Posted by: nickgerlich | October 15, 2007

Hip To Be Square

I remember going to my first enclosed shopping mall. It was the very cool Dixie Square Mall in south suburban Chicago, and it was 1967. Last February I did a special blog on what had become of that mall (think: urban decay, drugs, murder). It was such a novel concept to shop indoors. Soon, enclosed malls were being built all over the nation.

It’s funny how what was once hip is now square. Sometimes it’s even hip to be square. Enclosed malls are so 1960s and 1970s. And nondescript strip malls with big box category killer stores are so 1980s and 1990s.

No, what’s in is actually out…as in outdoors: The Lifestyle Center. And one of the biggest of them, the Town Square Las Vegas, is slated to open in mid-November.

Las Vegas Town SquareLocated just south of Mandalay Bay between I-15 and Las Vegas Boulevard, this new district is modeled after an old fashioned town square. It is a pedestrian mall; each of the storefronts has unique masonry and facade to make it all appear as if it were a patchwork quilt of buildings, when it fact the whole thing was built at once. (And, for the record, I stand amazed that it took this project two years to come to completion, because nothing ever takes that long here.)

Town square will boast 1.5 million square feet on 117 acres, with 150 shops, 12 restaurants, a mega cinema, and office space. I pity the poor residents of Las Vegas who have not had anywhere to shop all these years.

I suppose we simply are fickle people, never quite satisfied with what we have. We crave ever more of the new, even if it is the old but with new clothes. Maybe this is progress. It explains why professional sports arenas are now demolished every 20-30 years, only to be replaced (like mega-churches) by an even bigger edifice (often made to look old).

I see a day coming soon when the only people at enclosed shopping malls will be elderly mall walkers. The climate control is nice; it matters not if it is snowing or 100-degrees outside, for in the mall it is always a cozy 72. Walk, baby, walk!

I just wonder if shoppers will one day see through the saccharine flavor of a retail center that is new, looks old, but still has no heart and soul. That’s a round hole no square peg could ever begin to fill.

Dr “Square Route Of All Evil” Gerlich


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