It's one of my favorite Talking Heads songs. It appears on the last of their eight studio albums, called ‘Naked.’ For whatever reason, lately I have been in a Talking Heads groove (I listen to Pandora or Bloomberg Radio at my desk all day everyday) and yesterday I was struck with an amazing realization. I am actually experiencing, in a real way the impossible paradox described in a song written in the days of the advent of "big box" retail, 1988. If you are not familiar, the lyric that comes to mind is:
"There was a shopping mall
Now it's all
covered with flowers"
The song goes on to describe the horrid reversion of Pizza Huts and 7-11’s to green meadows much to the chagrin of the observer. This impossible 1980’s fantasy is my 2017 reality. In the last year or so, we have looked at and financed transactions where the business plans involved demolishing literally millions of square feet of suburban retail. This includes total demolition of a former power center, 80% demolition of a "traditional" L-shaped grocery anchored center (two of those financed), partial demolition of a former mall, and vacant strip retail on the same parcel as a free-standing credit tenant. This all occurred in order to develop a variety of uses including single-family residential, townhomes, apartments, new retail, promenades, parks, or simply nothing at all, which in certain cases actually enhanced the value of the existing retail that remained. READ MORE