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Mattel and Walmart toy with airport shoppers

BY CSA STAFF

Shopping is going to get a little bit easier for travelers rushing through the Toronto airport this holiday season thanks to Mattel and Walmart Canada.

The retailer and the toy supplier have teamed up to install a Virtual Toy Store at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

The installation features three LCD screens that consumers can personalize and control via a mobile device to browse and shop brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, Thomas & Friends, Mega Bloks, and Monster High.

"We are constantly seeing retail shopping evolve and become increasingly mobile. In April 2014, a study conducted by InfoSys found that nearly a third of consumers now want more personalization in their shopping experience," said Melissa Farjo of Mattel. "That's why we are taking mobile shopping one step further and providing travelers with a fun and interactive digital shopping experience, one that is fully personalized by the user and controlled in the palm of their hand."

The Virtual Toy Store is located inside Terminal One, between gates D41 and D42 and near the food marketplace, which last year saw nearly 1.6 million travelers pass through. The store will run for four weeks. "Shopping for toys during the holiday season can be very stressful with so many toys to choose from and finding the time to shop for them," said Cheri Anthony, director of merchandising, toys at Walmart Canada. "The Virtual Toy Store carries some of this year's hottest toys making shopping easy, accessible, interactive, and convenient, especially for the busy traveler."

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Food Is in at Outlets

BY Katherine Boccaccio

In the old days, outlet centers either didn’t offer food options or the pickings were pretty lean. In today’s iteration, however, food often takes center stage.

Villa Enterprises, a 50-year-old multi-brand restaurant operator of banners such as Villa Italian Kitchen, Mo’ Burger, South Philly Steak & Fries and Tinta Mexicana, has set the curve with its “Food Hall by Villa” in Simon’s Arizona Mills Shopping Center in Tempe. In a completely transformed, 13,262-sq.-ft. dining space with 14,280 sq. ft. of seating — all designed by Ideation Design Group — Villa showcases its own eight restaurant brands along with Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Church’s Chicken.

Opened August 2014, the multi-million-dollar project has created an upscale streetscape dining experience. A month earlier, it unveiled a similar space at Simon’s Leesburg Corner Premium Outlets in Leesburg, Virginia.

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Reawakenings

BY Katherine Boccaccio

Prolific developer Trademark Property Company is doing its part to ramp up the country’s new development and active redevelopment stats. The Fort Worth, Texas-based firm has five projects under construction:

  • Victory Park, in Dallas;
  • WestBend, in Fort Worth;
  • Waterside, also in Fort Worth;
  • Napa Center, in Napa, California; and
  • Saddle Creek, in Germantown, Tennessee.

Waterside is the most current, as Trademark broke ground on the 63-acre mixed-use project in late October. Developed with partner Sarofim Realty Advisors, Waterside is Trademark’s first “Conscious Place” project, a sustainable development model with partner Whole Foods Market that creates a place of “commerce, community and meaning.”

“We have a vision of what this landmark site and its river frontage can become and how it will tie directly to our new ‘Conscious Place’ initiative,” said Trademark CEO Terry Montesi. “We are creating a district that reminds us about the importance of healthy living, sustainability, and connecting with and being involved in the community.”

Besides anchor tenant Whole Foods Market, Phase 1 of Waterside will include retail, restaurants and 375 multi-family rental homes. At completion, the project will feature 200,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurants, 20 acres of residential, 200,000 sq. ft. of office space and a signature hotel.

Waterside, and Trademark’s other projects that are underway, are in part the positive symptoms of an industry that is reawakening. “The retail development industry started to emerge from a six-year slump in which virtually no new supply was added, with the exception of big boxes or grocery buildings with very little spec,” said Montesi. “In 2014, more redevelopment activity kicked in than in any of the prior five to six years and some talk of a few new projects started.”

In fact, said Montesi, “We closed on our first land purchase for a new ground-up center in 2014.”

On the boards for 2015? “We see completing the design, planning and construction of our major renovation projects, and expansions and lease-up of our new and evolving projects, as well as adding more lifestyle and mall investments and new community center developments to our pipeline,” said Montesi. Trademark’s major renovation projects include:

  • The Shops at Highland Village, in Highland Village, Texas;
  • Uptown Village at Cedar Hill, in Cedar Hill, Texas;
  • Burr Ridge Village Center, in Burr Ridge, Illinois; and
  • Rice Village, in Houston.

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