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Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores updates parking lot and interiors for efficiency

BY By Marianne Wilson

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has reduced energy by switching to solid-state lighting in the parking lot at its Ohio headquarters and adjacent store. The energy-efficient LEDs have also had a positive impact on the overall appearance of the areas.


“We’re seeing an 80% lighting-system energy savings compared with our previous high-intensity discharge units,” said Debbie Mansfield, director, energy and facilities for Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores, Hudson, Ohio, which operates more than 751 stores nationwide.


The project involved replacing 52 HID lighting systems that were located on 35 poles with high-efficiency Evolve LED area lights from GE Lighting. The retrofit took place over a four-week period. Equal in size to about six football fields, the 777,350-sq.-ft. parking lot is the largest U.S. installation of GE LED parking or area light systems.


Although the LED system generates less light than the HID units, the advanced optics of the LED luminaries direct the light more efficiently. Jo-Ann is pleased with the results.


“The aesthetics have vastly improved with reductions in both glare and the overspill of light,” Mansfield said. “There’s also an evenness to outdoor LED systems that enhances visibility for visitors and employees, a benefit that can provide a greater sense of security.”


Evolve LED Series Area Lights combine the latest in LED system electronics, thermal management, and mechanical and optical design. The result is 80% or greater energy savings compared with traditional HID lighting, according to GE. Its estimated 10-year service life is four times that of a standard HID system, cutting maintenance hassles and costs.


Interior retrofit: The outdoor lighting installation is projected to reduce Jo-Ann’s annual power use by 200,000 kilowatt (kWh) hours. It followed an indoor lighting retrofit program in which Jo-Ann replaced T12 linear fluorescent lamps and electromagnetic ballasts with more efficient T8 linear fluorescent lamps and electronic ballasts. 


The net effect of the indoor retrofit, which involved 592 stores, was a 31.2 million kWh drop in energy consumption. 


Jo-Ann is also working to reduce its electrical usage in other ways. Environmental management system controls that manage store temperatures, lighting and sign operations have been installed in 433 locations, for a reduction of 24.4 million kWh annually with 1.5 million kWh annually.


Additionally, the company has retrofitted its California distribution center, replacing all 400- and 1,000-watt high-intensity discharge lighting with more efficient, high-output T5 fluorescent lamps, electronic ballasts and daylight sensors, resulting in a reduction of 1.5 million kWh annually. 


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A.Marius says:
Feb-28-2013 06:19 pm

There are a lot of ways to
There are a lot of ways to save energy and changing the HID lighting systems with energy-efficient LED bulbs is the best option. Jo-Ann Fabric recently ordered customized stickers, I also want such stickers for my own company, they are great.

A.Marius says:
Feb-28-2013 06:19 pm

There are a lot of ways to save energy and changing the HID lighting systems with energy-efficient LED bulbs is the best option. Jo-Ann Fabric recently ordered customized stickers, I also want such stickers for my own company, they are great.

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REAL ESTATE

Trend Talk

BY CSA STAFF

Any early skepticism about the longevity of mixed-use has been silenced. The art of combining components to create a live-work-play project has evolved into a science. And those that have become particularly adept at building, leasing and managing mixed-use properties say that the right formula makes for a successful development. 
Chain Store Age talked with three top developers of mixed-use projects and uncovered several trends that are governing, and continuing to evolve, the format.


Trend #1: Adding local flavor 


There was a time when developers filled restaurant spaces with chain players and called it a day. Not so anymore. The most successful mixed-use owners have done their homework, researching the locale’s best-in-breed restaurateurs and luring them to the projects — to overwhelming patron response.


At Voorhees Town Center, in Voorhees, N.J., Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust made it a mission to seek out and reel in the area’s top dining establishments, thereby “defining both the retail and the residential,” according to Joseph Coradino, president of PREIT Services Inc. and PREIT-Rubin, Philadelphia. 


“Introducing fine-dining, best-of-breed local restaurants helps to drive the upside of the project,” Coradino said. PREIT’s Voorhees Town Center, a 1.5 million-sq.-ft. project that combines retail, residential and commercial uses, has several regional restaurant heavy-hitters under construction, including Firecreek Restaurant + Bar, Doghouse Gourmet Burgers and Osteria Duo, along with local players Spoon Me Yogurt Emporium and Coffee Works Café.


