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Sunday, June 5, 2016

What's In a Name?

It became official Tuesday morning.  The Mall at Steamtown is now The Marketplace at Steamtown.

"Mall" has become a four letter word these days (ha!).  Strip centers, lifestyle plazas, and the internet have taken their toll.

The mall has been under a new owner for about one year now.  He's tried new things, like adding a gym and a college campus.  Lighting is improved.  There's a new paint job.  More improvements are promised.

Let's take a look at why the previous owner failed to fill the place.  I don't think is was hard to figure out.  Parking garage lighting was awful.  Kids were hanging out in front.  The place started looking run down.  People didn't feel safe.  Stores started leaving.  The dominoes tumbled, and outside of Boscov's, there was no reason to go there.  On top of that, other shopping centers did it better.  Viewmont stayed competitive and contemporary.  New stores and restaurants entered the mix.  The Shoppes at Montage offered more options in retail and dining.

The name "Mall at Steamtown" had the stench of failure on it.  A new name won't help a great deal until all those vacancies are filled.  It won't hurt.  It's just refreshing to see someone try to make it all work.