Art Falcone Talks Future of Retail with Globe St.
In a recent interview with Globe St. reporter John Jordan, Art Falcone talked about the future of retail and his large-scale projects that include heavy retail components. The full interview with Globe St. is below.
Globest.com: The retail landscape seems to change more and more every day, with big name companies like Sears announcing new closings and Toys R’ US going out of business. What are your thoughts on the current state of retail?
Falcone: Yes, the retail industry, like many other industries, is changing and evolving at a rapid pace. The industry is being forced to adapt to today’s demand drivers and advances in technology. Our team just returned from ICSC in Las Vegas and by initial numbers, we are being told it was the busiest Las Vegas convention since 2001, which means we are back to pre-recession activity levels. What that signals to us is that people in the retail industry are committed to implementing changes so that it can once again thrive in today’s economy.
Globest.com: You are building mixed-use developments with large retail components across the state of Florida. How are you going to ensure their success?
Falcone: I am focusing on incorporating entertainment centers into these mixed-use live, work and play communities that create memorable experiences that the public will want to experience time and time again. From Plantation Walk to Margaritaville Resort Orlando and Miami Worldcenter, we are creating well planned and curated entertainment and lifestyle destinations that will offer outdoor entertainment areas that can serve as concert venues, new chef-driven restaurant concepts and unique shopping opportunities.
Globest.com: What do you think of the impact online shopping has had on retail?
Falcone: In January of 2018, e-Commerce accounted for only 9.7% of total retail sales in the U.S. That is a much smaller number than people realize. Still, retailers have to think smart and figure out how to be Internet resilient. They have to combine the use of the Internet with brick and mortar so that one fuels the other. The ones who can do a good job of blending the two will capture demand and will flourish.
Globest.com: You’re currently redeveloping the former Plantation Fashion Mall, which was a retail haven in the late 80s and 90s. What are you planning to make this destination attractive once again?
Falcone: After acquiring the property, we demolished the obsolete one million square foot mall and blended the existing office, hotel and 2,600 space garage into our vision for the revitalization of the property. Plantation Walk will create a downtown-style destination incorporating these land uses into a true, walkable mixed-use development. The 700 luxury rental apartments in “The Rise” apartment brand will be ideally suited to the region’s growing millennial workforce. Some 200,000 square feet of entertainment and lifestyle options will include unique shops and a variety of quick-service and fine dining options. Winding throughout the property will be pedestrian-friendly outdoor seating, walkways, and green spaces creating a vibrant environment for working, living, shopping and vacationing.
Editor’s Note: Project Updates—Falcone’s Encore Capital Management announced on Thursday (June 21) that Aetna had signed an 85,000-square-foot for the project’s 160,000-square-foot Class A office building.
Aetna, which will be moving to Plantation Walk from their current location in Sunrise is the first signed tenant at the office building. The company is expected to move into the building in in December of this year.
Aetna’s new location will house several divisions of the company including commercial business, Medicare, Medicaid and Aetna International, according to the Encore Capital announcement.
Last month, Miamiworldcenter Associates gave a progress report on the massive mixed-use development that will include several luxury residential tower buildings, a 1,700 Marriott Marquis, as well as a mixed-use tower being developed by Hines.
The open-air retail, dining and entertainment component, which is being developed in collaboration with the Forbes Co. and Taubman, currently has 140,000 square feet under construction, with another 160,000 square feet planned in phase one. Delivery is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2019.