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Vacancies threaten shopping malls’ future

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Empty malls from department store closures means a challenge for investors nationwide. Shoppers in Tucson are seeing more big box stores such as Sears, Kmart, J.C. Penney and Macy’s closing down, and some local malls are suffering as a result. Brigham Stevens, an analyst for Tucson-based investors, Bourn Companies LLC, which bought the Foothills Mall last December from Schottenstein Property Group, said the group hopes to provide a community center with additional uses other than just retail. Tucson’s Foothills Mall currently looks like a ghost town, but Bourn wants to redevelop it into something that will attract people to the area once again. “We see the trends all across malls, and how they’re under performing and so we don’t see the ideal solution of trying to lease-up the vacancies with additional retailers,” Stevens said. He said his company is focusing heavily...

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