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Lifestyle Center Evolution and Retail Expansion Strategies

Lifestyle Center Evolution and Retail Expansion Strategies

LAS VEGAS—As the retail landscape continues to shift and adapt to changing consumer behaviors and preferences, the role of lifestyle centers in shaping the retail experience has become increasingly prominent. Ahead of the upcoming ICSC Las Vegas retail conference, we had the opportunity to talk with Spencer Jordan, Senior Vice President of Leasing at Steiner + Associates, to discuss the evolving nature of lifestyle centers from a leasing perspective.

Steiner + Associates is a leading developer and manager of innovative retail and mixed-use destinations across the United States. With a focus on creating vibrant, community-centric spaces, Steiner + Associates has been at the forefront of redefining the retail experience.

In our conversation with Jordan, she emphasized the ongoing evolution of the lifestyle center experience, particularly from a leasing standpoint. One key aspect of this evolution is the re-tenanting of existing spaces to cater to changing consumer preferences. Jordan highlighted Steiner + Associates’ current project of re-tenanting over 100,000 square feet of Easton’s Fashion District with first-to-market retailers and restaurant groups. This strategic initiative, she says, reflects a proactive approach to meeting the evolving needs of consumers.

Jordan noted that food and beverage now represent a significant portion of inline small shop GLA (Gross Leasable Area), constituting 20% of the overall space. This shift underscores the growing importance of dining experiences within lifestyle centers.

Jordan also emphasized the significance of strategic planning years in advance, reinvesting in existing brands, and creating anticipatory vacancies to ensure the long-term success and relevance of lifestyle centers.

For brands considering expansion to the Midwest or specifically to Columbus, Jordan pointed out that Columbus, Ohio, is a thriving metropolitan area with considerable buying power. In fact, Columbus led U.S. population growth rates in the latter half of 2023 and was projected to be one of Zillow’s top three national housing markets in the current year, she tells GlobeSt.com.

One notable aspect of Columbus is its robust educational landscape, she adds, with more than 52 colleges and universities and approximately 160,000 students. This demographic diversity presents significant opportunities for brands seeking to tap into a vibrant and dynamic consumer base.

She also highlighted the forthcoming impact of Intel’s superconductor site, set to open in 2026 with $390 million in annual payroll. This development is expected to further bolster consumer spending in the central Ohio region, making it an attractive destination for retail expansion.

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