Shopping Centers Today

AUG 2018

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

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A U G U S T 2 0 1 8 / S C T 33 nooga, Tenn.–based REIT, he has managed several malls and held top positions in marketing and branding, most recently as vice president of marketing and digital strategies. As Ward sees it, the new position has allowed him to spend more time focused on inno- vative approaches such as work- ing with CBL's retail partners and tech vendors on data-sharing pilot programs and cultivating relation- ships with digitally native retailers that could fit in the portfolio. The point of creating a role like chief innovation officer is not necessarily to preclude executives in leasing, development, property management or brokerage from pursuing new ideas on their own, experts say. Rather, having a point person for innovation can help the company gain a big-picture view and better coordinate those collec- tive efforts. "I work almost daily with our heads of IT and opera- tions, our senior leasing execu- tives and our data analytics team," Ward said. "Just last week I had some overlap in meetings with marketing. So it's a role where you pull everything together. You try to make sure that whatever you implement and pilot will be the right solution across the entire organization." When Shopping Center Group created Katz's position back in 2012, the company's senior leadership team had a similar idea in mind, Katz says. "We felt it was important to align all of that under one umbrella," he said. "It gives you the ability to then create that single message and single strategy." Other companies have tapped specialists to innovate in areas of particular strategic importance. In recent years, Trademark Property Co. has put a major emphasis on ramp- ing up the look, feel and function of its properties, includ- ing the launch of its branded Conscious Place approach to sustainable, community-driven development, says Cassie King, who joined the Fort Worth, Texas–based firm as director of design and innovation in 2015. "We believe that we have to evolve to stay relevant," she said. "It's import- ant to us to create places where people feel safe to make memories and let their kids run around like it was their own backyard. Our tagline is, 'Places people love.' " King is an artist and furniture-builder with a background in landscape architecture and urban planning. In scaling up the portfolio — 17 retail and mixed-use properties so far — Trademark tasked her with overseeing the design aspects of its new direction. "They realized that there was a void and that they needed somebody in-house who was truly over design and innovation, as opposed to relying solely on outside architecture firms," King said. Waterside, a 63-acre mixed-use property whose first phase opened in Fort Worth in 2016, was King's first project for the company. Retailers and restaurants there include REI, Sur La Table, Whole Foods Market and a raft of service tenants. When all three phases are completed, in 2020, the project will comprise some 200,000 square feet of retail space, 800 residential units and 200,000 square feet of offices. CASSIE KING, DIRECTOR OF DESIGN AND INNOVATION AT THE FORT WORTH–BASED FIRM OF TRADEMARK PROPERTY CO.

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