Can parking lots save the mall?
To stimulate traffic, many malls are hosting events — ranging from carnivals to food-truck festivals, concerts, drive-in movies and car shows — in their parking lots.
According to a report from Bloomberg, mall owners can net as much as $60,000 a week from the largest outdoor events. Stores, particularly anchor department stores that own parking lot rights, can rent the use of the space. But event can also draw attention to the stores inside the mall. Mall tenants often hand out fliers and coupon books during the events.
“Events brings that additional traffic and also encourage people to stick around longer,” Lisa Harper, senior director of specialty leasing for mall-owner CBL & Associates Properties, told Bloomberg.
The report noted that a few malls are holding such events for the first time, but carnivals and other weekend events — both indoor and outdoor — have been held at some malls for years. The events often support local civic organizations or charities.
Stlll, mall operators appear to have become more creative with such events over the years:
- The Northgate Mall in Durham, NC holds Music on the Plaza on Friday nights during the summer, featuring beer and wine as well as a rotating list of food trucks.
- On April 22, the MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana, CA hosted the Meat Street Festival featuring “a wide variety of delicious and crazy exclusive culinary creations, as well as drinks and other fun activities.” The event was sponsored by the makers of Spam.
- The Cordova Mall in Pensacola, FL on April 22 held its 4th annual Chocolate Fest. For $15, attendees sampled chocolate treats from local restaurants such Krispy Kreme, Olive Garden, Sam’s Fun City, Red Lobster and Szotski’s Cheesecakes.
- Nearly 50 LEGO models from many different genres — including characters from The LEGO Batman Movie, Disney princesses and galactic fighters from Star Wars — will be on display at The Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens, FL from April 28 to May 15 as part of a “LEGO Takeover!” Fans can take selfies or build their own creations.
- Desperate Malls Turn to Concerts and Food Trucks – Bloomberg
- Two outdoor concert series begin in early May – The Herald Sun
- Cinco de Mayo at Northgate – The News & Observer
- Meat-centric Foodbeast festival and 5 new tenants coming to MainPlace – Orange County Register
- Table Settings: Chocolate Fest is coming – Pensacola New Journal
- LEGO Takeover! The Gardens Mall – Lego Group/The Gardens Mall/PRWeb
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should malls ramp up weekend events to revive traffic? Do you see more pros than cons to such events?