Outlets of Des Moines


Our team has been working on the Outlets of Des Moines for the past year managing the entire retail delivery process on behalf of New England Development (NED) and the Greeby Companies. Part of our job has been to create custom systems for the project, including a DDCM and our newest tenant coordination software. Outlets of Des Moines will be an exciting new shopping destination located just outside of Iowa’s thriving capital. Opening in October 2017, Outlets of Des Moines will feature over 300,000 square feet of retail and dining options in the growing entertainment hub of Altoona. The first round of tenants that have been announced to the public include big names such as Nike, Under Armour, Vera Bradley, Vanity Fair and many more.

Things are moving quickly on site with NED as we turn-over Tenant spaces in anticipation of Grand Opening. Check out the live construction cam in the link below.


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).

A Mall Divided – Planet Money Episode 562

Although this is 1 year old, it is still an interesting listen into the wonderful world of retail and politics.

5 Phases of Retail Tenant Delivery

You’ve created your merchandising plan with the perfect tenant mix. You’ve honed your development pro forma to pencil. Your team is out on the street chasing down the deals that you need to meet or exceed your vision and financial goals. We’re done – right?

Retail development is a fine balance of art and science. The next step is to have a clear process that allows your team to deliver the many, many promises that you have or will be making to your retail tenants. The 5 Phases of Retail Tenant Delivery below provide the battle tested framework for successful and happy merchants at your shopping center.

Phase 01 – Leasing Support


We all know that time kills deals, so having the support needed to answer Tenant inquiries quickly and accurately is invaluable. The retail delivery manager (aka Tenant Manager, Tenant Coordinator) acts as concierge and liaison (that’s a lot of French) by setting up the Design Criteria, tracking and reporting systems, and answering questions regarding the premises to facilitate design and construction. Knowing the proper amount of electrical capacity required by a Tenant and not delivering more than is needed can frequently save $20,000+.

Phase 02 – Design & Plan Review

plan grid

The devil is in the details and it is imperative to double check on paper that which is being planned. With great team work and collaboration, both the Tenant and Landlord can meet and exceed the design standards set in the Design Criteria Manual. Great design maximizes quality and constructability while minimizing cost. It is SOOOO much easier to move a wall on paper versus one that has already been installed. This is the time to measure twice because you can only cut once.

Phase 03 – Landlord Construction

construction dude

There are 24 traditional Landlord work items that can be required for Tenant delivery. The construction lease exhibit (Exhibit B or C) defines which of those are required to be delivered by the Landlord for each Tenant. Tracking, designing, coordinating, bidding, contracting, installing and then delivering these items are critical for Tenant premises acceptance and space turn-over.

work.letter-logo(Try our free work.letter checklist web app to abstract and confirm completion of each for all of your Tenants.)

Phase 04 – Tenant Improvement

key turn over

Landlord turn-over and Tenant premises acceptance is one of the most important milestones in the process. However, this is where the fun really starts. Tenant contractor check-in, daily coordination, material delivery and staging, scheduling municipal inspections, merchandising and all other tenant fit-out activities are all critical tasks required to get the Tenant open and ready for business. This is as much art as it is a science and great communication, coordination and negotiation skills can make the difference whether a store opens its doors and rings its registers.

Phase 05 – Close-out

close-out binders

This often overlooked phase is critical because it verifies and validates that all parties have lived up to their construction obligations. While creating the punchlist is the obvious activity, Tenants should provide to the Landlord all required documentation including the certificate of occupancy, final lien waivers, as-built drawings, schedule of construction values, and all other documentation required to satisfy the release of Tenant contractor security deposits and Tenant Allowances. This final administration phase makes the commencement of lease administration possible and marks a successful fit-out.

Follow this time and battle tested sequence for retail tenant delivery and you will be insured that you deliver all of your promises while getting more of your Tenants open on time.

