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Draining the Malls

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It's no secret that suburban malls are hollowing out, and that there's a growing disparity in occupancy rate between upper class and middle class shopping destinations. Earlier this week Bridget Sweeney did our region a service by visiting area malls and reporting back on their condition. Charlestowne Mall in west suburban St. Charles takes the cake. Discounting the three mainstream department store anchors, the massive 850,000-square-foot mall stands 80% vacant. Maybe if they dropped that stupid 'e'. Plenty of other ho-hum shopping destinations are on the skids too. Region-wide, 30% of shopping centers are "troubled". A confluence of budget retailers are part of the problem for traditional malls, with new Targets and Walmarts sprouting up like prairie grass. Alas, if only reverse migration were to blame. [Crain's]