Shopping Centers Today

APR 2018

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

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Page 26 of 59

A P R I L 2 0 1 8 / S C T 27 and ones that really offer a lot of value and excitement in their merchandising and in their product mix." e lease signings snowballed aer Warby Parker took a nearly 2,000-square-foot lease, becoming the center's first tenant and marking the online eyewear maker's first physical store in Houston. "Warby Parker cer- tainly is a massive draw, and because this is the first location in Houston, we've seen [that] a large number of people will get a pair of glasses and spend a couple of hours here, walk around, see the shops and grab an ice cream or a coffee," said Radom. Once the Warby Parker lease was done, other tenants came on, includ- ing swimwear purveyor Chubbies, casual-wear maker Marine Layer and Lululemon's first concept store, a com- bination of a typical Lululemon store and a community outreach program. Food is also a prominent and core ingredient in the tenant mix. "We defi- nitely wanted to get independent and unique restaurants," said Radom. "We weren't looking to fill it up with a bunch of chains, but we didn't necessarily want to do a very formal, super-high-end restaurant mix. Instead, we wanted to get something that checked the box for every single hour of the day." Among the food-related tenants are ice-cream shop Cloud 10 Creamery; the first brick-and-mortar store of local lunch-cart operator Local Foods; Me- lange Creperie; and Postino WineCafe. A second-floor space in one of the buildings is set apart for health and beauty tenants, including fitness studio Define Body & Mind and the Paloma Beauty nail salon. "It was really a story of us not doing the easy deals that were presented to us, but picking every single deal as being the right deal that you would hope would not just survive, but actually add the right mix in terms of customers — in terms of vibe, in terms of formality and everything," said Radom. "So it has been really fun to see it all come together." e current tenant roster comprises 65 percent traditional retailers, 25 percent food tenants and 10 percent beauty-related shops. e architecture is designed to match the area's 1920s-era character. is required renovating the existing vacant structures and building two new ones. Radom enlisted the services of architect Michael Hsu, who runs an eponymous firm in Austin. "We had a property that is partially in the historic district that has 1925-vintage houses that were actually ordered out of the Sears catalog," said Radom. To strengthen ties to the local community, Heights Mercantile formed a partnership in January with the Museum of Fine Arts Houston and created MFA Contemporary @ Heights Mercantile. is curated gallery space offers a rotation of works from the museum's collections, plus free art activities monthly through an on-site pop-up studio called Mix It Up with the MFAH. n TIMELINE July 2014 Initial land parcel purchased from the Pappas family August 2016 Ground-breaking for Heights Mercantile September 2016 Warby Parker signs the first lease, for its first store in Houston September 2017 Heights Mercantile officially opens, at 50 percent occupancy July 2018 The remainder of the center to open Heights Mercantile offers a mix of stores, restaurants and a fitness studio in a family-oriented Houston neighborhood

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