Shopping Center Business

MAY 2017

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

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CENTER REVIEW 104 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2017 a constantly changing space that brings about permanent connections — to peo- ple, the culture and the place. O2 couldn't be more true to the Oxy- gen Station name with its focus on breath- ing, sports and health, attracting thrill seekers and those committed to an active lifestyle with a climbing wall, zip-line, na- ture course and extreme sports park. The amenities and activities of this "world" will support mind and body, and the re- tail stores will supply the information and tools to achieve a healthy balance. Speaking of balance, after such physical exertion, it's only natural to cool down and cozy up to a well-deserved indul- gence. Focused on feeling and fashion, O3 at Oxígeno encourages patrons to shop, dine and relax. Children are the future, and O4 is the future of kids' entertainment. The color- ful, dynamic play zone encourages visi- tors to "be a kid again" or, better yet, be the best mom or dad by indulging your children in the fun, interactive play area, which offers a theme park, exploratory learning opportunities, youth workshops, retail shops and daycare facilities. Although not ready to disclose tenant commitments, Martinez says interest is very high. Target tenant types include high-end fashion, cinemas and interac- tive role-playing offerings in the children areas. The mixed-use developer focused strongly on local retailers. Also, interna- tional brands offering more traditional clothing are in final negotiations, while sports-oriented companies are very inter- ested in the retail area's world of adven- ture. The Cuestamoras Urbanismo CEO categorizes negotiations with entertain- ment anchors as "a total success." Tipping his cap to JERDE, Martinez says that event production companies have been drawn to the development plan, as the big spaces in each of the worlds are fully flexible and can be re- freshed in a matter of hours. NATURAL & DIGITAL Doing experiential real estate right means thinking bigger than just a space or brand. Cuestamoras Urbanismo seeks to appeal to lifestyle with Oxígeno. In- creasingly, that means deftly delivering a combination of the real and imaginative: natural landscapes and high-tech innova- tions. The result is engagement, educa- tion and experiential elevation. "In Costa Rica, 70 to 80 percent of people who visit traditional shopping cen- ters go not to purchase [goods], but for entertainment and activities," Martinez says. "That was a very strong indication to force us to look into disruptors. The one everyone talks about is technology." Successful developers are leveraging the tech of experience versus that of con- venience, which has spurred the growth of e-commerce. The days of the boxy, util- itarian structure where one buys a pair of shoes and then leaves are gone, Martinez maintains. The goal is to create a plat- form, not just a product. "If you want to play this game, you bet- ter become a very good, hands-on opera- tor," he says. "This has become a holistic industry. We looked into the community and thought of the experiences that peo- ple were going to have — not just the physi- cal, but also the interactive with the digital media. It's a different type of animal." If there was any doubt about the proj- ect's "total synchronization with the digi- tal media," as Martinez puts it, know that Oxígeno will have a TV station on site. Also, for the main event plaza in O1, Bal- timore-based Sensory Interactive has de- signed "a highly-flexible system of stages, lighting, audio, cameras, digital media, and fly space [to] allow for rapid reconfig- uration in response to changing daily uses, which will range from sporting events and concerts to classes or demonstrations." Old-fashioned connectivity still works, too, as Cuestamoras Urbanismo built and donated a train station adjacent to the property. JERDE reports that a large green roof will connect the project with its natural surroundings, and access points at every level will encourage natural flow between its various zones, as well as discovery of tranquil corners and colorful displays. "At the center of the site, the sloping park provides unique architectural forms that frame the central Oxigeno plaza," Lo- pez says. "At its centerpiece, the floating cloud canopy provides the strong brand identity and a multimedia environment that will entertain and offer enhanced visibility for tenants." Pura vida is much more than a Costa Rican tourism slogan, and natives will tell you that is goes well beyond the liter- al English translation of "pure life." The essence of connecting with people and nature and the technology-enhanced per- spective that comes with that bond will be found at Oxígeno, which uniquely mixes excitement, leisure and learning. And re- tail. SCB Aerial view of Oxígeno. The center will have four separate themed areas.

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