Tenant Allowance vs. Landlord Work

Tenant Allowance should be inversely proportional to Landlord Work.  Specifically if the LL provides more work, Tenant Allowance should be lowered.  Below please find a graphic which illustrates the range of values based upon real industry averages.

Tenant Allowance vs Landlord Work

work.shop Teaches at ICSC University

Screen Shot 2015-02-18 at 9.37.14 AM

On March 10, 2015, work.shop CEO, Michael Greeby, instructed Managing The Tenant Coordination Process class with Ben Wood, Vice President of The Greeby Companies, Inc., at the International Council of Shopping Center’s (ICSC) University of Shopping Centers at Penn’s Wharton School in Philadelphia. More than 20 industry professionals came from across the country to attend this special 3 hour course. Nine key topics were covered including, the basics of retail and development, the job and its requirements, the lease and its many important provisions and how to properly set up and use systems and tracking to accelerate the process.


Michael and Ben’s spirited and energized presentation style had them “passing the mic” back and forth while also incorporating real world exercises and hands-on learning by the attendees. “The retail delivery process has two main goals: to deliver promises and get tenants open” said Michael. “The course breaks down the complicated process and explains exactly how to accomplish these goals. I look forward to the opportunity to teach again.”

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 Essential Tools for Grand Opening Crunch Crew

Avalon GOIt is a week before the big day – Grand Opening. Tenants are merchandising (hopefully). Development and Construction are obtaining municipal sign-offs and cleaning the property. Management, Operations and Marketing are preparing for the cast of thousands which will flock to the center. The last week is a push and all the last minute unforeseen items start to appear which the Owner’s “Crunch Crew” need to manage, fix, or hide.

Here are 5 essential tools that every member of the Owner’s “Crew” need to have in their backpack to quickly tackle some of these last minute challenges:

1) Black Duct Tape
This stuff is so versatile, it can literally do anything. Whether you use it to hold together various dissimilar materials, post notes, act as punchlist deficiency item indicator, or as a quick substitute for paint, it does it all.


Cost:  $6

2) Paint Brush(es)
Blemishes, nicks, dents, scratches and eyesores occur frequently on a job and a last minute hit of paint can quickly conceal the problem until proper repair is done after GO.


Cost:  $10

3) Outlet Circuit Analyzer
Access to power is essential. Nothing is more frustrating and time consuming than trying to find a live outlet. Test first before plugging in with this handy tool. Finding an operating plug can make the difference between success and failure.


Cost:  $5

4) Utility Knife / Box cutter
The amount of cardboard on the site is insane. Nothing comes in more handy to cut down boxes, open plastic straps, snap drywall, or carve down edges like this simple tool.


Cost:  $5

5) Work Gloves
You inevitably will be moving tons of stuff. Boxes, brooms, wood, drywall, planters, you name it and you do not want to get hurt or have some of that gunk on your hands minutes before shaking a big-wig’s hand.


Cost:  $10


5 Bonus Tools:
6. Sharpie(s)
Writes on anything.

7. Tape Measure
Measure twice, cut once.

8. Extension Cord
Get power where you need it.

9. Broom
You can never sweep enough times.

10. Silicone Adhesive (paintable)
Makes everything weathertight.

I carry all of this stuff in a small backpack made by Patagonia (Atom Sling) so that I can have my hands free, but quick and easy access to these and other tools.
These 5+ tools mentioned above can quickly and easily solve just about any problem encountered in the waning moments before Grand Opening, shy of obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy. Don’t visit the project before GO without them.

Top 10+ Signage Review Notes

I love signage! I’ve been reviewing A LOT of signs in preparation for the Grand Opening of Avalon, a 385,000 SF mixed-use center in Alpharetta, GA. I shared my Top 5 favorite (and most common) Signage Review Comments on the Tenant Coordination Forum on LinkedIn. After some great discussion, below please find for your downloading pleasure and use, two sets of standard Landlord notes which contain all of the groups favs.

(Right click and “Save Image As”)

Signage General Notes2