Westfield is the latest in a string of mall developers and landlords whose firms have begun adding non-retail uses to existing retail properties. This real estate densification has been going on for many years on an incremental level, according to Lisa Kaufman, portfolio manager with LaSalle Investment Management Securities, based in Chicago. Only the lack of available land has constrained the march of densification. The transformation of the retail industry is eliminating both competing retail uses and the scarcity of land as barriers to densification, according to Kaufman.
“Today, the rationalization of department store fleets
is creating an opportunity for landlords to pursue densification,”
Kaufman says. “We expect to see an acceleration of this activity over
the next five to 10 years as unproductive department store boxes are
replaced with other uses.”. . . more