As the retail apocalypse sweeps the US, hundreds of malls are being deserted. But a blessed few are being transformed into something entirely different.
Empty and out-of-use malls are being revamped as fitness centres, offices, public libraries, movie theatres, medical clinics, and even churches.
“Only so many consumers are going to malls, and they will flock to newer ones,” June Williamson, a City College of New York architecture professor and the author of “Retrofitting Suburbia,” told Business Insider. “If developers build a new mall, they are inevitably undercutting another property. So older properties have to get re-positioned every decade, or they will die.”
Worshipping at a mall might sound strange but it’s a reality that thousands of people across the US are living.
Here’s what it’s like to go to a church that is inside a former mall.
In 2000, the deserted Grand Village Mall in Grandville, Michigan was donated to Mars Hill congregation. The church revamped a huge anchor store, turning it into a huge, open chapel, nicknamed 'The Hanger' because it was big enough to fit an aeroplane.
The church has two locations, offering traditional and progressive services, and streams all of its sermons online.
The First Baptist Church purchased the 400,000-square-foot Lakeland Mall for $A7.36 million in the late 1990s, and spent more than $2.63 million on renovations transforming it into the 'Church at the Mall.'
The Lexington, Kentucky campus is located in the former Lexington Mall, which the church purchased in 2010.
At the time, The Lexington Herald Leader estimated that the defunct mall was valued at $A14.07 million.
After shops shuttered in the early 2000, 24 Christian congregations rented empty storefronts, Cleveland.com reported.
Seefried Industrial Properties, a developer that has created distribution centres for Amazon, is considering buying and bulldozing the site, according to Cleveland.com.
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