Growing Up in Grand Style

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Take a closer look at the approximately 150 open-air lifestyle centers that exist today and you’ll see changes—some subtle, some not. Parking fields in many of the newer centers are by and large better located than they used to be. Main Streets have emerged as a hot new lifestyle layout with high customer appeal. Municipalities have bought into the lifestyle-center concept, helping to create true town centers from coast to coast. And mixing in additional uses such as residential and office have strengthened the lifestyle center to its very core.

The maturing of the format has brought with it a grander, and smarter, center. And with an increasingly selective shopper, grander and smarter could provide just the needed edge.

Of all the iterations of the lifestyle center over the last five or so years, the mixed-use version is showing the greatest promise of long-term success—at least in certain high-growth markets. Combining the glam of lifestyle-center tenants and architecture with office, residential and/or hospitality, mixed-use open-air centers create the kind of “New Urban” environment that communities are finding highly appealing—and are throwing their support behind. And as more communities lay out the welcome mat for lifestyle centers with added uses, the more incentives there are to build them.

While Floridian communities are among the loudest in their support of upscale open-air centers with all the accoutrements, plenty of cities from coast to coast are just as enthusiastic. On the following pages of Chain Store Age’s fourth-annual Lifestyle Center real estate supplement, you’ll see projects as far north as Massachusetts and Connecticut, west to California, east to Georgia and Virginia, plus, of course, centers in Florida, Arkansas, Alabama and Louisiana, and plenty of states in between. Sizes range from a petite 100,000 sq. ft. to a massive 1 million-plus sq. ft., but all have that lifestyle appeal that makes them community favorites.

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