Dying Malls Increasingly Rely On Taxpayer Handouts For Survival

Just another symptom of the steady implosion of the US economy. Thanks to austerity cuts, Americans have no money to spend.

peoples trust toronto

America’s dying malls have been a frequent topic of discussion of late as these relics of the 80’s have been forced to convert once valuable high-end retail square footage into grocery stores, libraries and doctor offices just to keep the lights on. Here’s just a small sampling of the recent carnage:

But, as Bloomberg points out today, one other funding source is increasingly emerging as a key financial sponsor in the efforts of commercial REITs to re-purpose their failing assets: taxpayers.

In Brookfield, Wisconsin, for example, the city is using tax-increment financing (TIF), a common tool for municipalities to subsidize development by putting property taxes…

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10 thoughts on “Dying Malls Increasingly Rely On Taxpayer Handouts For Survival

  1. And just as everything else going down, we don’t have a problem with this. We have no problem subsidizing defunct malls, but will balk at subsidizing needed meals for hungry school children just as we balk at subsidizing dental services for poor children. We’ve got our standards, ya know and doing what’s right is not down to our standards.

    We’ve got one mall where I am now and we shall probably be subsidizing that for something else seeing as how there is only one anchor store left and we don’t even have a JC Penney, Macy’s, Sears and the list is endless. Even McDonalds left the Food Court and when McDonalds leave, you know it’s “Game Over!” The folks here in Hillbilly Hollow are going to have to get ta driving to purchase Christmas gifts this year. HA!


    • To be honest, Shelby, I’m really happy to see them go. I’ve always hated malls – they have always seemed really artificial to me in their determination to create artificial needs. And I always found it really depressing the way the big box retail stores put all the genuine small businesses that met real needs – shoe and appliance repair, knife sharpening, etc – out of business.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I am with you on that Dr. Bramhall. When the mall was being built, I was working at JC Penney and we were told that the store would close and re-open in the mall. I threw six fits and stated that I would not be working at the mall and I quit and now three decades later, the malls are going the way of the dinosaurs. Go figure! If I had gone over to the mall to continue to work at JC Penney, and made retail my career choice, I would be out of a job today just as all of those who chose to go there are now out of a job.


  2. But . . . but . . . the economy is booming! So much so that the Fed has had to raise interest rates to cool an economy on the verge of overheating and boiling over into hyperinflation. Obviously, an accelerating economy is not good for shopping malls. I guess that’s why it has to be reined in?


  3. Carnivals… ah, “fairs”. Hmkey, if it helps…

    They f*ked up a lot of (tiny compared to abroad) malls in Switzerland too. One bigger in particular failed to include a social area in a part of town where kids gather around kiosks and corner stores, because there is nothing at all. Social planners looked at sponge models (well, rather Sponge Bob Models) and at customer per area ratios and planted something bland into that community. The center management at first shooed the youngsters away, then after a few months they noticed how that segment of society is one of the largest block of customers. Since a few years they rebuilt the center, built more food courts and offers, punched through a wall to access the residential area nearby (duh!) and finally it doesn’t have to foreclose.

    If you built something in the 80ies which fails 30 years later you just did what everybody else did, but if you build something now which does not account for communal needs at that spot, you do what elite planners always do: fail by committee.


  4. Very interesting to hear about the Swiss experience, Michael. I heard a recent report how Iceland has gotten their teenagers off drugs and alcohol by doing something totally revolutionary: building teen activity centers and starting teen activity programs. Here in New Plymouth, my impression is our city fathers fail to enact meaningful programs (except for sports) for our young people because the rich business owners who sponsor their campaigns are ideological opposed to spending their property taxes for social amenities. They know they have no chance of getting re-elected if the sponsor such programs.


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