The COVID-19 pandemic has forced shopping centers, big-box stores and retail chains to go dark. However, as you know, the pandemic has accelerated the need for retailers to adopt omnichannel solutions and digitalization strategies. To remain competitive, many of these spaces are seeing retail stores as fulfillment centers/distribution centers, retail warehousing or other types of repurposing.

Following are three ways to repurpose your retail space:

  1. Before you start repurposing your retail space, think about how the space will be used. For example, if you have a 100,000–150,000 square foot facility, the space could work well in a fulfillment center that specializes in the “last touch” – the last stop before a product is delivered to the end user. However, if you have a 300,000–400,000 square foot space, the facility would be best used as a warehouse that serves multiple markets or for gateway hubs that receive and forward goods from other centers or abroad.
  2. Your retail space could also be repurposed into office space. For example, rather than using the space as a fulfillment center, Amazon purchased the Lord & Taylor building in downtown Manhattan as office space for approximately 2,000 workers.
  3. Another way could be creating storage units. Starting earlier this year, U-Haul began repurposing former retail spaces like Shopko and K-Mart into a self-storage facility. This helps reduce the number of unused properties and lowers the carbon footprint.


FoxArneson specializes in both design and building services for retail stores, warehouse and distribution centers.