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.
Westfield veteran to direct retail marketing at CBRE
Heather Almond, who directed center management during the million-sq.-ft. expansion of Westfield San Francisco Centre, has been promoted to national director of consumer and retail marketing at CBRE.
In this role, she will be responsible for leading the property marketing efforts of large format retail and mall properties as part of its growing Retail Practice Group.
Almond spent more than 15 years in the field as a shopping center marketing manager, 11 of them with Westfield. She was general manager of Westfield Shoppingtown Galleria in Roseville, California, arly in her career there, and departed the company in 2014 as VP of regional marketing for the Northwest.
Since 2016, CBRE has tripled the mall square footage under its management and hired several experts in leasing, specialty leasing and marketing for malls, lifestyle centers, and outlet centers. The company’s retail practice now shepherds almost 100 million sq. ft.
Shipping container park headed for Lake Nona
Lake Nona Town Center, Tavistock’s retail and entertainment development at the Florida master-planned community of the same name, is borrowing a popular inner city trend in for the design of its food and beverage zone.
Boxi Park at Lake Nona will be 30,000 sq. ft. of bar and restaurant GLA constructed entirely of repurposed shipping containers. The park’s design allows guests to explore different food and beverage options layered within shaded seating areas, a playground, and a fenced dog park. Boxi Park will include a stage for hosting a variety of local performers with regular programming scheduled for weekdays and weekends.
“Boxi Park will provide a unique entertainment venue to relax, grab a beer, let the kids run around, and enjoy the sunshine,” said Jim Zboril, president of Tavistock Development Company, the developer of the 17-square-mile Lake Nona, which includes two golf courses, a medical innovation industrial park, and the national campus of the United States Tennis Association.
During a recent Chain Store Age tour of the property, Tavisock communications manager Karlee Kunkle pointed out that a shipping container park provides a developer with a lot of options.
“We can easily make it bigger, change the tenant mix, reconfigure it, or disassemble it if we decide to put something new in the space,” Kunkle said.