Properties & Leasing

Getting to the root of retail property beautification

Posted by: Chris Freeman Chris Freeman
on January 17, 2014
Kimco Riverplace Shopping Center Sidewalk Island

NATURAL ATTRACTION: The indigenous plants and flowers at Kimco’s Riverplace Shopping Center create an immediate visual impact to draw foot traffic

Most retail landlords maintain seasonal flowers and other plants at their properties to create an aesthetically pleasing shopping environment and draw traffic. But we’ve made significant progress over the past couple of years to take this basic approach and expand it into a robust beautification program that’s earned Kimco awards in several communities across the country.

The Mandarin Garden Club gave Kimco its Community Beautification Award in May for our landscaping work at Riverplace Shopping Center in Jacksonville, Fla. Riverplace is the first shopping center the Mandarin Garden Club has recognized for beautification, as it normally chooses residential or other types of commercial properties. The City of Mooresville also presented Kimco with its Beautification Award in September for our efforts to beautify Mooresville Crossing Shopping Center in Mooresville, N.C.

And most recently, Towne Center East Plaza in Signal Hill, Calif., was awarded the town Beautification Award for our improvements to the landscaping and building façade. These awards are a testament to our beautification approach, which is focused on improving property aesthetics, elevating our centers’ images, and strengthening our brand identity, all in a financially sound manner.

Our beautification work is also a good example of the progress we’ve made to improve our operations overall and drive greater value throughout our portfolio. As the main focal points within Jacksonville, Mooresville, and Signal Hill, our clean, well-maintained, and safe shopping centers are attracting greater foot traffic, providing a better shopping experience, and signifying the high quality of Kimco properties. Here’s a look at some of the measures that have made our beautification program a success.

Kimco Riverplace Shopping Center Planter Area

BRANDSCAPING: Beautification at our Riverplace Shopping Center is part of what we call our “Brandscaping” effort to strengthen Kimco’s brand identity.

Boosted by “Brandscaping”

Riverplace Shopping Center is part of an initiative we’ve affectionately coined “Brandscaping,” which is a beautification approach we originally piloted in our Florida region, and have now extended to other parts of the country. Brandscaping uses native landscape designs to achieve three goals: Create an immediate visual impact on our properties, strengthen Kimco’s brand identity, and improve our centers’ sustainability practices.

To meet these goals, we utilize local contractors, and in some cases, landscape architects, to help form a base template of indigenous plants and shrubs, which denote the Kimco brand. We then add in perennials and other plant materials in bright, region-friendly colors and textures to add vibrancy. The impact is striking the moment the landscape work is complete.

The Brandscaping initiative also goes beyond aesthetics, however, and includes extensive corporate responsibility efforts to prevent soil erosion, reduce pollution, encourage habitat diversity, and conserve water. For instance, plants with similar soil and watering needs are grouped together to reduce water use, and gravity irrigation and drip lines are added to further increase water efficiency.

Cleanliness takes center stage

We’ve implemented similar brand-focused beautification measures at Mooresville Crossing, again centered on quality, impact, and sustainability. The city’s beautification committee noted our focus on maintaining the cleanliness and infrastructure of the property. This highlights our efforts to improve the overall upkeep and maintenance of our properties by performing routine maintenance and repairs in a proactive manner. This ensures the overall environment of the site is the best it can be for our tenants and customers every day.

Kimco Mooresville Crossing Beautification Award

“MOORE” BEAUTIFICATION: Kimco won the City of Mooresville’s Beautification Award for our efforts to beautify our Mooresville Crossing Shopping Center in North Carolina

At Towne Center East, we recognized that visibility from the main road in front of the plaza was severely blocked by the large, overgrown shrubs that had been planted years ago. By working with the local government, and developing an upgraded landscape plan, we were able to remove the old plant material and install new, fresh plants that are native to the region, will maintain color year-round, and will always allow a clear line of sight to the storefronts.

A larger coordinated program

Our progress in Florida, the Southeast, and the West is emblematic of a larger business initiative designed to raise the standards and improve tenant relations at all sites across the country. In short, Kimco wants to be the best operator of open-air shopping centers, and the landlord of choice to our tenants.

To accomplish this goal, every site now has a comprehensive capital improvement plan and strategic financial strategy that’s documented to ensure our sites are well-maintained at a cost that’s competitive in the local market. Additionally, we are in the process of implementing a corporate branding program, adding Kimco branding to property signage, benches, bike racks, and other features. Many of our sites have either begun to see some of this work take place, or will start to see improvements in the near future. Obviously progress takes time, especially when you’re watching every dollar, so make sure to look for subtle changes at the Kimco property near you!

Moving forward, we believe that technology will be a key differentiator for Kimco, as it allows us to run our properties more effectively and efficiently. For instance, we’ve developed several proprietary apps for the iPad that allow our property managers to remotely control and monitor critical components at their sites, such as lighting and irrigation. The apps also allow all of our property managers to complete standardized inspection reports while they’re in the field, so that we have consistent reporting across the country.

Kimco’s focus on raising the bar for our performance, and emphasis on tenant relations, have already garnered attention at the local and national levels. We have a clear mandate from our senior management team to keep the pedal to the metal. Simply put, Kimco is driven to be the best!

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