DDCM – How to Search

Tenant Criteria Manuals are packed full of important information needed by Tenants, Leasing, design and construction team members to close deals and open projects. With the DDCM Search feature, you no longer have to settle for flipping through cumbersome paper manuals or hitting control F repeatedly.

Watch our quick How to Search video to find out how to use this powerful feature. Can you keep up?

Atlanta Braves Select DDCM for Stadium Retail

The Atlanta Braves and their development partners, Fuqua Development, have selected work.shop’s Digital Design Criteria Manual (DDCM) as the retail information platform for their new mixed-use project, The Battery Atlanta, connected to the new National League baseball stadium – SunTrust Park.

Welcome to The Battery Atlanta from The Battery Atlanta on Vimeo.

Avalon – ULI Project of the Year Atlanta

Avalon is one of the country’s most desirable mixed-use projects. Developed by North American Properties (NAP) and opened in 2014, it raises the bar on experiential development. With more than 300,000 sf of high-end retail, two buildings with high-tech office space and 400+ residential units, this complicated project required a dedicated team of which work.shop was proud to have been a part.

Check out this quick video showcasing what gives Avalon it’s unique character and made it an easy choice for Project of the Year.

Find out more about how work.shop helped deliver this project and how we continue to be involved in Phase II with our new Digital Design Criteria Manual (DDCM).

5 Opportunities for the Future of Retail Shopping Centers

Ok, ok, we know the internet is here already. What we are not paying enough attention to is how it has/will 1) eaten our lunch and 2) create opportunity for traditional bricks and mortar retailers. If you accept premise number one, then you will be free to explore, leverage and capitalize on concept number two. Below are five opportunities worth exploring for centers to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

1. Have your Center be the Center
IM, chat, hangouts are cool, but they just don’t compare to being together. Actually, together. Owner’s, operators and managers of shopping centers have the opportunity to roll back the clock a little and get retro-cool by being the CENTER (think Rouse’s original vision for Columbia, MD). Municipalities, schools and churches have forfeited this responsibility (right, wrong or otherwise) and there is a huge opportunity for the center, the heart of the community, to be, once again, the shopping center. The internet has a long way to go to crack this code; no one else seems to have the resources or desire. Retail can easily grab the wheel and steer the ship. Create the backdrop for the experiences worth sharing on Snapchat, Instagram and Vine.

2. Turn your Center into a Playground
The buzz for the last years has been about creating entertainment centers to stay relevant and ahead of the curve. Simply put, if I can get it at home tomorrow, you need to give me a compelling reason to get it somewhere else today. This is why experience is so important. Frankly it is vital for survival. Shopping is fun, other things can be more fun. For some dancing is the answer (me included – TMI). Crossing the street (or more accurately waiting) has never been as much fun.

This idea gets you on so many levels. Keep people safe. Keep them entertained. Slow them down. Allow people to contribute. Make everyone involved feel like a star! Whether it is a billboard, a fountain, a play area, a performance or a show – keep people longer. Let them linger.

Like it or hate it Vegas has this down like no other. The Bellagio’s dancing fountains. The Freemont Experience light show and canopy. The Mirage’s pirate thing – whatever that is. The street performers at the corner of Flamingo Road and Las Vegas Blvd. near Bally’s. All get people not only to slow down, but to queue up and wait.

This photo of Fremont Street Experience is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Play videos on LCD screens on green walls. Have local performers showcase their skills. Create a playground, for both kids AND adults.

3. Amusement, Elite Status and Membership Clubs
While recently traveling with my family to Orlando, we had the privilege to experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando. All pun intended, it was truly … well .. magical. As Ron Weasley would have said, the “brilliant” thing about this all was that not only did I shell out more than $300/day simply to enter the premises, but dropped just about as much in the retail stores on wands and maps and 9 pound chocolate frogs. Furthermore, there aren’t even that many rides (6 to be exact including the train and Diagon Alley). I essentially paid Universal (and J.K. Rowling) for the privilege to SHOP. The dirty little secret is that I did so willingly! It was amazing. If I could afford it I would go back in a second.

Wizarding World

We can learn a lot from the theme parks at Disney, Universal, and others. Amusement can be worth the price of admission. Let’s make our centers worth visiting even if you NEVER step foot in a “shop”. The Landlord’s job is to get shoppers on the premises. This is one amazing opportunity for study.

