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San Antonio has many large, suburban shopping malls—many were built decades ago and have outlived their intended use. Most were designed to focus on an interior corridor and they are surrounded by a 'sea' of parking lots. However, razing a shopping mall for new development can be cost prohibitive. Adaptive reuse of large shopping mall spaces can help activate the available indoor spaces and the surrounding neighborhoods. Adaptive reuse can also integrate new transportation connections and placemaking amenities. Introducing new connections through a shopping mall site can help break the mall into smaller pieces with double-loaded exterior commercial corridors. This helps orient storefronts outwardly, reintroducing the surrounding street grid into the site and creating better pedestrian and bicycle connections to the surrounding community. The land use mix includes commercial, medium to high-density residential, office and civic uses. Parking solutions can include on-street parking, parking structures and retaining downsized parking lots. Rackspace is a well-known example of this place type, and South Park Mall could be better used with this place type designation.

Major Determinant

Shopping mall revitalization or reuse.

Relation to VIA Supportive Development Typologies

One of three typologies corresponding to VIA’s Urban Center typology.

Predominant Land Uses

Retail, mixed-use, medium to high-density residential, office and civic uses.

Performance Standards

Height: 2 to 8-story development or 35 to 110 feet

Massing and Density: 15 to 40 housing units per acre and 2:1 to 5:1 Floor Area Ratio (FAR)

Street Level Activation: Transparency along primary street of 50%; transparency along side street of 20%

Connectivity: Maximum block perimeter of 1,200 feet; minimum 90 intersections per square mile

Public Space: Plazas and park spaces totaling 10 acres per 1,000 residents

Parking: On-street and off-street parking (most in structures)

Potential Locations

The Shopping Mall Retrofit place type is appropriate at under-performing and outdated shopping malls. The map above shows areas within ¼-mile of existing shopping malls. It also shows several conceptual locations for the place type where the conditions are known to be conducive for this style of development. It should be noted that several shopping malls are currently performing well.