Saturday, September 02, 2006

The City of Eastchase, Montgomery Mall and a Whole Bunch of Zombies

Driving down the Southern boulevard I can’t help but notice how traffic ebbs and flows like a motorized ocean. Shortly before 7:00am the boulevard is as empty as a scene from your favorite Post-Apocalyptic movie. However at 7:01am and 22 seconds a traffic nightmare erupts from thin air. The hustle and bustle is obscene with each car rushing to their destination of choice. But the kicker is each one of those vehicles represents a potential customer for the giant empty mall they pass. So the question is: How do you get just 1-2 percent of those potential customers to stop at the Montgomery Mall? And secondly how do you get just 25 percent of that 1-2 percent to purchase something when they get there? I am sure these questions are being asked daily by the marketing staff of Gilmcher Realty Trust. Gilmcher Realty Trust Site After all they own the mall.

As a business owner and having 15 years of management experience I am sure of one thing. It won’t be long before those glass doors shut for good. I don’t mean to be the harbinger of doom. But when you lose a majority of your profitable tenants to the City of EastchaseTheir Website, you either have to reinvent yourself or sell your property at a tremendous loss. Personally, I don’t patronize the mall. Solely because it reminds me of the scene in Dawn of the Dead where the stores are closed and the zombies run free. But I digress. Actually there is nothing, and I do mean absolutely nothing in that mall that I couldn’t get from Walmart. And that’s the problem. The mall is supposed to be a specialty-spend-your-money kind of place. Somehow it has lost its ambiance, right along with its anchor tenants.

With the loss of anchor tenants comes the loss of another customer base, namely those who shop around the mall at the strip malls. If you happen to live in Montgomery, Alabama you can see this for yourself. Since a retail exodus is killing the mall I think that escaping stores should be given tax breaks and utility subsidies, a commercial bribe of sorts, to stay. Of course, this is easier said than done. Currently there is a small carnival posted outside the malls walls, and it honestly looks pitiful, real pitiful. If Gilmcher Realty does not do something to reignite an interest in its property, the wonder that used to be the Montgomery Mall will close its doors…for good. And we all know what that means. Crime will sky rocket, because economic decline and crime are intrinsically meshed together and eventually it will become too dangerous to even stop for IHOP or even the traffic lights. Let alone live in that area.



Anonymous said...

with your enthusiasm and optimistic attitude about your town I dont understand why it is not flourishing. I am sure you are doing your part to help the economy in your area!

Sheila said...

It only takes a Montgomery resident to understand that you are only reflecting reality. I grew up in this area and remember the building of Montgomery Mall. What excitment I felt as I took my Christmas money to spend on the after-Christmas sales at Gayfer's (now Dillard's). Fast forward to 2006 and you see a sad commercial property much like the wife discarded for the younger, prettier hot chick (EastChase).

I live in central Montgomery and our area is experiencing a rebirth of sorts with the Zelda Road growth. It could happen to Montgomery Mall. When we moved here 4 years ago, I was warned to stay away from the Mall for safety reasons. That was silly and I never had a problem shopping at the JCPenney's there. Now, it's a different story since so few stores are left.

A friend of my teenage son wrote a story in their school paper about his vision for the Mall. Make it into a central high school. He had elaborate plans on how different areas could be used. This is the kind of creative thinking that it will take to save the Mall.

Sorry to run on so long.