PHOTO BY EDWARD WONSEK PHOTO BY BRIAN VANDEN BRINK Rendering of the Framingham Development

Today’s active consumers want to make memories for themselves and their families in a way they can’t at traditional retailers, that’s why architects and designers are creating destinations that offer experiences. While this used to mean mixing in a restaurant or movie theater, the concept has evolved into something that might be called recreational retail, which engages visitors with an experience they can’t get anywhere else…especially online.

Creating active destinations like indoor trampoline parks or laser-tag don’t just offer fun, they’re a smart business model that’s insulated against the trend of “e-tailing” or e-commerce. Considering e-commerce revenue increased during the 2015 holiday season by 12.1% over the year before, you can understand why even traditional retailers are going outside the box to attract foot traffic.

We at Arrowstreet are involved with several developments that feature these 21st century experiences, including a pedestrian-oriented Framingham development that will include a Kings bowling alley, restaurants with outdoor seating, and iFLY indoor sky diving. Kings is not just bowling; it’s a restaurant and bar…and a meeting place. By locating their spaces among more traditional retail, iFLY and Kings benefit, as do their neighbors. We’ve outfitted that development with multi-use paths on either end of the property that connect this destination with surrounding neighborhoods.

Brooklyn Boulders, a rock-climbing gym that is a true community space, is focused on making these experiences accessible to all. The spaces accommodate birthday parties, ping pong tables, speaking programs such as TedX, and a host of activities that don’t involve climbing. Arrowstreet has worked with Brooklyn Boulders to develop a look and feel in a number of locations across the U.S. In Chicago, its home is the city’s West Loop, a hot spot for tech companies that enables employees to easily pop in and out for a workout. At its Somerville outpost, the rock gym is providing climbers with collaborative work spaces, party rooms, and coffee bars.

These active, recreation destinations have joined supermarkets, Target, and Walmart as smart and strategic anchors for today’s lifestyle centers.” After all, the more memorable the experience, the higher the probability consumers will come back.

Topics: Retail