REAL ESTATE

The North Face continues in-store foray into virtual reality

BY Marianne Wilson

Shoppers in select North Face stores will be able to experience winter in Nepal up close and personal.

The retailer, in collaboration with Jaunt Studios, a leading supplier of fully-immersive cinematic virtual reality experiences, is launching a new VR experience titled “The North Face: Nepal.” The content will be available for all smartphone users, and in the company’s stores in San Francisco, New York, and the brand’s new Regent Street location in London.

The Nepal footage, extends the two companies’ previous VR collaboration, “The North Face: Climb,” beyond Yosemite National Park and Moab.” Shot in February 2015, the new content offers viewers a front-row seat into Nepal, allowing them to experience the country’s landmarks and mountains.

“At The North Face, we’re always looking for new and innovative ways to share our stories, as well as inspire our customers’ interest in getting outdoors. We’ve seen great success sharing VR in-store with the Moab and Yosemite film,” said Eric Oliver, director of digital marketing, The North Face. “With this new Nepal footage, we’re excited to showcase the wonder of one of the most beautiful places in the world.”

Jaunt’s proprietary 360 degree, stereoscopic 3D cameras and advanced 3D sound-field microphones were used to film North Face elite athlete Renan Ozturk trekking through Nepal. Ozturk was testing The North Face brand’s new Summit Series, which is designed as the most elite equipment for exploring the world’s harshest environments.

In addition to being available in select North Face retail stores, the new content is being distributed to 75,000 Outside magazine subscribers, who will receive a Google Cardboard with their print issues this month — bringing the VR content to people using their own mobile devices in an affordable and accessible way.

The North Face cinematic VR will be available for public download through Jaunt’s app in Google Play and iTunes beginning today.

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Retail Properties of America acquires center in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore corridor

BY Melonie Messina

Towson, Md. — Retail Properties of America announced it acquired Towson Square located in Towson, Maryland. The property was purchased for $39.7 million. Towson Square is a new development that opened in 2014 and is currently 96.6% occupied.

The 138,000 sq. ft. property is an entertainment based center anchored by a newly constructed Cinemark Theatre and includes a variety of national and regional restaurant concepts including BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse, World of Beer, Bobby’s Burger Palace, Bonefish Grill and Nando’s Peri-Peri.

The property is located adjacent to the Company’s existing center, Towson Circle. RPAI expects to integrate both Towson Circle and Townson Square into one property as part of a larger planned redevelopment.

“This asset accentuates the importance of owning strong, adjacent real estate and will be an excellent addition to our portfolio and an integral part of our redevelopment plans for Towson Circle,” said Shane Garrison, executive VP, chief investment officer and COO for Retail Properties of America.

Year to date, the company has completed $463.1 million of unencumbered acquisitions. The acquisitions are comprised of high quality, multi-tenant retail assets located in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore corridor, in addition to the Seattle, Austin, Dallas and Houston Metropolitan Statistical Areas, resulting in an expansion of the Company’s multi-tenant retail footprint in these target markets by 1.2 million sq. ft.

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Off-price store to make New York City debut

BY Marianne Wilson

The off-price wars are heating up in New York City.

Saks Fifth Avenue will open its first Saks Off 5th outlet in New York City, in a 32-story office tower at 125 East 57th Street, in March 2016. The store will feature a lobby entrance at street level, which will access two lower level floors.

“The addition of a new Saks Off 5th store at this strategic location will be a dramatic game changer for 57th Street retail east of Park Avenue,” said Charles S. Cohen, president and CEO of Cohen Brothers Realty Corp., which owns the property.

The opening in Manhattan is part of the company’s plans to open in high-density/high-traffic locations. As previously announced, Saks will open an Off 5th at One Liberty Plaza in downtown Manhattan in 2017.

On Friday, Nov. 20, Bloomingdale’s will open its first outlet location in New York City, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Macy’s unveiled its off-price format, Macy’s Backstage, in the New York City metro area in September.

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