Category Archives: Uncategorized

La Madeleine closes Rice Village store to make way for Shake Shack

Houston Chronicle
Written by: Katherine Feser 

La Madeleine will close its French country cafe in Rice Village after Sunday to make way for Shake Shack.

The new Shake Shack at Kirby Drive and Amherst, to open in November, will be the New York chain’s second in Houston. A Galleria location opened in last November.

The Rice Village location was one of La Madeleine’s earliest. Now, with its lease expiring, the chain will have 17 cafes in Houston.

Rice Village, with assistance from Trademark Property Co., has been attracting trendy restaurants, installing public art, creating plazas, improving walkways and changing the facades of buildings to give the shopping district near Rice University a more urban vibe. A Hopdoddy Burger Bar recently opened at 5510 Morningside.

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Trademark’s Jencey Keeton on Mobile Strategy, as seen in The Wall Street Journal

Photo: J Pat Carter/Associated Press

The Wall Street Journal

Shopping Malls Are Tracking Your Every Move
Written by: Esther Fung

Add another category to the growing list of companies monitoring their customers: shopping-mall landlords.

As more shoppers tote smartphones while browsing in stores, shopping-center owners are tracking their movements and spending habits to try to figure out how best to arrange stores and mall layouts to boost shopping activity.

Some landlords measure how long people stay in the mall, how long they linger in particular stores or displays, and where they were before and after heading to the mall. That gives them a better idea of which stores benefit from being in proximity to one another.

The moves reflect mall owners’ eagerness to remain relevant in the era of internet shopping. A wave of store closures by big department-store chains and other retailers has left malls around the U.S. with empty space and a sense of urgency over how best to fill it. Some investors are betting against the shares of operators of weaker malls, increasing the pressure.

Personalized shopping experiences are becoming a focus for customers, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers, a trade group. In its survey of 1022 adults in February, 39% of the respondents said they would visit a mall or shopping center more often if they received alerts from stores that are selling products they are interested in purchasing.

The patterns that emerge from the new smartphone monitoring techniques can be useful. Some customers, for example, are big spenders who drop more than $20,000 a year during a few trips to a mall, while others might visit 50 times a year but barely spend, said Ivan Frank, vice president of marketing at Taubman Centers Inc., one of the nation’s largest mall owners.

“There is no one silver bullet” to reach all of them, said Mr. Frank.

Known for its high-end properties such as the Mall at Short Hills in New Jersey and the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, Taubman has been engaging various technology vendors to improve its marketing strategy.

One vendor Taubman uses is StepsAway, a cloud-based platform that delivers store discounts and promotions to smartphones that sync with each malls’ Wi-Fi network. Shoppers aren’t required to download an app and are able to view offers by store or by category, such as women, men, children or shoes.

To use a shopping center’s Wi-Fi or app, customers typically have to agree to terms and conditions that disclose its privacy policy before they can log in.

Mobile games also are starting to appeal to landlords looking for other ways to deliver incentives directly to shoppers.

Some landlords include a screen at a corner of the food court and designate that area as a place where customers can compete with each other at games played on their phones, with the images projected on the screen.

“People have to provide basic information to play, such as their age, email address, and you’ve instantly captured these customers,” said Steve Ridley, chief executive officer of FunWall, a social and tournament gaming company. The data help the mall’s marketing team improve loyalty programs, including promotions such as gift certificates or free drinks.

In The Shops at South Town in Utah, owner Pacific Retail Capital Partners invested millions to renovate the shopping center to add beacons, which emit signals to smartphones or tablets in the vicinity, and multimedia wall displays that include digital art and advertising.

The Los Angeles-based real-estate developer also included a 13-by-6-foot interactive wall in the dining terrace where children can play a custom-developed emoji game that draws families and increases their mall time.

Najla Kayyem, senior vice president of marketing for Pacific Retail Capital Partners, brushed off concerns that people might come to the shopping center to game rather than to shop. “There is a direct correlation between the amount of time and the amount of money spent,” she said.

