Shopping Centers Today International

DEC 2015

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

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C E N T E R S T A G E Beyond the souk A new Center hAs given PAlestiniAns A tAste for the mAll By David Brinn S ince the Signing of the oslo Accords between israel and the PLo in 1993, the Arab West Bank sister cities of Ramallah and Al-Bireh have slowly transitioned from dusty, backwater towns to modern urban centers with a grow- ing high-tech presence and many of the accou- trements of a fledgling middle-class society. one of the most noticeable changes on the landscape of the area, which has a population of some 300,000, has been the proliferation of shopping centers that compete with the tradi- tional souk or the small, family-run business. forging the retail revolution has been the Arab Palestinian Shopping centers (APSc), a subsidiary of the Arab Palestinian investment co. (APic), which in 2004 opened its flagship retail project in Al-Bireh, the 10,000-square- meter (nearly 108,000 square feet), two-story Plaza Shopping center, some eight miles north of Jerusalem. the shopping center oper- ates seven days a week and contains clothing stores, cafés, banks, restaurants and a chil- dren's play area. the APSc-run Bravo Super- market chain and local appliance chain Sbi- tany are anchors. Aside from a Domino's Pizza and a Kfc, all the tenants are Palestine-based. APSc's original vision was to feature many international franchises, but the economic devastation that followed the Second inti- fada in the early 2000s frightened foreigners off, Bahour says. "We started to find the best Palestinian companies out there and tried to convince them to start their own branching out and franchising," said Sam Bahour, formerly head of APSc, and the Palestinian-Ameri- can consultant who developed the center.. Some 5,000 shoppers patronize Plaza Shop- ping center on a typical day, says Bravo coo Jonathan Betts. "the first two years were a struggle while people got used to the idea of go- ing to a mall, but now it's totally accepted as the mainstream shopping experience," Betts said. Making it even easier for consumers is privately owned Plaza Mall taxi, a low-rate transportation service based outside the shopping center. Parking happens to be a problem, because the mall is located in a residential neighborhood lacking the space required for commercial traffic and parking. "the facility was built before zoning standards and infrastructure caught up to today's best practices," said Bahour. "inside, if you look around, you could be at any suburban mall — in tel Aviv, Boston or california. outside, you know you're in the Middle east." Still, the success of Plaza Shopping center and the stand-alone Bravo stores has created a seismic shift in the retail marketing landscape in the West Bank, according to Bahour. "We set the bar for what a retail facility should have in it," he said. "After the oslo Accords, there was an influx of Palestinian people from abroad, like myself, who came to live here. And we desired modern shopping experience like we were used to in the West." Bahour was born and raised in ohio. As it happens, a shopping center set to open early this coming year in nablus and featuring a 2,000-square-meter Bravo super- market, complemented by five retail outlets, indicates that this hopeful experience is being spread to other West Bank cities. SCT +1 646 728 3800 fax: +1 732 694 1730 Editor in Chief eDMUnD MAnDeR +1 646 728 3487 E D I T O R I A L Managing Editor BRAnnon BoSWeLL +1 646 728 3488 Copy Chief DAViD S. oRtiZ Copy Editor KRiStinA eLDReDge Art Director John D. LeWiS Contributing Editors SteVe BeRgSMAn DAViD BRinn MARÍA BiRD Pic" JoeL gRooVeR MAtt hUDginS noeLLA Pio KiVLehAn Beth MAttSon-teig SteVe M cLinDen BecKy MeiSeR MiSt y MiLioto SPenceR RUMSey BARBARA thAU Bennett VoyLeS A D V E R China: UnA gAo + 86 10 5128 0868, ext. 1009 Europe: JULie fitZSiMMinS +44 (0)20 3772 8996 Asia: cAt chAn +852 2540 6872 Production Manager DAViD StAcKhoUSe +1 646 728 3482 I C S C O F F I C E R S Chair man StePhen D. LeBoVitZ President and CEO thoMAS M cgee Vice Chairman eLiZABeth i. hoLLAnD Past Chairman RoBeRt f. WeLAnetZ, cRX, cSM Treasurer gLen hALe Secretary gRegoRy J. PeteRSon Publisher RUDoLPh e. MiLiAn, cRX, cMD, cSM for article reprints, call (866) 879-9144 or contact S H O P P I N G C E N T E R S T O D A Y SCT (ISSN 0885-9841) is pub lished monthly. VOLUME 36, ISSUE 12 © 2015, International Coun cil of Shop ping Cen ters, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020-1099; phone, +1 (646) 728 3800; fax, +1 732 694 1730. All rights reserved. Periodicals postage paid at New York, N.Y., and ad di tion al mailing offces. Sub scrip- tions $70 per year; Canada and other foreign $99. Single- copy price $10 (May issue $20). For subscription informa- tion call +1 727 784 2000. POST MAS TER: Send address changes to Shopping Cen ters Today, Sawida Worley, 1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020-1099. Publications mail agreement No. 41482022, return unde- liverable Canadian addresses to PO Box 503, RPO West Beaver Creek, Richmond Hill ON L4B 4R6.

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