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How Local Demographics Are Shaping The Future Of This San Jose Mall

Pacific Retail Capital Partners Senior Vice President, Marketing Najla Kayyem is not worried about the future of retail. Her company has been buying up underperforming malls and curating them to meet the needs of the local population.

Pacific Retail Capital Partners Senior Vice President, Marketing Najla Kayyem

“The retail scenario has been blown up a lot more than it is,” she said. “The demise of certain stores is their own shortcoming in not keeping up with consumer demands.”

Each Pacific Retail Capital mall offers local stores and is not completely filled with national brands. Pacific Retail is among the mall owners that are helping bridge brick-and-mortar with online shopping. The mall owner also turns its shopping centers into places with entertainment components.

Its latest major renovation is San Jose’s Eastridge Mall. Pacific Retail Capital has added outdoor murals from local artists, but the company has plenty more it would like to do to create a better experience.

“We like to create a sense of place and a destination,” Kayyem said. “People want to come together and share their joys.”

Pacific Retail offers programs and events for people to do just that, such as Super Bowl parties, kids' cooking classes and other events and programs for people to have a shared experience. Malls around the Bay Area have been adding entertainment components to their malls to attract more customers.

Mural at Eastridge Mall by Cyrcle

No two Pacific Retail malls look alike. Programs and stores are curated to best serve each demographic, whether that means more interactive kid-friendly attractions like at South Town in Utah or offering entertainment and mixed-use components.

For San Jose, the mall will offer attractions to the densely populated millennial demographic where everyone speaks iPhone, Kayyem said. This means a comprehensive digital platform, which will be launched in December.

The digital platform includes mass-texting campaigns through Trumpia, digital concierge service via Kipsu, free WiFi, electronic directories, various apps and media walls that can be used for movies, sports events, art and other entertainment.

The company also can showcase a store’s products with pricing to connect online shoppers with a physical store. Retailers are turning toward providing 1K SF showrooms where they can showcase one or two products and customers can order and have a product shipped to their homes.

Pacific Retail lucked out with Eastridge as there are only two vacancies.

“It’s a good, productive shopping center,” Kayyem said. “San Jose is cosmopolitan, dense and vibrant. It’s progressive and forward-thinking. The Eastridge community has such a potential for a resurgence.”

Rendering of Eastridge Mall's renovation

In addition to launching a digital platform and adding artwork throughout, Pacific Retail, with the help of Gensler, is redoing the food court and adding new eateries. Earlier this year it hosted a Taste for the Space event and brought together 25 local chefs and entrepreneurs to compete for a spot in the new eatery. Patrons voted for their favorite, and Trifecta Cooks won the competition. It will receive six months of free rent and $50K to buy equipment and set up its space. The operator also received three letters of intent from runners-up.

Eastridge is not the only mall to serve a specific population. The company’s South Town mall offers stores and experiences tailored to the kid-friendly demographic in Utah. An interactive wall allows kids to play games. Its Yorktown Center in Greater Chicago offers a health and wellness corridor with boutique fitness centers, chiropractors, physical therapists and a blow-dry bar. Paseo Nuevo in Santa Barbara hosts events for the local college students.

Pacific Retail also is incorporating mixed-use concepts where it makes sense. At its Tivoli Village in Las Vegas, it has 300K SF of retail and 300K SF of office. Many of the tenants offer membership programs like Kidville, Dance with Me and Cork and Thorn. Pacific Retail Capital Partners owns 11 assets throughout the country.

CORRECTION, AUG. 25, 5:33 P.M. PT: Tivoli Village was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. The story has been updated.