Good Design Positively Impacting Your Bottom Line
Now more than ever, the bottom line matters. Today, companies are looking for creative ways to control costs, increase return on investment and maximize profits. Good design positively impacts the bottom line.
Burnham-Ward Properties of Newport Beach, California engaged Ware Malcomb to provide architectural design services for the renovation of an existing home furnishings retail center developed in 2007. The property consists of eight retail showroom buildings, as well as general retail and food service, and is located off of a major Southern California highway in the city of Costa Mesa. The retail development is adjacent to the upscale-luxury South Coast Plaza shopping center, and an IKEA store; both of which have an established regional retail draw. The site is ideal for retail development in terms of visibility and potential customer traffic; however the economic downturn drove tenants to close up shop. New leases were hard to come by and tenant retention was low. Although the economy played a part in lack of new leases, the center’s architectural style was commonly found throughout southern California and the center lacked a sense of place.
Burnham-Ward Properties acquired the property in early 2009 with a vision to create a revitalized retail destination for high-end design showrooms and creative studios with a unique, more contemporary urban and organic environment. Their concept was to expand tenant appeal beyond middle-tier home furnishing retailers to a diverse and vibrant mix of higher-end home décor, fashion boutiques and creative studios – the South Coast Collection (or SOCO as it is more commonly called) was born. Today, SOCO is the only progressive destination design center of its kind in Orange County. With over 300,000 square feet of design showrooms and creative studios, SOCO offers the latest in trendsetting home furnishings and accessories as well as many other specialty retailers, all in one convenient place. More importantly, it offers the store owner a unique environment with maximum exposure for building their brand, while providing a hip and cool ambiance for visitors.
We accomplished Burnham-Ward’s goal of appealing to high-end home furnishings retailers by stripping away superfluous ornamentation for a raw expression of materials and form; thereby highlighting the tenants’ merchandise and a more organic landscape palette. The sophisticated, contemporary look is defined by transparent glass, redwood accents, sustainable landscaping and a central plaza built around a fire pit and water feature. The landscape palette has been updated with an organic mix of drought tolerant grasses, bamboo, decomposed granite, succulents and rock to soften the experience and reinforce the sense of place. Bold freeway signage and a LED screen were added to make the center more visible and reinforce the SoCo brand. The transformation from traditional architectural style to a modern expression has been instrumental in defining a new style of retail experience in Orange County, as well as attracting and retaining quality retail tenants.
The results include 11 new leases totaling over 150,000 square feet in the past 12 months, and another 50,000 square feet of pending contracts. The new tenant mix is estimated to have doubled sales revenues for the center. The updated architectural style has been instrumental in expanding the tenant base from local to regional tenants looking to service the Orange County, Los Angeles and San Diego markets. Burnham-Ward Properties transformed an underperforming home furnishings center into a vibrant, iconic design center that is an economic generator for the city of Costa Mesa. In this case, good design positively impacted our client’s bottom line.
Professional Photography by Troy Ament, Ament Commercial Photography.