Would you live at The Mall for $700/mo?

Just heard about this on the radio this morning and so fascinated by it… Apparently you can – or soon can – rent an apartment at the mall for only $700/mo! Would you do it??

I’ll be honest, if I were single I’d be all over that.

First – At only $700 it would be a steal in this area as I currently pay over 3x that!

Second – I LOVE being around people, even if I’m not talking to them, so the idea that you can have thousands walking around right out your door would be so cozy to me… Kinda like your own New York City, only all indoors and much better smelling ;)

Third – TALK ABOUT CONVENIENCE!! Everything you’d need would literally be within steps of your door! And if there are Costcos and gyms and what not attached you’d have it even better. PLUS: how much more would your friends/family members now stop by than they currently do? No more excuses to not pay you a visit!

You’d also be the first one to catch all the sales going on, have food available to you pretty much any time you wanted, make a ton of new and random friends along the way, and then the most exciting perk of all – the ability to throw late night parties after everyone’s gone! Haha…

Do you know what you can do with all that open square footage a mall provides? Here’s a short list for you: dance parties, indoor races, indoor hockey leagues, hide-and-seek competitions, rollerblading challenges, pillow fights, and then if you’re really good – the world’s largest slip and slide games!

longest slip and slide

Of course, with all good things come bads too, and there are no shortage of things that could go terribly wrong here ;)

#1 – You could lose all your money shopping 24/7!

#2 – You can lose all your health EATING there 24/7!

#3 – You can lose all your patience during holiday and weekend shopping madness

#4 – You wouldn’t have a backyard or any other privacy for that matter

And then #5. YOU’D HAVE TO LIVE AT THE MALL. Which is basically the arch nemesis of all fiscally responsible people ;)

Still, makes for an interesting thing to think about at the least. And an experience you’d never forget!

This is all a concept of popular coworking/office space company, WeWork, btw (and probably others too), who are looking to convert unused spaces into more sustainable income-producing properties again. And since so many malls have empty store fronts these days, they’re thinking the owners would love to rid themselves of the eye sores and start recouping profit again!

I didn’t catch if this was *already* going on or coming in the future, but you gotta admit it’s pretty creative. Almost as much as seeing LIBRARIES popping up in previously empty store fronts! Which is exactly what I saw a few weeks ago when I visited a friend’s place and blew my mind! What a brilliant way to remind shoppers there are other – FREE – ways to be entertained! *AND* stick yourself smack in the middle of a natural location for many Americans with plenty of ample transportation options!

At any rate, we’ll see how all this transpires over the years, but if it’s a vision you think is promising whether you’d actually participate or not, it might be worth investing in once/if WeWork ever goes public one day ;) There have been worse ideas that have turned people into millionaires! Haha…

But what do you think? Could you do it? Live at the mall if it was an option? How much would it have to cost in order for you to say yes?? ;) Have you ever lived in a unique space before?

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  1. Kate November 28, 2018 at 6:02 AM

    I reckon I would! I work in the heart of the biggest shopping area of London and am now totally numb to the shops by now. I just wizz past them all! And I think I’d get sick of food court food pretty quickly too!

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:14 AM

      You’d be a good candidate for it then :)

  2. Crystal Stemberger November 28, 2018 at 6:27 AM

    Sounds good to me! If my place was around 1100 sq ft, $700 a month would be good. If they were 500 sq ft efficiencies, I’d need it to be around $400 a month to make up for the long walk in from parking. I’m not inclined to shop so the food court would be the only hazard, lol.

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:23 AM

      Just parlay all of that walking into your exercise routine! Could even join those groups of older ladies who do power walks every morning around the perimeters ;)

  3. Dave @ Accidental FIRE November 28, 2018 at 6:30 AM

    I don’t think you could pay me $700 to live at the mall! But different strokes for different folks I guess :-)

  4. Mr AE November 28, 2018 at 6:35 AM

    Probably not, if you wanted to torture me you could put me in a mall with 1 thing I needed to buy but I could never find it ( I have mini episodes of this when I go to a new grocery store to pick up something I forget).

    Can’t live that close to my nightmare

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:29 AM

      That would be horrible, haha…

  5. Bryan November 28, 2018 at 7:32 AM

    I’m the opposite of you J. I can’t stand lots of people and noisy places. Now, $700.00 to rent a room at the library…done!

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:30 AM

      I could get down with that too!!!

  6. Millionaire Dojo November 28, 2018 at 7:44 AM

    This is really interesting. I could see how you could build a nice community within the mall since you would see the regular shoppers often and would know the mall employees by name. I guess you’d be tempted to spend money more often though and I think I’d gain a lot of weight at the food court.

