August 16, 2017

Immersive Retail Drives Destination Shopping

Steve Wakeman, AIA, CSHQA Sacramento Regional Manager, and Jim Marsh, AIA spent part of Monday, August 7, 2017 in downtown Seattle taking in the sights, including Amazon’s amazing campus and biosphere! They were in Seattle to attend the International Council of Shopping Centers’ (ICSC) Pacific NW Retail Conference. While there we attended the Immersive Retail Panel. Jim’s notes are as follows:

  • Develop near job creation and new residential as well as under-served areas. More service-orientated and less stuff. Trend of fitness, medical, and health being incorporated into centers.
  • Lots of discussion on how to “Amazon Proof” your retail. Shoppers need to be in the mode of discovery while shopping. People need a reason to linger.
  • Place more importance on the initial approach of the center from the street (shopper first impressions are important).
  • Retail footprints will continue to reduce in size (to a point). Place an emphasis on service-oriented tenants.
  • Experience-based design (see, feel, touch, smell, hear).
  • E-Commerce is not the problem with retail. Poorly designed retail centers and lazy developers in the past are to blame.
  • Trends indicate that we go out to eat five times as much as we go out to shop. Good restaurants are key to a vibrant development.
  • Exterior amenities need to include seating areas and places where people can gather and sit. Good centers look to fulfill 10-15 needs of the community. Researching and data collection is key.
  • Mixes of uses: including work (office), hotels, entertainment (theaters and fountains etc.), eating establishments and finally shopping areas. This can be successful on the Urban Edge (CenterCal’s Farmington UT, Station Park).
  • Fred Bruning and CenterCal praised Amazon as a delivery vehicle. He believes that they may become the largest Brick and Mortar company in the next 10-15 years.
  • Amazon should be viewed as a welcome addition to shopping centers rather than the enemy.
  • Trends indicate that department stores will reduce footprints to around 30,000-40,000.
  • Tenant mix is key. Lease and use restrictions can kill the synergy. Developers need to sell the opportunity of mixed use synergy to allow less restriction and a better use mix.
  • Inward focused. Program the center not just the tenant space. Actively program the experience first.
  • Utilize internal road “teaser parking” (like Meridian Village)
  • Omni channel center and tenants to drive traffic and presence.
  • Identify retailers willing to innovate.
  • Grocery still seems strong. Utilize grocery as the retail anchor.
  • Food Halls instead of Food Courts. Click here to check out an amazing retail center in DT Seattle!
  • Encourage the use of detached pavilion buildings. (that may rotate tenants frequently, like BodoVino at Meridian Village).
  • Get between work and home and make it easy to get in and out of.
  • Seeing 40,000-45,000 average stalls for underground stalls. 25,000 for structured.
  • Entitlements and agency cost and time for approvals are the biggest challenge. It is difficult to plan a center when it won’t be ready for construction for years due to regulatory requirements. Entitlements are very often using land use attorneys.
  • Old dying malls and centers are our biggest opportunity. Typically, they are zoned correctly, have less agency restrictions and usually have very good vehicular access. Most see these opportunities as a full scrape / demolished rather than reused. (CenterCal Totem is a good example of reuse of an old “ghost” mall).

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