We’ve found this lifestyle retail centers directory, and history, to be helpful as we look for analogs in the planning and leasing of upcoming mall augmentations. It is a time for creativity.
Lifestyle centers rose in popularity with consumers as an antidote to the sameness they see had seen in their local retail offerings. Lifestyle retailers and their host facilities compete less on price and more on innovation in store merchandise and the retail “placemaking” experience itself. Lifestyle centers emerged after, but as part of, a resurgence of interest among consumers towards “main street” style retailing as well as a major effort to develop “urban entertainment centers” (Universal Studios, SONY, Disney, among others). These trends were supported by general industry acceptance of “placemaking” and “gathering place” sensibilities.
As well, retailers that preferred “main street” type locations found lifestyle shopping centers to be similar in terms of their store siting criteria.
Some characteristics common to lifestyle retail centers include an open-air configuration, a tenant mix of apparel and home goods, along with some tenancies related to entertainment: movie theaters, books, music, and the like. Lifestyle centers also are home to table-service restaurants. This being said, these centers are not derivative of some standardized formula; rather, each tends to succeed based on somewhat varying circumstances.
The lifestyle retail center product has been embraced by developers as this essentially anchor-less type of retail depends as much on creating pleasant strolling walkways and gather-and-stare plazas, as on the leading retailers included. Lifestyle centers are typically open-air.
Over the last few years, lifestyle retail centers have been impacted (good and the bad) by the demise if not bankruptcy of many long-established “national credit” retailers. Chapter 11 and chapter 7 filings have become all too common.