Some malls have been using beacons not only to offer personalized coupons to the shopper’s smartphone but also to get data on how often shoppers pass by the store and how often they use their phones to make calls or pay for purchases.

“It’s not enough to pay for advertising, you’ve got to own your own customer data,” said Jencey Keeton, director of corporate marketing at Trademark Property Company, a shopping-center developer based in Fort Worth, Texas.

Still, while the information gleaned from mobile technology is promising, landlords are trying to figure how to harness it better.

“You can find an oil well, but you still have to refine the oil before it is usable,” said Taubman’s Mr. Frank.

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More dining, drinking and entertainment venues on the way at Dallas’ Victory Park

Dallas Morning News
Written by: Steve Brown

Dallas’ booming Victory Park project is beefing up its retail scene with new eateries and watering holes.

The 75-acre mixed-use development on the northwest edge of downtown said Thursday that it will open three new dining and entertainment venues that will help bring new activity to the area.

The largest of the new offerings will be a 24,022-square-foot restaurant and entertainment operations that will occupy the entire ground floor of the west Victory Plaza building on Olive Street. 8020 Hospitality and Brooke Humphries will take over the space formerly occupied by Nove and N9NE with their new concept.

Restaurateur Elias Pope heads 8020 Hospitality, which has other North Texas restaurants including HG Sply Co. and Standard Service.

This & That Concepts will open a 4,232-square-foot restaurant and bar with a large second-floor dining terrace overlooking Victory Plaza and Victory Park Lane across from the W Dallas — Victory Hotel. This & That Concepts operates other local restaurants including High Fives, So & So’s and The Standard Pour.

And Brooke Humphries also will open a 2,466-square-foot bar and tavern inside the parking garage on Victory Avenue, across from the Arpeggio apartments. Humphries operates Dallas’ Barcadia, Beauty Bar, Mudsmith, It’ll Do Club, and Pints & Quarts.

The new dining, drinking and entertaining destinations are part of Victory Park owner Estein USA and retail partner Trademark Property Co.’s plan to redevelop the more than decade-old project.

“The investments we’ve made to revitalize Victory Park are attracting some of the finest food and beverage entrepreneurs in the business,” Lance Fair, COO of Estein USA and Vice President of Victory Park, said in a statement. “Their commitment to Victory Park and their shared vision for its potential speaks volumes to what’s in store for the district.”

Construction is currently underway on four high-rise apartment towers at Victory Park.

A tower with a 750-seat Cinépolis Luxury Cinema, 20,000 square feet of new ground floor retail and 285 apartments will open later this year.

“In a few short months, visitors to Victory Park won’t recognize how it looks or the experience they have when they come to Victory,” Trademark Property CEO Terry Montesi said.

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Altar’d State among the new changes coming to Perkins Rowe

The Baton Rouge Business Report
Written by: Stephanie Riegel

A little more than seven months after taking over management and leasing of Perkins Rowe, officials with Fort Worth, Texas-based Trademark Property Co. say they’re aggressively marketing the 745,000-square-foot mixed-use development to a more diversified mix of potential retail tenants, and are continuing to make improvements to the property.

“I think this is the first time Perkins Rowe has been under solid ownership and management in its history,” says General Manager Branden Barker.

Among the new tenants the management team has landed is Altar’d State, a boutique previously located at the Mall of Louisiana. The Knoxville, Tennessee-based chain will open a 4,500-square-foot store in Perkins Rowe in the space previously occupied by White House Black Market, which closed in 2015. Construction began on the space today and is expected to be complete in May.

“Our leasing team has taken an aggressive approach to continuously add value to the retail mix on property,” he says. “Altar’d State’s signing aligns seamlessly with this initiative.”

With Altar’d State, Perkins Rowe’s retail space is now 87% leased. Barker says management is working to diversify the tenant mix, which is skewed toward young women’s fashion, and to also add more service-oriented tenants to the rear of the development, like NeuBody Cryotherapy Spa, which is scheduled to open there later this spring.

