range from movie theaters and family
entertainment concepts to entirely new
uses including multifamily, senior housing,
and even facilities for municipal bodies
such as park districts.
“While our clients are ideally looking
for something that supplements the expe-
rience at a retail center, at the end of the
day they’re willing to weigh nearly any
opportunity that will make good use of a
large swath of vacated space,” Taylor says.
“In this climate, their construction partner
is becoming an extremely valuable
resource to help them investigate feasibil-
ity and costing for converting spaces for an
entirely new purpose.”
Blum agrees, noting that developers are
increasingly looking to theaters, gaming
halls, health clubs, coworking facilities,
concert venues, brewpubs and others to
take the place of conventional retail
anchors and drive traffic through a comple-
mentary mix of uses—many of which can-
not be replicated online.
The way people engage with retail is
continuing to change with the growth of
e-commerce, Blum explains. “That means
that traditional retailing environments
must change as well,” he says. “Owners of
shopping centers and lifestyle properties
that would have historically been populated by national fashion brands are
increasingly finding that customers are
looking for different experiences when
visiting their properties including a
curated mix of local restaurants, entertainment and gaming venues, boutique fitness
concepts, gathering and performance
spaces and retail concepts that emphasize
a more compelling in-store experience.
This is achieved through VIP events,
TAKING IT DOWN A NOTCH
knowledgeable customer service, product
sampling, and better overall customer
With that strategy in mind, Blum says,
Serendipity Labs will open a coworking
facility in the third phase of The Mayfair
Collection. “While a junior department
store would have likely occupied this space
in the past, the coworking lab offers a con-
temporary alternative that provides more
consistent daytime traffic and an attractive
amenity to residents of the nearby luxury
But other projects, which might not be typically viewed as cutting-edge, are also getting
creative and are making redevelopment
work. In March of this year, for example,
Alpha Partners, a commercial real estate
company that develops, invests and operates multifamily and select retail opportunities, revealed that it was redeveloping a lot
on the first major entry point into the
southside of Columbus, OH.
Part of the main retail corridor for Grove
City, OH, abbreviated to Rd. is a high-visibil-ity location with easy access to I-71. The site
is ready for a small strip center and will
potentially include a drive-through quick-serve restaurant. Additionally, the Days Inn
located in the rear of the parcel will be
rehabilitated from the inside out.
“Perhaps not the kind of property typically viewed as hip or cutting-edge, we see
this area on Stringtown Road as a ‘Welcome
Mat’ into Columbus with a ton of potential—it’s a great creative real estate deal
story,” says Avi Abroms, managing partner
of Alpha Partners. “The site offers investment opportunity that will not only serve
The Cascades project
Food halls seem like fun and exciting ventures. But they are a far cry from a one-
size-fits-all solution. Heyer sets forth a few key elements for a successful venture:
( 1) It must have proper sizing for the market. Her company will statistically
analyze a population’s density, type, disposable income and specific spending
patterns on food and beverage. Heyer Performance will then compare this
overall spending to the number of other restaurants in a defined area. They’ll
consider what the market currently delivers in terms of revenue potential.
( 2) The enterprise must have a value proposition narrative. Why would
people want to go to your food hall? What makes it worth the trip? She adds
that simply sticking 10 restaurants or concepts in a space won’t work.
( 3) The three main stakeholders: the landlord/developer/owner; the management firm; and the individual vendors must be able to financially succeed.
( 4) There must be strong curation and a blend of concepts that supplement
and do not cannibalize each other. Plus, there needs to be differentiation from
( 5) The business model and lease terms have to work for the owner, tenant
and management firm.
In addition, as with all businesses, food halls require good management.
The “If you build it they will come” concept is for a field of dreams, not the
increasingly crowded field of food halls. Instead, Heyer’s company provides
services in new concept development and strategic positioning, design and
experience guidance, market studies with competitive analysis, operational
and facility advisory services, due diligence with feasibility studies, and financial projections with budgets.—Betsy Kim and Natalie Dolce