To redevelop poorly performing mall properties, developers must maximize the shopping center's ROI with new design and positioning strategies, said panelists Paul D'Arelli, a land development attorney with Greenburg Traurig; Mario Ventresca Jr., a senior vice president of asset management at Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust; and Leonard Richards, senior vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle.

Among their keys to success: Incorporate a Main Street boulevard or promenade concept to properties in deference to the traditional ring-road approach. In addition, they suggested "clustering" retail segments (i.e. women's wear, coffee and food, entertainment) together for greater consumer draw.

In all efforts, the panelists emphasized convenience and adding lifestyle components to projects. "The idea is to recreate the retail epicenter," Ventresca said. "Extending the shoppers' stay is what it is all about: driving sales, driving rents, and driving your return on investment."