Raise your hand if you ordered a product online this week. Raise your hand if you have walked through your local mall recently and seen some bare spaces. Did you think about how you can fill the space? Here are some ways to repurpose retail space.

1. Mirco-Fulfillment Center

Shopping in a standard brick and mortar store is declining and online sales are rising. To keep up with online operations, ecommerce companies require warehouse and fulfillment centers. Micro-fulfillment centers are often the last touchpoint before getting to consumers hands. Malls or retail stores are often in urban areas allowing for warehouse to be closer to end consumers. Proximity to interstate or highway is an important factor for transportation of goods. You want the ability to efficiently retrieve products to and from a fulfillment center. Location is especially important when transporting perishable goods. Repurposing retail space into a warehouse for shipments allows for consumers to receive orders in as little as hours, or up to a few days. Instant gratification is becoming more important to consumers and ultimately determines how they purchase an item. Other things to consider when selecting a retail space for micro-fulfillment center is zoning, neighborhood restrictions, and population density. Design challenges to consider are dock doors or truck bays, floors/material capable of supporting machinery and racking, and layout to maximize space. FoxArneson has the expertise to assist in site selection, layout, and design.

2. Office Space

Due to COVID-19, offices shut down and employees started working from home. Now that the vaccine is available, people are wanting to get out of the house and utilize co-working spaces. Employees are looking for an experience they cannot achieve remotely. Coffee shops and restaurants are often included into co-working spaces and can add then benefit of not having to leave work to get a necessary dose of caffeine. When repurposing the space into multiple things (office space, coffee shop, restaurant), you will want to consider the coordination of construction projects. A large space like a “retail store” can be helpful for training new employees. Training employees in person is important to start off on the right foot. These spaces could also be used to keep up on training and education of employees. Retail spaces usually have longer leases, are centrally located, and have great space for parking. For an office space to adapt to a retail space is not complicated when it comes to zoning requirements.Meeting Room Woodman's HQ

3. Storage Units

The housing market is booming, and people are selling their homes to make a big profit. If they are downsizing to fit in a temporary apartment or living in parents’ basements, there may not be any additional storage space. People are turning to storage units to keep their items safe when they move or relocate. Office spaces are downsizing as employees continuing to work from home full- or part-time. More valuable than just self-storage is a climate-controlled space. Large empty parking lots usually come along with vacant building spaces. The combination of space is perfect for self-storage. About 10.6% of U.S. households currently rent a self-storage facility.

4. Gym

Vacant retail space has two common elements that make it an ideal workout space – large space and high ceilings. Specialty gyms are continuing to expand their footprint. Right now, gyms are more frequently incorporated into mixed use properties in urban areas. Gyms sometimes offer a bundle experience by offering childcare, healthy eating options, and workout space. A vacant retail space has the flexibility for multiple areas.

5. Community College

Mall space formerly filled with a department store is the perfect set up for a community college. Existing mall infrastructure can make college more accessible/convenient to the community. An urban mall is conveniently close to restaurants, shops, and fitness centers, making it more appealing for students. There is also plenty of space for parking for students driving to school. The open floor plan of a mall can create the opportunity for students to collaborate. Although it allows for an opportunity to create separate learning rooms with your own twist to inspire learning.

Make it Happen

FoxArneson has experience building/renovating warehouses, cold-storage facilities, offices, malls, strip malls, schools, and retail stores. Our design-build delivery method is a great process for a retail space remodel. Design-build allows for open dialogue and collaboration between owners, design, and construction teams. If you are curious if a space can, be renovated to your next venture, reach out today for a free consultation.