10B — July 25 - August 14, 2014 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


A rchitects & E ngineers

By Dustin Watson, DDG Restoring retail’s sense of “place”


ntil recently, shop- ping centers have always served as

ping and the growth of big box retailers, however, have undercut the traditional role of shopping centers. Necessity is no longer enough to drive consumers to visit a particular shopping center. Now, shop- pers demand an experience that can be fun, uplifting, and even memorable. This shift in consumer preferences has transformed place-making into the most essential element for creating value in today’s competitive retail environment. To attract shoppers, keep them shop- ping – and spending money – for longer periods of time, and bring them back again in the future, retail centers need to create a sense of “place” that formerly was taken for granted. While examples of retail place-making abound, one of the true game changers is Bethesda Row, northwest of Washington, DC. Originally an auto-dependent commer- cial strip completely lacking in character, Bethesda Row turned an outdated model of suburban development into a mixed-use, multi-block project that focused on both the street experience and connectivity to the community, creating a unique, walkable, and memo- rable experience. While not all shopping cen- ters are going to follow the Bethesda Row example, it clearly has had a profound impact as more shopping “des- tinations” spring to life. A re- cent example is Station Park, 16 miles north of Salt Lake City, Utah. A transit-oriented project that derives its name and much of its design inspira- tion from the on-site commuter rail station at the northern terminus of Utah’s new “Front Runner” rail system, Station Park encompasses more than 800,000 s/f of retail, entertain- ment, restaurant, office, and hotel space. Station Park has integrated elements of downtown Salt Lake City’s historic archi- tecture into its blend of tra- ditional Main Street design elements. The area’s historic charm and trademark syca- mores are reflected throughout the project, while art deco- inspired graphics and signage welcome visitors from atop a series of logoed, 100-foot-tall pylon signs. Designed both for flexibility continued on page 15B

g a t h e r i n g places for the communities in which they are located. Whether it’s t h e h a n g - out for local teens or the place where

Dustin Watson

seniors gather to “walk the mall,” shopping centers have been magnets that bring peo- ple together. The advent of online shop-

Station Park, Utah

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