Today is a time of rapid change in the retail and mixed-use industry. Contrary to what many are saying, e-commerce won’t kill brick-and-mortar retail, but it will put pressure on the retailers and centers that refuse to evolve. Those who embrace the changing environment will find new opportunities.
One of the major shifts we’re seeing and responding to is that traffic is less driven by fashion and more so by customer experience. This translates to a shift in leasing efforts. Local, regional and unique food and beverage concepts, leisure and entertainment venues, boutique fitness, and other quality service providers are an especially big focus because they are traffic generators that are more internet resistant—and for redeveloping centers—can capitalize on retailer downsizing. There is tremendous opportunity for innovation in the food and beverage and entertainment area, and a variety of models are being tested.
Victory Park is a great example here in Dallas’ own backyard. To transform Victory into a more vibrant, authentic neighborhood, F&B and entertainment purveyors have been part of a major leasing strategy. On the entertainment front, Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas–Victory Park, a seven-screen movie theater, is underway and will open next year, joining other Victory entertainment venues like the American Airlines Center, House of Blues, and the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.
Victory’s F&B is going to look a whole lot different in just a few short months when a curated collection of seven new local food and beverage tenants open. Among these are a restaurant and bar by This & That Concepts (known for spots like The Standard Pour and High Fives), a bar and tavern by Brooke Humphries (Barcadia and Mudsmith), a 24,000-square-foot restaurant and entertainment concept in Victory Plaza by Humphries and Elias Pope’s 8020 Hospitality (HG Sply Co.), and a flagship Mesero restaurant. In addition, entrepreneur Tristan Simon’s venture, Rebees, will open three unique concepts: a modern Texas saloon, a retail emporium showcasing local artists and makers, and a creative workspace with a seasonally-minded, day-focused café.
Additionally, services and boutique fitness concepts have been added, such as Classic Pilates, Joanna Czech, Chad Rookstool Salon and Yoga Pod. And, Orangetheory Fitness is coming soon.
This focus on entertainment and local F&B comes straight from community feedback. Today, it’s all about customization, personalization and localization, and to achieve this, it’s important to listen first.
At the end of the day, leasing isn’t the only thing critical to creating the kind of experience that attracts visitors. To that end, Victory has implemented a number of vibe-setting initiatives that contribute to making the district a special and unique place. Most recently, a vibrant sculpture by internationally renowned artist Tim Bavington was installed, bringing color, texture and soul to Victory Park Lane, near the W Dallas–Victory Hotel. Over the past year, other public art has been going up throughout the district, including a Nathan Mabry sculpture that is a take on the Victory or Peace Sign and 15 new sculptural bike racks that double as works of art.
Whereas retail places were once considered to be primarily for shopping, we believe that the mixed-use places of the future will have a broader mix of uses than ever before. In the age of e-commerce, it can’t just be about shopping anymore. The places that will emerge successful will be those that constantly evolve as consumer preferences and expectations do.
Terry Montesi is founder and CEO of Fort Worth-based Trademark Property Co.