EDITORIAL: A shift in focus at the mall

You may have noticed there’s a major shift going on at the Meriden Mall. The latest evidence is the announcement that the former site of Macy’s, at one time a mall anchor, is to be replaced by a medical outpatient center. Yale-New Haven Hospital will bring the medical expertise, and MedCraft Realty Group will alter the former shopping mecca into a place for medicine.

The pandemic has added to what was already a straining situation. A recent article in the Journal Inquirer of Manchester noted “shoppers’ reluctance to roam in a crowded indoor environment during the COVID-19 era has accelerated the decline of regional shopping malls and been a key driver in the shift to outdoor shopping.”

Back in Meriden, a mall press release stressed a commitment to “the future of Meriden and its use as a community destination.”

“The Yale New Haven Health System will provide five times more employees to the mall, increasing overall foot traffic to the center,” it said.

 The aim is to keep shopping centers relevant to “the needs of their communities,” as the press release put it. With Best Buy announcing its departure from Meriden’s mall recently, this type of shift is likely to continue.

The plan had been to turn the former Macy’s site into medical offices, but as it is turning out it will be just the outpatient center. “It’s another good thing for our mall,” Joseph Feest, Meriden’s director of Economic Development, told the Record-Journal.

Construction is expected to start early next year, which is just around the corner, and is expected to be complete by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

It’s worth noting that MidState Medical Center is just across the street, on Lewis Avenue, from the mall. The recent announcement makes that area of the city even more of a medical services destination and less a lure for shoppers. What’s most important is that Meriden continues to benefit.







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