Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

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Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by architect »

Thought that I would start a fun thread inspired by a mall visit tonight. Share your stories of how dead/dying malls in your area are faring/worsening, and which malls you predict will be the next to begin slipping. With up to 50% of malls predicted to close over the next five years, this could get quite extensive.

Earlier tonight, I stopped by the Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, TX, and things had deteriorated noticeably since my list visit earlier this year. For a bit of history, this mall opened right around 9/11 and was targeted towards an extremely upscale demographic. The original anchors included the likes of Neiman Marcus, Saks, and Lord & Taylor (along with Dillard's and Foley's), while the in-line stores were carefully selected to avoid tenants which might give off a downscale image. As a result, this mall took some years to fill out its tenant roster, and has likely never been 100% full even at its peak. It has also struggled with anchor vacancies, first by Lord & Taylor (which was later replaced by Crate & Barrel), and later Saks Fifth Avenue (which was torn down for an outdoor restaurant wing which has mostly been a flop). However, things took a turn for the worse last spring when Apple closed their longtime store at the mall (the third to open in the nation) in an attempt to end all operations within the Eastern District Court of Texas (a district heavily favorable for patent trolls). These Apple store closures also affected nearby Stonebriar Center, but while Stonebriar was able to quickly backfill the space and maintain steady traffic levels, traffic at Willow Bend steadily decreased. Noticeable vacancies have cropped up (I would estimate that 30-40% of the in-line spaces are vacant), and a decent chunk of the remaining tenants are mom and pop operations. Oddly, many of the major tenants still remaining include mall staples such as Banana Republic, Anthropologie, H&M, Bath & Body Works, Ann Taylor, Loft, American Eagle, Johnston & Murphy, and Vineyard Vines. The remaining anchors also are still in decent shape, though the Macy's has received little renovation work in recent years (aside from the addition of Backstage) and carries less product than other nearby stores. Long term, I do not expect this mall to survive in its current form as it is simply too large and spread out to generate significant foot traffic with the remaining tenants. Dillard's and Macy's are awkwardly located at polar opposite ends of the mall, with an lengthy walk past emptying storefronts to get from one to the other. Both of these chains also have far more successful locations just up the road at Stonebriar. Additionally, if Neiman Marcus or Crate & Barrel were to leave, then this property is toast. With an empty Sears anchor, Stonebriar could make a lucrative offer to backfill this space with either of these tenants and seal the deal. The question is a matter of what will happen next: will Willow Bend be able to push its way through the COVID pandemic and develop a redevelopment plan on the other side, or will it be forced to close before then?

Other malls which I would classify as dead/dying in DFW (write ups to come later):
- Music City Mall
- Irving Mall
- Ridgmar Mall
- Village at Fairview (in-line tenant portion, anchors are still in decent shape)

At risk (long term):
- Golden Triangle Mall
- Hulen Mall
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by babs »

Portland area
+ Lloyd Center
+ The interior area of Mall 205
+ The interior area of Cedar Hills Crossing. The exterior facing businesses are very successful.
+ Three Rivers Mall in Kelso
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by arizonaguy »

In the Phoenix area:

Dead:

MetroCenter: Closed except for Harkins Theatres, Dillard's Clearance Center, and Walmart (no concrete redevelopment plans on the horizon) (3.5 vacant anchor spots)

Fiesta Mall: Fully closed and vacant (supposedly being converted to medical offices).

Paradise Valley Mall: Dillard's is closing. Most of the in-line stores have closed. The remaining anchors are Macy's, JCPenney, Costco, and Picture Show Theatres. While the Costco does good business the JCPenney and Macy's are both in a somewhat sad state and the mall's owner seems to want to redevelop everything once leases end and/or stores can be sold to the developer. (2 vacant anchor spots)

Dying:

ChrisTown Spectrum: JCPenney and Costco have closed (a rare Costco closure). The remaining anchors are Walmart, Target, Harkins Theatres, PetSmart, Ross. I can imagine the interior of the mall may end up closed off as it's more of a "strip" center than mall at this point. (2 vacant anchor spots)

