Spotlight On: Real Estate

A solid mixed-use development can be a boon to retailers who understand how to leverage the various components. According to Harry Koehler, VP site planning and traffic for Macy’s, and Emerick Corsi, president of retail for Forest City Enterprises, the right landlord-tenant partnership can help maximize mixed-use success.

In the SPECS session, “Mixing it up: Making Mixed-Use Developments Work for You,” the pair focused on Ballston Common Mall, the Forest City-owned urban mixed-use center located in the heart of Arlington, Va., anchored by Macy’s and undergoing a major redevelopment.

“The urban repositioning plan calls for food-court changes to free up about 15,000 sq. ft. for a grocer, altering the existing mall footprint to square off the space, adding a basketball court on the second level, constructing a residential tower and adding six levels of office space atop Macy’s,” said Corsi. That kind of redevelopment requires not only a solid public-private partnership, but also key tenant buy-in.

“When we are working on projects in existing developments — which is very common now — we have to carefully review the site, the buildings, the traffic, the parking and today, more than ever, the construction phasing,” said Macy’s Koehler. “The Macy’s shopper and the store’s ongoing business cannot be negatively impacted when a project is under redevelopment construction.”

Despite the inherent challenges, mixed-use is attractive to Macy’s. “We like the synergy of all the uses,” he said. “But we also must make sure traffic flow is efficient and parking supply is adequate since the shopper’s experience on any site begins as she enters the site.”

Both Koehler and Corsi agreed that if the landlord and the tenants work together, most challenges can be overcome. “Parking is a perfect example,” said Koehler. “In a mixed-use development, we often need less total parking stalls per thousand sq. ft. for the development than in a retail-only development simply because parking is easily shared among the users, for example, as departing office workers free up parking stalls for shoppers arriving in the evening.”


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