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LAS VEGAS—“The store is really the core strategy for both physical and digital growth.” That is according to Laurie Mahowald, VP of real estate at Target Corp. She was one panelist who spoke on a repurposed and revitalized panel at ICSC RECon here in Las Vegas and said that two years ago, when many were saying physical stores were dead, Target invested.

“We invested in our team, launched new brands, remodeled them and are on pace to remodel 1,000 stores by 2020,” she said. That remodel instills an enhanced in-store experience, she said, but it also helps utilize the box for fulfillment strategies.

“We use our stores as fulfillment where we can deliver products to our customers faster,” she explained, pointing to buying online and picking up in store, as an example. “We have also double downed to our smaller format in dense urban areas. We are investing in our physical strategies and all of the strategies can work together and not at the expense of each other.”

Up next was Benjamin Schall, president and CEO, Seritage Growth Properties, who said that his company has created environments with just the right mix of tenants, which he says is key. He pointed to tenants like health and wellness draws or off-priced anchors to name a few. “We have opened 50 new centers over the last two years and when you combine the right types of shops, with food and beverage, people respond. These new environments are key to our growth.” also caught up with Peter Cole, chief development and asset management officer for Madison Marquette, about “the new mixed-use.”

As recently as five years ago, mixed-use was easily fitted into a standard format of combined retail, office and residential, he tells “Ratios were dictated by demographics and supply and demand—much as it had been for decades.”

But now, he says, developers are in a different eco-system with mixed-use. “Shifting tastes, budgets, expectations and economic realities have pushed the boundaries of mixed-use to a much more integrated model of shared uses that must provide live-work-play amenities within a collaborative and community-inspired environment.”

He pointed to the firm’s urban waterfront development at The Wharf in Washington, DC, as a prime example of “the new, new mixed use.” Condominiums, apartments, hotel, office and retail there offer “painstakingly curated choices” that include convenience, entertainment, outdoor experience and varied living options for a new generation that seeks a like and share approach to living, he explains.

Whether at Washington’s District Wharf or at New York City’s Hudson Yards, it is clear that developers have moved to blur and integrate uses, he says, bringing office and residential into a social over everything modality—shared entrances, work spaces, play areas, parks, piers and other on-site amenities make these projects contemporary micro-universes.

“Each component at these new developments aligns to best serve the ever-shifting needs of the resident, working and visiting population, while playing to cohesive and creative lifestyle opportunities.”

The paradigm shift to community, collaboration and shared experience, he expects will continue to drive mixed-use projects into the future. “We are increasingly recognizing the tremendous advantages conferred by this approach as it appeals to cross-generational users and tenants and to a broad array of investors seeking value and long-term growth.”

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