Renaissance MarketplaceRenaissance Marketplace

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Investors aren't the only players seeing value in experientialretail. Cities are focused on approving retail projects that have acommunity focus. Developers and architects pushing projects throughthe entitlement phase have seen the city show increased interest inthose elements of new retail and retail redevelopment.

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"The city is focused on creating great people places incommunities. It seems to be an important factor that cities areconsidering now when we are going through the approvals process forentitlements. They are looking at placemaking, and they aresensitive to that," Greg Lyon, principal anddesign director for Nadel Architecture + Planning,tells GlobeSt.com.

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The trend is community, and the exact amenities in each retailcenter depend on the project. "Of course, it takes more than thecity's pull to create spaces that truly serve the community needs,"says Lyon. "There are, of course, nuances,. If the property is moreculinary based, you are going to want to have more communal diningareas, you are going to want more operable roll-up walls to allowindoor-outdoor space. It is all about bringing people together sothat they can interact in these environments. But, it depends onthe use.

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Lyon recommends all stakeholders get together earlier and lookclosely at the micro-market. "The project works best when thedeveloper wants to dive in to the aspirations of the community anddo something authentic and who is sensitive to the demographics andpsychographics of the lifestyle considerations," he says. "Clientsthat are willing to bring in all consultants at the beginning endup with a richer more immersive environment."

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Some developers are already on board, but others are stilladapting to the new market and consumer demands, which Lyon saysare long-term trends. "Some developers have spent a majority oftheir career working on destination retail shopping that iscommodity driven are now challenged with having less shop space, nolarge anchor tenants and shift uses to service people," he says."For those developers, there is a little more of a discussion aboutwhere the market is going. There are also developers that are verysavvy with new trends and are focused on creating these type ofenvironments."

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As an added benefit, Lyon says that there is typically a costsavings in designing a center in this way. "When you do approach aproject like this, there is a savings in the architecture," hesays. "The environment that the shopper experiences is everythingthat happens in front of the storefront. A lot of times, if we areworking with a developer from the beginning, we can focus on theenvironment and the architecture becomes a backdrop to that. Fromthe client's perspective, it can be a cost savings."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.