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The changing face of malls and shopping centers

Developers here in California and across the country have known for some time that they need to change their tactics when it comes to retail developments. Malls and shopping centers are no longer the retail meccas they once were. Thanks to online shopping, these establishments must adapt or risk completely losing their relevance.

One vision of the future includes malls that use smart technology to make customers' experiences more enjoyable. In addition, these locales could host events, pick their own produce and have a nice dinner. Shopping centers could become "micro-cities" where people could shop, enjoy entertainment and have a nice dinner. It also would not hurt to throw in a unique experience on occasion.

As customers' expectations and needs change, some locations may not survive unless they drastically overhaul the property. This could mean finding unique tenants and making improvements to tailor a space for a new type of business. People tend to want to work and live within the same space, and they expect to be able to take care of all their needs in one general location.

As neighborhoods change, so do their audiences. Shopping centers need to adapt to a new reality in which people want to be entertained, buy their groceries and pick up their dry cleaning all in the same place while being able to shop for specialty items as well. Creating these areas may not be quite as simple as California consumers would believe. It may be necessary to have more contact with local authorities in order to deal with zoning and permit issues that may not have been an issue in the past.

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