ULI Looks At Developing Successful Inner City Retail/Entertainment Projects

ULI Looks At Developing Successful Inner City Retail/Entertainment Projects

Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute's retail and urban entertainment conference, hosted earlier this month in Los Angeles, focused on the growing use -- in both downtowns and suburbs -- of retail centers as gathering places that combine shopping with socializing. There are ample opportunities for retail development in inner city areas, most of which are grossly underserved, conference participants noted.

Kenneth Lombard, who formed Beverly Hills-based Johnson Development Corp. with former pro-basketball star Magic Johnson in the early 1990s, outlined the company's hands-on approach to inner-city retail. "You cannot do these projects from 60,000 feet above. You've got to get on the ground and fully understand the market," said Lombard, who is Johnson Development Corp. president.

According to Lombard, inner city markets are often ignored due to incorrect notions about income and population demographics, which tend to be underestimated. Many of the neighborhood residents, particularly immigrants, have large extended families who want shopping, restaurants and urban entertainment facilities in their neighborhoods, and who will regularly patronize establishments where they feel welcome, he said. "It's about going in with an attitude of inclusiveness, not an attitude of gentrification."

John A. Elkington, president of Performa Entertainment Real Estate, Inc., in Memphis, listed several factors critical to a successful downtown retail endeavor: 1) the creation of an accurate market profile that pinpoints all the possible categories of visitors; 2) an adequate security plan to make visitors feel both safe and welcome; 3) offering shopping perks to enhance the downtown shopping experience, such as package home delivery services so people don't have to lug bags around; and 4) public amenities that act as a focal point to bring the community together.

According to Yaromir Steiner, president of Steiner + Associates, Inc., in Columbus, Ohio, there are three trends in downtown retail that cannot be ignored: widespread consumer demand for high-quality design and pleasant environments; the reintroduction of leisure-time uses into the retail mix; and strong branding by individual retailers so they no rely on anchor stores for spillover customers.

Audiotapes of the retail and urban entertainment conference are available at ULI's online bookstore at http://www.uli.org/DK/uli_BookStore_fst.html. More information on ULI is available at www.uli.org.


Related Link: Developing Successful Inner City Retail/Entertainment Projects

For more information contact:

Trisha Riggs
Urban Land Institute
1025 Thomas Jefferson St. NW, Suite 500
DC 20007

Phone: 202-624-7086
Fax: 202-624-7140
Email: [email protected]
Web: http://www.uli.org

Posted March 26, 2003

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