Desert Sky Mall / Westridge Mall: Anchored by Dillard's, Burlington, Curacao with a flea market in one former anchor space and a number of local / Hispanic catered in line shops. The mall does decent traffic and has a higher occupancy rate than many other "dying" malls especially for the fact that it's not in the best neighborhood. (1 vacant anchor spot)

Superstition Springs Center: Anchored by Dillard's, Macy's, JCPenney, TJMaxx, Picture Show Theatres, and Ross. This mall (as well as the now closed Fiesta Mall) were wounded by the developer Macerich/Westcor building a new mall down the road (Santan Village). Macerich has tried to draw traffic into the mall by having TJMaxx and Ross stores physically located in the mall (and not an exterior shopping center) but the former Mervyn's anchor has been a revolving door and the former Sears anchor sits vacant. Unlike it's "twin" on the west side of the metro area Arrowhead Town Center the nearby Santan Village center has turned this mall into a 2nd tier mall struggling for traffic. (1.5 vacant anchor spots)

Okay but not great:

Arrowhead Town Center: The only "full scale" mall on the west side of the Phoenix metro area. Anchored by Dillard's, Macy's, JCPenney, Dick's Sporting Goods, and AMC Theatres. Macerich is constantly throwing money at this mall and even though it has 2 vacant anchors (Sears and Mervyn's/Forever 21) it's lack of competition and central location continue to attract investment. (2 vacant anchor spots)

Chandler Fashion Center: This mall essentially serves as the replacement for Fiesta Mall. It's anchored by Dillard's, Macy's, and Harkins Theatres. The surrounding area has decent demographics and like Arrowhead Town Center Macerich seems to be throwing money at it to keep it relevant. It had a Nordstrom location but closed as it's really not a great fit for a Nordstrom. (2 vacant anchor spots).

Healthy:

SanTan Village: This mall is an outdoor center that is a metastatic tumor with respect to Superstition Springs Center. It's anchors are Dillard's, Macy's, Harkins Theatres, Dick's Sporting Goods, and Best Buy. It's mostly occupied and seems to do decent business.

Biltmore Fashion Park: This mall is an outdoor center that is the closest mall to downtown Phoenix. It's anchors are Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Lifetime Fitness. It has a number of restaurants and some high end stores. Some key stores (such as Apple) have moved to the nearby (and also healthy) Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Scottsdale Fashion Square: The Phoenix area's flagship mall. Anchored by Dillard's, Macy's, Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, and Harkins Theatres. It has gone "higher end" in recent years (it temporarily had a Sears in the early 2000s). This mall is constantly being expanded and redeveloped and is still the "it place" for Scottsdale.

One interesting thing about Phoenix is that outside of Christown Spectrum Mall (and Metrocenter) every mall listed above is owned by Macerich.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by Super S »

babs wrote: November 24th, 2020, 8:44 pm Portland area
+ Lloyd Center
+ The interior area of Mall 205
+ The interior area of Cedar Hills Crossing. The exterior facing businesses are very successful.
+ Three Rivers Mall in Kelso
Elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest:
The Shoppes At Riverside, formerly known as South Shore Mall in Aberdeen, WA. Sears closed and remains vacant, there is a vacant empty spot where a Kmart once stood, the former JCPenney is now some kind of indoor fun center. The mall itself is mostly empty on the inside with a handful of mostly local businesses. This mall has always struck me as too big for the area.

The interior portion of Willamette Town Center, formerly Lancaster Mall in Salem. The wing that led to the former Macy's has been cut off and new stores in that wing are exterior entrance only. Sears is closed and vacant, the only remaining anchor with interior access is Burlington, which has closed off the second floor of the former Montgomery Ward they occupy.

Lewis County Mall in Chehalis. Sears closed here a few years ago, and there is a theater at the other end of the mall which has no inside access. The mall has shifted toward mostly offices in the interior space.

