Rodeo Drive and Fifth Avenue, the hallmarks of high-fashion retail, have long pulled tourists along their luxury-brand studded streets. But will the concept of the vertical mall be able to entice shoppers out of this street-level comfort zone and up into three or even five levels of stores? A recent New York Times article says it’s not only working, but sales are up from $1,000 to $1,600 per square foot at the Time Warner Center mall — a five-floor shopping center in downtown Manhattan.
By going up in the clouds, they’ve proven that New Yorkers will go upstairs to shop and their innovation is expanding the entire retail experience. It’s a creative approach to the mall concept, and one that works best in the high-rent districts of major cities, such as Boston, LA and Chicago.
There are some things to remember before jumping into this type of opportunity. Study the demographics — vertical malls work best in high-traffic areas, where tourists, local residents and workers are abundant. Check out the developer’s marketing plan to be sure there are events scheduled throughout the year — an important component to securing a consistent base of shoppers. And, examine the list of existing retailers — celebrity-owned restaurants and higher-end brands tend to do best at attracting shoppers to the upper floors.
Finally, don’t forget that the rents are expensive. While foot traffic may make it worth the cost, remember that space is tight, and expansion opportunities may be nonexistent.
Source: The New York Times, February 2012