STORE SPACES

Up Close: Shoppers review Lidl

BY Marianne Wilson

If it's true that first impressions are lasting ones, Lidl should be breathing easy.

Retail auditing firm Field Agent sent a handful of its agents to check out the 10 stores Lidl opened on Thursday, June 15, across North Carolina, Virginia and South Carolina. The majority of the Field Agent "QuickShop" shoppers reacted positively to their first experience with the German retailer. (To see the related Field Agent video, click here.)The sample ranked Lidl above competitors Aldi, Walmart, and Kroger as a grocery shopping option.

Among the shoppers with convenient access to their designated Lidl store, 65% said they are completely likely to purchase groceries from the retailer again in the future. Another a 19% said they are very likely. Only 4% of the Field Agent shoppers indicated Lidl would become their exclusive grocer, but 38% expect the German retailer to become their primary grocer. And another 38% said Lidl would be one of a few regular grocers.

Field Agent provides on-location auditing and research via a network of 650,000 “agents” who collect data that can be monitored in real time by its clients.

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STORE SPACES

Newest mall tenant: An ‘athletic resort’

BY Al Urbanski

A J.C. Penney store is going to be displaced by a fancy fitness club.

Simon announced that the J.C. Penney store at Southdale Center, in Edina, Minn., will close and be replaced by a Life Time fitness center, or ‘athletic resort.’ Expected to open in early 2019, the three-level facility will be operated by Life Time, which currently runs 123 centers in the United States. The centers are designed as one-stop fitness shops offering tennis, swimming, basketball, and yoga along with weight loss and nutrition education.

According to a report by the Minneapolis StarTribune, the Life Time center at Southdale will have an indoor and an outdoor pool, and a bistro. It will also offer Ultimate Hoops basketball leagues, chiropractic and physical therapy and a proactive care medical practice.

Life Time founder and CEO Bahram Akradi’s vision for his concept is to turn shopping centers into “healthy lifestyle villages” where people work a heavy dose of healthy living into their live-work-play lifestyles.

“Our focus is to develop all-inclusive destinations that encompass the full spectrum of daily life for thousands of individuals, couples and families of all ages," said Akradi.

Southdale Center, which opened in 1956, has the distinction of being the nation’s first indoor regional shopping mall, according to Simon, which looks to lengthen its life span by infusing it with modern offerings and energy.

"This project with Life Time is part of a larger vision for Southdale Center, to create a connected community epicenter," said Michael McCarty, Simon’s executive VP of Development Operations. "With new nearby apartments, the recently opened Hennepin County Service Center, a hotel coming soon, and this athletic resort on the way, Southdale is realizing that vision."

Life Time is a rapidly expanding concept with a presence in almost 30 states. Southdale is one of 10 new clubs under development at the current time.

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STORE SPACES

Eco-friendly home improvement retailer in a retail first

BY By Marianne Wilson

TreeHouse practices what it preaches.

The retailer, which specializes in supplies and services that promote healthy and sustainable spaces, has expanded beyond its Austin home base, opening in Dallas. Its new 35,000-sq.-ft. outpost is billed as the nation's first energy-positive (meaning it will generate more energy than it uses) big-box store.

"This building sets a completely new standard for ecological and human health and is an embodiment of what our company hopes to accomplish for homes as well," said Jason Ballard, co-founder and CEO of TreeHouse. "This store is a signpost to what the future will be like for both homes and retail."

TreeHouse, dubbed the "Whole Foods of home improvement," offers shoppers a curated selection of green products, materials and technologies — some of which are not available elsewhere. It also offers turn-key services and programs, including kitchen and bath design. solar energy kits, home insulation and "smart" home installation.

San Antonio-based architectural firm Lake/Flato used TreeHouse's approach to products and materials selection, in combination with sustainable design practices, to create the store.

"For so long, net-zero energy was this magical aspirational goal," said Ballard. "This building is beyond net-zero…completely new territory."

The architecture of the store is crucial to its energy efficiency. It boasts saw-tooth roofs that are positioned to maximize the effectiveness of its giant, ultra high-efficiency SunPower solar rooftop solar array. (This feature solved the need for extra space for solar panels). The standing-seam metal roof collects rainwater and reflects heat.

In addition, the north facing clerestory windows allow for indirect sunlight to effectively illuminate the interior without the impact of direct heat. This allows for a cooler baseline temperature in the store and minimizing the use of electricity.

A Tesla Powerpack (a rechargeable battery storage system for utility and commercial applications) is located at the center of the store. It stores the power produced by the rooftop solar array, deploying it for evening use and allowing the building to return excess renewable energy to the city's grid.

TreeHouse Dallas is the anchor tenant in The Hill, a North Dallas shopping center that is being refreshed and repositioned by CAPREF Manager.

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