As part of a $1.7 million renovation at the Parkville Shopping Center at 7709 Harford Road in Baltimore, Regency Centers Corp (NYSE:REG) is using a new Washington, D.C.-based crowdsourcing platform called Popularise to secure leasing recommendations from local residents.
Through signage and store flyers, local residents are encouraged to visit https://www.popularise.com/parkville to suggest preferred retail uses and business names for stores and restaurants they want to see opened at the center. The site also encourages visitors to comment and vote on submissions made by others.
The leasing recommendations will be considered as part of the grocery-anchored center?s renovation, which has begun construction.
Parkville Shopping Center is a 161,734-square-foot neighborhood center anchored by Giant, which replaced and renovated a former Super Fresh. The center?s retail space is currently 93 percent leased.
Popularise was created last year by Washington D.C. commercial real estate investors, and brothers, Ben and Dan Miller. The site aims to encourage local communities to bring their market knowledge, ideas and support to actively shape their neighborhoods.
Currently, the site features 11 commercial real estate projects, primarily urban, in four U.S. cities.
?Crowdsourcing is a new term, but asking customers about their shopping preferences has always been integral to strong tenant merchandising," said Jack deVilliers, leasing agent for center owner Regency Centers. "Social media and new technology, like Popularise, allows us to reach more people in a nontraditional way.?
Located inside the Beltway just outside of Baltimore, Parkville Shopping Center was built in 1961 and renovated in 1999. Regency purchased the property in 2005.
The success of the Popularise program "depends upon the number of people who engage with the site and the quality of leads," added deVilliers. "We hope to uncover local or regional favorites that will add further charm to a neighborhood center that has been part of the area for more than 50 years.?
The center?s remodel will include a new exterior fa?ade and architectural elements, upgraded signage, improved landscaping and parking lot enhancements. The center design was created by Bignell Watkins Hasser Architects in Annapolis, Md.
The ?corrugated? metal fa?ade will be updated with horizontal hardy plank, simulating a woodgrain finish, in earth tone colors. Tying in with the center?s heritage, a new botanical-themed logo will be added to center signage, honoring the original landowner?s donation of property for a nearby park on Taylor Avenue between Chestnut and Oak Avenues. The center logo features an acorn and leaves from Maryland?s state tree, the white oak.
The center?s businesses will remain open during the construction, which is scheduled for completion in November.
Regency owns and manages 40 properties totaling 4.9 million square feet in the Baltimore/Washington region.