I had the pleasure in the mid 80s of working at malls in the beach communities in California. What a great time!
Here's what I'd do with a dead mall -
Although I totally dig the idea of condos in a mall, my dream would be to revive the era.
I would bring it back to the 80s - a complete recreation that would encourage a day of fun, even visitors wearing their best 80s look where they could every day be spotted by a mall worker and given a mall certificate for best recreated look.
I would include a record store and one that also sells record players. There's a whole generation of Millennials who love the novelty of records and players.
The abandoned malls of the 80s look like time capsules of design already. There would not be much to do to get them in 80s shiny shape again. Those who might want to rent store spaces include specialty shops, hairstyling, tanning salons, a traditional bookstore, pop fashions, vintage fashions, Swatches, Candies shoes, mid century furnishings, accessories, and even those botox-shooting dermatology shops.