“Lifestyle centers” originated in United States. Will a new-generation shopping mall become established in Japan?
With sophisticated interior and exterior as well as attractive tenant shops, these shopping centers succeeded to stimulate buying motives of Japanese consumers and to become established as fashionable and convenient commercial facility.
Most of these shopping centers are box type facilities where many tenant shops are enclosed as a whole with a big roof of one building, called “enclosed malls” in United States. Now in the United States, however, enclosed malls of “cookie-cutter” style are regarded as a thing of the past, while open-air shopping centers without roof are enjoying popularity.
TYPICAL OPEN-AIR TYPE SHOPPING CENTER
One representative of open-air type shopping centers is a lifestyle center. In general, a lifestyle center is a congregate facility of free standing shops without any special anchor tenant. It features elaborate building complex, beautiful landscape including boardwalks and fountains, entertainment facilities including cinema complex and selected restaurants, and parking lots just in front of tenant shops for convenient shopping. A lifestyle center is not just a place where people come to buy goods, but a place where people stay for an extended period of time to enjoy their own life (lifestyle).
The history of a congregate style shopping center can go back to some decades ago. Country Club Plaza, opening in Kansas City, Missouri in 1922 and being the oldest shopping center in the United States, is an open-air style facility. Actually this is an outstanding lifestyle center which provides more than 120 retail shops adopting Spanish architecture as well as arts and fountains of European taste, leading to continued high popularity.
However, lifestyle centers, a key player among the current shopping centers in the Unites States, are products of “New Wave” generated in the 1990’s, when consumers were leaving ticky-tacky regional shopping centers which are representative of enclosed malls. Though lifestyle centers are statistically found in less than 200 areas only, the number of them is increasing because most of new developments assume this style.
Now, lifestyle centers demonstrate a clear tendency toward diversification. Development vectors are separated into various models. For example, “authentic tradition oriented” model as found in the town square in Las Vegas, California, where traditional architecture styles all over the world are incorporated into buildings, “amenity oriented” model as found in The Americana at Brand in Glendale, California, where a massive fountain square and facility for relaxation are provided, and “miniature city oriented” model as found in The Domain in Austin, Texas, where retail tenants, restaurants, offices, residences, and even hotels are located in one site of as large as 700,000 square feet for so-called synergy.
EXPECTATION FOR FULL-SCALE PREVALENCE IN JAPANFollowing in the footsteps of the United States, Japan seems to gradually challenge lifestyle centers. However, full-scale American lifestyle centers have not emerged yet. Despite different opinions, I expect lifestyle centers are also increasing in Japan.
I believe lifestyle centers can provide the best relaxation space for such people.Tomoo Noguchi,
Tomoo Noguchi | ResearchSEA
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