Religious institutions increasingly taking vacant retail space in malls

October 12, 2017 06:05PM

Call it a Hail Mary play: landlords are taking a fresh look at churches to fill vacancies in struggling retail centers. The interest marks a departure for landlords, who typically considered religious institutions to be weak tenants, as they are usually not open all week and could be harder to evict since they don’t pay rent, the Wall Street Journal reported. At least 111 malls and open-air centers now have churches in them, according to an analysis of August 2017 data from the Directory of Major Malls, which tracks 8,200 retail centers in the U.S. There are three churches in the Grand Cities Mall in Grand Forks, North Dakota, and the Outlets in Loveland, Colorado leases 34,000 square feet to three churches and a synagogue. [WSJ]