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Abandoned Shopping Malls Present an Opportunity for Senior Living Development

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Mixed-Use Development

Abandoned Shopping Malls Present an Opportunity for Senior Living Development

A Chicago developer is turning old, abandoned shopping malls into mixed-use senior living communities (SLCs)

June 30, 2023
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Image: Vien / Stock.adobe.com

Northbrook, IL-based SAS Architects + Planners is partnering with Integrated Development II, USAA and Centennial to turn old shopping malls into senior living communities (SLCs). The Chicago-area SLCs include Sophia at Fox Valley, a redevelopment project from the Fox Valley Mall in Aurora, IL, as well as Sophia at Hawthorn Mall, a multifamily project redeveloped from Hawthorn Mall in Vernon Hills, IL, Forbes reports.

The shopping mall to SLC conversions are mixed-use developments with resort-like amenities, and unlike self-contained SLCs, Sophia at Fox Valley and Sophia at Hawthorn Mall are connected to their local communities and are both located within walking distance to stores, eateries, pharmacies, and doctors’ offices.

Sophia at Fox Valley and Sophia at Hawthorn Mall are by no means the only examples of what appears a nascent trend. In Irondequoit, N.Y., the old Irondequoit Mall’s Sears store has yielded to a new, amenity-filled 157-residence senior housing community called Skyview Park. In Seattle, the one-time parking lot of one of the nation’s first malls, Northgate Mall, has been transformed into Aljoya Thornton Place, a 143-unit retirement community on the Emerald City’s northeast side.

[James] Moyer is convinced there will be more conversions to come.

“The growth potential is really exciting,” he says. “Given the decline and vacancy of malls across America, the purposeful and adaptive reuse of these prime economic real estate locations into mixed-use residential, shopping, dining and entertainment centers provides a much-needed lifeline to the local economy . . . Senior living communities should be an integral part of well-rounded, mixed-use mall redevelopment.”

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