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TrademarkING Watters Creek

BY Michael Fickes

Watters Creek, in Allen, Texas, began life in a 2005 focus group with two-dozen women from Allen.

Organized by the property’s developer Trademark Property Co., the focus group asked participants what they would like to see in this new mixed-use center. What should it offer? What should it look like? What do you need in Allen, Texas?

Focus group participants asked for — and received — abundant landscaping and resort-like spaces; curved streets, meandering paths and wide sidewalks; a running creek, waterfalls and fountains; a community fireplace; interactive art for children; plentiful outdoor-dining options; a village look and feel; and easily accessible parking.

It was an innovative way to conceive of a shopping center, mixed-use center or any other kind commercial real estate development. The “New York Times” took notice, saying “Listening to women shoppers may seem like an entirely logical thing to do, yet many retail developers and consultants say such participation is often missing during the early stages of shopping center development.”

Since opening in 2008, Watters Creek has continued to evolve — by continuing to ask for and take advice from the community.

Today, the 750,000-sq.-ft. resort style mixed-use destination boasts 350,000 sq. ft. of specialty retail and restaurants, 98,000 sq. ft. of Class A office space, 315 residential units spanning 315,000 sq. ft.

Watters Creek is also LEED Certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. It was the first mixed-use property in Texas to earn LEED Certification.

Continued Evolution
In early October, Trademark announced what comes next at Watters Creek: a $2.5 million package of new and upgraded amenities.

“We are investing further in the success of Watters Creek through improvements such as a major new children’s play area, new LED signage on I-75, shade structures, a practice soccer field and a new holiday light show,” said Trademark CEO Terry Montesi. “These new amenities, along with the addition of Z Gallerie and Altar’d State, will continue to strengthen the position of Watters Creek with consumers.”

Work is underway on the new amenities including the 51-ft. high Watters Creek LED billboard and site sign, the children’s play area, which features natural wood and stone and a water feature inside a grove of trees on The Green. In addition, a new practice soccer field was completed and opened over the summer.

The center will also launch a state-of-the-art interactive holiday light show this year. Located near the children’s play area, “Celebration of Lights” will feature a large sleigh with whimsical reindeer flying into the air and a 30-ft. tall interactive tree. Set to a variety of popular holiday songs, three-minute shows will run every half hour beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Still more
Trademark has begun design work on the next phase of Watters Creek, which will include new residential, retail and hotel. “We’re in the final stages of deign on a new residential building,” Montesi said. “It will have 122 units of multifamily apartments and 3,500 sq. ft. of retail. We will break ground in early 2014.

“The multifamily and retail building will add four stories contiguous to an existing parking garage.”

In addition, Trademark expects to enter into negotiations with a hotel developer soon.

According to Montesi, the new residential, retail and hotel is slated for completion in early 2015.

What comes next? Montesi said there are no plans right now, but noted that there is additional land available for office and more at the southern end of the property.

Sounds like the subject for one of Trademark’s “trademark” focus groups.


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Toys’R’Us tackles the holiday with new marketing campaign

BY CSA STAFF

Toys"R"Us has unveiled its 2013 holiday marketing plans, including a new television campaign that positions the store as the go-to destination for toys this holiday season.

The broadcast commercial, which began airing on Sunday, Oct. 20, features a group of children who think they’re going on a field trip to "Meet the Trees" and end up at Toys"R"Us instead.

The new TV ads are the centerpiece of a fully integrated marketing campaign, encompassing digital, radio and print advertising. As such, the spots, which will air on all major networks and cable stations throughout the holiday season, showcase the hashtag #WishingAcccomplished allows parents to share the purchases they have made online, which allows the company to expand its digital reach to a greater audience.

"While the holidays are a busy time for families, we wanted our new marketing campaign to cause viewers to pause and be reminded of the true joy that lies at the center of gift-giving. At Toys"R"Us, we are uniquely positioned to bring smiles to children’s faces — our stores are a quintessential wonderland for kids and kids at heart," said Peter Reiner, SVP, marketing. "We also wanted to clearly illustrate our number one objective, which is to help make shopping for kids even easier and more enjoyable for moms and dads. From Free Layaway to Price Match Guarantee, which now includes online retailers, we’re pulling out all the stops to help gift-givers get their ‘Wishin’ Accomplished’ at Toys"R"Us."

While the commercials feature a broad selection of toys, including those that parents and kids can only find at Toys"R"Us this holiday season, each spot also calls attention to a number of services the store is offering, including:

Free layaway, which will be offered through Dec. 15 with no upfront service fee and no minimum purchase requirement. New this year, after an order is created in-store, subsequent payments can be made online at Toysrus.com.

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Big Lots strengthens digital strategy with new appointment

BY CSA STAFF

Big Lots has appointed former Kmart executive Andrew Stein as the company’s SVP and chief customer officer, as the company focuses more intensely on bolstering its digital footprint.

"As we develop our communication strategy focused on our customer, we know our marketing approach needs to evolve from one of traditional advertising means, such as print and television, to the digital age including social media, omnichannel, blogging and viral messaging," said CEO and president David Campisi. "We believe these channels which will be new to Big Lots will allow us to efficiently and effectively reinvigorate the Big Lots brand with our core customer and reintroduce us to a consumer segment that hasn’t been fully engaged recently. Andy has been an innovator in digital marketing strategies and multi-channel communications. He brings a wealth of experience integrating e-commerce and omnichannel solutions into brick and mortar retail operations. His analytical approach to creative strategic thinking will add tremendous value to our efforts. We’re delighted to welcome him as a member of our executive leadership team."

In his new role, Stein will oversee all areas of consumer engagement and customer messaging, including marketing, advertising, brand development and merchandise presentation. His responsibilities will include furthering the company’s brand recognition including enhancing its Internet presence and further developing the company’s e-commerce site, expanding the use of digital marketing and social media and integrating the recently enhanced Buzz Club Rewards loyalty program. Stein will report directly to Campisi.

Prior to Big Lots, Stein was a marketing executive at Kmart, where he served a number of roles leading up to his appointment as chief marketing officer in Aug. 2011. His responsibilities included building an integrated retail strategy which produced the viral video favorite "Ship My Pants," a campaign which recently received special honors from The Hub Magazine, 4 Cannes Gold Lion Awards and has gotten more than 29 million hits on YouTube. He also made significant contributions to Kmart’s multicultural marketing initiative. Prior to Kmart, Stein held senior positions with IBM Global Business Consulting Services, Montgomery Wards & Co., Foot Locker and Razorfish.

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