NEW YORK — Construction on malls and other retail projects increased in 1994 after declining for nine years in a row, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.
Ground was broken last year for 482 developments, including five regional malls, a 7.3 percent increase from the 449 projects begun in 1993, the Council said.
The gain was even greater when measured in gross square footage. Last year’s new projects involved 43.6 million gross square feet, a 14.2 percent gain over the 38.1 million gross square feet of new construction in 1993.
The rate of retail development had been on a decline since peaking in 1985, when 2,131 retail projects were launched, ICSC said.
Isaac Lagnado, publisher of Tactical Retail Monitor, said the results indicate “a nice uptick” in retail development, especially for large regional shopping malls.
“We’re glad to see it,” he said. “But it’s not the heyday of the Eighties.” While five regional malls, each larger than 800,000 square feet, were launched last year, only one of that size was begun in 1993. There were none in 1992.
Construction of smaller, neighborhood centers between 100,000 and 200,000 square feet also increased last year, to 72 centers compared with 64 in 1993.
Still, the ICSC noted that in 1994 renovation and expansion projects were “the primary vehicle for growth in the shopping center industry.” Contracts were awarded for additions or alterations at 919 retail centers, an 18.1 percent increase compared with 778 renovation projects in 1993.
John T. Riordan, president of ICSC, said in a statement that the increase in construction and renovation projects are “signs of vigor and confidence in the future of shopping center retailing.”