Needed a bit of hardware over the week-end, so I ended up in the large shopping center east of town. The area where the center was built was farmland not so many years ago, when it was developed it became a hodge-podge of nondescript buildings in sort of a Mission-meets-Hollywood style. They laid a spagetti-maze of asphalt roads between the stores, evidently in an attempt to cause a suggestible shopper to stop along the way, distracted by the numerous trendy theme shops.
What a difference a few years make. The center never was fully occupied, lately stores have been closing every month. I stopped in the big sporting goods warehouse store- it was in the final stages of a going out of business sale and was nearly empty except for the fixtures, which were also on sale. The big box electronics and appliance store was half-empty, with large areas of interior devoid of merchandise, very eerie. I stopped into the large chain book and media store. They were closing out all their CDS and DVDs at 50% off. They had been picked over pretty well, I've read that the parent company is not expected to last another year.
So what's the future for this place? Let it return to farmland? Re-purpose the existing structures, and if so for what? Detention centers for illegal aliens? Prisons? I don't think those will be growth industries, either, at least not the way they used to be. I'll just have to get used to getting more of my stuff from UPS and Fed-Ex trucks, I guess.