Robyn Marano is a VP at Madison Marquette

The impact of shifting consumer habits, millennials in the marketplace, and the overwhelming changes brought to bear on traditional retail by e-commerce has impelled the re-imagining of brick-and-mortar retail environments. Restaurants, hotels, entertainment venues and wellness-based stores have replaced traditional and soft goods as key tenants in malls. Therefore, innovative use of retail space and new ways to attract foot traffic are more important in bolstering fledgling centers and minimizing vacancies.

Mall owners are now looking to bring in non-traditional tenants that celebrate and leverage the use of communal spaces. They are looking to the business, education and healthcare industries- with shared office space, satellite campuses and outpatient facilities leading the way. Property owners are also experimenting with more flexible, interim uses of space. Creative pop-ups, micro-boutiques, art studio space and seasonal event promotions are now popular and extend the visibility and desirability of otherwise under-utilized mall space.

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