The Maine Mall’s Future Could Be A Vision For the Bangor Mall
The Maine Mall has a plan to transform its space. Like, an award-winning plan. Maybe it can inspire plans for the Bangor Mall.
We have two bigger malls in the state of Maine with the same problem, shrinking retail stores. Well, the Maine Mall has a plan. What does that include? A village center, multi-unit housing, new street grid. I'm not done. Lots of space for smaller buildings for retail, medical offices, educational centers … and outdoor recreational spaces.
Well, we all know the plight of the Bangor Mall. We've watched it for at least the last decade.
August saw another store, Victoria's Secret, in the Bangor Mall to close. This follows years of retail store after retail store closing its doors inside the archaic concrete shop palace after the popularity of online shopping has risen, and even more so during this year's pandemic, and is taking away business from these brick-and-mortar retail businesses.
Earlier this year, the City of Bangor was taking a look at the possibilities of zoning rules for the Bangor Mall area considering brick-and-mortar businesses are dwindling in the era of online shopping. With these zoning rules we'd be looking forward to... not educational centers... more bars and lounges. Not outdoor recreational spaces.... gas stations and cell towers. And, don't forget the light manufacturing facilities.
The good things we could look forward to in the Bangor Mall area include development for a more pedestrian-friendly area that could also work more fluidly for public transit.
In the end, the city of Bangor is really looking for non-retail in the Bangor Mall area.
When can we expect change? Expect no overnight changes, but rather, gradual changes to evolve the spaces that we know as the Bangor Mall for years to come... like the next decade and beyond.
In a Portland Press Herald article put out Monday about the Maine Mall's award winning plan, a quote from the Assistant City Manager Joshua Reny, hits the nail on the head with what should be done to the Bangor Mall as well with this quote: "People want livable, walkable communities."
What does the Bangor Mall area need? No more bars, please. How about more outdoor spaces to enjoy, more affordable housing or even a new village community, a place where someone can live and walk to the places they need, to get food, home essentials, etc.
Reny's right, people want to walk around and live in their community.
If Bangor wants to make use of the Mall area, it needs to think bigger, futuristic and more inline of what people fundamentally need. Here's something to work off of: a 'no car' zone.