will follow. (Mall Santas should learn construction—it'll keep 'em busy in the off-season.)