Beyond the Build

Construction Trends

Is the White Elephant Nearing Extinction?

Recently, someone told me that as a country, we are not over “mall-ed,” we are just under-demolished. There is still a place for shopping malls on good real estate, just not as many. Patterns are changing.

I traveled to New England this week to visit a couple of our projects. Driving through smaller towns like Nashua gave me another reminder of change in urban redevelopment’s real estate landscape. In many cities, previous “White Elephants,” are being transformed. In Nashua it is the transition of the old mill buildings along the river into residential, entertainment and commercial. Whatever the motivation–incentives, prime locations or just shifts in the way we do business–I say the trend is positive.

Maybe new greenfield + repurposed existing sites is the new recipe. Several years ago, we built a project with incentives from the city and now the new tax base from that project is helping to revitalize its Main Street. Good partners.

We will see if this trend continues. Let’s hope so.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.