September 24th, 2011

whining about _Retrofitting Suburbia_

I'm really trying hard to read it because I've already renewed it once and Newton wants it back. And I _really_ don't want to buy a copy of this thing because I Disapprove.

I can't quite figure out how to describe why I disapprove. But here's a couple of starting points.

From page 4:

"The owners of a low-rise industrial park in Westwood, Massachusetts are taking advantage of its location on a commuter rail line to redevelop it as Westwood Station, a 4.5 million-square-foot, four-to-five-story live-work-shop TOD and the largest suburban redevelopment project ever in Massachusetts."

I asked R. where this was and he said, hey, we've seen that. It's still a hole in the ground. The bust caught this expensive-condo TOD, and while the financial partner was happy to sell out, the developer side was not so happy and the town of Westwood is now contemplating eminent domain. Yeah. That's where things were in January anyway.

From page 6:

"As detailed in Chapter 7, General Growth Properties [walkitout sez, uh oh], the second-largest mall owner in the country and the second-largest U.S.-based publicly traded REIT [been through post-bust BK already and it's not clear the BK was sufficiently ... complete], is retrofitting the Cottonwood Mall outside Salt Lake City as a test case for repositioning its underperforming and/or redundant properties into mixed-use town centers."

*sigh*

Current status on that:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/52012476-78/project-mall-cottonwood-growth.html.csp

Don't be thinking this is a case of some random Texans swooping in to cherry pick or something. Howard Hughes was part of General Growth and got spun out post-BK (and not as a REIT).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_Growth_Properties

Everyone seems very committed to fixing this mall, which I suppose is a positive sign, except if you look at the location, you really have to wonder if this thing has any kind of chance at all.