Shopping Centers Today

OCT 2018

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

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Page 42 of 59

O C T O B E R 2 0 1 8 / S C T 43 common-area advertising and other activities that generate ancillary revenue, says Lebovitz. Technology has made it easier for a single person to oversee a multiplicity of activities, too. For instance, at CBL a lot of accounting that used to be done at the local level is now centralized, thanks to technology, and this has freed general managers to spend less time crunching numbers and more time on activities that are visible to shoppers. CBL also uses a text-alert system that enables nearly instant communication between property-management teams and tenants. "We've added a lot of technology to our properties to increase the responsiveness of the property management team," said Lebovitz. Washington Prime, meanwhile, is literally breaking down the barriers between its property management teams and their stake- holders. -e company is in the process of moving its general managers out of traditional o€ces and into specially designed, unenclosed workstations in center-court areas. By thus putting general managers and their teams in closer proximity to shoppers and tenants, the company anticipates that they will be in a better position to address problems quickly and to spot ways to enhance properties. Washington Prime is rolling out this workstation program, which it named -e Hub, across its portfolio. "How dare we sit in mall-management o€ces or ivory-tower [corporate] o€ces," said Conforti, "when this is the most interactive business on the planet?" Of course, a general manager feeling the weight of these responsibil- ities, might well ask: What's in it for me? Conforti describes the goodwill general manager initiative as a quid pro quo: -e company has introduced incentives that o‰er "very achievable, proŠt-participation measures" for general managers involved in leasing and sponsorship deals. JLL Retail has also begun rewarding its general managers for their role in leasing. Last year the company implemented a referral incentive program that pays a bonus to a general manager or to some other member of a local team for identify- ing a prospective tenant that signs onto a perma- nent deal. -e bonus is paid once the deal closes. -e program has been well-received among general managers. "We all certainly love what we do, but it's kind of nice to get a check for a responsibility that wasn't previously yours," said Raquet. -ese days local market knowledge and connections are more important than ever, Raquet notes. JLL Retail expects its general managers, along with its specialty leasing and marketing managers, to help prospect for both temporary tenants and longer-term tenants, and even for such alternative uses as libraries or municipal o€ces, she says. -e idea that general managers should think and act like the CEOs of their properties is not entirely new, according to shopping center manager Shannon Quilty, CSM. -ere was a time when general managers did just that, she says, but their role began to change as shopping center companies instituted internal silos, sti•ing collaboration among departments, and some shi–ed certain responsibilities, such as leasing, away from local property teams. "I truly believe everything is cyclical," said Quilty, who has spent some two decades in shopping center management and who has worked in both developed and emerging markets. She is now a partner at Senteo, a Las Vegas–based consulting Šrm that seeks to help clients transform their businesses using a relationship-cen- tric methodology. "We are perhaps coming back around," she said, "to what [being a general manager] used to look like: acting as property ambassador to all stakeholders while pulling the different disciplines together and with an even deeper responsibility for creating value." Q There is an expectation that you're not only a great manager, but you need to be a great leader '' '' — Karen Raquet, CRX, CSM Louis G. Conforti Karen Raquet Shannon Quilty Stephen D. Lebovitz

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