Macerich presents transparent digital platform in six centers with plans for deployment of 47 properties


At one time, if you were a mall REIT you would build it and they would come. This is no longer necessarily the case.

Macerich wastes no time trying to figure out how to get consumers to visit his malls. The REIT launched QuickSpace at Macerich, a transparent and sophisticated platform designed to make short-term leasing of retail space easy and user-friendly.

QuickSpace is online at six Macerich centers. The mall owner has partnered with real estate software developer Yardi and uses their CommercialEdge real estate data and listings platform to power the platform. Macerich plans to roll out QuikSpace across its portfolio of 47 shopping centers early next year.

The new tenant platform and portal offer one-click lease execution for short-term retail spaces up to 12 months, as well as intuitive tools to manage accounts, make payments, renew leases, etc.

Aaron Spector, assistant vice president of specialty leasing for one-day to 12-month contract terms at Macerich and a key think tank contributor behind QuikSpace, said, “We were trying to fill the space during the pandemic. Potential tenants weren’t coming to malls or doing tours, so we had to make more FaceTime calls.

Spector said Macerich has started digitizing his properties the same way Airbnb allows consumers to book a condo or vacation home. “A lot of malls offer Costar, but it’s more for industrial offices,” Spector said. “No one has really done this for retail. I became the project manager and worked with our partners at Yardi because they have all the back-end information. When you rent now from Macerich, you have a tenant portal where you can register online and pay the rent. We met a bunch of digital marketing companies and picked a vendor that offers 360 degree tours. We wanted potential tenants to virtually walk around the mall.

Online spaces are listed on the website with pictures and information in square footage as well as the types of amenities included – “everything a potential tenant would want to know,” Spector said, adding: “For the common area we have a 360 – guided tour of what a cart looks like and the area we are promoting.

Renters can also virtually market the space with a thumbwheel at the top of a picture to get a feel for what it will look like with their products on the shelves.

“We’re showing different angles of the same space,” Spector said. “There is a men’s costume store, for example. The first overall image is a screenshot of Scottsdale Fashion Square in Scottsdale, Arizona. We have hero images at the top. A carousel comes out 10-15 frames and we have a sizzling video and a drone video of Scottsdale. The white floor plan and the area highlighted in green indicate the available spaces. If you click on one of them, it flies towards you on the interactive map.

When asked what types of potential tenants Macerich is interested in, Spector said, “At this point it’s a lot of variety. There is a lot more creativity. Electric bikes, for example. Then there are a few brands of clothing for women and children.

“Because it’s digitized, people who already search the web will see the platform,” Spector added. “We now have letters of intent from more traditional local and regional players, simply because it’s a short-term lease. National tenants also sign short-term leases. 10-year leases are going to be rare. They do fewer transactions and don’t want to make a long-term commitment. Short-term demand is at an all time high.

QuickSpace takes the administrative burden off tenants, Spector said, noting that they can get the look of the space before committing. All cart diagrams and market profiles are downloadable. When someone asks about the demographics and median income of a market, the data pops up.

The shopping center industry has traditionally been slow to adapt to change, which is understandable; It takes many years to buy land, get permits, fight community opposition, and finally start construction. By the time the mall is finished, many of its features may be out of date.

The Covid-19 pandemic forced the REITS mall to adapt, and Darwinian fashion, only the strongest survived. Even global giant Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield said in February 2021 it was leaving the United States, the move, driven in part by the large number of personal bankruptcies linked to the pandemic.

Simon suffered a loss of nearly $ 1 billion in net operating income in 2020, which put tremendous pressure on the company to maintain its debt and obligations to investors.

The health crisis has also led shopping center groups to partner with outside platforms, which many have been reluctant to do in the past. Simon Real Estate Group

worked with Klarna to make payment transparent in their malls, and more.

Simon has also partnered with retail technology platform Guesst, including opening Guessthouse, a branded marketplace at the Westchester in White Plains, NY.

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