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The 2 in 1 solution to too many malls and too expensive homes?

As they say, there’s just too many malls? Some say online shopping will kill most of these malls. I disagree and my recent article here: Online shopping will not kill malls. Better malls will kill the uncompetitive ones Now, before we talk about the potential solution, here’s another problem. Many people say homes are too expensive. Of course they are not just talking about the price, they are also saying to everyone that they could not save enough down-payment for the unit. (so many things to buy!) (click for earlier article)

How about we look at one potential solution to both then? Killing two birds with one stone. Someone turned a mall into residential units and rent them out just like a usual retail lot instead and hey, there’s even a waiting list for it! Image of that mall is as below. If it looks slightly less modern / comtemporary, it’s because it was the first mall in United States. Westminster Arcade in Providence, Rhode Islands.

Article in The Westminster Arcade opened in 1892 and it introduced the English-style indoor shopping experience to the United States. It has not been doing well in recent years. It undergone a renovation but it eventually closed its doors in 2008 due to economic reasons.

It was however not demolished because the developers decided to conver the top two floors into micro-apartments. There are 38 units and the sizes range from 225 – 300 sq ft. It’s designed with young professionals in mind. It says that these young professionals will not mind living in such cramped quarters. Rental starts from just S$550 per month and there is even a waiting list of those eager to move into these ‘cozy’ spaces. Do read the full Article in

Okay, there’s less than 50 units of micro-sized units on offer. (To me, anything below 350 sq ft is considered micro-sized. Anything less than 550 is mini-units.) The rental is also US$550. To make it similar, then the rental should also be around RM550. So, mall owners, any takers for this? In my mind, I could already imagine a few malls with this potential. Haha. Not the popular ones lah, the unknown and unpopular ones, where more of the retail shops are not open or about to close.

Actually, if you ask me, I would prefer to stay at a place where there are more units than just less than 50 units. Preferably mostly occupied please. If I have gotten keys to my unit and the whole corridor of 12 units are all empty units except my unit, I will not dare to move in yeah. Emotionally, I don’t feel cozy at all.

So, for this concept to work here in Malaysia, price and location will matter tremendously. I know, we already have those residential units on top of malls. However, I do not know of any of these residential projects with micro-sized units and renting out at RM550 yeah. So, question. Will you be staying? Happy thinking about it before deciding.

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Next suggested article: 197 malls in Greater Kuala Lumpur by 2021. Not all will survive 

Property Investment always start with knowledge. Equip ourselves with more here.

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Charles Tan The Founder The Writer Kopiandproperty
Charles Tan

Charles is Founder of He writes from his investment experience for the the past 20 years in investments including property, stock, unit trust and more as well as readings and conversations with many property gurus in the industry. is an independent property blog which is not affiliated to any media company, property developer or even real estate agencies.

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