Yard Birds "Mall" in Chehalis. This building, which was originally more of a general merchandise store, has evolved into an antique mall/flea market of sorts with a few local businesses sprinkled in. The Shop 'N Kart grocery store has closed, however, and the building has flooded a few times over the years. The building is showing its age a bit though, and there have been rumors on and off over the years about Fred Meyer eyeing the site for a new store.

A handful of malls could depend on the future plans of anchor stores. I don't expect the Sears at Southcenter to last much longer, and a wild card of sorts is Macy's which seems to be a bit over-stored in the Seattle area.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by Brian Lutz »

Haven't been around much to see what they look like now, but off the top of my head in the Seattle area:

Dead:
As far as I know there aren't really any dead or dying malls in the area.

Under redevelopment \ Redeveloped:

- Northgate Mall (Simon): being converted from an indoor mall to an outdoor mall, a major part of the redevelopment is the addition of a large practice facility for the Seattle Kraken (Seattle's new NHL team. A new light rail station is expected to open here in 2021. All of the traditional mall anchors (JCPenney, Macy's, Nordstrom) have closed.`

- Totem Lake Mall (Centercal): Was a dead mall for quite a long time, all but a small portion of the center was torn down and redeveloped into a mixed use development anchored by a Whole Foods and Nordstrom Rack. I believe work is still ongoing on the upper part of the redevelopment.

Healthy (for now):

- Bellevue Collection \ Bellevue Square (Kemper Development Corp.): High-end mall with some vacancies (most notably the short-lived 365 by Whole Foods store) but generally seems to be in good shape. Has Macy's and Nordstrom as anchors, a JCPenney store here closed about five years ago and the space was split up into various smaller stores. The Lincoln Square phase 2 added a W hotel, a high-end Cinemark theater, a Nordstrom Rack, ten different restaurants and the "Market Hall" which is essentially a small food court populated by kiosk type places.

- Alderwood (Brookfield): Tore down the former Sears store and is using the space to build a mixed-use portion of the mall which includes a Dave & Buster's, a Cheesecake Factory and what appears to be some apartments. Has Macy's, Nordstrom and JCPenney as anchors

- Southcenter (Westfield): The largest mall in the area. built a large expansion about 12 years ago with a new food court and a 12 screen AMC theater, and has generally held up pretty well. Still has a Sears store, but probably for not much longer. the former Mervyn's store got turned into a Seafood City (Filipino grocery store) and a Round 1 arcade/bowling center.

- Crossroads Bellevue (ROIC): Was rapidly approaching dead mall status in the Eighties, but was turned around by new management and turned into a more community oriented development, with an emphasis on a very diverse food court and (before the pandemic) regular live music performances and festivals. Anchor spaces are occupied by Michael's, Jo-Ann Fabrics, QFC and Dick's Sporting Goods.


So-so:
-Pacific Place (Madison Marquette): Recently completed a major modernization, but currently has a lot of vacancies, most notably a large multi-story Barnes and Noble which closed in 2019. Connected by a skywalk on the third floor to the flagship Nordstrom store across the street. Right in the heart of Downtown Seattle, but that also puts it right in the path of the civil unrest that has been happening in Seattle, which can't be good for business.

-Westlake Center (GGP): Two blocks away from Pacific Place between the Nordstrom and what used to be the Macy's store, used to be a fairly traditional mall with a decent sized food court, but can hardly be called a mall anymore, as most of the space has been consolidated into three stores (Nordstrom Rack, Zara and Sak's Off Fifth). The recent closure of the Macy's store and the above mentioned civil unrest probably aren't helping matters here either.

- Marketplace at Factoria (Kimco): Haven't been here in years, but looking at the website it seems to be doing better than I expected to see. Lots of vacancies inside the mall (which has pretty much always been the case) but all the anchor spaces are filled (main anchors are Target, Walmart, Nordstrom Rack, Old Navy and Rite Aid) and the former Safeway store at the north end of the center is apparently being turned into an Amazon Fresh store. I know there were once redevelopment plans for this site, but these seem to be in limbo for the time being.

