REAL ESTATE

Nordstrom unveils updated store concept

BY Marianne Wilson

Nordstrom opened the doors on Tuesday to its newest full-line store, one that includes new store design concepts and services.

In addition to its new store, which is located at Westfield Century City in Los Angeles (a relocation from Westside Pavilion), the retailer also opened its newest retail concept, Nordstrom Local, in Los Angeles. The 3,000-sq.-ft. format, which has no inventory, is designed as a neighborhood hub where customers can access the company's best services,

The three-level, 154,000-sq.ft. Century City Nordstrom boasts the company's latest store design concept, which includes more windows to incorporate natural light. It houses several different merchandise concepts, including the fifth 'Nordstrom x Nike' sneaker boutique in the company a women's-only lifestyle concept that blurs the lines of fitness and fashion, and two shops curated by Olivia Kim, Nordstrom VP of creative projects.

It also features Nordstrom's new "extended sizing" initiative, which launched in the denim department. Mannequins in varying sizes – rather than the typical size 2 – are featured, and all denim sizes are displayed side-by-side in one department rather than separating the petite and plus sizes.

The store houses the first West Coast MAC Makeup Studio, a shop concept dedicated to applications and lessons by licensed professionals. Other features include 'Style Bar,' a drop-in area where customers can meet with complimentary personal stylists 'Nordstrom to You,' a personal stylist service on wheels and Bar Verde, a full-service, seasonally-focused restaurant and bar.

An expanded range of delivery options are available, including buy online and pick up in-store, curbside pickup and two-hour delivery.

In related news, Nordstrom announced plans to open its tenth Nordstrom Rack location in Los Angeles, at the FIGat7thshopping center downtown on Oct. 26.

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New lease on life for Las Olas Boulevard

BY Al Urbanski

It was an urban retail real estate broker’s dream: five blocks of Main Street storefront — almost 250,000 sq. ft. of it — sandwiched between beachfront and commercial business district. That’s what the owners of most of five contiguous blocks on Fort Lauderdale’s Las Olas Boulevard plopped on the plate of Michael Comras.

“The exciting part is that we have about 100,000 square feet available to us for remerchandising. We don’t have to go and create the opportunities. It’s there for us,” said Comras, CEO of The Comras Companies of Florida. “We can see a new type of customer coming into the area, and we will be appealing to that younger profile.”

The three owners of 90% of those five blocks — Barron Real Estate, Las Olas Company, and Hudson Capital Group — want to migrate the popular shopping street away from catering to a Baby Boomer retiree clientele and position it more for Gen-X and Millennial newcomers who work and, increasingly, live in the area. Some 8,000 residential units have sprung up nearby, and an additional 7,000 units are in various different stages of construction.

Established Las Olas retailers like Tommy Bahama and Sunglass Hut are now being joined by neighbors such as Bluemercury and Alex and Ani due to Comras’ leasing efforts.

“The online retailers are something we’re really focused on also restaurants and lifestyle-oriented tenants like the Lululemons, Athleisures, and Sweaty Bettys,” said Comras, who worked on the retail leasing of Miami’s trendy Lincoln Road Mall. The remaking of that property lifted retail rents from what was around $30 to near $300, though Comras admits that Las Olas won’t hit those heights.

“Lincoln Road was different,” he said, “but we’re suggesting we could do something special on Las Olas Boulevard when we reach critical mass.”


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Publix signs on as anchor at new Alabama center

BY Al Urbanski

Thanks to Wernher von Braun, who developed the Saturn V rocket in the Alabama town, Huntsville is known as the Rocket City. Now the appellation is being applied to its population.

“The growing population accounts for 24% of Alabama’s 10-year population growth. The city’s total workforce tops 750,000 with nearby Cummings Research Park and Redstone Arsenal combining for a total of 24 million square feet of occupied office space,” said Jay Levy, president of Watkins Real Estate Group, who is developing a new necessity-based center in Huntsville.

According to Watkins, national retailers are “clamoring” for space in the area, and the company plans to accommodate some of them with the construction of The Pinnacle at Providence, a master-planned community.

Publix has announced it will anchor The Pinnacle with a 45,600-sq.-ft. store. Allure Nails Spa and a local dentist have also signed on at center, slated for completion in Q1 2018.

“The Pinnacle at Providence fills a void of services and dining options [for the] daytime population and workforce, as well as the abundance of students and residents in the surrounding area,” said Levy.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Huntsville’s population grew by more than 12,000 to 193,000 over between 2010 and 2016. The population of the Huntsville-Decatur-Albertville MSA tops 683,000.


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