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Regency Centers, which wraps up the renovation of its 50-year-old Parkville Shopping Center (with a new grocery anchor, Giant) next month, used social media to engage customers during and after renovations. (Communication, of course, is key to any successful relationship—or game of Pictionary.)
Emily Ford on Oct. 18, 2012
This morning, East region senior marketing manager Emily Ford told us the 162k SF center is 93% occupied and many tenants are long established within the community, so the renovation (facade, signage, paving) is about reflecting the quality of the new grocery store. With three spots available (a deal in the works with Wells Fargo has since closed), Regency signed on with Popularise, a website where customers can discuss what retailers and restaurants they'd like to see. Emily says Parkville Shopping Centers has 48 Popularise followers, 3,300 views, and 175 Build It! requests (posted in Pinterest fashion).

Parkville Shopping Center's Popularise webpage
Regency doesn't feel a mandate from the website's results and will follow its own merchandising plan, but posts on the site can inform that strategy. The feedback, for example, revealed a void in fast-casual restaurants, and (despite the inevitable request for Hooters) many suggested family-friendly outlets from laser tag to pottery painting studios. That last one is something Regency hadn't had at the top of its list. Emily uses Facebook to drive traffic to the Popularise page and also posts photos of the renovation work, retailers' specials, and retailer profiles like the new Sweet Peach frozen yogurt shop.

Parkville Shopping Center rendering
Here's Parkville Shopping Center's new look, designed by Bignell Watkins Hasser Architects. Another B'more Regency property, Festival at Woodholme, has gone through its own reinvention this year, scoring five new tenants: Corner Bakery Cafe this summer, Ann Taylor Loft, Francesca's women's boutique, Wine Loft, and Vein Clinics of America (makes sense, since wine's good for the heart).