The game of reinvention continues in the retail world as online shopping is forcing changes in traditional, physical location shopping.
This is no more true than in the world of shopping malls. And this is certainly the case at central Ohio’s largest indoor shopping center, Polaris Fashion Mall.
Washington Prime Group Inc., the center’s owner, recently announced a new multi-tenant food and beverage venue slated to hit Columbus-based Polaris Fashion Place® in 2020. The venue will be home to an all-local culinary lineup, featuring at least two dining options at a time, with plans to incubate local food and beverage purveyors on a rotational basis.
This newly created space at Polaris Fashion Place will be adjacent to the center’s existing food hall, which has been fully leased with a dynamic mix of local, regional and national food and beverage offerings since the center opened in 2001.
A planned renovation for the existing food hall, which will see aesthetic upgrades in 2020, includes new seating and flooring, communal gathering areas and a different overall flow to the space. The new look-and-feel will encourage guests to hang out and extend their visit.
Lou Conforti, CEO and Director of Washington Prime Group, stated: “Growing up half Italian and Jewish on the west side of Chicago, two themes dominated my upbringing: Family and food. In my second floor apartment, one was as likely to feast upon chicken cacciatore and manicotti Saturday evening while Sunday’s bill of fare might consist of kreplach soup and pastrami. Rest assured, these meals were more often than not attended by a cast of beloved characters no longer with us such as my grandparents Lydia and Luigi as well as Aunts Grace and Sylvia. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which side of the family to which the aforementioned belonged.
“Fast forward to today and while I can’t replicate the frenetic chaos of my childhood dinner table, I can assure you we are making food and beverage alternatives at our assets one heck of a lot more interesting. This means supplementing our longstanding stalwarts with local establishments that truly appreciate the eating and drinking preferences of our guests.
“Turning to Columbus, one thing for sure is they know food. As the fourteenth largest (and one of the fastest growing) cities within the US, there is a veritable smorgasbord of ethnicities which call the Capital City home. So why not serve up döner and bibimbap alongside trusted mainstays at Polaris Fashion Place? There’s also going to be a rotating convoy of food trucks to further spice things up so our guests can wash it all down with a local craft brewery beverage, alcoholic or otherwise.
“I almost forgot. It is practically sacrilege in Columbus not to end one’s meal with a buckeye. Don’t worry, we have you covered.”
Local food truck operators, food purveyors selling their goods at Columbus-area festivals and markets, or a completely new concept – these are the businesses Polaris Fashion Place is looking to attract to the new venue. These new local tenants will benefit from a team of leasing and marketing professionals dedicated to their success. Following the incubation period, the Company will work with each food purveyor to consider potentially relocating them on a more permanent basis at the center.
The rendition above is representative of the approach being taken, but it is not an actual decided-upon look.