How many times do we have to hear “no more enclosed malls are being built” before we fully get that open-air centers are the format of choice? That doesn’t mean, of course, that enclosed malls don’t work. Of course, they do. And they’ll continue to. But open-air centers—whether strip or power or lifestyle or neighborhood or hybrid—are dominating the shopping-center landscape for a variety of reasons.
Open-air centers are affordable. For developers to build and for tenants to lease.
Open-air centers have lower common area maintenance (CAM) fees, again making them more attractive to cash-tight retailers.
Open-air centers are rapidly gaining in popularity among customers, as warm-weather shoppers appreciate the opportunity to be outdoors—and cold-weather stalwarts prove their hardiness out in the elements.
As open-air centers have increased in numbers, the developers that build them are figuring out the formula for success. Amenities are important, because wide-open spaces offer a plethora of landscaping and gathering opportunities. But key to the equation is the merchandising mix—and that has taken developers a little longer to calculate.
The developers included in this real estate supplement on open-air centers have not only figured out how to build, merchandise and lease open-air centers, they have learned to do it city by city, market by market, so that each open-air iteration is a reflection of what its community desired. And that is most important of all.