Shopping Center Business

MAY 2015

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

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238 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • MAY 2015 strong local presence. Luck of Avalon and Mardi Gras Pub Crawls featured themed specials in our restaurants, and directory maps highlighting fun tie-ins with retailers encouraged visitors to stroll the boulevard and pop into shops and restaurants. Our Kentucky Derby Day event appeals to the huge equestrian community in Al- pharetta and provides countless tie-ins for our shops and restaurants from fashion shows and hat making to signature mint juleps. During the holidays we incorpo- rate exceptional and personalized Santa experiences, ice rinks and snow shows at each property, creating destinations and new traditions for those who come to our properties. SCB: You've also been successful in lur- ing some major events to be held at your properties. How do you approach orga- nizers of these events? Gillespie: We are very community fo- cused. We recognize the value of our as- sets and our ability to leverage those assets in support of community needs. We also build relationships with community stake- holders and through the building process learn about opportunities. We filter those against our internal guidelines and deter- mine what makes sense for the proper- ties. When we acquired Atlantic Station, conversations with Atlanta's mayor led to a discussion about 'bringing tennis back to Midtown' relating to a tournament that had moved outside the city's perimeter and was struggling. We worked together to bring the USTA BB&T Atlanta Open to Atlantic Station by leveraging our un- developed pad sites. Another example is Shaky Knees, an indie rock festival and creative class/millennial magnet. That event needed a new location where it could grow. Atlantic Station offers a cou- ple of undeveloped pad sites which were perfect for staging a music festival, plus we have 7,200 parking spaces and built in amenities — the concert expanded from a one day event with 9,000 attendees to a three-day event with 50,000 attendees. SCB: How do you convince event orga- nizers that your property is the right place for their event to be held? Gillespie: First, understand your posi- tion in the marketplace and know your value. Is it your location, accessibility, parking, available space, amenities/retail- ers/restaurants, a sense of place, reputa- tion, brand alignment, traffic — your abil- ity to execute? All of the above? If so, you are golden. Second, develop a list of select events that you know will resonate with your shoppers and are brand aligned. When you are meeting with targeted event organizers, seek to understand their goals, needs, target audience and what is key to their success. If you are coaxing them from another location, find out what pre- vious challenges they faced or problems they've had in realizing greater success, then share how you can solve their prob- lem or help them achieve success. If you know your brand and how it aligns with the events you are targeting and are truly operating in a spirit of win-win, you're already halfway there. SCB: You host some large scale events like the BB&T Open and Shaky Knees that draw thousands of people. Is there ever any fear that these cut into sales ver- sus draw them? Gillespie: It is our intention with any event or program to create value, enhance the guest experience and to extend the brand. Given the timing and target for each event, we know which merchandise categories will most likely benefit and fo- cus our attention there. We also under- stand that many of these large-scale events draw an audience that may be visiting our properties for the first time so we lever- age those events to introduce our retailers and restaurants and provide reasons for return visits. Wellness Wednesday at Atlantic Station draws 60 to 80 people each week for yoga practices at the project's central park. An ice skating rink is a popular feature of Avalon's central park during winter.

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