Shopping Center Business

JUL 2018

Shopping Center Business is the leading monthly business magazine for the retail real estate industry.

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ARCHITECTURE 26 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • July 2018 R etail architects and designers are witnessing — and creating — a shift in the retail industry. As consum- ers' habits change, so do retail environ- ments. That means that no matter where consumers shop, they want quality and they want to make sure their retail expe- riences are enriched by life experiences. Consumers can shop anywhere at anytime now, making the case that a built retail en- vironment needs to be as compelling and actionable as ever. "The lines for 'retail' real estate are blur- ring; we could just call it 'real estate,'" says Simon Perkowitz, principal with KTGY Architecture + Planning. "Innovation is the driving force here. The rulebook has been thrown out as developers and designers look for ways to bring people together, to create more housing and a quality environment that puts people where they want to eat, sleep, work and play — and not necessarily in that order." Retail centers have become communi- ty gathering spots, and must respond to that challenge by providing amenities that serve their visitors. At the same time, re- gional centers are forgoing box anchors for more entertainment and uses such as apartments, hotels and office buildings. "The majority of our projects involve densification and creating experiential en- vironments," says Andy Fast, senior associ- ate and design leader with OMNIPLAN. "Sure, we've seen this for years now, but we've reached a tipping point where there are virtually no pure retail projects in our studio anymore. It's not about adding one or two interesting elements, it is creating a platform that is dynamic, that changes based on program, season, trends. The dynamic nature of this platform results in an experiential environment that en- courages users to return time after time because each visit is a completely new experience." Shopping Center Business spoke with more than 20 architects and designers for this article to get an understanding of where center design is headed. Here are the themes we collected from those conversations. QUALITY With the race to create environments where visitors are engaged and respon- sive, many shopping center owners are adapting a different mindset that the cen- ter must be authentic and experiential to create a connection with consumers. "There's a lot more emphasis on design quality than was seen in the past in retail," says Rich Wilden, director of design at NELSON. "With the intent of creating some authenticity and connectivity with the architecture and with the planning to provide a much richer experience than the traditional retail environment than we knew from the past." "Shopping center customers are crav- ing authenticity," adds Lou Allevato, vice president of design for HFA. "They want a shopping experience that is special and unique, non-traditional, and that has a local relevance. The shopping experi- ence should engage the senses and be memorable and personalized. Owners are realizing they need shopping center destinations that allow customers to lin- ger by offering entertainment options and curated outdoor spaces." Owners are asking designers and archi- Breaking The Mold Architects and designers are adapting a new mindset, along with their developer clients, to create new retail-oriented environments. Randall Shearin, Lynn Peisner and Katie Sloan Seritage North & Harlem is a mixed-use development designed by NELSON located in Chicago. Part of a space formerly occupied by Sears is being upgraded to accomodate two anchor tenants, with the upper levels converted to loft apartments. Rendering courtesy of NELSON

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