Farmington Hills, Michigan

Increasing value through design

A hot trend for today's retail developers focuses on their continued quest to find and analyze real estate sites to support their investment goals. Whether urban or suburban, existing or undeveloped, the location must be right for new, expansion or rejuvenation opportunities. This strategy especially applies to many existing regional centers that at one time held a captive market. New competition, or an under-served growing market, sponsors potential improvements. Two recent completions to existing centers by JPRA are Woodland Mall in Grand Rapids, Mich. and Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg, Md. — both of which are additions and renovations in the form of a new food court. “The strategy for planning and design alternatives to existing facilities requires due diligence and proven experience, which JPRA has,” says James Ryan, president of Farmington Hills, Mich.-based JPRA Architects.

New regional centers will continue to infill select growth areas of the country that match both developer and department store criteria for growth. Two examples are JPRA's The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano, Texas, a 1.5 million-sq.-ft. center, and The Mall at Robinson in Pittsburgh, an 800,000-sq.-ft. center, both of which opened in October 2001. These centers were each designed to complement the customer profile, and span the spectrum of high and middle-market merchandise. The Shops at Willow Bend in Texas, is designed in a contemporary version of Texas mission, while The Mall at Robinson, located in the steel belt, has a beautifully designed interior with warm woods and abundant use of glass in its contemporary environment.

Occasionally, a hybrid location will spawn a unique opportunity that requires creative skills beyond the accepted norm. Such is JPRA's designs for The Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Fla. A 1.2 million sq. ft. high fashion regional development. “We were asked to design a project that would ultimately become a Florida landmark and prove to be the retail destination of choice for local residents, guests, and tourists,” says Ryan. “A magnificent space and a timeless theme based on man's relationship to the universe, earth and time, that combine with beautiful materials to create a contemporary environment resulting in an enduring and valued property.”

JPRA has recently completed Fountain Walk in Novi, Mich. a 740,000-sq.-ft. lifestyle/entertainment project and The Village of Rochester Hills, a 380,000-sq.-ft. Main Street project in Rochester Hills, Mich. that will open in October 2002. JPRA's resort project Bay Harbor Marina District, in Petoskey, Mich. is a classic example of mixing lifestyle, residential, retail, and office creating an entire town and destination on a Lake Michigan setting.

For the past 10 years other uses have been blended with traditional retail such as residential, office, civic, cultural, and even educational components. As an example of urban-infill, JPRA's designs for Palladium, in downtown Birmingham, Mich., is a replacement for a vacated department store. The combined uses a total of over 200,000 sq. ft. and consist of street level retail and restaurants crowned overhead with a 12-screen cinema. This bright new star for the city is bringing a resurged vitality to the north end of this wealthy community.

“More than ever, JPRA's primary focus at JPRA Architects is to fully comprehend the development goals and deliver quality design measured by time and increased value of the property,” says Ryan.