As the pandemic upends their entire business model, malls are turning to their own parking lots as new sources of revenue for events like outdoor concerts or drive-in movies, CNBC reports.
The move, on the part of many event organizers, is intended to replace how they would normally rent out space in a mall or other venue.
Brookfield Properties, for example, has signed a deal with entertainment company Kilburn Live to turn five parking lots across the U.S. into outdoor venues in Denver, Dallas, Houston, Minneapolis and Woodbridge, New Jersey, with more such venues on the way, CNBC reported.
Michelle Snyder, chief marketing officer of Brookfield’s retail arm, said the idea was to keep making money even through the pandemic’s dissolution of many old standards of events.
“If we can’t rent the mall, we are going to rent other space,” she said in an interview, referring to hosting large-scale events, according to CNBC. “We actually have tons of ideas for our parking lots.”
Snyder said many people have responded positively to such events, in spite of their hesitance to re-enter some physical indoor stores. She said people are “desperate to leave home,” and added Brookfield has taken extra steps to add food kiosks so people can eat while watching drive-in movies.
Elliot Nassim, president of Mason Asset Management, which works to buy distressed malls with New York-based realty company Namdar Realty Group, said the idea is just to keep using the property one has.
“If you have good real estate, you have the potential to do so much with it,” he said, according to CNBC.
The new form of revenue could be a good alternative while the pandemic forces many tenants to be delinquent on rent or file for bankruptcy.
Malls have been assailed for years by the rise of eCommerce services, with declining traffic prompting developers and officials to explore turning parts of them into housing or other such developments.