Broker Check

Yesterday's Retail Centers, Today's Retirement Communities

December 23, 2020

A recent New York Times article cites an interesting housing development. In a number of cities, malls or shopping centers are making way for new senior communities. 

The two unrelated trends influencing this real estate phenomenon have been observable for some time. The retail sector has been under pressure for years; more than 17,000 chain stores have closed in 2020 alone, the NYT notes. At the same time, more than 10,000 Americans are now turning 65 each day. About 400 retrofit or teardown conversions of retail space to senior housing are already done or underway. In Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, and Oklahoma City empty mall parking structures or anchor stores have either met the wrecking ball and given way to new buildings or been radically altered into transit-convenient "soft urban" living spaces. After all, while some retirees want suburban or exurban lifestyles, others like being only a few minutes away from essential services and friends.2