How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Shopping Mall?

Low
$1.75M
Average Cost
$180M
High
$450M
(two-story regional mall with 3 anchors)

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How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Shopping Mall?

Low
$1.75M
Average Cost
$180M
High
$450M
(two-story regional mall with 3 anchors)

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Shopping centers and malls bring a lot of jobs, entertainment, and resources to an area. Malls range from large indoor two-story malls and small three-store strip malls to incredibly large supercenters with amusement park rides inside. The store types and sizes and whether they include anchor stores also varies. This results in a wide range of associated costs.

The national cost average is $50M to $250M with most people paying around $180M for a two-story regional mall containing 3 anchor stores. At the lowest cost, you can build a 7,000 sq.ft. strip mall with no anchor for $1.75M. At the high end, a deluxe supercenter mall with 3 levels, movie theater, restaurants, and 4 anchor stores costs $450M.

Shopping Mall Costs

Shopping Mall Building Prices
National average cost$180M
Average range$50M-$250M
Minimum cost$1.75M
Maximum cost$450M


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Build a Shopping Mall Cost by Project Range

Low
$1.75M
7,000 sq.ft. strip mall with no anchor
Average Cost
$180M
Two-story regional mall with 3 anchors
High
$450M
Deluxe super mall with 3 levels, cinema, restaurants, and 4 anchors

Shopping Mall Cost by Type

Shopping malls come in many shapes and sizes. They can be fully enclosed or open-air, have anchor stores or not, and have varying numbers of floors, anchors, and features. These variations account for differences in cost, either through size or the amount of construction and finishing necessary. Below are the average costs to build each type, based on the most common size for each type and the average cost to build:


Shopping Mall Costs

Shopping Mall Costs


Type of MallAverage Cost to Build
Strip Mall$3,304,500
Neighborhood Shopping Center$17,956,750
Theme Mall$36,947,750
Community Shopping Center$49,377,250
Factory Outlet$59,515,000
Lifestyle Shopping Center$100,755,600
Power Center$109,656,500
Regional Mall$176,897,700
Super Regional Mall$564,921,900


Cost to Build a Strip Mall

Strip malls are simple, outdoor malls in either a straight line of stores or a U shape. They may or may not have an anchor or a large store designed to attract customers who will then move on to the other stores in the strip. They can be as small as 3 stores, or as large as 12 or more stores. They cost $250 a square foot to build, with an average cost of $3,304,500.

Neighborhood Shopping Center

A neighborhood center is designed to serve the needs of a specific area. It usually contains a supermarket or grocery store as an anchor, with several smaller stores, restaurants, or other mixed-use buildings. Each store is entered from the outside, like in a strip mall. They cost $250 a square foot to build, with an average cost of $17,956,750.

Theme Mall

A theme mall is usually made of shops or services that all center on a single theme, such as an antique mall where all the shops sell vintage or antique goods. They can be stand-alone buildings or made as a strip mall. They cost $250 a square foot with an average cost of $36,947,750.

Community Shopping Center

A community shopping center is a larger version of a neighborhood shopping center or a large strip mall. They usually have at least one anchor, two anchors being common, such as a supermarket and a gym or movie theater. They can be arranged in a straight line or a U, depending on placement. They cost $250 a square foot to build, with an average cost of $49,377,250.

Outlet Mall Prices

An outlet mall or factory outlet mall is a group of stores selling brands at a discount. They can be arranged like a mall, without a roof overhead, or like a large strip mall. They cost $250 a square foot to build, with an average cost of $59,515,000.

Lifestyle Shopping Center

Lifestyle shopping centers are a relatively new type of mall. They may include luxury apartments or condos as part of the structure and high-end retail, restaurants, entertainment, and outdoor dining. The shopping is usually indoors like a typical mall, and they can be of any size. They have an average cost to build of $350 a square foot with an average cost of $100,755,600.

Power Center

A power center is a type of strip mall made up of mostly large anchor-style stores. These include grocery stores, furniture outlets, discount clothing stores, fitness centers, and other large establishments. There may be a few smaller retailers mixed in. They cost $250 a square foot to build, with an average cost of $109,656,500.

Regional Mall

The regional mall is the shopping center most often categorized as a “mall.” This is an indoor shopping environment with 2 to 3 large anchors and at least one restaurant. They are often two stories, although some are one story, with a more sprawling layout. They often include a mixture of mid-range and high-end retailers and cost $300 a square foot to build. They have an average cost of $176,897,700.

Super Regional Mall

The super regional mall is an exceptionally large mall that can be considered a destination. They have several anchors and restaurants, sometimes attached housing, and multiple types of entertainment. They are twice the size of regional malls and may be even larger. They cost $450 a square foot to build, with an average cost of $564,921,900.


