Transforming the Nation’s Destinations
Pacific Retail Capital Partners is the nation’s premier operating group of retail-led properties and is dedicated to creating a unique strategic vision for each property and exceeding the expectations of its investors, retailers and customers. Here, RLI sits down with Steve Plenge, Managing Principal of the company to learn more about what makes the business stand out from the crowd.
Pacific Retail Capital Partners (PRCP) manages approximately $2 billion in retail assets with a keen focus on strategically enhancing the value and quality of its growing portfolio, which currently stands at over 11 million square feet of regional, open-air lifestyle and mixed-use centres. The key strength of the company is in identifying assets that have strong potential to transform into high-performing properties and it has a proven track record of repositioning retail properties to improve the value for investors and partners.
In the past 12 months, the executive team has leveraged their decades of collective experience with key national shopping centre owners to enable a continuous flow of transaction opportunities, many of which were off-market. The end result of this was a well-rounded and direct pipeline of potential acquisitions. This year alone, PRCP were delighted to welcome The Shops at Montebello and Southgate Market to its ever-expanding portfolio. “We take a comprehensive approach to transform each property in a way that directly grows the asset’s value, makes a compelling destination, and attracts quality investors on exit,” explains Steve Plenge, Managing Principal at Pacific Retail Capital Partners. “We at PRCP are driving the evolution to transform the regional mall into a retail-led mixed-use property.”
Some of the unique destinations that PRCP have worked on recently include the 958,000sq ft Northpark property, where extensive renovations have revamped the property into the place to shop in Ridgeland, Mississippi. The reimagined centre now includes a large-scale digital media screen, state-of-the-art interactive gaming wall, new Children’s Discovery Park and an all-new family lounge to go alongside its 120 retailers and spacious café style Eatery that offers a wide range of dining. Further renovation projects included the Eastridge Center which now embraces the best of San Jose with a children’s PLAY area, top-of-the-line family areas, spacious eating areas, grassy lawns with games and charging stations and an outstanding community calendar of uniquely local programs and events.
In terms of new acquisitions, the newly acquired The Shops at Montebello is a modern indoor regional shopping centre conveniently located east of downtown Los Angeles. Featuring more than 160 specialty retailers and a wide range of shopping and dining, the modernised location provides a premier shopping experience and community activation for guests of all ages.
‘In the coming months we look forward to completing the redevelopment of Paseo Nuevo with common-area gathering spots, a reimagined Center Court, upgraded lighting, landscaping and flooring plus the addition of water and fire features,” says Plenge. Always on the lookout for growth into new properties, the company looks for real estate that has a particular reason for existing, has opportunities for growth and for places where they can apply their active management and strategic planning efforts. Investments in first-to-market, award-winning marketing activations alongside a continuous focus in setting a new standard for well-designed spaces, digitally-integrated retail and amenities that add playfulness and convenience to the consumer experience have all been key in setting PRCP apart’ Plenge explains.
The most important investment in recent times by PRCP has been the innovative community-centric programs and events that brought communities together, added value for investors, directly fed the leasing pipeline, and established each asset as the dynamic gathering place for the neighbourhoods they serve. When discussing social media and the role it plays in the marketing of the company portfolio, Plenge feels that word-of-mouth is a currency that affects the bottom line, and that social media allows word-of-mouth in scale. In the past year, its marketing messages reached over 15 million patrons through the properties’ organic online communities. ‘Social media plays a major role for our portfolio, not only for marketing, but also for acquiring leads, garnering a wealth of market research, and providing accessible and responsive direct customer service.’
The bottom line for PRCP is that they transform each centre into a destination that brings value to the community and maximises profitability. The inspiration for the team comes from the communities they serve and they want to create places where people want to come together to shop, dine and be entertained. Plenge feels retail real estate has undergone a structural dislocation driven by changes in consumer lifestyles and preferences. Factors such as department store obsolescence, closure of non-innovating stores and rising e-commerce sales have put pressure on retail.
“For innovative retail owners and manager, there is an opportunity to acquire select, exceptionally located properties at discounted prices then unlock their value through a thoughtful and integrated strategy of master-planning, densification and localised marketing,” Plenge explains. “Truly transforming retail centres into high-performing, well-planned, mixed-use experiential centres that draw in shoppers, add vitality to a local community and become regional destinations is the key to long-term stability and value creation.”