Monday, August 25, 2014
The Receding Tide of the Mega-Cities
For the last several decades cheap fuel allowed the constant expansion of mega cities throughout the world but the sprawl was more noticeable here in the United States namely due to the added incentive of White Flight as some have termed it and the housing bubble that allowed flipping to take place. It manifested itself in the form of suburbs more than direct expansion of the cities themselves. Since I had some in-laws with a direct connection to the government employment nipple who lived in the St. Louis area I was in a position to directly witness this phenomenon of suburban expansion first hand.
In the space of less than 15 years they had moved from the far Western edge of what is now Florrisant finally ending up in the little town of Marthasville which is some 40 miles or more away from Saint Louis and up until the late 90's was just a small speck on the map before the road graders began leveling it and dividing the farmland into lots. About every two or three years like clockwork they would move a bit further out and they certainly were not alone, thousands followed in their wake.
Behind this wave of suburban sprawl came the businesses. Strip malls, outlet centers, golf courses, you name it. I would say in one form or another St. Louis spread it's reach a good 60 miles to the West.
Sitting on the edge of what I call the high tide mark of this sprawl was a large outlet mall just South of I-70 on the Western edge of Warrenton.
during the early 2000's the huge parking lot was always full of cars. The stores were bustling and most spaces were filled. Not to say there wasn't some turnaround because there was. Seems like every time you would go by there one store would be out of business but another soon took it's place. There were about 50 stores in this mall during it's hay day.
Not so anymore however. While the traffic around St. Louis is noticeably lessened the last few years this Mall has suffered horribly. Changing ownership and finally going into receivership. When I drove past this weekend I counted less than three store fronts occupied out of the entire property and they were not name brand outlet stores.
Over the last three years or so I have read more than a few articles putting the blame in one place or another for the decline of this mall. Many of the businesses that were there of course went under nationwide which gives those with an interest in this location a shred of hope that it isn't just this one mall but the truth passes them by daily on I-70.
People are not traveling that far any longer.
Just as the businesses followed the housing as the wave washed across the land the housing will now follow the businesses as it recedes back.
Last I heard the now Ex in-laws even followed as well building a new house in St. Peters which is much closer to down town St. Louis than their last residence. Just as I witness out here the houses in close are selling much faster than the one's way out and as time passes this lag is making a difference.
I wonder how long it will be before we start seeing obviously abandoned houses to go along with these abandoned strip malls?
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!