Recently I was interviewed about living in Wangjing and it kind of made me laugh. The crux of interview hanged on the notion that someone was building another shopping center and did I think Wangjing needed another one. I laughed at the question because Wangjing is one area where the commercial build rate has definitely outpaced the demand.
Within a few blocks of my home sit two largely underutilized shopping malls. The first was built with such an unusual design (think of an alien head covered in hubcaps) that the anchor store has been vacant for more than three years since it was completed.
In the other direction, across the street from Wangjing SOHO sits an entirely empty shopping mall except for the food court and cinema on the 4th and 5th floors. Gone are all the shops, cafes, Lotus grocery, and kids play zone that once occupied the space. They built it, filled it, and no one came. Well, not enough anyway.
Ironically, housing and commercial developments continue to rise and fill in Wangjing, but the pace of retail seems to be either to high or all of us in Wangjing are ordering the bulk of our goods online and shopping at the neighborhood IKEA.
So unless it is a Costco opening up, Wangjing can live without another shopping center. What we do need is more playgrounds. Heck, I’d settle for one. No more geriatric workout zones; build an actual slide, swings, and climbing structure in a green space. Do that, and I’m sure families would flock to it. Put it in the middle of an outdoor shopping center, and you could probably fill a few stores too.