Shopping Centers Today

DEC 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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76 S C T / D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 The splash pad at Crocker Park, in Westlake, Ohio, draws families to the property and keeps them there longer CHILD'S PLAY A children's theater will join the tenant lineup at The Shops at Willow Bend, in Plano, Tex- as, as the mall undergoes the first expansion in its 15-year history. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2017, North Texas Performing Arts (NTPA) and its Plano Children's Theatre will include four performance spaces, six rehearsal spaces, a set-build and costume shop, occupying approximately 22,000 square feet on the upper level of the center, near its Dillard's anchor. The largest youth arts organization in North Texas, the NTPA provides arts opportunities for ages five to 18 years old with a mission of promoting lifelong learning, creativity, communication skills, teamwork, integrity and good citizen- ship. While the NTPA currently has facilities in Plano, McKinney and Frisco, Texas, the mall will become its headquarters. "We are humbled by the generosity and incredible support of The Shops at Willow Bend team and its parent Starwood Retail Partners," said Darrell Rodenbaugh, president of NTPA's board of directors. "This exciting move will allow us to double our reach and impact in the Plano community." Highlights of the renovation include a new main entrance; a collection of up to eight chef-driven restaurants; a high-end health and fitness club; entertainment venues; and a seven-story, 200,000-square- foot office tower. The existing mall's interior will be remodeled throughout to reflect a more contemporary aesthetic. Construc- tion began in May and will be completed in phases, starting in mid-2017 and continuing through 2018. "Plano has seen tremendous population growth, especially families with young children," said Scott Wolstein, CEO of Starwood Retail Partners, which acquired the center in 2014. "The addition of the Plano Children's Theatre is just the first of many new offerings that will turn The Shops at Willow Bend into the commercial and emotional core of North Dallas. And we're very excited to reveal renderings of exactly what our guests will see when construction is complete in 2018." "This is a people business," Stark said, "and when the community comes first in your planning, tens of thousands of people will be drawn to your center." Developers of mod- ern centers have discovered that their best answer to the digi- tal-shopping problem — and the best way to add tenants — is to offer communities the settings, services and businesses they will not find in cyberspace, says Stark. "It is time for us to turn our full attention to the community," he said. "When that hap- pens, sales will follow and values will skyrocket." Increasingly, centers are incorporating libraries, municipal offices, banks, recreational facilities, park areas, public-event venues and the like, not merely to fill up space but also to ap- peal to the surrounding neighborhoods as community gath- ering places, according to Karen Raquet, director of retail and property services for JLL. "Years ago the industry almost totally got away from the community-center idea," she said. "But if we create mini downtowns where people can go to check four or five things off their to-do lists, they'll still feel they're getting away from it all and discover other things to do and places to eat and shop as well." The Related Cos.' Hudson Yards development, in New York City, which is steadily creating a new West Side neighborhood in Manhattan, will contain a 750-seat public school, 4,000 res- idences and an arts center, plus about 100 shops. Stark's Cleve- land-area project, in Westlake, just west of the Cleveland central business district, has created a street grid that seamlessly ties into adjoining neighborhoods. Other physical-integration as- pects of a center, including the scale of buildings, the height of ceilings and the use of canopies and covered walkways, should all be designed to create a welcoming effect, Stark says. "Crock- er Park is a civic space and a community space," he said. >>

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