Store Fronts in a New Shopping Center


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Shopping Mall Space Requirements

The exact space requirements for your shopping mall vary tremendously based on the mall’s size, whether you have a cinema or restaurant, the number and size of these establishments, and the mall type. Restaurants and cinemas require roughly 2 to 3 times the amount of parking that the rest of the mall needs. So, a strip mall without these anchors uses less space than a strip mall that includes them, even if the rest of the mall is equal in size.

You need approximately one acre of parking for every 15,000 sq.ft. of retail space. This varies, and parking garages cut down on the amount of space. Some cities and towns may also have stipulations or ordinances you must follow, so it is always best to check with the city planning board about the mall type and size you want to construct.

Mall Construction Costs

The construction of any mall has many variables. The actual building is one part, but there are also innumerable finishing costs, soft costs, and contractor fees that make up the total figures. While every project is unique, it is possible to break down some of the more common costs to see where your money is going during the project.

  • Architect fees - 17% (added)
  • Builder fees - 14% (Plus an additional 14% to 15% extra on top of costs)
  • Equipment Fees - 8%
  • Construction material - 40%
  • Outfitting (finishing costs) - 38%

Expect to use the following professionals at these rates:

In addition, outfitting costs for a mall:

  • Displays and fixtures - $8 - $12/sq.ft.
  • HVAC: $3 - $5/sq.ft.
  • Roofing: $4 - $6/sq.ft.
  • Ceiling: $1 - $2/sq.ft.
  • Indoor signage - $1/sq.ft.
  • Outdoor signage - $1.50/sq.ft.
  • Lighting and electricity - $4 - $5/sq.ft.
  • Flooring - $3 - $5/sq.ft.

Average Number of Stores in a Mall

A regional mall can have anywhere from 20 to 80 stores in the enclosed space on average. A super regional mall has a minimum of 75 stores and usually has more. Power centers and luxury high-end malls usually have between 25 and 50 stores each.


Shopping Center Brick Building


Outlet vs Mall

The word “mall” has many variations, including a factory outlet mall and an outlet mall. In this case, the outlet is a group of stores contained in a single building. They may be grouped facing inward like a traditional mall without a fully enclosed ceiling, or they may be grouped more like a strip mall.

However, a single outlet is a discount store for a large brand. An outlet can be a single stand-alone store either in a strip mall or off entirely on its own. To make shopping easier, many brands group their outlets into an outlet mall, rather than having them be single store locations.

Mall Rent Rates

The cost to rent a space in a mall varies depending on your location, whether you are renting a normal storefront or an anchor, and the mall type. Rates are usually charged by the square foot and range from $5 a square foot in a strip mall to $40 a square foot in a high-end mall.


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Enhancements and Improvement Costs

Parking Garage

Given the amount of parking that a mall needs, a parking garage can be a good addition. Parking garages fit more cars, which fits your mall or shopping center into a smaller footprint. The average cost to build a parking garage is $9,750,000.

Demolition

There are times when you have an existing building on the land you plan to build on. This may be an older mall, a group of stores, or office buildings. If this is the case, you need to add demolition costs to your project. Demolition costs $4 to $15 a square foot, depending on the building location and materials you are demoing.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • It is very common for people building malls to seek financing. There are types of financial assistance just for shopping centers and malls that assist in the build.
  • Large projects like shopping malls need several permits for construction. Your architect or contractor can assist with this, and they include permit costs in their estimates.
  • Before building a mall, determine who your target demographic is. This includes the age of your shoppers, their budgets, and lifestyles. This determines the project scale and layout.
  • The architectural design and layout of your mall play a big role in performance. Consider the placement of your stores and anchors, planning and flow of the foot traffic, space utilization, and sustainability of your materials and design.
  • With the advent of the digital age, most malls today need to offer more than shopping to stay relevant. Entertainment, restaurants, and services are necessary parts of today’s mall to remain profitable.
  • Adding temporary, mixed-use spaces to your mall helps you remain flexible to changing trends, without needing to renovate areas constantly.

FAQs

  • How long does it take to build a shopping mall?

This depends on the mall type, size, and construction methods used. Expect several months to more than a year for most large-size projects.

  • What are the four most common types of shopping centers?

Strip malls, neighborhood shopping centers, power centers, and regional malls are the most common.

  • What is the difference between a mall and a shopping complex?

A mall is a type of shopping complex, but not all shopping complexes are malls. They may also be community or lifestyle shopping centers.

  • How much does it cost to build a strip mall?

The average cost to build a strip mall is around $3,304,500.

  • How do malls make money?

Malls charge rental space for establishments. They bring in people with large “anchor” stores or offer entertainment or novelty stores, hoping people circulate to the other stores.

Cost to develop a shopping mall varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

Updated:
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources
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Cost to develop a shopping mall varies greatly by region (and even by zip code). To get free estimates from local contractors, please indicate yours.

The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources, including specialized publications and websites, cost studies, U.S. associations, reports from the U.S. government, contractors and subcontractors, material suppliers, material price services, and other vendor websites. For more information, read our Methodology and sources