Filling vacant restaurant space is also a priority for management. Perkins Rowe has two vacant restaurant spaces, including the former Applebee’s location, which sits on an outparcel and has been vacant since last summer. Barker says negotiations with a new restaurant tenant are underway.

“We’ve had talks with several groups and are moving forward with one in particular,” he says. “Hopefully we’ll have something in about a month.”

Both Perkins Rowe’s office and multifamily buildings, which total 226 units, are doing well and averaging 99% occupancy, he says.

Trademark Property took over management and leasing of Perkins Rowe last summer from Stirling Properties after acquiring a minority ownership stake in the property. Since 2013, Perkins Rowe has been owned by a group of Texas real estate investors, who bought the once-troubled property from the Ohio bank that took it back from developer Tommy Spinosa after a four-year foreclosure battle.

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Altar’d State leases former Starbucks space in Rice Village

Houston Chronicle
Written by: Katherine Feser

Altar’d State this spring will open a Rice Village boutique offering boho-chic apparel for women.

The store, which also has a social mission, will open at 2530 University Blvd. The faith-based company donates 10 percent of net proceeds each Monday to charitable organizations worldwide.

The boutique sells shoes, jewelry, accessories, bags and wallets, gifts and decor in addition to clothing.

RELATED: Starbucks joins Rice Village store shuffle

The store will fill the space previously occupied by Starbucks and an adjacent space closer to Kirby Drive. The Starbucks in Rice Village will reopen an expanded Rice Village store at 2531 Amherst this fall.

Altar’d State has more than 70 locations including Houston-area stores in The Woodlands and Baybrook Mall.

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Bartaco to make Texas debut at Trademark Property

Chain Store Age

Bartaco, an expanding food and beverage concept that combines beer, fresh-squeezed juices, and yes, tacos, will debut in Texas at Trademark Property’s WestBend development in Fort Worth.

The mixed-use facility just completed construction on its first phase, which includes office as well as retail space and aims to create a new hub of activity near the campus of Texas Christian University. It features new landscaping, gathering areas along the Trinity River and Trinity Trails, along with a rotating public art program.

Bartaco, which operates 13 restaurants in the Northeast and Southeast, chose WestBend as the first western outpost for its offering of quality beverages and hand-held foods in an environment with a “coastal vibe.” It will fill a 4,853-sq.-ft. space.

“Engaging with the active social scene on the Trinity Trails through trailside restaurants is a key piece of our vision for WestBend,” said Trademark CEO Terry Montesi.

A second WestBend phase is in the works for an adjacent 3.5-acre tract. Some 670,000 sq. ft. of retail, restaurant, office, residential, and hospitality space is envisioned at full build-out.

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Pedestrian-friendly plaza is latest part of Rice Village makeover

Houston Chronicle
Written by: Katherine Feser

A small parking area in a corner of the Rice Village will soon be a pedestrian plaza as part of an ongoing transformation of the longtime shopping and dining district.

Known as Morningside Plaza, the space will provide seating and free Wi-Fi in front of D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe, Nao Ramen Houston and the soon-to-open Hopdoddy Burger Bar. It’s on Morningside Drive, between Times and University boulevards.

“Within the tight confines of Rice Village, our biggest challenge has been finding opportunities to add much-needed public space for the community,” Tommy Miller, managing director of Trademark Property Co., said in an announcement Monday.

“This plaza was basically created out of thin air. We’re creating an engaging gathering place framed by landscaped planter boxes with new shade trees and seating. It is time for this beloved but neglected stretch of Morningside known for its vibrant restaurant and bar scene to evolve, and hopefully this will be a catalyst for future improvements.”

Eleven parking spaces were eliminated to make way for the new Morningside Plaza, Rice Village spokesman Bernard Kaplan said. That is a small fraction of the more than 750 parking spaces in a region of Rice Village owned by Rice University and managed by Trademark Property. The area is bounded by Morningside, University, Kirby and Times.

A planned widening of the 130-foot length of the sidewalk along Morningside will create a more pedestrian-friendly walkway and provide access to food trucks, Kaplan said.

