Is the retail apocalypse a housing opportunity?

Westfield is proposing a $1.5B redevelopment of Woodland Hills mall

Forget VIP lounges and cryogenics — mall renovations could soon include new apartments.

Developers could seize opportunities to develop more housing in Los Angeles as declining sales cause malls to shutter, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Four malls in the region could potentially face demolition to make way for new housing. The proposed projects at the Promenade mall in Woodland Hills, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza in South L.A., Laguna Hills Mall in Orange County and South Bay Galleria in Redondo Beach could add over 4,000 housing units.

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In Woodland Hills, Westfield Corp. filed a proposal to raze the 1973-built Promenade mall in a $1.5 billion project that would create build residences, offices, two hotels, boutiques, restaurants and even a concert venue.

A report from Credit Suisse predicts 20 to 25 percent of America’s malls will close in the next five years. Experts are saying the death by online shopping could provide one of the best chances for developers to add housing to a region that desperately needs it.

Yet, with as with any major redevelopment project, there will most likely be community backlash from residents wanting to preserve the neighborhood’s character.
The city might also fight back in fear of losing the sales tax revenue its currently receiving from the shopping malls. [LAT]Natalie Hoberman