Tuesday, March 14, 2017

You better pray more malls die.

I hadn't been out to Hayward in a while. It's an sort of an industrial city so I really only go out there when I need floors or some kind of home improvement thing. But when I was out there this weekend I was super happy to see at least two of my points proven.

The first? For possibly three years now I've been talking about how simply astonished I was with the places things are being built. All the easy land is gone. The only land left is by the railroad tracks, and at at one point I even joked that they were putting apartments up inside the cloverleaf of freeways. And as you can see from this photo, I wasn't too far from being dramatic. That my friends is a freeway off ramp.

The second? This used to be an old mall. The anchor store used to be a Mervyns. And finally after all these years it's being absorbed. This is what is going to happen to Sears and JcPenny, and all the rest of the dinosaur stores. And we are going to be completely fine. Because we need housing! If people think that housing is expensive now...... you haven't seen anything yet. Over the past couple of years developers rolled in and bought up most of the easy land. Now things are going to get melt your face off expensive. If you thought the housing boom was crazy. Just wait. We have been under building for at least twice the recessionary average. Here go hell come. Mark my words.

I'm not sure if they are sticking stores in down below or garages. But if it turns out to be stores I'm hitting the trifecta.


  1. "And we're living here in Levittown
    And they're closing the shopping malls down ..."

    (to the tune of Billy Joel's "Allentown", c'mon, sing along!) :-)

    Here, go share their "dream": Planning Levittown.

    This sort of thing has several antecedents, but here's one you might enjoy from Ol' Blighty:

    Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire

    (pronounced "WELL-in" and "HART-ferd-shur", because we English are masters at pronouncing the words in our own language, naturally :-) ...)

    But in essence, most of America's successes with the architecture of "suburban sprawl" are variations of Levittown or of the shopping centre/mall that came into ascendance with it. Victor Gruen was the person behind such things as Westfield Valley Fair, and his style became a sort of "International Style" for shopping centres/malls.

    Originally he had planned for these things to be mixed use, so it's amusing in a long-way-about sense to see that they're being repurposed away from "big box" retail to something closer to his original plans ...

  2. Huh. That is an interesting factoid. Especially since Santana Row is a mixed use mall and it's right across the street from Westfield Valley Fair. I wonder if his trust owns that mall. Maybe he was just a little too early.

  3. As far as where to live goes, it could be worse, especially for someone who likes driving ...

    It could be Milton Keynes, referred to by comedian Bill Bailey as "Satan's Lay-By".

    See all of those roundabouts? That's outright demonic. :-)

    Also, any time you're feeling especially smug about your driving skills, give this some consideration, especially after switching to satellite view: The Magic Roundabout, Swindon.

    Yes, that's five roundabouts in a huge roundabout. Fortunately Wiltshire Fire & Rescue is ready to assist -- they're located adjacent to that monstrous thing.

    As bad as American sprawl can be, at least most of it isn't Milton Keynes or Swindon.

    (and Hull is also a four letter word for more than one obvious reason)

  4. Yeah - but can you drift the round abouts?

  5. Apparently when Swindon Council says yes, you can ...

    Mad Mike Whiddett: Drifting Swindon's Magic Roundabout

    (and this link may also work better ...)