Shopping center and retail design is constantly changing, and several members of the BHM Architects team attended the 2016 annual ICSC (International Council on Shopping Center) CenterBuild Conference in Scottsdale, AZ, to stay on the leading edge of this market.
The conference was attended by the most people ever, signaling the strong vitality of the economy, especially the retail sector. Three themes emerged as changes facing the retail/mixed use industry:
- Food and Beverage (F&B) is a growing market sector in retail sales, and has increased 26% in the last five years. In March of 2015 F&B sales surpassed grocery store sales for the first time ever. The average Millennial eats out 3.4 times a week, compared to 2.8 times for everyone else. With the advent of social media etc., a “foodie” culture has emerged as the single most entertaining aspect of many people’s lives. The retail industry has responded with an exciting array of venues now commonly referred to as “food districts” – not to be confused with “food courts.” Food districts are typically more locally focused and can be themed around celebrity chefs, have food demonstrations, put on tasting events, or even offer merchandise. They are more entertainment-centered and do not include national chain fast food vendors. A good example of a food district is Chelsea Market in New York City.
- Many malls are taking back big box anchor stores such as Sears and Macy’s as they reduce market locations. The issue then becomes how to repurpose those usually multi-level structures in favor or a more outdoor lifestyle venue featuring more entertainment centered retailers, including F&B and community activity spaces such as large lawns that accommodate events. Others have repurposed the existing structures by turning about a third of the space into a food district and the rest into fitness centers, specialty theaters and more small shops.
- Two retailers new to the scene also have shown interest in repurposing anchor store structures. The Crayola crayon company has created a new retail/museum/entertainment destination venue called the Crayola Experience. They look for about 50,000 s.f. in a new or existing structure, preferably in a mall. The average length of stay of the customer/patron is 3 to 4 hours in the interactive museum-style store that one has to buy a ticket to enter. Another newer retailer is iFLY Indoor Skydiving, which simulates skydiving in a safe, controlled indoor venue.
To discuss your retail development or design needs, contact the experts at Bartlett Hartley & Mulkey Architects here.