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, 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.

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