- Focus significant effort on attracting a brand-name retailer that is both affordable and contemporary/trendy. Think H&M or Zara. We developed a hit-list of about 23 handpicked prospects that fit squarely within their strategic positioning statement – they were contemporary/trendy in their offerings, their price point was mid-level or value-oriented, and they square footage they were looking reflected the kinds of spaces that were available on the street. We then developed an outreach plan to begin identifying vacant properties that might be a good fit for those tenants. The next step involved sit downs with property owners to enlist them in the recruitment effort. This also included educating them on the kinds of rents that major credit tenants would pay – and what they wouldn’t – for spaces on the street.
- Communicate the retail strategy, again and again. Enlisting property owners and brokers is critical for successful retail attraction efforts. While the “prospect hit list” we prepared for our client is a basic tool that the BID can use in initial outreach efforts, property owners and brokers will have their own hit lists. The goal is to get them to buy into the strategic position as a “theme” to follow. So while we may have suggested H&M as a potential tenant, there might be other similarly positioned retailers with an interest in the street. In cases like this, brokers can be your best friend. They have deep knowledge of the local market and may come up with other retailers that are just as appropriate as the ones you want. Either way, it’s a win-win for the street.
- Façade Improvement for Regional Independents and Mom & Pops. Fortunately the street looked really good owing to the excellent job the BID had done in landscaping and street maintenance over the years. But the dated facades were a real problem, so we recommended a façade improvement program to help existing businesses refresh their facades and signage.
- Develop a campaign to get Nationals to clean up their act. Given the predominance of national chains on the street, we recommended developing a targeted campaign to get national retailers to refresh their stores through outreach to corporate headquarters (and letter writing campaigns if necessary). Update: since our study, Express and Gap have both upgraded their stores.
The update? The effort is still in its early stages, but tenant mix on the street continues to improve. Within the past year, a Blink Fitness opened (this is a younger, trendier version of Equinox), two new organic food stores have opened, the Express store got a facelift and expansion, and the Gap store got an interior store redesign. Not bad – and all moving in the direction of the district’s new strategic position.
|AFTER: New awnings, clean facade AND an expansion.
Seems that Express knows that this street is a good investment after all.