Article written by Carmen R. Austin, MBA, CCIM, Retail Specialist & Associate Broker for Saurage Commercial Real Estate 

As I sit here reading an article entitled “Retail Architecture’s Changing World” in the one of the latest ICSC publications to come across my desk, it brings to mind a very interesting website that I’m not sure if any of ya’ll are familiar with and might want to take the time to check out entitled

This website and blog provides a dramatic representation of how the retail environment has changed over the years. It seems regardless of the last recession, changing psychological spending habits, or economic downturns, there has always been a changing landscape when it comes to America’s beloved retail malls. Even with the recent popularity in past decades of lifestyle centers, mixed use developments, strip centers, big box power centers, and high-end luxury retail developments, the American mall has always held a certain level and reputation as a reflection of American society, life style, and even pop culture.

Will there ever be a sustainable resurrection of the traditional indoor shopping mall as the mainstay? Who knows? But it is beyond interesting to delve through the stories and photographs of abandoned shopping malls, retail centers, and wastelands that were once considered thriving economic outlets for consumers to spend their hard-earned disposable income.

These pictures mainly represent an indication of how the consumer’s fickle spending styles, tastes, and shopping as a recreation have changed over the years and just how easily affected a mall is by the competition of new development. While you’re at it be sure to check out some of New Orleans’ post-Katrina malls and Baton Rouge’s famously redeveloped Bon Marche Mall.

According to the website, is “a non-profit endeavor designed to promote the history of the malls, as well as, their nature, whether thriving or declining and the impact of time and competition on these establishments” and the creators seem more than eager to use their cheeky insight to assist commercial developers in understanding the sociological and psychological drive behind these changing trends. Please feel free to send your questions and comments to

Carmen has been a practicing commercial real estate broker with Saurage Commercial Real Estate since 2001. She is a graduate of the Louisiana State University (LSU) E.J. Ourso College of Business and the LSU Flores Masters of Business Administration (MBA) Program with a specialization in Entrepreneurship and Real Estate Finance.  Her experience includes past employment as Regional Director of Leasing at Commercial Properties Realty Trust the for-profit arm of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. Carmen’s affiliations include Louisiana REALTORS®,Greater Baton Rouge Association of REALTORS® Commercial Investment DivisionInternational Council of Shopping CentersCommercial Real Estate WomenCertified Commercial Investment Member InstituteNational Association of REALTORS®, and Urban Land Institute. She is also an active volunteer on the board of directors for the Baton Rouge GalleryLSU MBA Alumni AssociationJunior Achievement of Baton Rouge, and the Junior League of Baton Rouge.  Carmen currently serves as the 2010 President of the Louisiana CCIM Chapter

Saurage Company, Inc dba Saurage Commercial Real Estate was founded in Baton Rouge in 1991 with the purpose of providing exceptional real estate services with an emphasis on commercial property and property management. Saurage Commercial Real Estate offers to its clients a full range of real estate services including brokerage, investment advising, development consulting, REO disposition specialists, asset management, fee based consulting, tenant representation, and buyer representation. The staff of professionals includes combined experience of 50 years, as well as CCIM Designees and Candidates and recipients of Master of Business Administration.