Realizing that every center can’t (and probably shouldn’t) be an amusement park, make sure that yours is the most envied of its class.  If you are a pure convenience center, make sure that the parking is easiest, that the building is clean, that trash is properly put away.  Look for opportunities to make it even MORE convenient; add an ATM, have a pick-up and drop-off zone, offer wi-fi in the parking lot or anything else that may make running an errand easier and more enjoyable.

EVERYONE loves to be at the front of the line, on the right side of the velvet rope or receiving perks. Additionally, if their is a strong sense of perceived value for the services, people will even pay for the privilege.

One idea is to follow the highly enviable Costco model – charge a membership subscription. According to the Wall Street Journal, in one quarter of 2014, Costco made $784 million dollars from membership revenue.  While this only represents about 5% of their total sales – this is nearly pure profit.  Why not create a zone in the center that is for members only and that allows customers to get other perks such as priority and/or free parking, baby sitting, express check-out or other low-cost benefits.  In a podcast for NPR’s PlanetMoney program, Gary W. Loveman, chairman, president and CEO of Caesars Entertainment Corp., stated that one of the keys to their Total Rewards program was to deliver perks with high perceived value, but with little or no cost.  He stated that he loved velvet ropes, because it is nearly free to create VIP areas and then access.

belly-logo-light-0430319ae10c277ef1cc792cb201c756Try developing a simple loyalty plan for your center (or better yet entire brand) similar to the one developed by the company Belly. You get points for merely showing up!  Maybe more points buy doing things (scavenger hunts, participating in events, tweeting about the center). Even more when they buy stuff.  By embracing with both hands the mobile and beacon technologies available today, you can easily reward your loyal customers by being the place to be.

4. The Internet of Things
Apple Watch review (3)-650-80

Wearable technologies are big buzz for 2015. The Apple Watch (no longer iWatch by the way) is set to release on April 24th and will be leading the charge for not only all things wearable, but all things internet. Be prepared for the Jetson’s house to become a near reality and soon. According to Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG), they predict some 25 billion devices will be connected by 2015, and 50 billion by 2020. This will change everything that we do, the way that we do it and will present unimaginable opportunities to change the ways that we will want to see it, experience it and buy it.

The Jetsons

If we change our perspective just a little bit, we can 1) overcome our fear of show rooming and 2) break down the barriers of the traditional retail threshold. The common area can be leveraged as a mutual platform for intentional display and product performance. The shopping center has so many advantages over every other class of real estate and should be the very first space to completely embrace the internet of things. Interactive media boards to check your Facebook and check in on your foursquare accounts. Parking retrieval apps. Interactive vending machines/kiosks that create custom items.  The more that we accept that

5. Smaller, shorter, partnered, omni-everything
The shopping center by creation was the second great evolution of the omni-channel experience (department stores laying claim to the first place spot).  It was the one place where you could get and do a lot of different stuff with a single trip.  Facts are facts and most retailers are shrinking their footprints.  They are evolving to meet their customers’ needs, but the centers are reacting to these needs rather than looking for new opportunities.  Fundamentally this means that centers need to find additional retailers to fill what will be a gap.

A creative new method for investment and financing will be required to take advantage of these opportunities.  If not, the cool new restaurants and retailers will choose some other location than your center.  We’ll be stuck with test-tube corporate concepts.  Shorter term leases coupled with an online presence can be one way to capture new concepts.  With a more collaborative and less “collect the rent” mentality, centers can actually expand their traditional store selections by incubating new online only concepts.  This seems like sacrilege, but it if we keep relying on others to take all the risk, we will be left with no reward.

Take a look at two of the most talked about brands that have come from clicks to bricks: Warby Parker and Bonobos.  Both of the men’s focused retailers proved their concept “on the line” and have become upscale darlings.  Bonobos operates out of 900 sf+/- and creates an experience for having custom wearables chosen and measured in store.  Your final garment is then delivered to your house in a couple of days.  Warby Parker has changed the way we purchase eyeglasses.  They have hip traditional frames which are fun and affordable sent to your house to try on for free.  Just choose the one you like and tell them your prescription – glasses arrive in a couple of days.  The key here is that they tried their new business out WITHOUT paying the 8 – 12% occupancy cost typical of having a location in the mall.  When they were ready, they chose to pay for the advantages of a physical locale.


Using this as an example then expand even more deeply with intentional pop-up/short term tenants.  Put together a small area of new concepts only (good place for velvet rope access).  Call it designer market.  Pick out the freshest styles and make everyone else envious.  This becomes YOUR minor league farm team for the seasons to come.  Get something for the space while you are raising your crop.  Not all will work, but the more that Owners and Tenants collaborate, on nearly everything moving forward, the better it will be for everyone.

