Friday, May 24, 2019

[UPDATE] Tom Ford Leaving Two Struggling Lifestyle Centers to Join Successful Simon Centers

Indianapolis based Simon, the nation's largest mall owner, announced Wednesday that not only will luxe retailer Tom Ford open in Phipps Plaza in Atlanta but they will also open at the company's Houston Galleria mall in Houston, Texas.  Both stores represent relocations from neighboring centers, The Shops Buckhead Atlanta and River Oaks District, each originally developed  by San Diego based OliverMcMillan.  

The new store in Phipps Plaza will be 4,500 square feet, and in Houston Galleria will be 4,000 square feet.  Both new stores are expected to open in time for holiday 2019.  

Leaving four year old River Oaks District and five year old The Shops Buckhead Atlanta projects for the nearly 50 year old malls in Houston and Atlanta is a significant move for the retailer.  The moves, which seem to indicate a lack of faith in the lifestyle centers they are currently tenants in, could be a catalyst for other luxury retailers either currently in the markets or those considering opening to rethink where they open.  

"As Buckhead’s exclusive, upscale shopping destination, luxury brands have always belonged here at Phipps Plaza. We are confident that luxury boutiques will continue to gravitate to the center, especially as momentum continues on our powerful redevelopment."   Commented Eric Howard, General Manager, Phipps Plaza in an email to ToNeTo Atlanta. 

This pair of full-line Tom Ford stores are the first to open across Simon's vast mall and center portfolio in the U.S.  Tom Ford does already operate a pair of outlet stores (yes Tom Ford operates outlet stores, who knew) at Desert Hills Premium Outlets in Cabazon, California and Woodbury Common Premium Outlets in Central Valley, New York.  Premium Outlets is a division of Simon Property Group.

The moves represent a major coup for Simon, which has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrading and updating some of its most high profile malls, such as Houston Galleria and Phipps Plaza.  The upgrades, in response to mounting pressure from newcomers in Atlanta like The Shops Buckhead Atlanta and Ponce City Market and in Houston like River Oaks District and Highland Village, as well as increasing competition from online retailers, are seen as positives against a backdrop of false narratives that "all malls are dying."  

The departures of Tom Ford from both projects, expected to be completed later this fall, are a bad sign for the heath of both lifestyle projects that billed themselves as the future of luxury retail.  

Jamestown, the same firm that already owns Ponce City Market, purchased The Shops Buckhead Atlanta earlier this year for what industry insiders estimate was between $175-$200 million. The firm has not yet publicly commented on the purchase or what their plans may be to revive the center but the loss of Tom Ford is surely not the best thing that could have happened.  

Phipps Plaza features an assortment of contemporary and luxury retailers and is home to more than 50 market-exclusive brands. The mix of luxury and aspirational brands teamed with entertainment options like Legoland and AMC Theatres make Phipps a more well rounded destination than some of its newer competing offerings.   

Additionally, ground was broken in October 2018 on a "transformative" mixed-use redevelopment on the site of the former Belk at Phipps Plaza.  When completed, the project will usher the arrival of a 150 key Nobu Hotel and Restaurant Atlanta, a 90,000 square-foot Life Time healthy living, Pinstripes bowling venue and One Phipps Plaza, a 13-story, 350,000 square foot Class A office building. The reimagined Phipps Plaza is set to open in phases beginning in 2020.

Are you surprised that Tom Ford elected to relocate in both Atlanta and Houston?  What do you think of the changes happening at Lenox Square and Phipps Plaza?  What would you like to see open in place of Tom Ford in The Shops Buckhead Atlanta?

Please share your thoughts below  


Unknown said...

BA is just awful.

The most successful tenant is a $5 burger joint.

Whoever the architect was for BA should just quit architecting.

Ham said...

I've never felt malls were dead, but I have felt for a long time that there were too many malls. There is still a market for the traditional mall when done right. This means evolving and finding new ways to be relevant.

StojBoj said...

Personally, I'm excited by the redevelopment of Phipps. I can see going to the bowling alley quite often. At the same time, I don't understand the continued draw of old school style indoor malls, like Lenox, vs. the Shops Buckhead development. Then again, as my mom always says, if everyone was like me, most stores would be out of business.

Anonymous said...

Would love to know what Jamestown has planned or the new name?

Anonymous said...

The uncivilized, lowest common denominators are taking over and decent, law abiding human beings / citizens are retreating from public spaces.

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