Sunday, March 25, 2007

Calhoun Square: Just Another Mall?

Calhoun Square has been in the news a lot recently. The erstwhile trendy urban mall has fallen on hard times: occupancy rates have fallen, and the collapsing market for luxury condos (and rentals) has halted plans for expanding the mall's residential component. Now Calhoun Square is up for sale (big surprise, huh?).

Take a look at the photo above. I snapped that picture yesterday. It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon, temperate in the mid-60's, and moderately sunny. Uptown, while not packed, was fairly busy with pedestrian traffic. Inside the mall, however, things were quiet. Sure, there were a few people milling about the shops, but overall there was a morgue atmosphere about the place.

Let's face it: experientially speaking, Calhoun Square feels like just another suburban mall. The skylights don't really let in all that much natural light, and the entryways effectively close off outside-the-mall from inside-the-mall. The acoustics are poor: there's a constant dull background rumble of echoed conversations and industrial equipment.

Obviously there are a lot of factors contributing to the decline of Calhoun Square: the tanking condo market, the eventual de-trendification of all neighborhoods, the upscaling of Uptown itself. But I don't think it would be that hard to make this mall a nicer place to spend time: improve the acoustics by replacing highly echo-reflective tiles with some other material. Let in more natural light. Rebuild the main entrance to encourage pedestrian flow in and out of the space. These improvements are easy enough to implement and would vastly improve the look-and-feel of the space.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home