Retail Traffic Magazine has an interesting story about the slow down in shopping center development. As you might have guessed, it has more to do with the slow down in the economy and less about offsite-onsite issues, which is what General Growth Properties is saying about their Bridges at Mint Hill project. From Retail Traffic:
Consumers are checking discretionary spending and, seemingly everyday, new retailers come out with announcements that they are filing for bankruptcy, shuttering stores and constraining expansion plans. As a result, construction is coming to a screeching halt at projects across the country as developers reevaluate proposed centers’ economic viability.
Most recently, site work of the planned 215-acre open-air center, Bridges at Mint Hill in Charlotte, N.C., came to a halt. Chicago-based General Growth Properties and local partner Childress Klein Properties originally announced plans for the center in June 2005. It was slated to open in 2007. A series of delays pushed projected completion back to 2009. As for now, no new timeline has been announced.
General Growth announces second quarter earnings after the market closes today, so that should be a good indicator of the financial state of the company.
**Update: General Growth reported an increase in earnings for the second quarter. The company seems strong, so maybe this halt in construction of the Bridges is just that: a halt. Mayor Ted Biggers and Town Manager Brian Welch seem confident mall construction will pick back up in the new year. So far, there’s no reason to doubt that.