Shopping Center Business

MAY 2017

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

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AVALON 296 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2017 S equels to blockbusters are tricky to execute as the second act needs to both distinguish itself from the orig- inal while at the same time establish its own identity. By opening the hit mixed- use development Avalon in October 2014 with some of the most respected names in the retail industry, such as Whole Foods Market, Arhaus and Tesla, developer North American Properties planted a lofty flag in the north Atlanta suburb of Alpharetta. "With Avalon, we set out to break the mold and disrupt the old way of real estate development," said Mark Toro, managing partner of North American Properties, in a statement at the time. Now two-and-a-half years later, North American Properties has opened Ava- lon's second phase, Boulevard East, with the hope that it will be as well received as its predecessor. For starters, the project is less sprawling than Phase I, but at 1.2 million square feet, it doesn't lack in size. "Phase II doubles the square footage of Avalon, but on a third of the acreage so it's far more dense," says Toro during a private media tour of Boulevard East in early April. One of the crowning achievements for the project is the relocation of the Apple Store from nearby North Point Mall. Ap- ple announced in late March its intent to move to Boulevard East, with a note on both the physical North Point Mall store and the store's website that it has made "an inspired move" and opened at Avalon on April 13. "The Apple Store relocation has been under wraps for a year or more," says Toro. "I've seen the design in other loca- tions and it's spectacular, it'll really be a show piece." The Apple Store is among nearly 40 lo- cations in the United States (and nearly 70 worldwide) that feature the new store design, according to an Apple representa- tive. The Avalon store will showcase the Forum, open space with a video wall and modular seating for workshops, and the Avenue, which comprises windows with different vignettes that support Apple merchandise and third-party products that work closely with Apple. All together, Phase II will add nearly 90,000 square feet of retail space and restaurants. The retailers that opened street-level shops in mid-April include Brooks Brothers, Urban Outfitters, Scout & Molly's, Levi's, Williams-Sono- ma, Hammer Made, Boogaloos, Lucky Brand, Pottery Barn, South Moon Under and Boardroom Salon for Men. Another shop that will open at the development later this year is an online apparel retailer that is expanding into physical stores. "Catalog and online retail are going to bricks-and-mortar," explains Toro. "They already know their clientele is here, so they put a physical store in the markets where they have the most customers." That retailer coming to Boulevard East is Sundance, a company founded by Hol- lywood legend Robert Redford. The retail concept started as the Sundance Catalog, the first edition of which was mailed in 1989, before moving its operation online. The new store at Avalon will be the first physical Sundance location east of the Mississippi River. So far, there are eight Sundance stores in seven states: Texas, Colorado, Utah, California, Minnesota, Arizona and Oregon. North American Properties, whose oth- er metro Atlanta projects include Colony Square and Atlantic Station, hopes to Avalon, Take Two The mixed-use project's second phase, Boulevard East, brings more high-end retailers, restaurants to North Atlanta. John Nelson Pottery Barn, an upscale home furnishing retailer, opened its newest store in Avalon adjacent to the new nine-story 8000 Avalon office building.

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