The Evolution of Retail Design
DESIGN BRIEF | May 2019
The Evolution of Retail Design
MV+A started retail design in the 1970’s and has been a part of the dramatic change in the retail environment during the past four decades. Retail has evolved into the core component of many of today’s mixed‑use developments, and MV+A remains an expert in the industry in solving the technical and placemaking challenges to deliver top quality retail. This month our design brief looks at several our retail projects completed in the last decade, along with projects currently under construction and on the boards.
Brandywine Crossing, Brandywine, MD | completed 2008
Brandywine Crossing is a new retail development that provides a sense of identity to Brandywine, MD, along the US 301 corridor in southern Prince George’s County. A sixty‑plus acre development that includes six large‑format anchor retailers, the town center design of the in‑line retail creates a welcoming image for residents. Numerous public plazas, covered arcades, and careful masonry detailing create a real sense of place for the community. Prior to this development, there was a dearth of options for Brandywine residents to shop for groceries and enjoy an evening dining out. The addition of a Costco, Target, and Safeway, along with numerous smaller retail and restaurant venues, solved that problem.
Arlington Ridge Shopping Center, Arlington, VA | completed 2011
An early 1980’s strip shopping center tucked away on South Glebe Road, Arlington Ridge Shopping Center was underutilized and overlooked in its location away from the denser retail centers of Arlington, VA. A dramatic renovation using sustainable, reclaimed redwood and contemporary painted steel details brought this center back to life and created an inviting, pedestrian‑friendly environment. This redesign and rebranding of the shopping center led to new leases for a completely upgraded merchandising mix. Enhanced landscaping and the creation of outdoor seating areas with festive lighting and canopies completely turned this underutilized shopping center into a vibrant neighborhood gathering place.
Travilah Square, Rockville, MD | completed 2018
MV+A worked with Finmarc Management, Inc. to renovate and expand the existing Travilah Square Shopping Center. Already a popular retail destination, the project transformed the three dated in‑line retail buildings with a complete facelift and new façade. The shopping center’s overall plan was enhanced by the replacement of a small office building and fast food establishment with a new retail building that faces the other existing retail buildings, bringing more visibility to them both. The new building includes a Trader Joe’s as the primary tenant.
Spring House Village, Lower Gwynedd Township, PA | completed 2018
MV+A undertook a total redesign and repositioning of Spring House Village Center in Lower Gwynedd Township, PA. The center, now anchored by a Whole Foods Market, consists of six new buildings carefully placed on the rolling hills of the eighteen‑acre site. The architecture reflects the agrarian vernacular of early buildings constructed by the area’s original Quaker settlers, with their influence seen through the generous use of fieldstone veneer, simple sloped roof forms, and minimal, crisp detailing. Long‑time tenants were accommodated during the redevelopment; the popular restaurant, Arpeggio’s BYOB, has been relocated into a purpose‑built building with an outdoor dining terrace overlooking Willow Run. Through this new development, Spring House Village has become an essential gathering place for residents of Lower Gwynedd Township.
Riverdale Park Station, Riverdale Park, MD | phase 2 completed 2018
MV+A designed the master plan of the thirty‑eight‑acre Riverdale Park Station in Prince George’s County, which includes 160,000 square feet of commercial space, including shops, restaurants, a Whole Foods Market, and a Gold’s Gym; 22,000 square feet of offices; and nearly 1,000 residential units. This past year saw the completion of the second phase of retail development, including all of the commercial buildings, which have been extremely successful in terms of leasing and drawing people to not only shop, but live and work in Riverdale Park. Construction continues with the third phase of Riverdale Park Station to increase the residential offerings in the development.
Tysons West Phase III, Vienna, VA | completion 2019
Building on the success of MV+A’s Walmart‑anchored Tysons West project, Tysons West’s phase III provides an interim surface‑parked retail solution with the introduction of new in‑line retail buildings. Conveniently located at the corner of Leesburg Pike and Westwood Center Drive opposite the new Metro station, the location, along with access to a grocery store and a stable office population, positions Tysons West III to be a popular and convenient fast casual dining option for this area. The project consists of four single story retail buildings that combine to add to 22,800 square feet of retail to Tysons West.
Kentlands Market Square, Gaithersburg, MD | completion 2019
Kentlands Market Square, a well‑established community shopping center in the city of Gaithersburg, is undergoing a major façade renovation that reimagines the existing center with updated materials and design. MV+A has worked with the client to create a more pedestrian friendly retail experience, with the help of a wide new Paseo, or outdoor path, cutting through one of the former big box store buildings. The Paseo is a lively outdoor corridor that draws pedestrians from the parking area to the center’s Main Street. Multiple opportunities for outdoor seating with retail facades facing the Paseo have attracted a more animated tenant mix that is sure to become a destination for the community.
MV+A is venturing west next week! Firm Associates Russell Zung, Neville Fernandes, and Brian Szymanski will be attending the International Council of Shopping Center’s (ICSC) RECon 2019 from May 19th‑22nd at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. ICSC RECon is yearly global gathering of developers, owners, brokers, and retailers for retail real estate development.
