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Balls in Malls: Developer Promotes New Indoor Facility with Single Basketball Court

6 Sep, 2017

By: Michael Popke

Malls have been host to carousels, amusement parks and karaoke concerts, all with the singular goal of bringing patrons in the doors and keeping them in the stores. The latest entry into the fray is an indoor sports facility with a basketball court. It might not bring in tournaments yet – but it could keep shoppers inside, rather than online.

Richard Davis, the new owner of the 36-year-old Citadel Mall in West Ashley, South Carolina, is the man at the center of this concept. He is constructing a multi-purpose sports court in the middle of the mall as a teaser for a giant new indoor sports facility that will be attached to the mall and target travel teams. The new court is named after area native and Milwaukee Buck Khris Middleton.

“I’ve been on a 7-year mission chasing this property, trying to land it knowing that we had a unique plan to breathe new life into it,” Davis told Charleston’s ABC-TV affiliate WCIV. “What a better way to do it than to build a sports court. It’ll be basketball, volleyball, football, cheerleading, gymnastics.”

This strategy also will increase foot traffic in the mall, according to Davis — who, it should be noted, is the creator of the television show Flip This House and owns a real estate services company that sponsors a local travel basketball team.

“People who are at travel sports events, you don’t have time to go hop in the car and go shopping, you are right there and you’re playing seven games in 48 hours, and it is very limited in where they can go,” Davis told WCSC, Charleston’s CBS affiliate. “By attaching this to [the] mall, it’s basically a one-stop shop.”

Like most malls in the United States, the Citadel Mall was suffering from a loss of tenants and shoppers. For a look at several other malls that could use the “balls in malls” treatment, check out video maker Dan Bell’s “Dead Mall” series.

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