REAL ESTATE

Hot online beauty company Birchbox opens first store

BY Marianne Wilson

New York — Another online retailer has made the leap to the physical space. Beauty subscription company Birchbox has opened its first brick-and-mortar store, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The two-level store brings the company’s digital experience to life, with a big emphasis on new products, customer reviews and expert advice. It also offers hair, nails and make-up services and group classes on various topics. The first class, taking place the week of July 21, will focus on make-up contouring tricks.

According to Birchbox, the store leverages the insights and feedback gathered since the company’s launch in 2010 from its more than 800,000 active subscribers.



“Our goal with Birchbox has always been to make it easy, efficient and fun for people to discover new brands and products fit for their lifestyle,” stated Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox. “We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behavior online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customers’ needs.”



The shop offers a curated product assortment of 2,000 products from 250 brands. Similar to the Birchbox site, the store is organized by category as opposed to brand. Testers of every product in the store are available. Shoppers can pick five sample size products of their choice for $15 in a dedicated B.Y.O.B. — Build Your Own Birchbox — section.

Technology helps create a personalized and seamless shopping experience. Touchscreens are located throughout the space that enable customers to answer a few questions about themselves to source product recommendations. There are plenty of iPads around the shop on which shoppers can view customer reviews and recommendations and video demonstrations to assist in their product selection.

Editorial content, videos and product reviews throughout the shop are designed to help customers learn and self-navigate. At the “Try Bar,” shoppers can experiment with different beauty trends and find the products that are right for them.

The classes, which are free for Birchbox subscribers and $30 for non-subscribers, are designed to appeal to all types of beauty consumers and allow them to sample, try and learn about the products.

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REAL ESTATE

Phipps Plaza adds luxury residential component

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Atlanta — Simon Property Group and Columbus Realty have teamed to inject a high-residential component to Simon’s fashionable Phipps Plaza shopping destination in the tony Buckhead area of Atlanta.

The residential project, to be named Domain at Phipps Plaza, will be developed with Columbus Realty Partners.

Domain at Phipps Plaza will consist of 319 mid-rise, urban-style luxury residences; construction is slated to begin in September 2014 with occupancy anticipated in fall 2015. JHP Architecture/Urban Design of Dallas will serve as the architect for the project.

"Domain at Phipps Plaza will provide unsurpassed access to our upscale shopping, entertainment and dining options," said Dewayne Herbert, Phipps Plaza’s mall manager. "The addition of these high-quality residences at Phipps Plaza expands our ability to deliver a lifestyle embellished with luxury and quality, and creates an exciting new place for Atlantans to call home."

Other mall enhancements are already underway at Phipps Plaza. Scheduled to be complete before the holiday season, an extensive interior makeover will provide a fresh new look and feel and meet changing customer needs. Plans include upgraded energy-efficient LED lighting, new interior colors with warm wood accents and updated railings, comfortable lounging areas with Wi-Fi connectivity and device chargers, upgraded restrooms, and the installation of a hotel-like concierge customer service center. Major improvements to parking include new lighting, flooring and automatic doors to welcome customers.

Retail tenants include Gucci, Versace, Jeffrey, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Hugo Boss and Bally plus Tiffany and Co., and Phipps Plaza is anchored by Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Belk. The center also offers dining and entertainment experiences including four white-tablecloth restaurants – Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, The Tavern, Twist, and YEBO Restaurant & Bar – a 14-screen AMC Theatre with luxury recliners in all auditoriums, and Legoland Discovery Center.

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REAL ESTATE

Streets of West Chester launches Phase II of retail development

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Cincinnati — The Streets of West Chester, a 167,638-sq.-ft. lifestyle center near Cincinnati, is kicking off the pre-development leasing and marketing for the second phase of its retail center with a 200,000-sq.-ft. planned expansion slated to open in spring 2016.

The Streets of West Chester expansion will join the opening of the new Bass Pro, beginning construction this summer, adjacent to The Streets, and will provide shoppers with new retail, restaurants and entertainment.

“The development of these two new retail locations represents the largest concentration of boutique-like retail amenities in the West Chester area,” said Judith C. Boyko, Township Administrator of West Chester. “These are the type of retail destinations our diverse and sophisticated residents demand, and we expect both to be very successful footholds in our retail fabric.”

A significant expansion has always been part of the master plan for the Streets of West Chester, according to owner LPC Retail. The company purchased the center earlier this year, and is moving forward with the original vision for the property, which includes specialty and big-box retail space as well as additional restaurant destinations. The first phase of The Streets of West Chester includes 167,638 sq. ft. of premier retail, entertaining and dining amenities. The center is currently anchored by AMC West Chester 18Theatres, Barnes & Noble, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Bravo! Cucina Italiana, Mitchell’s Fish Market, and the recently added Ann Taylor Loft.

At the end of 2013, Bass Pro Shops purchased 22 acres just south of the Streets of West Chester for its new store.

“We consider this location ground zero for the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton markets, and look forward to serving the entire region with a new retail attraction that will benefit from its proximity to I-275, as well as its adjacency to the existing and future retail amenities,” said Mike Dunham, director of real estate at Bass Pro. “We’re beginning construction this summer, with plans to open in 2015.”

To capitalize on the current retail momentum, LPC Retail has appointed JLL’s local retail leasing experts to bring the phase two of its development to life. JLL’s Jenn Williams and Melissa Ruther will spearhead the leasing of the retail expansion. Projected ground-breaking is scheduled for fall 2015 with completion scheduled in spring 2016.

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