A Sears closes and a new idea takes shape at a Massachusetts mall
The day after the Sears closed at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, the owners hired Cushman and Wakefield to open a new chapter for the 87-acre property that was the town’s first enclosed mall when it opened in 1967.
What Cushman and owner Mountain Development have in mind for Eastfield is a mixed-use renovation blending retail with residential in a “main street” lifestyle center setting. It’s become a common scenario in an over-malled retail industry struggling to find its place in 21st Century America.
“This is truly a distinctive opportunity given the many factors that support a successful repurposing,” said Cushman’s Brian Whitmer.
Mountain Development bought the 777,000-sq.-ft. mall in 2013 for $3.5 million and purchased the J.C. Penney and Macy’s buildings on the property after those stores closed. Three-quarters Eastfield remains rented to tenants that include Cinemark, Old Navy, Hannoush Jewelers, Ninety-Nine Restaurant & Pub, and a flea market.
The Jersey-based developer intends to hold on to Eastfield, but is looking for a partner in the redevelopment.
Ala Moana Center to open 11 new stores this fall
The world’s largest open-air shopping center is adding more tenants to its already robust lineup.
Honolulu’s massive Ala Moana Center, which has 2.4 million sq. ft. of retail space, will open 11 new stores this fall with the signings of Aloha Confectionary, Beard Papa’s Totti Candy Factory, DIOR, Ike’s Love & Sandwiches, Mama Pho, Mark & Lona, MyGoCenter (a 2,700-sq.-ft. co-working space), Seoul Mix 2.0, Shabuya, Uniqlo, and MyGoKids — a 3,000-sq.-ft. “children’s paradise” complete with indoor playground, arcade, and rock climbing wall that will provide hourly childcare to shoppers.
The center recently opened the following retailers and restaurants: Moomin Shop Hawaii, Premier Barbershop Hawaii, The Eye Gallery, Uniqlo Pop-up, and XTreme 7D Dark Rides, a 3D interactive experience.
Ala Moana Center is owned and managed by Chicago-based GGP Inc. and attracts 48 million visitors per year. The center took the top spot as the nation’s most valuable shopping mall in a January 2018 ranking by boutique research firm Boenning & Scattergood, with a total asset value of $5.74 billion.
Russian mall to open a 1 million-sq.-ft. park
Experiential retail is getting a sporting chance in Russia thanks to Ikea Centres.
The 14 MEGA shopping malls operated by Ikea in that sports-minded nation will be getting “MEGA Parks” as part of a $2.3 billion dollar investment to upgrade the properties. The green spaces will include soccer fields, basketball courts, ice rinks, playgrounds and green spaces to drive and keep traffic.
A 100,000-sq.-ft. park at the center in Khimki features a multifunctional sports design that includes a running track suitable for pro athletes. A field used for soccer in warmer months will be turned into an ice rink in winter.
At MEGA Rostov-on-Don, a 215,000-sq.-ft. park is designed for long leisurely walks surrounded by nearly 2,000 trees and shrubs. Later this year in Ekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest city, a million-sq.-ft. MEGA Park will feature open-air cinemas and host concerts and festivals.
Ikea Centres offers sponsorship opportunity to mall tenants for such events. At MEGA Dybenko, telecom operator TELE2 put its name on a summer cinema series.
MEGA Parks are intended to serve as destinations in and of themselves, according to an executive from Ikea Centres Russia.
“Anticipating guest expectations and constantly surprising them is fundamental to the long term successful development of our business in a more omnichannel world,” said Milen Gentchev. “We believe in this vision, which is why we are upgrading our shopping centres to become meeting places for recreation, leisure and entertainment.”
Ikea Centres operates 45 malls and centers in Europe and Asia and has announced plans to expand to more than 70 locations by 2025.