From the Portland Mercury:


Scotto di Carlo and her husband Michael are local economy experts and the founders of Supportland—a network of independent restaurants and retailers that employ a shared points system (sort of like a universal punch card) that provides an incentive for supporting local businesses.

“Retail is changing rapidly and the sort of discount shopper that [might have gone to the mall] is just going online,” says Scotto di Carlo. “The reason people engage with retailers now isn’t just because they want a product, it’s because they want to engage with a sense of place and their community.”

In its nascence, online shopping was an augmentation of brick-and-mortar retail—but now it’s the norm, placing malls like Lloyd Center in the unfortunate blind spot between independent boutiques and more upscale shopping centers.

In April, the Wall Street Journal reported that a variety of prominent chains are slowly withdrawing from weaker malls—and it isn’t hard to imagine Lloyd Center making that list.

“We’re kind of in this transitional period, but I think that the market footprint of big box stores and malls is going to be vacated at a higher and higher level as we approach this new equilibrium between online retail and [independent retail],” says Scotto di Carlo. “I don’t know if the old investors have given up completely, but I really don’t see how the target market is still going to be there for Lloyd Center.”

Scotto di Carlo also suggests that smaller businesses generally steer clear of spaces like the Lloyd Center, because they violate the values of independent retail by design.

“What malls did is they said, ‘Let’s zero out sense of place and let’s build a wall around our environment,’ and that was attractive initially to customers, but nowadays people are really yearning for a sense of place.”


  1. Its success will depend on the breadth of the changes, I suppose.
    You might make a comparison to Brentwood Mall and Lougheed Mall, which saw mall patrons flee to Metrotown. Each of Brentwood and Lougheed are owned by Shape Properties and are being massively overhauled / demolished.

    Here’s the retail leasing brochure for Brentwood:

    The odd thing, is that the most successful mall in Canada (based on $ / sq ft) is Yorkdale in Toronto. If you look at photos of its redevelopment and repositioning to “high end” status, the look of the mall has become MORE generic – i.e. much of the retro 60s mid-century modern elements have been demolished in favour of sleek glass and steel.

    In a lot of cases, I think the popularity of a mall is simply tied to design and aesthetic trends (updating from dowdy to bright and fresh) and to its retail tenants, and which stores are “on trend” and which stores are not.
    (i.e. Pacific Centre has updated its look at least 3 times)

  2. Whenever PT engages movement there is a propensity to down play blow-back from any ensuing exponential massive debt: national, civic, corporate, individual: the monster waiting to pounce.

    Phase 1 money in play — $370 M from the Feds, $246 M from the Province and the remaining $124 M from the region.” Hey, that’s my money you’re flippin’ around!

    Shhhhhh, everybody knows it! Be quiet! You godda get to the mall!

    Shiny trinkets are de ri·gueur of the day even if we cannot afford them.

    Obviously there is something very wrong with a system of finance that systematically conspires against those who aspire to engage it.

    Debt is the elephant in the room, shoved under the carpet and I am flabbergasted the conversation, innocently, devolves into exacerbating it: i.e. moving people in very expensive shiny trinkets.

    Even talking cycling and walking inevitably the conversation turns to expensive debt creating gadgetry. Are all PT contributor so debt free and secure they can ignore the out riders?

    Olympic, Millenium, Village, is a fine example of a mix use community. However, it needs a more in-depth inventory. It is indeed beautiful which goes to show what can be done.

    And on the other side of town, what are our old cronies up too?

    Oakridge! Bloated, expensive ugly, a shopping mall, we can well do without, in the process of being made worse: you’ve seen one you’ve seen ’em all!

    Yorkshire, when I was a kid, Skiningrove was a thriving steel making village in the Cleveland Hills: still is! Robert Thompson, the Mouseman, my school was replete in his furniture, in the village of Kilburn had a worldwide clientele. These are merely two component examples of successful working villages.

    I am not suggesting these two examples be copied. But there is more to the village than incessant air-conditioned malls and parking, parking, parking, Woodward’s food floor, Chinese take-out and London Drugs.

    Life is the epicenter of the waking-walking village. Take your umbrella!

  3. Retail is a vibrant part of the economy here in Canada, however mall leasing teams have become lazy and uninformed on marketing and what it takes to create long term success. Leasing agents have put in place restrictions that make it very difficult for unique independent retailers to get placement in regional shopping centres. Like the housing market here in Vancouver, retail space is being taken by foreign companies coming in with money to burn and like Target, malls line up to take their cash, creating shopping centre carbon copies all across the country and then wonder why they can’t draw traffic beyond their little community.

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