Maybe the houses can save the mall

Maybe the houses can save the mall

The owner of Europe’s largest shopping mall, Unibail Rodamco Westfield, wants to boost residential development and advertising while trying to diversify its core business.

The Westfield Mall in San Francisco.

The Westfield Mall in San Francisco.

Westfield’s owner has given investors a preview of what malls will look like in the future: part advertising platform, part housing complex. But the redevelopment plan is just window dressing until he can sell his American properties for financing.

Unibail Rodamco Westfield, Europe’s largest publicly traded commercial property company in terms of gross assets, said at an investor day on Wednesday that it will give a bigger boost to residential property development and advertising.

Unibail bought Westfield in 2018, a costly deal that the mall’s owner is now trying to reverse by selling its US properties.

Unibail wants to diversify its rental income by earning more with advertisements and brand launches.

The company has already earned 23 million euros, or 26 million dollars, from advertising on the 1,700 digital screens installed in its shopping centers in 2021 and wants to double this figure by 2024.

With regulation making it difficult to track consumers online, Unibail believes running ads in its European shopping malls, which have 550 million annual traffic, will appeal to brands.

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