Shopping Center Business

MAY 2018

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

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CENTER REVIEW 70 • SHOPPING CENTER BUSINESS • May 2018 of the shopping center and really create a fluidity with our surroundings." Placemaking was at the top of the list for the renovation, as New England De- velopment aimed to deliver a better shop- per experience. The renovation included the addition of hospitality seating areas, state-of-the-art Wi-Fi, bistro seating and gathering spots along the banks of the Lechmere Canal and planters with live florals throughout the center's interior. New England is also working on bring- ing new tenants to the center's roster. "We have a number of deals that we are work- ing on," says Steiner. "We have interest from a diverse group of users. The really unique thing about this center is that it is not your traditional suburban mall. This center has much more flexibility, and it is really integrated into the neighborhood. We're looking at how to continue to inte- grate and make the center even more rel- evant to the dense, affluent neighborhood in which it is located. There's clearly op- portunity and a need for fitness, grocers and service uses." The renovations are also exciting for ex- isting tenants, who are feeling the impact of a refreshed property. "We are seeing double digit increases in sales, and that's reflective of the renovation," says Roti- gliano. "It is showing us that we're really bringing the people in, and they are lov- ing it. We're getting really great feedback from the tenants." The center is currently 95 percent leased. "Moving forward, we're touring housewares retailers, a well recognized, national boutique-fitness operator," says Steiner. "What really does well in our center is food and electronics, and we've really been conscious in our food court of trying to make it feel less like a food court. The renovation involved modifying the space and freshening it up, but for us, it's really a question of the tenants. We want to stay local and interesting." Both parties agreed that success in a shopping center is much different today than it was in decades past. "It's no longer just about the store in shopping centers today," says Rotigliano. "Shoppers want to come in and experience something. We're finding it is as simple as upgrading the seating areas around the center — we're receiving feedback on that. Shop- pers want to be part of a community and to really be able to enjoy the space." To drive traffic into the site, New En- gland Development is hosting events at the center, including those featuring lo- cal tech companies, style events hosted by fashion editors and health-focused classes for the fitness- minded. "We held a great event where everything was centered on fashion," says Rotigliano. "We utilized stations throughout the center — which really showcased the full development — featuring local mixologists and chefs. It tied in our retail tenants, as well, with a focus on fashion." "As we look at the future of leasing, especially in an asset like this that needs to continue to integrate further into its neighborhood and the urban fabric sur- rounding it, it's important to understand what's going on in the community and drill down to the grassroots level," says Steiner. "We have taken a great amount of interest to really understand what our store managers are seeing and what we are missing. I think much more outreach and involvement in all of the areas around us is imperative today." SCB New lighting centered above CambridgeSide's newly refreshed food court. As we look at the future of leasing, especially in an asset like this that needs to continue to integrate further into its neighborhood and the urban fabric surrounding it, it's important to understand what's going on in the community and drill down to the grassroots level. Gustav Hoiland

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