  7. COD November 28, 2018 at 8:13 AM

    With all the failing malls in the country, we are going to have to do something with all that square footage. Imagine walking down the mall to Starbucks in the AM when it’s snowing outside, and you can do it in your robe and slippers :)

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:35 AM


  8. Jessy November 28, 2018 at 8:29 AM

    Haha . . . when I read the headline, I first thought THEY were paying ME to live there, and it was a no even then. :D

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:36 AM

      Definitely not a good fit then, haha…

  9. Brian November 28, 2018 at 8:38 AM

    I could do it, but I would need some sort of covered semi-private parking. I don’t want to be stuck parking in the middle of nowhere and having to walk because it is holiday shopping season. Maybe a parking garage spot with key access to a certain area for residents only.

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:37 AM

      It’ll be interesting how they set all that up for sure… Do the residents get their own special sections and entrances/etc, or have to fight w/ the masses? I’d imagine it would be pretty weird trying to move in and out too with millions of onlookers perusing your wares :)

  10. BJ November 28, 2018 at 8:42 AM

    My first thought was that there probably wouldn’t be any windows given the normal architecture of malls. With my sensitivity to the absence of natural light, no windows meana a big no. What’s the point of living cheaply if I’m depressed?

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:44 AM

      Oooooh good point! That could change things!

    2. CJ Phaedrus November 28, 2018 at 9:48 PM

      Windows can be punched through exterior walls easily. Of course the view would be a large parking area. Those mall parking lots, however, are do for makeovers as well as most have many more spaces than needed. As to parking, lower levels of multi level stores could be converted to covered parking . I suspect the problem with any of these ideas is the reluctance of current mall operators to budge from the traditional model of jewelry stores, shoes and women’s fashions.

  11. Paul November 28, 2018 at 8:52 AM

    In my early 20s, yes. The mall was my favorite place. I would go there just top walk around. in my late 30s I don’t even like driving next to the mall. I have developed an intense disdain for crowds (even if that gross body smell you can only get when masses congregate is subsided by auntie annies delicious smelling pretzels). The mall near me is surrounded by mall housing anyway, lots of townhomes and condos directly accross the parking lot. People pay a premium to live there, which I guess if your criteria for paradise is street noise you are in the right spot.

  12. Michael November 28, 2018 at 9:08 AM

    What?! This is really a thing? This is pretty cool, I mean I do see the downsides but for $700 a month, I would hop right on this deal. Any malls in New York offering this? haha, because rent here is triple this smh. Even though there might be times where it can suck to live in a mall you are saving a lot of money and if you use this money to invest heavily then you can be out of there, financially free in no time!

  13. Cie November 28, 2018 at 9:13 AM

    I don’t think it would be a good fit for me. I tend to be kind of reclusive, and my ideal environment is a semi-rural area. It would be nice to be able to go have a coffee or a snack if the mood struck and not have to drive to get it, though.

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:46 AM

      Well then you’re welcome to crash at my place any time you’d like when I snag it :)

  14. Joe November 28, 2018 at 9:28 AM

    I think it’s a great idea. Why not turn the mall into a live/work space? It might revitalize all the empty malls. When people live there, they’ll need more services like gym, library, and such.
    Sure, I’d live in a mall for $700/m. Sounds good to me. I’m pretty good at resisting temptation. I haven’t purchased anything in a mall for years.

  15. Amanda November 28, 2018 at 9:49 AM

    I could totally live in a mall – especially at that price! I’m not a big shopper, so I don’t *think* I’d spend all my money shopping instead. The food court might be an issue, though! Especially if the smells traveled into my apartment. I’d also need my own designated parking space, too, or as someone else mentioned, a parking garage just for residents. I wouldn’t want to fight the crowds in the parking lot every day!

  16. paula November 28, 2018 at 10:28 AM

    I’m sorry, but I’m laughing and yet respecting this. People live in a mall, and are close to shopping and other people, good or bad.

    Isn’t this just turning a mall into another downtown area with a roof on it? A walkable community, increasing density and space utilization? Not needing a car to shop?

    Maybe if more people did it, something I see as the major problem with malls would be handled. They never have stores in them that meet a “need” just a “want.” I’d be a lot more likely to go to a mall if it had a grocery store in it, rather than endless crappy clothing stores I hate being in.

    1. J. Money November 28, 2018 at 10:47 AM

      you had me at walkable community :)

    2. Ryan November 28, 2018 at 12:06 PM

      Amen Paula! Amen!

      1. paula November 28, 2018 at 12:21 PM

        I also had to laugh at the photo. Doesn’t it look like those futuristic photos of space communities? Maybe we give up on Mars and just repopulate the malls?

        Next, people will have the great idea of… I dunno… living in small blighted downtown areas?

