Shopping Centers Today

AUG 2015

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 5 / S C T 53 T h i s h a d n o t a l w a y s b e e n s o . I n 2 0 0 5 McLean, president of Edens at the time, looked with some discomfort at the mega-developments then popular across the U.S. "The market felt a little overheated," she said. Additionally, those large power centers felt impersonal to her. Navi- gating those large aisles in search of apparel for her children, this mother of four says she felt disconnected from all the other shoppers. She began to think about why she felt that way. Women, who tended to make the majority of purchases for the family, she reasoned, were working more than ever, meaning they had less time to spend at playgrounds, parks or school- yards — the places where mothers supervising their children normally made interpersonal con- nections. What was missing, she concluded, was odIE McLEAN MAy hAvE rISEN to cEo of Edens only two months ago, but she was playing a key role in shaping the company long before this. Today the empha- sis at South carolina–based Edens, owner- developer of 136 retail centers, is on creat- ing community-based retail centers that can function as neighborhood gathering places. "We look at our places as the 'living room' of [their] communities," McLean said. an emotional resonance: "What makes a great retail experience is the intimate connection it conjures with the con- sumer." McLean began urging that the firm reimagine its own retail properties to make them warmer and more inviting, through such features as spray fountains, outdoor seating and extensive landscaping. She also advocated that Edens should start looking at grocery stores, gyms and other places con- sumers visit regularly as potential anchors and co-tenants. Such amenities would en- courage shoppers to linger and spend more, she figured. The concept resonated in the- ory, but this sort of innovation was also a huge risk, McLean concedes. "We did not J Keeping it local CEO JOdiE MClEAn is thE ArChitECt Of EdEns' nEighbOrhOOd fOCus By Rebecca Meiser n e w S m a k e r S J o d i e M c L e a n ( R i g h t ) a t t e n d i n g a L o c a L R e t a i L e R e v e n t a t U n i o n M a R i n W a s h i n g t o n , d . c . ' s U n i o n s t a t i o n P h o t o : L e i g h V o g e L / g e t t y i m a g e s f o r e D e N s

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