Upzoned header image 1
April 28, 2021  

Amazon vs. Malls: What Does it Mean for Local Economies?

April 28, 2021

Shopping malls are dying off left and right with the rise of ecommerce. Consequently, mall owners wanting to get out of the retail game are starting to sell their buildings to Amazon, whereupon they are converted to fulfillment centers. For critics of Amazon, this shark-like snapping up of competition is a source of concern.

But could it, perhaps, also be viewed as a stepping-stone (even if not a pleasant one) on the path to fighting the influence of big box stores? Could Amazon actually be helping local economies, in the long run?

This week on Upzoned, host Abby Kinney is joined by Strong Towns president Chuck Marohn as they "upzone" a recent article from Archinect—i.e., they look at it through the Strong Towns lens. The article in question, written by Katherine Guimapang, is titled "Amazon is buying up dead malls—adaptive reuse, or just eating its prey?" It covers Amazon's conversion of 25 abandoned malls into fulfillment centers from 2016 to 2019, which Abby and Chuck dive deeper into as they discuss the implications of this expansion for local economies.

Then in the Downzone, Chuck is reading a book that he's not sure actually merits recommendation. Abby is in the market for a new bike, which steers the discussion towards biking trails and…real estate?