This trend goes beyond even the restaurants, Coradino said. “To an extent, the street residential needs to be experiential, so that residents can dine and shop and go to the gym and visit jazz cafes and coffee shops, and enjoy all the unique experiential real estate that starts to define what the balance of the restaurants and the retail are going to be like, and what the residential quality and character are going to be like,” he said. “And hopefully it will drive the residential rents.”



Trend #2: Creating a full-scale pedestrian experience 


The ability to walk from one component to the other, and complete daily-needs activities along the way, is key to the success of a mixed-use project. And developers are finding that not only the merchandising mix, but the positioning of the various tenants, play a huge part in the customer experience and buy-in.


Columbus, Ohio-based CASTO, and its lifestyle division housed in Sarasota, Fla., has long been a proponent of rolling in additional uses to its retail centers to create the kinds of synergies that today’s consumers want from their shopping and entertainment destinations. According to Brett Hutchens, partner at CASTO, people want convenience whether they are at home or traveling, and mixed-use projects provide one-stop answers.


“We have always defined a lifestyle center with a mix of uses, rather than by type of tenancy,” Hutchens said, “and the integrity of that real estate product is still in place today. People want convenience, and as a result we can appeal to hospitality users whose guests like to avail themselves of restaurants, theaters, drug stores and grocery stores when they’re traveling.” 


To create a true pedestrian experience means > that not only must the services be in place, but so must the residential. Park West Village, CASTO’s mixed-use project in Morrisville, N.C., answers a significant demand for on-site residential with 250 Phase II multi-family units being layered onto the 375,000-sq.-ft. Phase I retail component. Located on 100 acres near Raleigh, Park West Village includes a town center district, a community center, and a strong entertainment component with restaurants and a 54,000-sq.-ft., state-of-the-art movie theater. The future residential, with office and hospitality, creates the full-scale pedestrian experience.


“It offers several choices in one venue, and offers convenience for the customer,” Hutchens said. 



Trend #3: Upping the entertainment ante 


“It’s no longer enough just to add an apartment building or a hotel,” said Andy Silberfein, senior VP at Forest City Ratner Cos., New York City. “Tenants want to know that a project will become part of their customers’ daily lives, and that means having dining, entertainment and services, as well as stores.”


Entertainment is a key driver of mixed-use traffic, and savvy retailers know it. Site-selection decisions are becoming more and more weighted on the entertainment uses offered.


“It means having uses that peak at night and during the weekday, as well as on a Saturday afternoon,” Silberfein said. “Over the coming years, projects that look and feel the most like a real downtown — not just a mall — are going to be the ones that thrive. And we’re finding that the most sophisticated retailers are already heading in this direction.”


Forest City’s mixed-use project in Yonkers, N.Y. — Westchester’s Ridge Hill — delivers the entertainment experience that Silberfein described. The 1.3 million-sq.-ft. destination features 12 blocks of dining and shopping, including eateries such as Cheesecake Factory, Elevation Burger, Yard House, Brio Tuscan Grille and Texas de Brazil, along with a 12-screen, state-of-the-art Cinema de Lux, which opened on the property in May.


“Customers are hungry for an experience,” Silberfein said. “An exceptional mixed-use project becomes part of its customers’ lives. It brings them back every week, because it’s an exciting and fun place to be. It’s not easy or cheap to do these projects well, especially in the most affluent and desirable markets. 


“But the best mixed-use projects will be the industry’s new fortress malls. They are the places customers want to be, and that will pull the best retail along with them.”


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REAL ESTATE

For the Long Haul

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Mixed-use isn’t news, but it continues to make headlines anyway. After a several-year period when ground-up building has ranged from sluggish to practically non-existent, a number of mixed-use projects are beginning to stir with renewed life as leasing gains traction once again.


Part of the reason for the rekindling of the format is the amenities it offers and the convenience-oriented tenant mix. Chain Store Age talked with four mixed-use developers about the leasing and design strategies they employ that assure their projects not only get built, but have staying power.


Leveraging the neighborhood: “Mixed-use today entails not only the amenities on-site, but also those in close proximity to the center,” said Howard Paster, president of St. Paul, Minn.-based Paster Enterprises, developer of the mixed-use project Mendota Plaza, in Mendota, Minn. 


In fact, Paster added, those nearby uses and amenities can be leveraged to expand a retail project into a mixed-use development. “Many of the mixed-use opportunities that you see today are regular development sites in which component layers are added,” he said.


For example, a savvy shopping center owner might have a retail shopping center site and change some elements of that center to integrate it into the adjacent uses, linking them physically or making them more accessible. “Or you might examine the nearby uses and allow them to influence the center’s direction,” Paster said. For instance, if office buildings surround a shopping center, an owner might pay more attention to those office uses and consider what the worker population might need. 


