What is the Difference Between Regional Centers and Super Regional Centers?

When it comes to shopping centers, there are a variety of types that can be found across the country. From regional centers to super regional centers, each type of mall has its own unique characteristics and benefits. In order to understand the differences between these two types of malls, it is important to understand their definitions. A regional center typically has a Gross Leasable Area (GLA) of 400,000 square feet, ranging from 300,000 to more than 1,000,000 square feet.

On the other hand, a super regional center is larger in size and has more main stores. It usually has a GLA of 750,000 square feet or more and three or more department stores. The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, and American Dream in East Rutherford, New Jersey, are two of the largest super regional centers in the country. The main benefit of investing in a center for specialized purposes is the stable cash flow that these tenants can generate.

Shopping malls, which often use the configuration of shopping centers, rarely have anchored warehouses and vary greatly in size, from 50,000 to 400,000 square feet. Community centers are larger versions of neighborhood centers that are characterized by a wider range of retail stores. The International Association of Shopping Centers (ICSC) provides useful guidelines when planning group shopping stops by providing definitions for nine types of shopping centers. These include outlet centers, festival centers, energy centers and community centers.

Outlet centers are disconnected stores that sell discounted items from their own products that cannot be returned. Festival centers are also called “theme centers” since their location, appearance and merchandise share a common theme. Energy center retailers offer a wide range of products and maintain pricing power over smaller local retailers. If you asked five people to describe a mall, you would most likely end up with at least 2 or 3 very different answers.

Two well-known theme centers are Pier 39 in San Francisco, California and Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston, MA. It's not uncommon for the country's largest malls to attract customers from hundreds of miles away through organized bus trips.