Branded Spaces Spreading

"Branded cities" -- new heavily-sponsored real estate developments with a mix of live- work- and retail-space -- are gaining popularity among developers and spreading around the country.
February 3, 2009, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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"Construction begins this May on El Portál, which may well become the most ambitious branded city in the country."

"Like all branded cities, El Portál is an urban real-estate development with out-of-home advertising opportunities written into its DNA. Shopping, entertainment and town hall locations will be laced with a particularly large and sophisticated quantity of digital displays, which will total 4,500 square feet."

"It's easy to see why branded cities-places where people either work, live or play-are catching on. They are self-contained urban centers where signs aren't just viewed for a few seconds from a car window-or maybe a few minutes, if someone is on foot. The interactive element provides an added attraction: 'If you create an environment where people engage in media, it changes the dynamic,' says Adam Bleibtreu, CEO of The Retail Media Company, which is responsible for the design and advertising strategy of El Portál. 'If you give people the opportunity to effect their environment, they talk about it; they come there more frequently; they stay longer.'"

"Real estate is deeply bruised by the economic recession. But those involved with branded cities say that while some projects may be put on hold, the concept is likely to grow and prosper in the coming years."

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Published on Monday, February 2, 2009 in Media Week
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