Retail is changing, just like it always has.  Is your center going to be the one that gets outpaced?  Be bold and take advantage of the opportunities that all centers have at their disposal to steer your center for lasting success.


work.shop Attends BuildWorlds Demo Night

BuiltWorlds Demo Night
On what is becoming all too typical a cold winter night a couple of weeks ago in Chicago, work.shop CEO, Michael Greeby, attended BuiltWorlds Demo Night (@builtworlds #bwdemonight). This unique event allowed participants to touch, feel and try a number of cutting edge products in the fields of virtual reality, wearable technology, digital scanning, 3D printing, mobile applications, and Internet of Things (IoT).

The evening started out with a mixer and idea exchange where attendees could meet the sponsors and personally experience their technologies. Spirited discussions among the group centered on how technology is and will impact the built environment.

Kevin Carr of MasterGraphics (@mgitweets) and his team scanned the BuiltWorlds headquarters as well as showcased their 3D printing abilities by displaying gorgeous architectural models and live printing a modern styled vase.

Amr Thameen (@AmrThameen) of irisVR (@vrviz) let me try on their Occulus Rift VR glasses to walk through a SketchUp model which they converted with a drag and a drop into their software. Nothing cooler than a real me in a virtual model of the famous Eames House. Creating a new store prototype, shopping center or renovation will never be the same once this technology becomes widely adopted and it should be. Soon.

work.shop VR

Josh Golden (@jgolden3), CEO of tableXI (@tablexi) spoke about applying software’s Agile Design Process to the design and construction industry. His hack everything philosophy is starting to gain tracking in the industry. I had presented similar concepts from +rehabstudios (@rehabstudios) at my 12 Ideas in 60 Minutes presentation at ICSC CenterBuild 2014. Coincidentally enough, industry leading retail MEP engineers, Larson Binkley, visited work.shop to show how they are deploying this philosophy to their design process.

Watch the video for those who missed the event.

Bonus: If you are the first post the correct number of work.shop sightings in the video – I’ll give you something cool.

12 Ideas in 60 Minutes – presentation

Dean Pritchard of WLS Lighting and I presented to a packed house our 12 Ideas in 60 Minutes presentation at ICSC CenterBuild 2014. Below you can find our presentation, but you unfortunately will not get to enjoy the commentary and insight of our live performance – sorry. Don’t hesitate to call either of us to find out why we are so keen on these ideas.

5 Reasons Why TurboScan kicks app!

I love digital files, but I hate scanning paper and most particularly receipts. While traveling on business this week, my client asked for copies of the receipts from my trip so that they could verify my invoice. Ugh! If I were back in my office, I would have gotten the job done by using my NEAT scanner or my all-in-one printer/copier/scanner/faxer (when was the last time I used that function?). However, I was at the airport and they wanted them that instant to get into their pay run. What to do?

TurboScann_logoThen it dawned on me – TurboScan. This mobile device app, which is available for both Operating systems, uses the camera feature of your phone to quickly and accurately scan paperwork. An associate of mine recommended it to me and now was the perfect chance to take her our for a test run. It worked like a charm and my check is in the mail. Below see 3 reasons why it kicks app.

#1 It is really easy to use
7 steps and you are done. Click app > click camera tab > take picture > reposition red points (rarely required) > choose contrast (of of 5 choices) > add more sheets or done > share.

#2 It gets it right
The app selects the correct boundaries of the document with a red box nearly perfectly every time. If it is off, the receipt is crinkled or bent or you only want a portion of the document, then the points and sliders easily allow you to adjust as needed.

#3 High quality scan
The images it takes provide a high contrast and make the text very legible. I like to leave the contrast in the second darkest mode to get the best view. I rarely have to change it.

#4 Allows multiple pagesTurboScan-multipage
You do not need to perform individual scans of each document or receipt and then manually combine them. Once you have completed one look down and to the right, down and to the right, down … and to the right for the page+ icon. Press it and start scanning your next page. Boom! Auto-combine.

#5 It is worth every penny
All of the function is supremely worth the 299 pennies it costs to download. Very few apps value exceed their price tag, but TurboScan, hands down, kills it.

Now if only I can find a way to never have to submit an expense report again; that is an app I’d certainly buy.

20 CRE Apps in 20 Days

Follow our twitter feed @workshopMG and retweet for a chance to win an iTunes gift card so that you can buy all of our favorite apps. Winner will be announced on January 1, 2014.