Webinar to focus on COVID-19 impacts on shopping malls, 'big box' retailers

March 09, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Potential new uses and new types of tenants for retail space previously occupied by shopping malls and “big box” retailers is the topic of a web-based seminar to be offered by Penn State Extension at noon on March 31.

Presenting the 75-minute interactive webinar will be Adam Cook, managing principal, planner and research analyst at Seamless Collaborative, an urban planning firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The subject is especially relevant because COVID-19 has had significant negative impacts on traditional shopping malls and some “big box” retailers. The webinar will cover potential options for owners of large retail spaces to reinvigorate those spots in a post-COVID world. One course of action may be to encourage other forms of development.

“The last several years has seen the age of online shopping and the negative consequences on traditional shopping malls and some ‘big box’ retailers,” said Cook. “Now you have the impact of COVID-19 on these prior trends, and there is a significant threat to the future existence of these retail establishments.”

Cook suggests that new types of tenants could fill the retail spaces. In the webinar, he will discuss the potential for all or a portion of an abandoned mall space to be adaptively reused or redeveloped as affordable senior or market-rate housing. Other potential redevelopment options also will be explored during the session.

The webinar will include case studies of mall sites around the country that have been redeveloped as illustrations of innovative redevelopment options.

“Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic and Potential Redevelopment Options for Retail Spaces” is the third webinar in the Penn State Extension Winter/Spring 2021 Land-Use Webinar Series that runs through May. The webinar series assists municipal elected and appointed officials, planners, landowners, farmers and community organizations be informed about land-use issues and decisions in their communities.

Other topics and dates in the webinar series include:

  • Jan. 20: “Making Quality Choices in Broadband Deployment.”
  • March 17: “Making Planning More Adaptable.”
  • April 21: “Planning for Growth, Prosperity and Resiliency: Using the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies Plan and Process to Innovate and Guide Strategic Growth.”
  • May 19: “Community Needs Assessments That Planners Should Know About.”

These programs are recorded and available for viewing.

The cost of the webinar series is $50 for all five sessions, or $95 for all five sessions for those who want to receive AICP certification maintenance credits from the American Planning Association. The cost also is $95 for all five sessions for professional engineers needing PDH credits.

In addition, registered landscape architects can receive continuing education credits for a fee of $65.

For more information, contact Peter Wulfhorst at 570-296-3400 or by email at ptw3@psu.edu. To register for the webinars, visit the Penn State Extension website.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 09, 2021