Both prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic, many well-known retailers that occupied anchor spaces at the ends of malls and shopping centers made the difficult decision to close their doors permanently. Malls were hit especially hard as large department store chains (such as Sears) closed many of their locations, leaving behind empty blocks of contiguous space often totaling 100,000 square feet or more per location.

To successfully backfill these vacant or dark retail anchor spaces, owners, operators and developers of shopping centers and malls must carefully consider the demographics in the surrounding community served by the retail facility in question. To fill the vacancy, a developer must first identify the most viable economic use for the empty space.

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