  17. SMS November 28, 2018 at 11:24 AM

    If it had a grocery store, a library, light, ventilation and some kind of public transportation, then you bet! I don’t like crowds and Muzak, but if you live there you learn when the least crowded times are. I do see a initial uptick in shopping – as it is, I shop mainly for gifts, not for myself – but I think the enticement of stuff would wear off.

  18. Ryan November 28, 2018 at 11:54 AM

    They could offer a discount rent for people willing to let other people see them living in their apartments like “living art” so they just wouldn’t black out the store fronts, leave them clear glass as they are. So you could get even cheaper housing and the idea of it would attract more buyers to the mall. But yeah, I loathe the mall and everything it stands for so this is definitely not for me. I do think it’s a tell-tale sign that the “mall” is a dying industry so it’s getting revamped. That’s promising.

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 7:10 AM

      Hahaha… I would TOTALLY visit the mall more just to see all that living art :) Would be like Real World, only in your real world!

  19. Beth Anne November 28, 2018 at 12:04 PM

    I don’t know if I’d do this long term but I think it would be interesting to do it for 6months-1 year. I bet I would like it though for all the reasons you say. Heck you prob would save a lot on gas b/c you can walk to everywhere you’d need to go…heck get a job at the mall even and walk to work LOL

    Although there is a outdoor mall area near me that has built condos/apts all around the perimeter I wonder what it’s like for them they sorta live in the mall.

  20. Liz November 28, 2018 at 12:09 PM

    Absolutely. It’s just the same as the highrise apartments over stores and indoor malls in New York, such as at Columbus Circle. The residential units will likely have separate entrances for privacy and security (maybe at the back where deliveries now enter).
    I am one big fan of having a gym and a supermarket in the same building; add a cafe plus a bookstore or library and I’m in heaven.
    Interestingly, WeWork is taking over a major department store property in New York, and they already have a co-living concept in the Wall Street area…I wonder if they intend to have residential units at the former Lord & Taylor on Fifth Avenue.
    Sign me up now!

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 7:12 AM

      Nice!!! They’re getting a hell of a vision over there!

  21. Richard November 28, 2018 at 12:14 PM

    I live on one side of the mountains and work on the other. For those weeks when I am at work, I would love to stay in a mall for $700 a month, since an inexpensive hotel is more than $600 per week in that area. I love the idea of adding a library. I know of a specific mall where I would be first in line for that apartment. It has a grocery store, I already go there just to walk at times, and it’s close to public transportation for an easy ride to work. Sadly, I know there is no way the rent would be that low. Another mall in the area already has this kind of set up. Check out Santana Row in San Jose. It has luxury condos and apartments that rent for up to $17,000 per month! Lots of great shops at Santana Row, and a huge mall across the street. At those prices it’s not a place for me.

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 7:13 AM

      WOW! That’s a lot of coin!

  22. Robin November 28, 2018 at 12:19 PM

    Interesting concept. As someone else mentioned – would there be any natural daylight. Suspect could configure some spaces on the top floor of some malls to get some natural light. What about coming and going – aren’t Most malls locked up at a certain time. Might make for nice AirBnb rentals as a novelty type of vacation/ stay or even housing for business travelers. Not sure I would want to live in one on a permanent basis.

  23. JoeHx November 28, 2018 at 12:24 PM

    I guess it makes sense, since malls are apparently dying (is this another thing millennials are killing? I’ve lost count…) Gotta do something with those empty storefronts.

  24. Avicado November 28, 2018 at 5:41 PM

    This has me laughing because I thought the question was whether I would live at the mall if *I* were paid $700/mo to do so! That mall you displayed makes my answer No either way. That looks like big city, crowds, traffic and a hectic environment. I like a more natural environment, where such a proposal would be living over a town’s shoe store or other quaint lower-volume business. Our rent is far beyond $700, though, so I suppose I would consider actually paying to live over a more peaceful business than shown.

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 7:14 AM

      That would be fun to say you live in “the old shoe store” :)

  25. Paige Brown November 28, 2018 at 6:22 PM

    In Australia, a company called UniLodge does a similar thing. I think they are connected to companies who own the mall, and they transform unused space into apartment blocks. They’ve seperated entries, but its a savvy business plan. Students will normally work part time in the centre, and then respend any money they earn living there through rent, groceries and entertainment (movies, ten pin bowling, eating out). I would definitely jump in if i was a student, because the rent is cheap(er) and its a very social, young lifestyle!

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 7:15 AM

      Sounds blissful as a student!

  26. Jen November 28, 2018 at 8:01 PM

    I would. I’m currently renting a condo in a mixed-use development (condos and apartments on upper levels; shops and restaurants on ground level.) It’s great; I can walk to pretty much everything I need. And I don’t hear any noise from the shopping center when I’m in my condo.

