The term Retail Apocalypse has surrounded brick-and-mortar retail over the last decade following the bankruptcies and closings of several large North American department stores and retailers. While traditional retailers are facing an “apocalypse,” there is a revolution with digitally native brands into physical retail spaces.
The Retail Design Institute’s Boston Retail Guide 2018 Launch Party was held at the Trunk Club ClubHouse, located at 501 Boylston Street in Boston. In attending, not only did we get the chance to understand the ins and outs of the most beautiful retail stores in and around the Back Bay, but we got the full download to the Trunk Club and their Boston Clubhouse.
Enjoying a bite to eat in a common space is not a new concept. The Food Hall trend has lunch breakers, tourists and foodies in a craze, leaving mall food courts in the dust. In New York City alone, there are nineteen open food halls, with four having opened in the last year and five expected to open in 2018. With these food halls creating a major shift in the dining experience, we beg the question – what makes a food hall more successful than a food court?
The battle between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar retail has reached apocalyptic proportions. At least that is what it feels like for the latter. This March, Hedgeye reported retail bankruptcies were at higher levels than what was observed during the 2008 financial crisis. High-profile chains like Gander Mountain, RadioShack, BCBG Max Azria, The Limited Stores and HHGregg have either filed for bankruptcy or Chapter 9 protection. Department stores like Macy’s and Sears continue to shutter locations across the U.S.
When designing retail projects in urban markets, whether developing a store in a new building or going into an existing building, having a thorough understanding of the urban design process and how it pertains to your specific project will set you and your design team up for success.
In designing retail spaces, our choices are consistently driven by the same set of factors: location, tenant mix, budget, and schedule. While these critical elements are always taken into consideration, understanding what the retailers want their customers to experience is an important component that is frequently overlooked in the design for the built environment.
Phase Zero Design was the architect for Norwichtown Commons, a successful 'de-malling' project that involved converting an indoor mall into an open air center in Norwich, CT. After construction, tenant rate skyrocketed to over 90% and the plaza experienced a large increase in foot traffic. Norwichtown Commons was awarded “Best Community Revitalization Project” at the 2014 CREW CT Blue Ribbon Awards Showcase. Principal and Senior LEED architect, Matthew Wittmer, discusses the project: