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Malls, a Struggling Symbol of Suburban America, Could Help Ease the Housing Crisis

In the San Fernando Valley, there are plans to level a nearly vacant mall and replace it with some 1,400 homes, boutique retail space and a concert venue.

In Orange County, an aging mall will give way to a mixed-use development with more than 900 homes. And in the South Bay, hundreds of homes are planned to replace a struggling mall that opened in the mid-1980s.

An old adage implores investors to "buy land; they're not making it anymore." But in a way, in cities across the country, they are.

Acres of prime real estate are opening for redevelopment as America’s malls struggle to compete with Amazon and other online giants, offering developers a rare shot to remake swaths of land in the country’s built-out metropolises.

In particular, real estate experts say, the demise of retail provides one of the best chances to add needed housing in California’s urban regions, where a shortage has left nearly 30 percent of renters in the state paying more than half their income on housing.

“It’s a huge opportunity — probably one of the biggest,” said Adam Artunian, a vice president with John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine.

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In Orange County, an aging mall will give way to a mixed-use development with more than 900 homes. And in the South Bay, hundreds of homes are planned to replace a struggling mall that opened in the mid-1980s.

An old adage implores investors to "buy land; they're not making it anymore." But in a way, in cities across the country, they are.

Acres of prime real estate are opening for redevelopment as America’s malls struggle to compete with Amazon and other online giants, offering developers a rare shot to remake swaths of land in the country’s built-out metropolises.

In particular, real estate experts say, the demise of retail provides one of the best chances to add needed housing in California’s urban regions, where a shortage has left nearly 30 percent of renters in the state paying more than half their income on housing.

“It’s a huge opportunity — probably one of the biggest,” said Adam Artunian, a vice president with John Burns Real Estate Consulting in Irvine.

Read Full Article