Insights

A fresh take on ‘Retailtainment’ and future of fun

Retail has been the foundation of shopping centers throughout their existence, but new entertainment concepts are making inroads in traditional retail venues.

Even in mixed-use venues, it is generally accepted that a critical mass of traditional retail is the highlight, and that other uses are complementary pieces, designed to drive traffic and support the retail component. While the industry has been slowly evolving away from that traditional model for some time now (dining and entertainment uses in particular have emerged as more significant pieces of the commercial puzzle) that trend has exploded in recent years. A wide range of dynamic and engaging new entertainment uses have sprung up, and have functioned as increasingly prominent features on the development landscape.

Today, entertainment is no longer a side dish: it’s the main course. And it’s a meal that landlords and commercial development decision-makers are increasingly interested in ordering. Entertainment concepts have evolved well beyond the movie theater, and creative new brands like Momentum Indoor Climbing, Pinstripes, Punch Bowl Social, iFLY indoor skydiving and Topgolf have captured imaginations and dollars as they expand across the country.

Entertainment brands have the advantage of generally strong appeal with Millennials and other younger shoppers, and more owners and operators appreciate the degree to which a strong entertainment component can drive traffic and create valuable synergies with traditional retail tenants. Entertainment introduces a social element that gives a center status as a destination. It gives people reasons to come and reasons to stay, presenting a new and different range of engaging activities and memorable experiences.

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that landlords are increasingly open to new entertainment concepts. Some have been proactive about exploring creative ways to fill gaps in their tenant roster with compelling entertainment brands. For example, the Southdale Center in Edina, Minnesota repurposed a 40,000-sq.-ft. space on the third floor of the mall from an old food court into a new Dave & Busters. The transformation was not without logistical and operational challenges, but the results have been extremely positive.

The rise of “retailtainment” is also prompting innovative development concepts that are almost entirely entertainment-based. One such project is the forthcoming 94 West Village in Albertville, Minnesota. Developed by Black Forest LLC and iP2 Entertainment, the 94 West Village will feature a mix of dynamic entertainment offerings, including a 50,000-sq.-ft. indoor water park and a “Back-Lot edutainment experience.” The project also includes a 275-room Marriot Hotel and convention center. All told, the 94 West Village offers about 100,000 square feet of entertainment space on 100 acres along I-94. Favorably positioned 45 minutes away from the Mall of America and immediately adjacent to the heavily trafficked Albertville Premium Outlets, the project presents an entertainment complement to a range of existing regional retail options.

While extending visits and keeping customers on site for longer periods of time is always the goal, the 94 West Village has the potential to keep visitors around for multiple days at a time. The hotel component makes it possible for a project that offers the purest expression of entertainment retail to function as a true stand-alone regional destination.

While the 94 West Village may be (thus far, anyway) an isolated example, the project’s promise illustrates just how significant the “retailtainment” trend has become – and hint at some of the places where it might be heading next.


Ted Gonsior is vice president with Minneapolis-based Welsh Companies and Ben Brown is a broker with Baker Katz. Welsh Companies and Baker Katz are partners with X Team International. They can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected]. To learn more about X Team International, visit xteam.net.

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C-SUITE

Walmart exec joins board of standards body

BY CSA STAFF

Cameron Geiger, senior VP, Walmart technology, has been appointed to the GS1 U.S. board of governors.

He will help guide the GS1 U.S. strategy for driving adoption and usage of GS1 standards within the retail industry. GS1 standards are used to uniquely identify products, services and locations globally.

Geiger is a 15-year Walmart veteran who has held several executive leadership roles at Walmart and Sam's Club in IT, sourcing and merchandising. Prior to joining Walmart, Geiger was a management consultant at Kurt Salmon Associates. He previously served on the GS1 U.S. board of governors from 2012-2013.

“Cameron joins the GS1 U.S. board of governors during an exciting time of change in the retail industry,” said Bob Carpenter, president and CEO of GS1 U.S. “As more companies seek to stay competitive in an increasingly digital and data-driven business environment, Cameron can provide important real-world insights for leveraging the power of standards to help the industry address the growing consumer demand for a seamless shopping experience across all channels.”

The GS1 U.S. Board of Governors includes executives from 20 leading organizations including: Campbell’s Soup Company; The Coca-Cola Company; eBay Inc.; The J.M. Smucker Company; Johnson & Johnson; Macy’s, Inc.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; McKesson Corporation; Premier Inc.; Procter & Gamble; Publix Super Markets; PVH Corp.; Quality Supply Chain Co-op, Inc.; QVC, Inc.; Sysco Corporation; Wakefern Food Corporation; and Wegmans Food Markets.

The full list is available here.

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DEVELOPMENT/REDEVELOPMENT

Amazon plans three new fulfillment centers

BY CSA STAFF

Amazon.com Inc. is supporting continued growth in the West and Midwest with fulfillment centers launching in the cities of Tracy and Eastvale, California, and Joliet, Illinois.

The new West Coast facilities will increase Amazon’s California presence to nine fulfillment centers, 9 million sq. ft. of operations and approximately 14,000 full-time hourly associates. Amazon currently fulfills customer orders at its existing seven Amazon fulfillment centers in the state, located in Tracy, Patterson, Moreno Valley, Redlands, Rialto and San Bernardino. The company also operates sortation centers in San Bernadino and Newark.

Both new California facilities are approximately one million square feet in size and will each employ hundreds of full-time associates. At the Eastvale location, Amazon associates will pick, pack and ship smaller customer items, such as books, electronics and toys. At the Tracy facility, the second in the city, associates will pick, pack and ship larger customer items, such as big-screen televisions, sports equipment and patio furniture.

“We are excited to continue our rapid growth in California in order to serve customers with superfast shipping speeds and vast selection,” said Akash Chauhan, VP of Amazon’s North America operations. “Since we first broke ground in California four years ago, we have found a network of support from community leaders to statewide officials, a dedicated workforce and fantastic customers.”

In addition, Amazon plans to open its second fulfillment center in Joliet, Illinois. The company will create more than 2,000 full-time jobs at the facility in addition to the 1,500 full-time employees currently working at its existing Joliet facility.

“We have found an abundance of talent in Joliet and we are excited to bring a new fulfillment center to the city and create 2,000 great full-time jobs with benefits,” said Chauhan. “This community and the elected officials throughout the city and state have been very supportive of Amazon and we thank them for helping make this possible.”

Amazon employees at the new 700,000-sq.-ft. Joliet fulfillment center will pick, pack and ship smaller items to customers like books, toys and electronics.

Amazon reportedly operates nearly 100 fulfillment centers across the U.S. The company also recently announced it would open its sixth Texas fulfillment center in Dallas, as well as two new fulfillment centers in New Jersey, in Florence and Carteret.

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