Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

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

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Page 136 of 358

COVER STORY 132 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 transparency in how we operate," says Levin. "We want to do what we say we are going to do. We have a strong work ethic; there is no substitute for hard work. We also want to have fun and make the work enjoyable for our employees. The best way to create that culture is to find those people who have those characteris- tics. That won't automatically create the culture for us, but it gives us the founda- tion for that culture and makes it a priority for us to operate that way." MOVING AHEAD With the Westfield portfolio under its belt and a solid foundation laid for increas- ing revenue and activity at those proper- ties, Centennial isn't slowing down. The company is continuing to seek out new acquisitions. It recently hired Andrew Galvin, who previously worked in acqui- sitions at Rouse Properties and General Growth, to be its leader for acquisitions. "We are focused on what's next," Levin says. "We purchased the Westfield portfo- lio as the first stop along our journey, but we have an exciting road ahead." On its radar screen are more dominant regional malls in suburban and secondary markets. "The mall is still the most dominant destination and venue in America," says Levin. "It still drives the largest amount of traffic to a single place. Our malls generate between 6 million to 10 million visitors per year. They are prime for be- ing transformed into what fits the world today. When malls were built, they were the entertainment; just being there was like nowhere else. Now, you have to cre- ate the next form of entertainment. The mall is not just a shopping venue today. They are dining venues, entertainment venues, leisure venues, fitness venues and a setting for more mixed-use activities." While some consider regional malls a contrarian investment, Levin says that a commitment from ownership, strong management and a different way of ap- proaching leasing — a back-to-basics ap- proach — has helped Centennial foster early success. Branding the centers as a national play also helps, but realizing that leasing should be regionally and locally focused will foster a connection with the community. When consumers feel that they are a part of something larger, and make a connection with an experience, that results in the dominance of the center. "The malls that have the location, ownership, capital and knowledge to transform are going to be the most dom- inant destinations in America," Levin says. "Malls in other parts of the world have so many more uses, and there are thou- sands of people in them at any given time. I believe we can transform the stronger re- gional malls into this in America. You are seeing it already in some markets." SCB Centennial's turnaround of Village Park at Colleyville included the replacement of a grocery anchor with Whole Foods Market. The project was sold to Kimco Realty Group in 2015. The Crossing is a community center that Centennial owns in North Richland Hills, Texas. Tenants include Kroger Signature, Kohl's, Unleashed by Petco and Cristina's Mexican Restaurant.

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