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 7:15 AM


  27. Desmond Bucky November 28, 2018 at 9:28 PM

    I’d take it in a second. No such thing as $700/mo in San Francisco….

  28. [HCF] November 29, 2018 at 7:40 AM

    No way! Never! If I would have the freedom to do this I would prefer moving to a tropical island and live amongst the locals on cheap fruit in a shack than into the temple of consumerism :D Oh, and my choice is not based on the finances but on lifestyle quality.

    PS: the “Robin Sparkles – Let’s go to the mall” soundtrack from HIMYM was echoing in my ear all the time while reading :D

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 12:03 PM

      Okay, that’s good haha…

      “I went to the mall with a couple of friends.
      I had a whole week’s allowance to spend.

      I want hoop earrings and a Benetton shirt.
      We came here to shop and we came here to flirt.”

  29. Jax November 29, 2018 at 11:44 AM

    Man, mystery shopping would be SO CONVINIENT if you lived at the mall!

    1. J. Money November 29, 2018 at 11:58 AM

      Hahaha…. yeah it would! You could probably even PAY YOUR RENT from it too, at $700/mo!

  30. Kris November 29, 2018 at 6:48 PM

    I think if I were in my 20s and single, I would really consider doing this. But now in my late 30s, married and a little one, I would say no. All that noise would distract us from our family time together at home. I like the idea of malls looking into this, they have a target market that would be interested(single college aged students and people in their mid to late 20s) so I would see it work.

  31. B.C. Kowalski. November 30, 2018 at 11:17 AM

    I saw this and wanted to respond, and then I got busy. For me, I would say no — my mortgage, even with the extra I pay, is less than $700 per month! But I had to laugh at seeing this because consultants for our failing mall have strongly suggested a mix of housing and commercial space for redeveloping the space. So, in my town, some day one may very well be able to live at the mall, or whatever it becomes anyway…

    I read someone’s comment above about hardly noticing mall stores. I am like that here – I walk through our mall all the time and never buy anything because there is nothing there I want anymore. But our downtown mom and pop shop area outside the mall is thriving, without hardly an empty storefront. WSJ wrote about this earlier this year, I believe. (Wausau was named the most middle class city in the US recently and so we’ve come to the attention of national media outlets as a location to assess “what’s going on in middle America?”) Dead malls and the changing retail sector is sort of an interest of mine…

    1. J. Money November 30, 2018 at 1:50 PM

      I bet you’re a hit at parties, haha…

      You finally need to make it out to FinCon one of these years!! You’d fit in great! :)

  32. Tara November 30, 2018 at 5:31 PM

    There is an affordable housing crisis in the US and dying shopping mall IMO are a great way to reuse existing structures to provide something so many homeless people in this country need, especially if they can make rent affordable enough. Plus if they bring in grocery stores and restaurants, they’d be ideal for most people. Obviously it would take money and expertise to get projects like these going but I’m glad people are looking into it.

  33. Tania December 2, 2018 at 11:53 AM

    Well, I think its a pretty good idea when you are single. Everything you need for a party is in one place :)
    But I can only guess what my kids would do spending so much time in the mall.

    1. J. Money December 3, 2018 at 11:39 AM

      Haha yeah – not a place for kids at all ;)

  34. Peter Michael December 4, 2018 at 1:15 PM

    If you really want to save then just sleep in the car and go work.


    1. J. Money December 4, 2018 at 1:39 PM

      You first ;)

  35. Millie Kay December 11, 2018 at 11:14 PM

    When I lived in Lubbock (Texas), I rented a three-bedroom, one-bath, two-story with a big fenced-in backyard for $700/month… and it was close to “downtown!” (That is, what Lubbock considers downtown.) The mall could never compare.

    1. J. Money December 12, 2018 at 6:13 AM


  36. Tony December 19, 2018 at 12:49 PM

    I think I’m more interested in DEVELOPING something like this in my own dying mall and reaping the benefits!

    1. J. Money December 19, 2018 at 3:04 PM

      I would be rooting for you!

  37. Mr. Profit December 28, 2018 at 11:48 PM

    Interesting idea, we live in a real rural area so a nice country home can be rented for not much more than 700. It’s hard to imagine renting a place in the mall for that price.

    However, if the savings were significant I could see doing it. I once lived in a garage that was poorly converted to an apartment to save money.

    we even sub-rented one of the rooms in the apartment to a business across the parking lot that needed space to store paper.

    1. J. Money December 31, 2018 at 3:49 PM

      Hah! Hustler!

  38. Dan Murray January 3, 2019 at 6:29 AM

    i’d invest in this idea if there is a REIT doing these conversions. A lack of windows can be replaced with big screen monitors displaying any scene you like for whatever mood.