Shopping Center Business

MAY 2016

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

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TRANSPORTATION 284 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2016 and transportation realities are inextrica- bly linked. Removing those factors from the equation opens up a world of new possibilities. More than just reducing the need for parking, new mobility models will ush- er in new retail formats, particularly in commodity retail where price and con- venience are consumer priorities. While these changes will continue the trend toward service and delivery shopping, where cars become part of an expanded pickup service, shoppers will also turn to more flexible shared transportation options to visit brick-and-mortar stores. Store visibility, today crucial for most retailers, may become less important as mobile apps guide shoppers seamlessly to more remote locations dictated by more discerning zoning and land use codes. In the urban planner's dream scenario, "ugly" parking lots will be replaced with public uses without harming customer convenience or retailer performance. The consequences are potentially enor- mous — from eliminating parking costing $15,000 to $30,000 a space, to potentially reducing suburban sprawl and facilitating more sustainable development. Imagine two big box commodity retailers served by adjacent entrances or single pedestrian access lanes. Perhaps the most radical difference will be seen in power centers, where parking requirements are the lynchpin of design and operational considerations. It will likely make commodity shopping more efficient and probably lower costs in the bargain. These changes are less likely to dramatically change specialty retail, where the overall experience is more im- portant than price and efficiency. The big question is what older centers will do to adapt to a new world where today's mandated parking field is tomor- row's excess land. Both additional space and greater densification fit into accept- ed smart growth scenarios, with reduced sprawl, more vertical development, and more parks and green/open space. As a result we will likely see more projects that look like Ponce City Market near mid- town Atlanta: promoting and welcoming a wide range of transportation options, from parking payment apps, to compli- mentary bicycle valets, to bus and rail connections and transportation planning assistance. While the precise future of American transportation remains unclear, new technologies, modes of transportation and creative mobility concepts will con- tinue to influence the way we live, move and shop. While changes this profound might seem like science fiction now, re- member that the current system based on carbon-based fuels and individually owned vehicles is less than 100 years old. In the arc of human history, that's a blink of an eye. SCB Nick A. Egelanian is president of Siteworks, a consulting firm providing targeted retail and mixed- use development consulting services to retailers, developers, owners and municipalities. He can be contacted at COMPLETED PROJECTS: FEATURED PROJECTS: Crossroads Howell Commons Eatontown, NJ Howell, NJ Linden Commons Ethan Allen TJ Maxx Linden, NJ Watchung, NJ Woodbridge, NJ AutoZone Staten Island, NY, Garwood, NJ, Little Ferry, NJ ShopRite Staten Island, NY Xscape Theatre Howell, NJ

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