By James Prendamano


Through the ages children have been fascinated by games of hide and seek.  When I was a kid we played “Man Hunt” and we ushered in spring with Easter Egg Hunts.  Most people enjoy solving riddles which is why Pokemon go and scavenger hunts for adults have become so popular.

“Escape Rooms” have been popping up in Las Vegas, California, New York, Florida and South Carolina.  These businesses are made up of various rooms that seem to be ordinary but are in fact a mystery puzzle.  Players gain access by purchasing an admission ticket then they are locked in a room where they must find hidden objects, figure out the clues and solve the puzzles to earn their freedom within a limited time frame (usually 60 minutes). These rooms and other attractions are now being sought after by shopping center owners in an effort to drive traffic to their retail tenants.

Places such as “Broadway at the Beach” in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina include rides, an aquarium, a 3D theater and a hotel strategically intertwined between their retail tenants to help bolster sales and elevate the price per square foot rent landlords can charge for retail leases.  These centers are popping up in busy metropolitan areas or in areas where there is fierce competition for tourist dollars because they attract visitors who are interested in doing something other than shopping but who figure that they may as well do some shopping as long as they are there.  In these experiential retail centers, retailers become the “can’t resist” items located near the checkout counter of most stores.  The model works because it is a “win/win” for everyone involved.  Retailers get the foot traffic, attractions get to be a part of the co-op marketing program, landlords get higher rent and shoppers/attraction users get everything they want all in one instagram worthy place.

When Pokemon Go was launched it became an instant craze demonstrating that children as well as adults, still enjoy a good game of “Hide and Go Seek”. The game is so popular that the NYPD recently sent out an alert reminding people to be careful as they cross the street and parents to lift an eye off their phone now and then to be sure that their children are still safely with them. Pokemon Go has captured the attention of the world and has marketers scrambling to figure out how they can use it in their daily promotions before the craze dies down. For real estate brokers and retail leasing professionals, the lesson to be learned by Pokemon Go and other interactive games and attractions is that no matter the age or the geographic location around the world, humans enjoy an escape from their daily routine and whether that escape is physical or virtual, they are willing to join in to have some fun.  When landlords offer entertainment and dining along with shopping in their retail centers, they will be able to command higher prices for their retail leases.

The future of retail centers is changing rapidly. Casandra Properties continues to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to Staten Island retail leasing.  If you are a shopping center owner or if you have a commercial space for lease, contact us today.