Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Power Centers Latest Trend in Shopping Centers for U.S

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Power Centers Latest Trend in Shopping Centers for U.S

Article excerpt

ATLANTA _ First there were category killers. Then came power centers to house them and synergy to keep them fed.

No, power centers aren't the Pentagon's newest secret weapon or the latest Power Ranger toy accessory. They're the big trend in shopping centers, and they've taken the Atlanta market by force.

Strip shopping centers built in the 1970s and 1980s featured a grocery chain or drugstore as their anchor tenant. By contrast, power centers are anchored by at least three synergistic, value-oriented tenants _ Marshalls, Mervyn's and TJ Maxx, for example _ or retailers classified as category killers _ stores that provide such a depth of merchandise that there's virtually nothing in that market niche you couldn't buy there.

"The classics (category killers) are Home Depot, Toys `R' Us and SportsTown," said Mark Toro, vice president of Atlanta-based Cousins/New Market Development, a major force in Atlanta's retail development scene.

Since New Market merged with Cousins Properties in 1992 to form Cousins/New Market, the company has completed seven power center projects in the northern metro suburbs.

Power center development dominates retail growth in Atlanta and across the United States, according to Barry Moore, managing director of Kurt Salmon Associates, a major retail consulting firm.

Power centers tend to spring up around regional malls because, like malls, their locations are "strictly related to the infrastructure available and the demographics," Toro said. Those adjacent to North Point Mall, for example, will total 1.2 million square feet when complete, the same size as the mall itself, he said.

Unlike malls, though, power centers attract single-destination shoppers _ those with a specific goal in mind _ as well as cross shoppers who have several goals and are drawn to the synergy of the power center, said Amy Siegal of Cousins/New Market.

"And they're one of the factors that has clearly slowed mall retailing," Moore explained, because power centers can offer greater convenience and value to budget-oriented, time-conscious consumers.

Shopper Joan Quattlebaum, a real estate agent who lives in suburban Roswell, said she frequents TJ Maxx, Uptons and Sports Authority at Mansell Crossing, a power center across from North Point Mall.

"I don't have time to shop for hours," she said. "I need to get in and out fast, and I want a bargain." But her teen-age niece, who is very brand-conscious, would live at the mall if her mother let her, Quattlebaum said. …

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