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In San Antonio, adaptive re-use continues brewing

BY Al Urbanski

Early in the 20th Century, the Pearl Brewery in San Antonio was the largest in Texas, and it continued to be a renowned site in the city until brewing operations were shut down in the 1980s. It remained vacant until Rio Perla purchased it in 2001 and set about transforming it into the Pearl Brewery/Full Goods Warehouse, a 26-acre mix of residences, retail, offices, and gathering places.

“This is a new community meeting ground where visionary private development and public space come together to create a vibrant urban destination,” wrote a panel from the American Institute of Architects about the Pearl Brewery project after it opened in 2010.

So-called adaptive re-use of abandoned properties is having another day, and at another old brewery, in San Antonio. In 2017, CBL will break ground on a mixed-used redevelopment of The Lone Star Brewery, a site already known for attracting tourists to its biergarten with root beers for kids, an Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool, and the Buckhorn Museum and its Hall of Horns.

“It was where San Antonions had their first beers, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries. It was a place where lifelong memories were made,” said CBL VP of Development David Neuhoff.

Having received final approval from the San Antonio City Council earlier this month, CBL is poised to begin adding attractions to the Lone Star Brewery that will bring people back in much greater numbers. Two anchor tenants have already been signed: a 10-screen Cinemark with an XD theater and a 25,000-sq.-ft Punch Bowl Social offering games, as well as food and beverage.

Completion of phase one of the project is slated for completion in fall 2018.


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British online fashion retailer makes bid for Nasty Gal

BY Marianne Wilson

Los Angeles-based Nasty Gal, which filed for bankruptcy protection in November, may soon have a British owner.

Boohoo.com is bidding $20 million (£16.3 million) for the brand and its customer databases as the “stalking horse” candidate. Based in Manchester, England, Boohoo specializes in fast-fashion and targets teens and young women, the same audience as Nasty Gal.

Founded in 2006, Nasty Gal came out of the gate strong, developing a cult-like following. It entered the physical space in late 2014, and has two stores in the Los Angeles area. But the brand has struggled in recent years amid increased competition and high costs, driven by what some called over-ambitious expansion. It posted revenues of $77.1 million and a loss of $21 million in its last fiscal year.

In a release, Boohoo described Nasty Gal as a “bold and distinctive brand for fashion-forward, free-thinking young women which the board believes would complement boohoo’s own inclusive and inspirational brand.” The retailer also said the proposed acquisition has the potential to accelerate its international expansion, particularly in the United States.

“Should we be successful in acquiring Nasty Gal it would represent a fantastic opportunity to add such a well-established, global brand to the Boohoo family,” added Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane, Boohoo's joint CEOs, in a release. “Following our recent acquisition of PrettyLittleThing.com we believe this would represent an ideal next step in inspiring an ever-growing range of young customers internationally.”

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L’Occitane ups technology in New York City flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

L’Occitane has gone high-tech in its New York City flagship.

Located in the Flatiron District of Manhattan, the renovated store seeks to addressing the demands of today’s shoppers for immediacy and information while also channeling the rich heritage and culture of the brand’s Provence, France, roots.

The flagship features the brand’s first “smart beauty fitting room,” where shoppers can discover and personalize their shopping experience on a digital platform that allows them to browse products in a private, online format. The digital experience is combined with a physical, and sensorial product sampling experience.

The store also feature a one-on-one concierge service offering amenities that range from sparkling water to fragrance engraving and custom gift creation.

“We are thrilled to open the first store of the future at L'Occitane Flatiron, one of our flagship stores worldwide and a premier shopping destination in Manhattan," said Paul Blackburn, associate VP design & construction, North America. "From entry to exit, the multisensory boutique works collectively to create both an immersive and individualized shopping experience, offering clients an unparalleled assortment of product and service."

Inspired by the Provençal culture, the store is designed to offer an immersive, yet individualized shopping experience. It begins with the exterior façade where bright golden L’Occitane shutters open wide to invite everyone in.

Upon entering, each shopper is part of a modern day Provençal open air market. A community board details the in-store services, and bestselling and top trending products. Further in the space, shoppers can experience the brand’s collection of products under a colorful, 400-sq.-ft. trellis that runs down the middle of the ceiling, with seasonal changes.

L’Occitane commissioned creative agency School House as lead designers. The firm created a modern interpretation of abstracted design, art, digital and cultural and environmental innovations designed to elevate Provence from a location to an experience.

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