Walk through Seattle’s trend-setting University Village shopping center near the University of Washington, and you’ll see Apple, Crate & Barrel, Allbirds and other top retail brands still booming. But drive just a few miles to one of Seattle’s older indoor shopping malls, and it’s a far different story. Formerly crowded department stores like JC Penny are shuttered. Parking lots are empty.
Shopping malls have long served as important epicenters of commerce and community. But will the one-two punch of online commerce and the pandemic deal a fatal blow to these brick-and-mortar institutions?