CALIFORNIA CENTERS: Anchoring for Position


California Centers, Publish Date: May 2018

CA-Ctrs_May-IssueThe old gray box just isn’t what it used to be, at least not at many malls and shopping centers across California. The days of “build it and they will come” are dead. The formula for mall success no longer involves a wide rectangular box flanked by two large square boxes. Even the “location, location, location” strategy has some caveats nowadays.

One of the biggest changes to the retail environment is the significant decrease in spatial requirements for hard and soft goods. Online ordering, speedy home delivery and in-store pickup have vastly altered the need for large-format department and big box stores throughout many shopping centers. This trend has brought about the recent or impending downsizing or closure of anchor staples like Sears, Best Buy, Macy’s, JC Penney, Toys “R” Us and Men’s Wearhouse. Many experts believe we haven’t seen the last of this giveback…


If shopping center owners are lucky, their vacant anchor spaces will score an “F” – a tenant that specializes in fun, food or fitness…

Matt Hammond, principal and senior vice president of Coreland Companies in Tustin, believes this focus on fun and fitness will continue, particularly when they’re combined in a family friendly atmosphere.

“Based on our deals, service, entertainment and fitness tenants have been a major driving force in filling vacant space,” he says. “Online retailing and the influence of social media have fueled the popularity of experiential options. SkyZone, John’s Incredible Pizza and Circus Trix, to name a few, have become popular additions.

Food halls are also taking center stage, adsorbing spaces once occupied by a solo tenant and divvying them up among local purveyors of craft cocktails and cuisine.

“Your shopping center anchor is definitely no longer a prototypical box,” Hammond continues. “Leasing creativity over the past few years has led to a variety of new or re-purposed anchors. A good, current example is the Irvine Company, which transformed a former Macy’s box at Irvine Spectrum into a marketplace with 30 restaurants and specialty retailers.

For the compete article, go to California Centers’ May edition, page 14.