NEWS | May 14, 2019
Apartment developers expect to receive higher rents when a new grocery store opens next door, but a new report sheds light on which grocery chains come with the largest rent premiums and where in the D.C. region that premium tends to be highest. Google Maps The Whole Foods at 101 H St. SE, in WC Smith’s The Collective development, opened in September Across the D.C. region, apartments near a new grocery store had rents more than 5% higher than the submarket average at the time of the store’s opening, Newmark Knight Frank’s Grocery Store Effect report found. NKF’s report analyzed 55 grocery stores across the region that have opened since January 2014 and 402 apartment properties within a nearby radius, defined as a half-mile for the District and 1 mile for Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland. NKF Research Director Bethany Schneider said she expected to find grocery stores associated with higher rents, but was surprised by the magnitude of the rent premium. “The overall premium of 5.1% higher than the submarket average was pretty surprising,” Schneider said. “That is a significant premium.” The rent premium was highest in the District, with apartments near new D.C. grocery stores achieving an 11.4% premium over the submarket average at the time of the store’s opening. The premium was 4.2% in suburban Maryland and 3.5% in Northern Virginia. Schneider attributed this to fewer people owning cars in the District than in the suburbs. “Having a grocery store right there is a lot more important when you don’t have a car than it is in the suburbs when you could go further,” Schneider said. “I think that’s why the premiums in D.C. area are a lot more than in the suburbs, because the accessibility is more important.” Courtesy of Newmark Knight Frank A graph from NKF’s report showing grocery-related rent premiums across the D.C. region The report compared rent prices upon the stores’ opening with the latest rent price as of Q1, finding that the rent premium around most new grocery stores peaks when the store opens and then decreases over time. Additionally, it found apartment rents begin increasing after the announcement of a new store, even if the store has not yet opened. “We attributed it to the novelty of a new store,” Schneider said. “Apartment owners are able to market that there is a brand-new grocery store less than a mile away and bake that into their rental rates.” Rent premiums were much higher in apartment developments anchored by grocery stores in the ground floor, rather than just being within a short walk, the report found. In the District, grocery-anchored apartments achieved a 10.4% premium over other apartments within a half-mile radius and a 24.6% premium over the submarket average. Stonebridge Managing Principal Doug Firstenberg, who developed the Harris Teeter-anchored Constitution Square in NoMa and Flats 8300 in Bethesda and recently signed Wegmans to anchor an Alexandria project, said he consistently sees higher rents for grocery-anchored projects, and now underwrites that premium when projecting finances for new developments. “Our theory when we did our first grocery store and apartment building in 2006 was that we would certainly see a rate premium and hopefully a lease-up premium,” Firstenberg said. “Having now done that several times, without question we have seen both. We have also seen an occupancy premium on a long-term basis.” Whole Foods, the popular organic grocer commonly associated with rising housing prices, achieved the highest rent premium, NKF’s report found. Apartments near new Whole Foods stores had 8.4% rent premiums over the submarket average at the time of the stores’ opening. But Safeway was not far behind, achieving an 8.2% rent premium upon the opening of the store. Harris Teeter came next with a 7.9% premium, followed by Lidl with 5.9%, Giant with 4.2%, Trader Joe’s with 2.9% and Aldi with a 2.6% premium. Schneider said the sample sizes when measuring individual grocery store chains were smaller than the full data set and more likely to be affected by outliers and other factors affecting rent prices. For example, the opening of Safeway stores in Hyattsville and Petworth achieved 19.2% and 18.4% premiums, respectively, which were much higher premiums than the other Safeways measured. Google Maps The Safeway at 3702 East-West Highway in Hyattsville The Hyattsville Safeway at 3702 East-West Highway, which opened in 2016 as part of an Echo Real Estate development, shows the conditions that can lead grocery stores to be associated with massive rent spikes. “In the case of the one on East-West Highway, that whole development was new and was in an area that is quickly developing with higher amenities in a place that didn’t have them before,” Schneider said. “For that reason, rents are rising pretty rapidly there.” Studying apartment rents associated with new grocery stores presents a natural chicken-and-egg dilemma, Schneider said, because grocery stores can cause rent spikes, but they also tend to open in areas already experiencing rent increases. But she said that distinction should not matter for apartment developers. “It’s a little bit of both, but in the end the premium seems to be present across the board, so for developers the reason behind the premium is less significant than the fact the premium is there,” Schneider said. “It seems grocery stores are a good bet for developers in every case.”
NEWS | May 2, 2019
In 2016, the plans to redevelop the McMillan Reservoir and Sand Filtration Site were about to get started. However, an appellate court decision put a halt to the project later that year, and it has been stuck in limbo ever since.
As the controversial redevelopment plan for the site remains under appeal, the Zoning Commission unanimously approved a two-year extension for the approved planned-unit development earlier this week.
Vision McMillan Partners (VMP) plans to develop the 25-acre industrial site between North Capitol and First Streets and Michigan Avenue and Channing Street NW (map) into 146 townhouses, 531 apartments, an eight-acre park, a community center, medical office buildings, and retail including a grocery store. VMP is made up of Jair Lynch Real Estate Partners, EYA, Trammell Crow, and architects MV+A Architects, Shalom Baranes and Perkins Eastman.
With the extension approval, all portions of the PUD remain valid until March 2021, or for two years from the conclusion of the appeals.