New Mall Model

This month, and maybe further, I am going to attempt to think outside the box a bit.  Where does craft beer and the world intersect and how can they build together.  I want to put some fun, maybe totally un-workable ideas out there.  The U.S. has gotten so stuck but maybe one idea can spark another and then we can find one that does make life truly greater.

I live in Glendale, CA and for SoCal old-timers that may conjure up trips to the Glendale Galleria and for those new, the more Caruso owned Americana. Both malls are up-to-date with a seemingly always rotating set of stores sprinkled amidst anchors such as Target in the Galleria and Nordstroms at the Americana.

But on the other edge of Glendale sits the Eagle Rock Plaza. A hulking expanse of 2 level parking with a few stores tucked behind the cars and a weird little mini-mall in front. It is not pretty, it is mostly grey and it has not kept up with the times.

from the L.A. Times article about how the Eagle Rock Plaza was surpassed by the Glendale Galleria.

Now, I would tear it down and plunk as much affordable housing as I could cram into the space but I doubt that would happen what with NIMBYs shouting louder than MAGAs these days.

What could happen though, is a gradual re-imagining of a mall in 2019 and one of those aspects could be, you guessed it, beer. Craft beer has been known to be a lead gentrifier before and that could be used to make a space that is more local and nimble and fun.

To make my point, read THIS. Now that you are back, I think that a brewery/brewpub could bring the Eagle Rock Plaza alive again. Of course a lot of landscaping would need to be done and a lot of the parking spots would need to be turned into actual green spaces or at least Lyft zones but imagine what a powerhouse the mall would be with two current (popular) tenants in Target and Jollibee (A Fillipino family friendly restaurant). Get a hip sneaker company or go full art and become a hub for musicians or artists or skateboarders. Pick a niche.

Better yet, add housing and encourage co-living situations, green the place up and add a brewery incubator and heck, think about a podcast company based there. It’s time to take these spaces and really think outside the box. A mall with two anchors at either end is not enough. 2019, needs a mix of housing, shopping and eating.