Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

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

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236 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 have a variety of spaces to program. Oth- ers may have limited space available. To begin, we look at the seasonality index for our properties to understand what retail categories will be peaking each month and consider what types of events would draw an audience to align with those categories. Next, we look at the natural holidays that fall within those months for inspiration, research events happening in the commu- nity around us, and look for opportunities to partner with, leverage, or perhaps even become the new venue for high profile events that fit our criteria. We look for synergies with brand-aligned groups who have common targets and goals, brain- storm ways to partner and create win-win programs. The quantity is not as impor- tant as the quality. SCB: At Atlantic Station, and now Ava- lon, you've been successful in creating some pretty unique events that draw traf- fic for the greater community. What's the creation process? Who's involved? Gillespie: With Atlantic Station, we like to say that we bought the box and built the experience around it. As we stabi- lized and remerchandised the asset — it was important to repopulate as well — we created reasons for people who may not have visited in some time to experience the change and explore the new merchan- dising options. We wanted to bring more families, draw the nearby college students and appeal to a new creative class of con- sumers living nearby. The team devised a plan for unique ways to use Atlantic Station's public spaces, including streets and pad sites. The team created a series of weekly recurring events — Tot Spot Tuesdays, Wellness Wednesdays, Mov- ies in Central Park, Friday Night Live Concerts — and planned or secured must attend high-profile signature events — High Museum Wine Auction, Sham- Rock the Station, BB&T Atlanta Open, Skate AS, Winter WonderJam. These were designed to draw Midtown dwellers, establish loyalty, reintroduce the property and its transformation, and garner positive publicity and online buzz. These events and programs capitalized on built-in com- munity partners, and positioned Atlantic Station as a go-to spot. SCB: Can you get a little more in-depth with the descriptions of those programs so readers can get an idea of what you are doing on a regular basis? Gillespie: Tot Spot on Tuesday morn- ings is when caregivers can bring kids for playdates. We provide activities and oc- casionally feature local performing arts groups wanting to attract families to up- coming shows. Wellness Wednesdays features free yoga classes in the park with Exhale Spa and Athleta. Thursday's Mov- ies in Central Park brings families and friends and ties in restaurants for dinner and a movie. Improv in the Park provides exposure for Whole World Theater and loads of laughs. Friday Night Live features local bands and enhances the experience for those who've chosen one of our prop- erties for their Friday night out. SCB: What types of events did you de- sign for Avalon? Was your experience different since this was a new property? Gillespie: With Avalon, we designed the experience first, then built the box around it. We are focused on a more af- fluent, discerning guest so our program- ming reflects their lifestyles. We also had an opportunity to 'train' our retail- ers from the beginning to take advantage of our marketing platform and trust our team of ExperienceMakers to help es- tablish a strong foundation for success. The Perfect Taste introduced our chef- driven and first-to-market restaurants to the community while raising $40,000 for No Kid Hungry, a national charity with a Avalon's grand opening weekend featured a number of demonstrations from chefs at the property's restaurants. Movies in Central Park is a popular event at Atlantic Station.

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