DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT

Amazon fulfillment center to rise on site of ‘World’s Biggest Mall’

BY Al Urbanski

The Randall Park Mall outside of Cleveland was part of retail history in the mid-70’s when it debuted as “The World’s Biggest Mall.” Now the site becomes woven into the retail narrative of the 21st Century.

Amazon has announced it will build an 855,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center where the mall, demolished in 2014, once was the centerpiece of the village of North Randall, Ohio. The 855,000-sq.-ft. foot facility — which will pack and ship small items like books, toys, and electronics — promises to bring as many as 2,000 jobs to the struggling community.

"I saw the rise. I saw the fall," said the town’s building commissioner Charles Horvath, who started his career at the same time the mall opened in 1976, in a Cleveland.com interview. "We were in a depression before the rest of America was even in a recession."

The site reported that the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Port Authority board will put up $123 million worth of bond financing for the $177 million construction of the fulfillment center. Developer Seefried Industrial Properties will then lease the facility to Amazon.


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DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Canada’s iconic sportswear brand debuts new store concept

BY Marianne Wilson

Customization is front and center in a new experiential format from Roots that brings the brand's heritage to life.

The iconic Canadian retailer's new 5,100-sq.-ft. store, at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto, showcases Roots’ history in an open, modern-cabin like space. Designed in collaboration with CallisonRTKL, the space features a dedicated leather customization workshop where shoppers can witness firsthand the handcrafted process that Roots' products go through. And using a digital design interface, shoppers can also customize their own products, adding a personal spin to their items.

Other features include an enhanced fitting room lounge where shoppers can relax while taking in images and artifacts from Roots’ past. Each of the fitting rooms has a different outdoor theme. Music brings life to the store through DJ areas and space for live performances.

“While working with CallisonRTKL designers, Roots meticulously showcased everything that makes their brand enduring and vital," said CRTKL VP Cindi Kato. "The space is a true reflection of Roots' commitment to the best representations of Canadian heritage, natural beauty, craftsmanship and integrity."

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ECOMMERCE

Square opens its first brick-and-mortar store

BY Marianne Wilson

Mobile payments processor Square has set up shop in New York City.

The company has opened a store, called Square Showroom and located in downtown Manhattan, that provides hands-on support for merchants using its technology and space to display — and let sellers experience — its POS hardware. The store includes a Genius Bar-like support desk, where sellers can make appointments with Square employees to troubleshoot a specific issue or get training on a new product.

In addition, Square will showcase merchandise from its merchants, with the selection changing on a monthly basis.

"We’re walking distance from hundreds of Square sellers," Jesse Dorogusker, the company’s hardware lead, told Bloomberg. "We want to develop the idea that you can merge sales, support, merchant showcase, and a retail store."

According to the report, the goal of the store is to improve the customer experience, boost sales for Square’s merchants, and introduce shoppers to the Square brand.

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