Patrons of food trucks such as Dough Cone, Smoosh Cookie and Yoyo’s Hot Dog, which park along Morningside Drive, will be able to order from the new 5-foot-wide sidewalk.

Completion is planned in early March in time for the Hopdoddy Burger opening.

Rice Village is changing the parking set-up, essentially flipping the paid and free spaces, Kaplan said. Newly installed meters, currently undergoing testing, are expected to be in service next week. Shoppers will pay rates starting at $1 per hour for prime spots in front of stores, while garage parking will be free for the first two hours.

The parking changes follow a 2015 study by Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research that found that as many as 1,000 spots are unused during peak demand times such as lunchtime or on Saturdays.

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New Morningside Plaza taking shape in Rice Village

Houston Chronicle
Written by: Katherine Feser

Trademark Property Co. is creating a public gathering space along Morningside as part of the transformation of the Rice Village shopping and dining district.

Known as Morningside Plaza, the space will provide seating and free Wi-Fi in front of D’Amico’s Italian Market Cafe, Nao Ramen Houston, and Hopdoddy Burger Bar, which is set to open in March. It’s located between Times and University Boulevard.

“Within the tight confines of Rice Village, our biggest challenge has been finding opportunities to add much-needed public space for the community,” Tommy Miller, managing director, Trademark Property Co.  said in an announcement.

“This plaza was basically created out of thin air. We’re creating an engaging gathering place framed by landscaped planter boxes with new shade trees and seating. It is time for this beloved but neglected stretch of Morningside known for its vibrant restaurant and bar scene to evolve and hopefully this will be a catalyst for future improvements.”

A new, wider sidewalk is also planned along Morningside to improve access to food trucks.

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Amon Carter Museum to Showcase Art at WestBend

Written by: Laura Belpedio

Photography from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art is coming to WestBend.

The Amon Carter museum and Trademark Property Co., developer of the WestBend mixed-use district at South University Drive and River Run, have collaborated on a new public art program that features reproductions of the museum’s photography collection. The exhibit is currently showcasing nine photographs that will be replaced with new images every six months.

The inspiration behind the program comes from Trademark Property Co.’s Conscious Place initiative, in which the company strives to make its developments a place of community and meaning, Trademark Property Co. CEO Terry Montesi says.

“Incorporating public art into our properties by partnering with local and national artists and museums is a key initiative for Trademark portfolio-wide because it helps elevate the purpose of our properties beyond retail and commerce. Art adds soul to a property, along with educational and inspirational elements,” Montesi said in a statement. “We are thrilled that WestBend can serve as a home for these pieces and hope that the community gets as much enjoyment from them as we do.”

Along with the photograph collection, five photographic murals created by TCU graduate and assistant registrar at the Amon Carter, Devon Nowlin, are also on display.

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Owl-themed modern sculpture lands in Rice Village

Gonzo247’s mural on Morningside Dr.

Houston Chronicle
Written by: Katherine Feser

California artist Nathan Mabry has created a modernistic owl-themed sculpture as the latest public art installation in Rice Village.

A blue origami-like aluminum owl, along with four smaller lifelike owls, are a nod to Rice University, which has been transforming the shopping district with the help of Trademark Property Co. The sculpture is on Kelvin Drive, just north of University Boulevard.

Nathan Mabry

“While researching Rice Village, I became interested in the vibrant history of the neighborhood and proximity to Rice University. I find myself particularly engaged with the mascot of Rice University, the Owl,” Mabry said in an announcement.

“It’s a powerful symbol in both antiquity and contemporary life. My work has long explored the depiction of birds from all facets of art history.”

Other Rice Village art elements, being managed by MKG Art Management, include a mural by Houston artist Gonzo247/Mario Enrique Figueroa Jr. on Morningside Drive. The Rice Village garage will be the canvas for the next project.

“We want Rice Village to be a place people love to visit for reasons other than just shopping,” Terry Montesi, CEO, Trademark Property Co., said in an announcement.

“We believe enhancing the visual environment improves the experience and makes visitors to Rice Village feel cared about.”

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