New rehab trend: repurposing vacant malls

April 04, 2012 |
Drew Ballensky

The new fashion for mixed-use developments or outdoor shopping centers that are designed to look like a friendly downtown is taking its toll on the enclosed mall. Many cities and suburbs have dead and dying malls on their hands.

Some organizations are repurposing dead or dying malls. Rackspace, a San Antonio company that offers cloud-computing and web-hosting services, converted a vacant mall into a new headquarters for more than 3,000 employees. The company spent more than $100 million gutting and redoing the space.

There are several other examples of non-retail mall repurposing nationwide. In Cleveland, part of a mall has been converted to indoor gardens, making it a potential model for urban agriculture programs. The University of the Incarnate Word has leased space in another San Antonio mall. Vanderbilt University has converted space in a Tennessee mall to open a clinic. Patients are given pagers so that they can get a snack from the food court while they wait. Hundreds of high-school students in Joplin, Missouri, are taking classes in a converted mall after the town’s high school was destroyed in a tornado last summer.

(http://www.economist.com/node/21551541)

Drew Ballensky | Reconstruction Blog

Drew Ballensky is general manager of Duro-Last Roofing, Inc.’s central U.S. facility in Iowa and company spokesman for Duro-Last’s cool roofing, sustainability and architectural education programs. He is past-president of the Chemical Fabrics and Film Association and chairman of CFFA’s Vinyl Roofing Division. Drew earned his bachelor’s degree in industrial technology from the University of Northern Iowa and master’s degree in business administration from Florida State University.
Drew has over 29 years experience in business and industry in various engineering and managerial capacities. He has worked in the U.S. and Canadian operations for a major international manufacturer of pre-engineered steel buildings, was a financial analyst with a major athletic apparel manufacturer and was an owner of a general contracting company.

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