- Everett Mall (Brixton Capital): This is one of the smaller malls in the area, but most of the action these days is happening on the outside. The Sears store here closed last year and is currently vacant, and the Macy's store closed in 2018, with most of its space taken over by a Floor & Decor store but a portion remaining vacant (although from what I understand this space is not owned by the mall's management.) Major stores in the enclosed part of the mall include Old Navy, Famous Footwear, Ulta Beauty and Burlington, with a Regal Cinema and LA Fitness attached to the mall but not connected to the interior. Outside the mall the main stores are Best Buy, TJMaxx and Petsmart, with a Bed Bath and Beyond currently in the process of liquidating.

- Redmond Town Center (Fairbourne, managed by JSH): an open air mall in Redmond, has suffered from some large vacancies (most notably what used to be a large REI store and a Macy's that closed in 2018) but most of the smaller stores seem to remain occupied. This has also been more of a mixed use development from the start, with large amounts of office space occupied by Microsoft and AT&T, and several hotels on property.

The Commons at Federal Way (formerly Sea-Tac Mall, Merlonegeier): Don't know much about this one, but the situation seems similar to Factoria: The main anchors are filled with the exception of what used to be another Sears store, but there are a lot of vacancies inside the mall.

I'm sure I'm missing a couple here.
Last edited by Brian Lutz on November 25th, 2020, 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by pseudo3d »

As for me, the local mall is Post Oak Mall, which has seen better days. It opened in 1982 with a second phase in 1985, and when it was complete it had Foley's, Bealls (TX), Sears, JCPenney, Dillard's, and Wilson's. None of the anchors were particularly big, the Foley's being the biggest (about 100k sq. ft. on two levels), basically the mall was a scaled-down version of the larger malls in Houston.

Later on, the Foley's became Macy's, the Wilson's became Service Merchandise before it closed in 1999 and became a "split anchor" Dillard's, and of course Sears closed a few years ago. The slide I guess started 15 years ago when a block of stores between Sears and Dillard's became Steve & Barry's University Sportswear, and rent started to increase to the point where smaller stores fled to nearby shopping centers. Also during this time, Chuck E. Cheese moved into a space into the front of the mall where a restaurant was, but didn't connect to the mall proper, so it's a ghost town as soon as you walk in.

The food court is also pretty sad with maybe about four or five places to eat and a smoothie shop (down from over a dozen).

Nowadays, the mall is a mish-mash of the few national retailers that still manage to stick around (Bath & Body Works, etc.), stores that respond to the demographic shifts that the mall has faced (a Melrose store that took up another block of stores), stores that take up a lot of space (H&M, Shoe Dept. Encore which took the former S&B's, aforementioned Melrose), and a bunch of local stores that don't stick around for very long. Even with the "big stores", the mall is maybe 85% full in terms of storefronts.

The anchors are a disaster. Macy's converted most of their upper level into the Backstage area, which is usually a mess, the JCPenney is outdated with mirrored columns and dirty, falling-apart dressing rooms, the Sears closed and partially converted to Conn's HomePlus (not sure if it opens to the inside), and the Bealls became Gordmans and went out of business shortly afterward.

Obviously there's some inherent problems, like aforementioned demographic shifts but also the fact that was very isolated. A shopping center was built next to it (but the mall deliberately blocked connections to it) early on and for years it struggled after losing its main tenant (a Weingarten store, which lasted all of three months) until it finally managed to gain a foothold with TJMaxx, Hobby Lobby, and Toys R Us. On the other side of the highway is a Sam's Club and a movie theater, but they don't really affect the mall that much.
Last edited by pseudo3d on November 25th, 2020, 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by Brian Lutz »

Oops, forgot to finish that, fixed.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by lake52 »

My analysis of Northern California malls I am familiar with -

Sacramento Area

Galleria at Roseville - This is a really strong mall with a good tenant mix of fast fashion and upscale tenants. It has some vacancies but a good mix of tenants lined up to fill many of them. It will be interesting to see what happens with Sears. There was supposed to be a Round One and Century Theaters there but construction has been stalled since COVID began. I wouldn't be surprised if Century drops out.

