Greyfields

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  • Published 20090901
  • ISBN: 9781921520761
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

WHEN A SHOPPING centre is dying, its patronage slipping away, it is referred to as a greyfield. At this point annual sales have slumped below $200 a square metre. The centre slowly hollows, tenants are given notice and town planners swoop with schedules for demolition. The centre will stay open until a third of the tenants find other lodgings. The empty shops close their roller-doors and the arcades shut down in dark rows, one by one. The centre is sealed, locks are placed on the doors and the car park buckles at the edges, weeds pushing up the bitumen in anticipation.

This will happen to one in every four shopping centres. Shopping centres die in stages: like retail lepers, they lose limbs. Anchors are what keep them alive. They are the heart – a popular franchise, supermarket or department store that directs traffic past the smaller stores. Anchors such as food halls and cinema complexes are placed at the end of long stretches of glazed windows. The industry standard states that the maximum distance shoppers are prepared to walk between anchors is three hundred metres. This is called anchor drag.

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