Retail Traffic

Q: What new development trends are you tracking?

MBH Architects

John McNulty, Founding Principal: Many of our clients are branding themselves as a lifestyle choice. Our established retail clients are looking for ways to strengthen their brand identity while also expanding their reach, re-inventing themselves to appeal to a larger demographic audience.

MCG Architecture

Jeffrey T. Gill, Vice President/Principal: Tenants and cities are becoming more sophisticated. They want interactive space in front of their shops. In the past we wanted to control the environment by making retail an internal experience. Now we break open malls and add village components, boulevards and sports venues to create a dynamic approach to design.

Beame Architectural Partnership

Olga Pizzi Garcia, Principal: We are designing several high-density transportation-oriented developments that include affordable workforce housing. These offer shopping, residential and office at main transportation hubs each with trains, buses, taxis, cars and pedestrians. One will also offer a multi-level big-box center in a dense urban area. Urban infill projects, including those, that are private/public partnerships are more common.

CommArts, Inc.

Henry Beer, Co-Chairman: We are watching very closely the boomerang back to cities, the re-imaging and leveraging of AAA properties and the role of transit in shaping where development and redevelopment opportunities lie. We will increasingly see the integration of previously disparate or unrelated services and activities that are now aggregating into rich and deep community centers. Churches and schools are coming back with a roar, only they don't look, sound, taste or feel like they used to. The great redevelopments going forward will recast themselves as places of spiritual, intellectual, cultural and personal mastery.


Bob Tindall, President: It's exciting to see older retail centers as adaptive re-use projects — becoming schools for example, or down-sized and revamped as multi-use projects, adding housing and other components to make better use of the overall site. We're focusing on making retail projects user-friendly, more representative of the community they're in and adding more dining as a way to create a vital and relevant presence.

O'Brien Architects

Patrick O'Brien, Director of Business Development: We have done a number of projects that re-tenant a large anchor into a multi-tenant building. Many developers are overlooking these opportunities, which have proven very successful for those who have taken them on.


Everett Hatcher, Executive Vice President: I would like to contribute to a process which could convert the vacated big boxes like Kmart, Wal-Mart and others that dot the landscape into schools and other community-based uses. Surely tax incentives could provide the incentive that real estate owners need to make this process economically attractive and the suburban and rural communities that have real needs for better educational and other public facilities could greatly benefit from the redevelopment of these vacant properties. We can call it “Parking Lots to Playgrounds.”


Sy Perkowitz, President and CEO: There are a number of large and small redevelopment and infill opportunities arising. Some redevelopment projects provide a better and higher use for an existing site while others adapt the existing building for a new use. These opportunities are the result of the fact that many existing centers have become outdated and need to be renovated in order to remain competitive.

HKW Associates

Fred Keith, President: I think the continued consolidation within the department store world significantly affects future centers. Fewer anchor players make the developer's ability to get the mix right more challenging, especially in middle markets. Architecturally, we see the traditional lineup of “department store/shops/department store” continuing to give way to more creative definitions of what constitutes an “anchor.” We currently have several projects being “anchored” by public park space, mixed-use residential and a performing arts center. Although this trend can challenge a pro forma, we think it bodes well for strengthening retail's connection to the community.

MulvannyG2 Architecture

Cho Suzumura, Principal: Between the 1970s and the 1990s, many people were moving out of urban areas into the suburbs. Cities became a place to visit, do business and shop. Recent redevelopment trends bring people back into these urban areas, and create a small town feel where people shop, work and live in the same space.


Tipton Housewright, Principal: Luxury malls continue to compete well against Main Street and lifestyle centers and as a result are being expanded and improved. We are currently working on three luxury properties and we anticipate more. We are also seeing many department store pad redevelopments. We have worked on several projects that are bringing new, better performing retail space to centers where department stores have vacated.

Architects Orange

Jack Selman, Senior Partner: An interesting trend in development is to revisit an existing, older retail center that, after 25 years or so, has evolved to be in a strategic location that yearns for not only an architectural redo but the addition of new uses such as residential, office or hotel. These projects have a great potential for tremendous increase in value. The trick is to keep the existing major retail tenants intact during construction of the new GLA.

ka architecture

Darrell K. Pattison, Chief Strategic Officer/Director of Design: Since there are fewer opportunities due to density, it makes sense to look at areas that are not quite mature. These locations tend to be further from population centers with the intention that over time the population will grow. Projects developed in these areas need to account for future growth potential as needed based on the population growth around the center.

TAGS: Development
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