If it is located in the right place and surrounded by strong demographics, a new retail center can open and achieve success in the midst of a down economy. This is illustrated by what has taken place at Fountains, a lifestyle retail center in the Sacramento area edge city of Roseville, California.
Mark Glover's article in the August 14, 2011, issue of the regional newspaper, the Sacramento Bee, reports that this center, which opened in June 2008, has achieved 97% occupancy of its store space. This lifestyle retail center has attracted popular moderately up-scale stores such as Anthropologie, Chico's, Sur La Table, Z Gallerie and a brewery/restaurant called Yard House.
No doubt, this leasing achievement has a great deal to do with the fact that a growing and relatively affluent population surrounds this center. As the article reports . . . According to census numbers compiled by the Nielsen Co., the population within a two-mile radius of Fountains in 1990 was just short of 20,000. It's estimated today at nearly 43,000. The 1990 population in a five- to 10-mile radius was about 305,000. Today, it's about 457,000. And these residents have incomes higher than the region as a whole. According to Nielsen, estimated average household incomes for 2011 break down this way: $72,165 within a two-mile radius of Fountains, $92,302 at two to five miles and $78,285 at five to 10 miles.
Fountains also benefits from being located adjacent to two other major retail centers with strong appeal. At the intersection of Roseville Parkway and Galleria Boulevard, it is across the street from a regional mall, the Westfield Galleria at Roseville and the Creekside Town Center. The combination of the three centers has resulted in a strong suburban retailing district.
Finally, an appealing design is a positive factor. Mark Glover notes that " . . . With archways, broad walking areas, varied restaurants, plentiful exterior lighting, fountains, mini-train rides for kids, a fire pit periodic live entertainment and special events like a Tuesday farmers market, Fountains has the ambience of a tourist village or resort area."
While this auto-oriented retail destination will get few points for sustainability, it is a commercial success at a time when many retail centers are experiencing distressingly high rates of vacancy.