Retail and entertainment combine to attract shoppers

Here's a concept: Buy a mattress and a table and catch an IMAX movie under the same roof.

It's what Jordan's Furniture, with the design help of Carter & Burgess, intends to make possible at its Natick, Mass., store. The store already has its share of unusual features, including a themed main thoroughfare that makes people feel they're walking along Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

Such concepts exemplify the notion that people want more from their retailing experience — a notion retailers are bending over backwards to deliver.

“Jordan's has a strong entertainment bent in its retail philosophy and believes that people ought to have a good time, rather than just being a place to buy a sofa,” says David Moore, Carter & Burgess's national director of retail design. “Smart retailers and developers are looking at providing special environments that are landmarks in their communities and entertaining attractions.”

Moore sees other trends involving non-traditional retail projects, including those placed in transportation centers, hotels and casinos. Seminole Paradise in Hollywood, Fla., is an example. Anchored by a Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Seminole Paradise will feature a 5,000-seat live concert venue and a string of nightclubs, restaurants and retail. “The integrating of a retail and entertainment project with a casino makes this project very unique,” says Moore.

Carter & Burgess has recognized a demand for lifestyle centers that incorporate Main Street concepts in their designs. “Consumers are more sophisticated. They want something more than running into a mall and making a purchase,” notes Moore. That's one reason for the growing trend toward Main Street lifestyle centers. “It's about quality of life and being able to do multiple things that are part of a person's rich life, versus doing just the most expedient thing,” Moore says.

A Main Street project with a distinctive flair — as well as location — is The Walk in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This 450,000-sq.-ft. retail and entertainment complex will be located on seven city blocks and will link the Boardwalk casino area with the Atlantic City Convention Center through the use of specialty and outlet retail as well as restaurants and nightclubs.

“The Walk will have a contemporary theme that also mixes in elements of the 1920s and 1930s Boardwalk,” says Moore. “A two-level ‘Cityopoly’ entertainment center will anchor the complex, with a curved structure that will attract visitors down Michigan Avenue.”

While these projects may combine different elements in a dramatic way, the mix of retailers and entertainment components must be carefully balanced. “Each project has to be tailored very specifically to a client's and location's needs to hit the mark just right and make it successful,” says Moore.