I think that might be the key: a mall, fundamentally, is a village where nobody could live. During the Golden Age of Capitalism, with a car in every garage and a chicken in every pot, people were willing to drive to a central location where all their material shopping needs could be met; as soon as The Internet came along, it seemed pretty dumb to spend an afternoon looking at sweater options, particularly when your other choices were "eat pretzels" and "watch a movie."
Malls started to decline right about the time municipalities started to reward mixed-use development, an acknowledgement that communities are those places where you don't need to get in the car to get something done. Not saying every mall needs to start building apartments... but the ones closest to where people actually live are the ones that are most likely to survive precisely because of the daycares, bars, exercise studios and offices.
Got a friend who opened an ice cream parlor at one of the surviving (thriving) malls around here. he's paying $60/sf. We're paying a small percentage of that. If nothing else, that is causing dead malls - until they can afford to drop their prices to twenty percent of what they were, they can't compete with the rest of the world.
I think that price is going to drop, and someone (Simon et. al) are gonna get skinned.
Couldn't happen to a nicer group of people.