MAPIC 2017: Experiential Is the Name of the Game at Retail Projects Around the World


Shopping for shopping’s sake is not good enough anymore at retail projects around the world.

In an effort to draw interest in their centers and malls, developers are amping up their entertainment options, Commercial Observer learned at this year’s MAPIC in Cannes, France.

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“We realized a long time ago that it was about more than just retail,” Don Ghermezian, the president of U.S. developer Triple Five Group, said during one of the panel discussions at the three-day conference. “Experience is a huge component to our centers.”

At the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, N.J., Triple Five is building American Dream Meadowlands—a retail and entertainment complex with “multiple experiential components,” Ghermezian said, including an indoor ski slope, a Nickelodeon Universe theme park and a DreamWorks-branded park. The long-delayed project, formerly known as Xanadu, is slated to open in spring 2019.

Other developers are thinking innovatively, as well. At the Mall of Switzerland, which opened this month, there is an indoor adventure park and augmented reality LED wall, while a Fanpekka children’s theme park, indoor gaming center and Olympic-sized ice rink can be found at the recently opened Suzhou Center Mall in Suzhou, in eastern China.

And in Malaga, Spain, a theme park, aquarium and open-air skiing facility will be coming to Intu Costa del Sol, when it’s completed in 2021.

One of the leisure plays bandied about at the international retail property trade show was trampoline parks, MAPIC Director Nathalie Depetro told CO.

In general, she noted, leisure options combined with food and beverage offerings are “a trend you cannot miss this year,” with retail developers recognizing the “need to entertain people” in addition to providing more traditional shopping options.