“Focusing on what those consumers need, such as restaurants and pedestrian accessibility, will allow a developer to make a property more relevant,” he said. 


Go big or go home: Then there are the projects that are so massive that they, in essence, create a city within a city. Take The Wharf, for example, Washington, D.C.-based Madison Marquette’s planned neighborhood-style development with a mix of uses designed to make the D.C. waterfront a near 24-hour destination.


For The Wharf, “We are developing a mile stretch of waterfront just footsteps from the National Mall and one of the most transit-accessible locations in the city,” said Kurt Ivey, senior VP corporate marketing and communications, Madison Marquette. The project is already connected to the city’s underground subway system and bus line network, and Ivey said that Madison Marquette plans to enhance that accessibility by connecting the project to the city’s existing bike lane network, building better pedestrian access to/from the National Mall and welcoming the arrival of the city’s new trolley car system. 


Groundbreaking is anticipated for 2012, and Madison Marquette is prepping the area for the project’s arrival. “We have already begun a robust programming schedule to reintroduce the waterfront to the city,” Ivey said. “Our activities include a weekly farmers market, live music nights, local food truck round-ups, seasonal festivals and free outdoor fitness classes.”


The Wharf’s offerings of best-in-class local and regional retail and dining concepts are designed to reflect the Washington, D.C., culture. But more important is that the project connects to the surrounding community; provides transit and accessibility; adds amenities and programming that keep visitors engaged; and layers in a mix of local, regional and national concepts. “Established operators are important for > getting a project out of the ground, while unique and unproven concepts are equally important for creating that compelling sense of place that resonates with the local community,” Ivey said. 


Creating a sense of place: The expression “place-making” may be overused, but the concept will never grow old. In fact, the 10-year-old, 1.7 million-sq.-ft. Easton Town Center, in Columbus, Ohio, built its decade-long reputation on place-making — and the results are self-evident.


“For all of its brick-and-mortar appeal, Easton’s success has been more about ideas than blueprints,” said Yaromir Steiner, CEO of Steiner + Associates, which co-developed the project with The Georgetown Co. “The truly innovative foundational concept is that a ‘town center’ is not just an architectural design concept, but part of a defining social contract.”


That “sense of place” is no accident; the developers actually used storyboards to help plan Easton, and design themes from a range of eras create variety and a sense of a town that has evolved naturally over time. But behind the brickwork and period signage that give the project its signature Americana feel lies a very contemporary perspective and sophisticated strategic vision. 


“If you want a true community destination, you have to make room for the community,” Steiner said.


“There is no question that Easton is a fully realized mixed-use town center environment, but that doesn’t mean that it isn’t still a work in progress,” he added. “It is that restless sense of ‘Can it be better?’ that has helped us maintain that feeling of dynamism and energy.” 


Easton Town Center is anchored by Nordstrom, Macy’s and AMC Theatres — featuring 180 stores and restaurants in all — along with significant office space and three hotels.


Incorporating community and sustainability: Successful mixed-use projects create not only a community that strategically blends various types of users, but they introduce a level of sustainability not found in other formats.


“By their very nature, mixed-use plans place homes, offices, shops and restaurants all in close proximity, fostering a ‘walk-ability’ that is not possible in settings that keep the various uses separated by streets and by distance,” explained Rob Wetherald, VP development for Peoria, Ill.-based Cullinan Properties Ltd., developers of the 1.4 million-sq.-ft. Streets of St. Charles, near St. Louis. “As people choose a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, mixed-use developments offer a way to live those goals by eliminating the need to drive to work or to run errands.”


The benefits of mixed-use, Wetherald said, transcend even the sustainability pluses. “Unlike other developments that segregate residential areas from business areas, mixed-use developments promote and encourage a neighborhood atmosphere. This is reinforced by the inclusion of common areas, amenities, signage and other elements that make for a cohesive design — referred to by urban planners as the ‘city within a city.’ ”


Cullinan’s Streets of St. Charles, currently under construction with Phase I opening in 2012, embodies all of the components of a successful mixed-use project — with some 250,000 sq. ft. of restaurants and retail, and 250,000 sq. ft. of office above and around the retail, as well as hospitality, a health club facility and a theater complex. “Streets of St. Charles will provide a 360-degree experience to retailers, offering a captive residential and office component with a highly sought-after daytime population,” Wetherald said. 


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