Q&A with Simon Perkowitz: Breathing New Life into Malls

Connect Media

September 27, 2017

Q: What are some of the trends and challenges driving the retail sector today that are drastically changing the face of malls?

A: Retailers have been announcing store closures at an unprecedented rate, indicating profound shifts in the ways that we shop and live today.

The evolution of the omnichannel experience has become one of trusted brands providing excellent service, so that their customers can depend on them, whether online, in-store or a combination of both.

A concurrent trend that is shaping the use of retail properties is a housing shortage driven by the large millennial generation emerging into adulthood and the desire to live, work and play in a walkable district that is shared by both boomers and millennials.

It can be said that there is no longer retail real estate, rather there is just real estate.  Creative planning of new or revitalized communities is ushering in an era when true mixed-use is being realized, following years of discussion and anticipation.

Q: What are some of the best ways shopping center owners can breathe new life into a dying or functionally obsolete property?

A: Architecture and planning principles must be deployed to weave a sense of place into an area, taking into consideration the culture, demographics, and existing or planned buildings and infrastructure. Synergies should work to create a strong social realm and one that resonates emotionally with the community. Along with enduring design styles that add beauty and charm, our work is to create those places that become the beloved neighborhoods of the future.

Q: Can you share some examples where mall transformations are taking place that incorporate residential, office, or another mix of uses toward the creation of an engaging experience for consumers? 

A: Provo Towne Centre, Provo, UT, Brixton Capital

We are reimagining a 20-year-old, 800,000-square-foot enclosed shopping center. Initial work includes deconstructing a 134,000-square-foot big box anchor into a dining district, restaurants, shops and 100,000 square feet of office space. These new spaces will open onto a new landscaped plaza, creating a connection to the center’s main entrance rotunda that is redesigned to maximize the views of the sky and mountains.

A: Southbay Pavilion, Carson, CA, Vintage Real Estate (pictured above)
We’ve created a modern and contemporary look for a retailer expansion, making way for Forever 21’s F21 RED brand to establish a 17,000-square-foot store. That encompasses the design and renovation of the shopping center, as well as for the adaptation of the store branding for new retailers to the site. While reimagining the design of the retail center, KTGY used textured walls, up-lighting and clean, open storefronts to create a contemporary space that feels happy and is easy to navigate.