Fountains at Roseville - The vacancies at the Galleria are not helping here. I think the Fountains was a bit overkill (Santana Row is seeing the same issues right now). A lot of larger square footage tenants like Sur La Table, Anthropologie, Z Gallerie, and Charming Charlie took space here that they could not get across the street. Now, that is not the case and many of the stores at the Fountains are not in good shape on a corporate level. They're hanging on with a good restaurant mix and some new stores like Sephora. They likely are going to struggle getting back up to 100% occupancy like they were at just a year ago.

Arden Fair - Arden is still a relatively strong mall even without Nordstrom, but with Sears likely closing soon, things are starting to go downhill. Arden actually historically has less vacancies that the Galleria (although a slightly smaller mall). Recently that has not been the case. Some major redevelopment is going to be needed here, especially with the smaller mall next door which is almost 100% vacant. Arden can be saved in a retail form if the right actions are taken soon.

EDIT: RIght after typing this, there has been a mass shooting at Arden Fair. I don't want to presume the motive, but do want to bring up that crime has been an issue at this mall ever since the opening of the Galleria. The mall has done a good job trying to calm fears of this with noticeable security improvements, but things like this happen yearly. This has been the largest issue causing the mall to decline.

Sunrise Mall - Sunrise is hurting. The mall started to downhill around 2010, and the Galleria fire gave it one last burst of life. The City of Citrus Heights is stepping in and starting redevelopment planning away from retail. I think this is the best move going forward.

Downtown Commons - This mall was starting to regain steam pre-Covid. I bet it is hurting extremely bad with the lack of workers/visitors downtown. If Macy's/Urban Outfitters recognize this and hang on, the mall has a shot. If not, I worry it will have an uphill climb. Golden1 Center gives it a boost, but I don't see them replacing Macys with any retail use.

Peninsula

Stanford - This mall is extremely strong. Very few vacancies and luxury tenant mix. The outdoor aspect has helped as well with regulations and visitors perceiving it as safer.

Hillsdale Mall - This mall has strong anchors and a brand new wing that has never been used to a full non-Covid extent. The tenants it does have are strong. However, it has a ton of vacancies. Having finished the new wing, they're refocusing efforts on the older part of the mall which is where the vacancies are. I think this mall will fill back up sooner than later, but work is needed.

Tanforan - This mall is hurting. If Target wasn't an anchor it would be dead, but since the unrest in May, Target has been keeping the doors to the mall closed. It is a newer beautiful mall with good occupancy, but not many national tenants. I don't see it remaining a mall with the Bart station and housing will likely replace Sears and slowly eat up the rest of the mall.

Stonestown - This mall is in a transition. It lost both anchors, but quickly replaced them with Whole Foods, Sports Basement, Regal, and Target. Indoors it has a ton of vacancies but strong tenants like Zara, Uniqlo, Apple, and H&M. GAP and Banana Republic recently closed which leaves a big hole that I don't see easily being filled. Yet, I have the most hope for this mall to rebound.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by Alpha8472 »

The San Francisco Bay Area has many malls in very different neighborhoods. Some areas are crime ridden and dangerous while other areas are affluent and safe.

Tanforan was very busy and doing well one year ago. It has a Target and was doing well. Then COVID-19 hit and sales are down. However, I am optimistic that it will survive with decent business. Hillsdale Mall one year ago was busy and affluent. It was filled to the brim with middle and upper middle class shoppers. The Food Court was packed and offered many nice to high end restaurants including Sushi and other expensive dishes. The Food Court was once a Sears store.

Now it is doing much less business, but the upper middle class customers keep this very nice mall afloat.

Then there is Hilltop Mall in Richmond, California which rebranded to the Shops at Hilltop. This mall was in awful shape 20 years ago. It was very empty and struggling even 1 year ago. Now it is near death. It is supposed to be rebuilt with condominiums and shops. The only thing keeping this mall alive is a non-supecenter Walmart which used to be a huge multi level department store. This is one of the most dangerous malls in Northern California. You go here and you risk getting shot in the parking lot.

I see this mall getting bulldozed eventually if they even have enough money.

