Shopping Centers Today

JUL 2018

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

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14 S C T / J U L Y 2 0 1 8 T H E C O M M O N A R E A P R O P E R T Y M A N AG E M E N T W hat is one thing that is present at almost every shopping center but is usually tucked away in a place that is hard to find? Answer: the property management office. At Washington Prime Group– owned shopping centers, it may be only a matter of time before the oft-secluded mall-management office becomes a thing of the past. As part of an overhaul of its property-man- agement division, the Columbus, Ohio–based retail REIT is testing a program that places its general managers front and center by having them work from areas in center court. Specifically, at several properties, the company is building unenclosed workstations — called The Hub — to serve as a home base for general managers and staff. By putting these teams in closer proximity to shoppers and tenants, the company anticipates that managers will be able to respond more readily to emergent issues or to spot ways for making improvements to the merchandising, among other things. "General managers are the lifeblood of our company and should be front and center in order to react quickly," said CEO Louis G. Conforti. At many of its malls, the company has already done away with the tradi- tional information desk. Typically, the employees who staff such desks are endowed with little decision-making authority, Conforti says, but the Hub workstations are a different concept. The firm is now in the process of installing Hub units at a handful of its properties, and each is unique in design. The unit at Ashland (Ky.) Town Center, for example, a regional mall serving parts of Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia, is made of steel, stone and other materials symbolizing important geophysical elements of the locality. Steel is representative of the region's history as a center of steel CENTER STAGE Washington Prime is relocating the management office into the common area By Anna Robaton

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