Communal and outdoor living spaces at retail centers are transitioning from big and flashy to a series of scaled-down living rooms., By Kelsi Maree Borland | February 26, 2019 at 04:00 AM

Outdoor communal spaces at retail centers are getting smaller. Open gathering spaces have become a standard at retail centers, but they started as large, flashy spaces with programming. Now, retail owners are opting to create a series of smaller living rooms with amenities like WIFI. Most importantly, these living room-style spaces are well designed and could be a key component to attracting locals, increasing foot traffic and competing with online outlets.
“Everything we hear is about brick and mortar competing with online sales. With this in mind, a key component, a key differentiator from an online commodity driven retail experience, is simply treating the guest experience as the anchor,” Greg Lyon owner, principal and design director at Nadel Architects, tells “In other words, the environment that a development provides for its guests and shoppers is the anchor. People will always gravitate towards a well amenitized ‘outdoor living room’ where they can hang out and socialize, and that is what will always set brick and mortar apart from the online experience.”