Then there is Sunvalley Mall in Concord. It was always one of the biggest and best malls in the region up until about 10 years ago. Then it became a rat infested crime magnet. The middle class shoppers went to affluent nearby downtown Walnut Creek, California to shop in a safe and ritzy outdoor mall called Broadway Plaza which features Macy's, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, etc. Broadway Plaza does well, but sales are down due to COVID-19. Then the infamous June riots caused downtown to go up in flames as thousands of looters drove in from all over Northern California to loot the city. The shoppers were scared away. The recovery is slow, but the shoppers are slowly coming back.

Sunvalley Mall is near death with 80 percent of stores closed. This mall was busy just 1 year ago. The Round1 arcade and bowling center brought customers everyday and was busy until 2 AM. The 24 Hour Fitness was packed day and night. Business was decent last year, but still not as great as 20 years ago. The Food Court was only opened a couple of years ago. It started off strong and then came the rats. Now there are only 2 restaurants left in the Food Court. The entire mall is in such bad shape that if Sears closes, the mall may never recover. There are 2 Macy's and a JCPenney. These are the only stores with customers. Everything else is virtually deserted. McDonald's and Red Robin closed months ago due to COVID-19 and never reopened.
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Re: Dead/Dying Malls in Your Area and Predictions

Post by storewanderer »

lake52 wrote: November 27th, 2020, 6:41 pm
Arden Fair - Arden is still a relatively strong mall even without Nordstrom, but with Sears likely closing soon, things are starting to go downhill. Arden actually historically has less vacancies that the Galleria (although a slightly smaller mall). Recently that has not been the case. Some major redevelopment is going to be needed here, especially with the smaller mall next door which is almost 100% vacant. Arden can be saved in a retail form if the right actions are taken soon.

EDIT: RIght after typing this, there has been a mass shooting at Arden Fair. I don't want to presume the motive, but do want to bring up that crime has been an issue at this mall ever since the opening of the Galleria. The mall has done a good job trying to calm fears of this with noticeable security improvements, but things like this happen yearly. This has been the largest issue causing the mall to decline.
Arden is in a high enough traffic location and centrally located in a manner that it should still be able to work as a mall in some form. They are going to need to work on the tenant mix and try for mixed use/housing tie in which I thought they are trying to do. If they can go the mixed use route they need to get a grocery operator in there (or Target with a grocery assortment). Arden needs to face reality that without Nordstrom, they are a lower class-lower middle class mall. They can still be a mall and a busy one at that, the traffic/demand is there. But they really tried to keep that as an upper end mall over the years which, after Roseville opened, was a challenge. There is great potential for food and "fun" activity type tenants there, as the restaurants around there always seem very busy. Nordstrom leaving I think has finally made that reality sink in. Also Nordstrom leaving that mall is probably going to cause certain other "higher end" retailers within the mall to reconsider their position there. Take away Sears (which still has traffic at Arden... not much, but some) and what do you have left there- you have an undersized Macy's, and the JC Penney- both also pull pretty good traffic- considerably more than Sears in its current form. This is a mall that needs to move past the department stores. In better days I'd say you would have seen Macy's take the larger Sears building as it is the best positioned and largest anchor building at Arden.

The surface level parking lot at Arden needs to be re-designed. The spaces are too small, too tight, too close together. There is not good space for pedestrians to move around. On a busy day, that parking lot is a stressful place just to park and drive in. I am not going to say the parking lot is causing the crime, but I don't think the parking lot is helping the situation there any. I have felt uneasy the 3 times I've gone to that mall in the past year due to the amount of loitering I observed in the parking lot and I did not find a security presence to be at all visible outside (inside, it was no more visible than any other mall in a large metro area). Based on the parking lot and what I observed, I was really surprised to see some of the upscale stores inside the mall, actually in that mall.

I have also had hotel stays multiple times near Arden and never felt particularly safe in the hotel parking lots after dark, and always felt the quality of the hotels was below average for the brand of the hotel- like it was a stretch to have the specific hotel brand on a not great facility in a bad neighborhood.
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