Parkville Center Crowdsources New Tenants


When looking for a new tenant for your center, it’s vital to consider the stakeholders—the shoppers in your area, the other retailers in your center, and other members of the public. And the best way to do that is to talk to them.

Take Parkville Shopping Center, for example. The grocery-anchored neighborhood center is in the midst of a major renovation project, and that means space to let. To help find the perfect tenants, the center turned to Popularise.com, a new crowd-sourcing platform.

With brochures and Facebook postings, shoppers have been asked to visit the center’s Popularise page. There, they can learn more about the redevelopment and see some of the proposed changes in concept. Then they have the chance to recommend a retailer or restaurant for the center’s few vacancies, and vote on ideas put forth by other shoppers.

“Crowdsourcing is a new term, but asking customers about their shopping preferences has always been integral to strong tenant merchandising. Social media and new technology, like Popularise, allows us to reach more people in a nontraditional way,” said Jack deVilliers, leasing agent for center owner Regency Centers.

“The success depends upon the number of people who engage with the site and the quality of leads. We hope to uncover local or regional favorites that will add further charm to a neighborhood center that has been part of the area for more than 50 years.”

Regency Senior Market Officer Alan Roth added, “Given the center’s location inside the Beltway just outside of Baltimore, leasing has never been an issue with 95 percent average occupancy over the last five years. But as we invest in this neighborhood with the center’s $1.7 million renovation and the addition of market-leading grocer Giant, we want to ensure the creation of a shopping environment that the local residents are very proud of, which includes their input on store selection.”

Popularise, by the way, isn’t just any old crowdsourcing platform. It was created by Ben and Dan Miller, Washington D.C. commercial real estate investors, to encourage local communities to bring their market knowledge, ideas and support to actively shape their neighborhoods. With any luck, Regency Centers will find a hidden gem or two for Parkville Shopping Center, as will the other commercial real estate projects featured on the site.


Written by Nissa on September 12, 2012 – 5:39 pm -
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Follow the Fashion


0702followfashion.gifIf you’re like many of our readers, one of your mall’s big challenges is finding creative ways to fill vacancies. Queen Street Mall has come up with a great one.

The Australian shopping center has launched a new website: Follow the Fashion. The site allows fashion designers to upload photos of their work to virtual storefronts, which can then be voted on by the public. The designers of the five most popular store fronts will provide a small collection of their designs to a panel of industry judges, who will choose one to be awarded a six-month lease at the mall, including operating costs, a store fit-out, and marketing assistance.

Voters are also rewarded with the chance to win instant prize vouchers and a grand prize of a $10,000 shopping spree. The initiative is being promoted across the web, in the mall, and on the street – with a “designer in a box” street display. And the site helps out existing retailers, too, throwing in specials and deals amongst the new storefronts. Kudos to the folks Queen Street Mall for this one.


Written by Nissa on July 1, 2009 – 3:55 pm -
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RECon Panelists Share Recession Tactics and Tips


0521recon.gifRECon has wrapped up, and the ICSC is offering up some of the ideas and information that came out of the conference.

Of particular interest was a panel on handling retailer rent-break requests. Here are some of the highlights:

“In a nutshell, tenants should be ready to clearly demonstrate need, said Mez Birdie, director of retail services for Maitland, Fla.–based NAI Realvest. Request profit-and-loss and earnings statements, and be sure to know the proper rent-to-sales ratio for the tenant’s merchandise or restaurant category, he said. “Tenants need to show us their pain. While the landlord may not always agree [to a cut], you need to have the facts in front of you.” Birdie also stressed that landlords “must still negotiate in good faith, not from an adversarial position.”

Co-tenancy clauses in rental contracts, which often trigger lower rents if occupancy falls below a certain level, are coming back to haunt many owners now, panelists said. Cynthia Frank, director of real estate asset services in Florida for CB Richard Ellis, said owners should be diligent in eliminating such clauses when lease are being renegotiated.”

A session on recession tactics also brought out some great information:

“CBL is riding out the storm by repositioning anchor stores, inking unconventional tenants while seeking more appropriate permanent tenants and adding new income sources to existing properties such as hotels and offices. It is also paring its number of regions from eight to seven, reducing staffing and becoming stronger asset managers. Those measures and others will spell a $30 million difference on CBL’s 2009 bottom line, Lebovitz said.

Neihaus pointed out that industry pros ‘will learn more in this recession that they ever would on the upside.’ Maurin said Stirling Properties ‘has gone back to the basics. It is like preparing for a hurricane. You never sleep. We are operating 24-7. And there is no such thing as over-communication.'”


Written by Nissa on May 20, 2009 – 1:28 pm -
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Tips for Filling Vacancies


0507open_1.gifWhile many malls are struggling to fill vacancies, The Mall Howgate has things under control. The shopping center has five new stores opening before the end of this month. All five are independent retailers that fill new niches for the mall, bringing its shoppers a new level of variety.

Centre Manager Suzanne Arikinson attributes this success to a lot of hard work and some very creative networking:

“Two key factors helped us secure our new tenants. Firstly, we actively approached independent retailers in the area that we felt not only had the potential for growth but also offered quality products along with exceptional customer service and merchandising. These retailers were also selling products that were not currently on offer in The Mall which we knew would appeal to our customer base.”

“Secondly, we forged a great partnership with Falkirk Enterprise Action Trust (FEAT), Town Centre Management and Falkirk Council’s Economic Development Team. All parties had a common goal – nurturing new and existing independents in the town. Together we offered a support network for the retailers, giving them advice on how to grow their businesses and also assistance with business planning. For instance Yankee [Yankee at Home, one of the new retailers] started out on an Retail Merchandising Unit and we worked closely with the retailer to develop the offering into the first Yankee store in Scotland.  Both FEAT and the council also provided funding to help the independents with their shop fits and their initial start up costs.”


Written by Nissa on May 6, 2009 – 5:03 pm -
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