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Forecast: Malls Are Dying And Why New Construction Is The Future Of Retail

Driven by the growing use of online shopping, California's retail market is shifting toward developing unique experiences for shoppers—a trend that has created a positive developer outlook in retail, according to the latest Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast California Commercial Real Estate Survey.

Allen Matkins UCLA Anderson Forecast meme

Senior economist with the UCLA Anderson Forecast Jerry Nickelsburg says it's all about experience in retail these days, and new construction is the way to go.

Retail growth was consistent across all the California markets polled in the survey. Nearly two-thirds were planning new retail construction in the coming year, while half had started new projects last year. Click here to see Allen Matkins' video on California's retail market.

Pete Roth, Allen Matkins partner

Last year's significant redevelopment and repositioning of existing retail properties into more destination, entertainment-oriented complexes is expected to continue this year, Allen Matkins partner Pete Roth tells us. Much of the ground-up retail construction is part of mixed-use projects that follow the growing live/work/play trend, he says. Pete singles out Westfield's redevelopment of Westfield Century City and the expansion of its flagship University Town Center in La Jolla as prime examples of the trend.

Mall photo from Allen Matkins/UCLA Anderson Forecast video

The original shopping malls are a dying breed, Pete tells us, and in their place are centers designed to compete with e-commerce with amenities including high-end dining, luxury retailers, entertainment venues and outdoor gathering spaces. (Here are some ways retailers are drawing in shoppers and predictions for retail trends this year.) With both redevelopment and new construction, service and amenities will be at a premium, providing a positive outlook for retail development throughout the state, he says.