Shopping Centers Today International

FEB 2016

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

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Parkin g smarter Leveraging tech to take the headaches out of parking When Unibail-Rodamco opened the Mall of Scandinavia last November, an estimated 50,000 shoppers in Solna, Sweden, got their first look at the 1.1 million-square-foot mall's experience-oriented architecture and tenant mix. The experience includes hundreds of shops and restaurants, along with entertainment venues such as an Imax movie theater and a Formula One racing simulator. Con- venience, too, is part of the offering — the mall is the latest retail property to offer so-called smart parking, which can help shoppers find open parking spaces when they arrive, and then, when they are ready to go home, help them avoid the maddening experi- ence of being unable to remember where the car is parked. At Westfield's newly redeveloped Valley Fair Mall, in Santa Clara, Calif., shoppers can find open spaces by look- ing for green lights positioned above. On the way out, they can type in their license plate numbers at a kiosk to see a visual representation of where they are parked (of course, the trick here is to remember one's plate number). Along the same lines, two city-owned parking decks that serve Macerich's Santa Mon- ica (Calif.) Place mall guide shoppers to open spaces by means of sensors and lights; reader boards and end-of-aisle arrows point drivers to the number of open spaces in each direction. Efforts to bolster the convenience of parking are strategically sound, given the potential for a stressful park- ing experience to linger in a shopper's mind, observers say. "It is shocking, but the parking field really defines a lot of people's feeling about conve- nience," said Jeffrey S. Edison, a prin- cipal and the CEO of Phillips Edison & Co., which specializes in boosting the value of underperforming, grocery- anchored centers. "An extra 50 yards of walking will bother a lot of people. They will feel that it isn't convenient anymore, even though you're only talking about 15 or 20 seconds." Does this mean that every shop- ping center should buy expensive 36 S C T / F e b r u a r y 2 0 1 6 ➟ ?

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