IRVINE, Calif., May 13, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Award-winning national firm KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture + Planning, announced today that the firm's Retail Studio has completed the design and construction of nearly 20 million square feet of retail in the last 12 months. The firm currently has 8.8 million square feet of retail under construction and nearly 10 million square feet in the design phase. It has also created two unique technology innovations for the retail industry for developers and expanding retailers, the Mobile Design Studio and a proprietary Site Survey App for the iPad.
According to KTGY's Associate Principal Craig T. Chinn, who heads up its Retail Studio, "KTGY's Retail Studio has experienced exceptional growth in the last year and a half, including developing dozens of new and existing store design concepts for many of the nation's largest retailers as well as many regional retailers like MyBlow LA and SwimSpot, to international retailers like Fossil Inc., Vitamin Shoppe, AllSaints, and McDonald's. Our development of KTGY's Mobile Design Studio and proprietary Site Survey App has provided retailers with unique tools in their quest to speed to market."
Chinn stated, "We knew that the deep recession had put a pinch on everyone's budgets and maximizing speed to market was on every retailer and developer's mind so we came up with the idea of a Mobile Design Studio, a design lab on wheels that would allow us to deliver local architectural and planning services to clients anywhere in the world -- onsite. We also came up with the idea for a Site Survey App, specifically made for the iPad to assist with onsite surveys from small tenant improvement projects to large-scale mall renovations."
With the Mobile Design Studio, KTGY can meet with the client; do a survey using the Site Survey App; and then create a design while on site. "We knew that being able to draw what the clients wanted, while right in front of them, was a tremendous advantage and critical time-saver. Plus, the Site Survey App allows us to take photos, create a photo index on the plans, input info/data and send it to the office network to create a complete survey package. The use of the Mobile Design Studio and the Site Survey App have allowed clients to quickly and efficiently tackle large, complex projects in the shortest amount of time," Chinn stated.
With the investment in technology, KTGY has also made a name for itself working with the largest mall owners providing the design and architectural services for the renovation and repositioning of mall properties. In the last 12 months, KTGY completed 14 major mall renovations and repositioning projects including: Northridge Fashion Center in Northridge, Calif.; Medford Mall in Medford, OR; and Pierre Bossier Mall in Bossier City, LA. KTGY is currently working on the design of 5 major mall renovation projects and 10 mini renovation projects across the US.
KTGY is also transforming vacant anchor space into single and multiple retail uses for retailers and shopping center owners. For example, at Montclair Plaza in Montclair, CA, the former Borders location is being renovated to accommodate an Ashley Furniture HomeStore opening on May 17. At the Eastland Shopping Center in West Covina, Ashley Furniture opened a store in the former Toys 'R Us building. We are also working on numerous exterior upgrades and renovations for regional and neighborhood shopping centers.
KTGY also completed designs for new ground up retail and mixed-use development projects; The Lakes, 450 residential units plus 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space in West Covina, CA, near museums and transit; District Square, a 300,000-square-foot multi-level shopping center in Los Angeles, anchored by a Super Target, Ross, Marshalls, and shops and restaurants; and multiple neighborhood grocery-anchored shopping centers. KTGY is also providing design services for an 800,000-square-foot ocean-front mixed-use development, which incorporates a hotel, residential units, retail, restaurants and convention center.
According to Chinn, "Retailers and regional shopping center and mall owners are having to reinvent themselves in order to keep their market share. And, with higher land and construction costs, renovating will continue to be a priority in 2013. Renovations, especially at malls, are those that translate into quantifiable return on investment; those that can be seen, touched and felt. The scope of the renovations are ranging from $2 million to $16 million, depending on the marketplace and level of need and the age of the center."
The type of renovations include new paint, adding/replacing tile, improving amenities, renovation of restrooms, more efficient and better quality lighting, and food court remodels. Amenity remodels include adding or replacing trash bins, directional signage, lounge seating throughout the center, adding WiFi, and new landscaping.
"In the food court, the renovations are transforming former dark, cafeteria-style food court and seating, into a light, bright, energetic food court with a variety of seating -- booths, high and low top tables, large and small tables -- to provide more restaurant-style amenities," Chinn said. "Retail merchandise units (RMUs) and kiosks will continue to add value to the shopper's experience as well as revenue for the mall developers."
Kiosks have been such a great source of revenue for both enclosed and open air centers that the addition of new power and data supply as well as "wet" kiosks for a juice bar, frozen yogurt, or a coffee house located in the center courts and the concourses, will continue, Chinn noted.
"Mall anchor tenants have begun to follow suit and will begin a heavy renovation process to keep up with the look and character of the renovated mall. Too many years have passed without renovation of the tired looking anchor stores," Chinn added.
Dirty carpets stained with spills, worn-out tile, and miss-matched yellow and white lights will make way for new flooring, cleaned walled surfaces and new, consistent lighting throughout the spaces. New store design and visual merchandising will continue to emphasize a more modern, clean look and feel. Stores are brighter and uncluttered with storefront displays acting as windows into the store with minimal blockage.
"Chains like Shoe Palace, Forever 21, Love Culture, Michael Kors, and Uniqlo are leading the way. Restaurant chains such as McDonald's, Chipotle, and Carl's Jr. are giving their restaurants a more contemporary look as well. LED lighting, clean polished porcelain floors, frameless glass storefronts are the current choice for materials. This minimalistic approach truly showcases their offerings," said Chinn.
Many shopping center owners are converting vacant big boxes and turning them into multiple restaurants pads, smaller shop spaces and public plazas, Chinn noted. "A single 50,000-square-foot vacant big box can make way for two restaurant end-caps, in-line shop space and a public plaza dissecting the space into two smaller buildings. Although you would end up losing 8,000-10,000 square feet, you would command higher lease rates because of the tenant mix. You could also add in locations in the public plaza for RMUs and kiosks. At the end of the transformation, you are actually netting more revenue versus a single large tenant. The only down side is you have a lot more work to lease all of the spaces vs. a single user. Shopping center owners and developers, like General Growth Properties, Westfield, Simon, Macerich and CBL, are capitalizing on their empty box space and transforming their centers," Chinn said.
"Restaurants, public plazas, and cool shop spaces are the must-haves for the foreseeable future," said Chinn. "If you know of a vacant Circuit City, Borders, or Best Buy, chances are that you will see that space turned into busy sit-down restaurants (like BJ's, Yard House or an Abuelo's), a public gathering space with outdoor WiFi coverage and fountains, and cool trendy retail shops like Teavana, Microsoft, Lovesac, or the local coffee house."
About KTGY's Mobile Design Studio
KTGY's Mobile Design Studio uses REVIT BIM (Building Information Modeling) software to do the drawings onsite, which allows the design team to view/share their work in 3-D, without adding any extra cost. At the job site, all structural elements, wet core, electrical panel location, HVAC duct work, piping and other important details that are often either missing or in the wrong location on the old plans (if any plans even existed), are verified. Then, the mobile team draws in the program requirements and designs the space while on site. This process usually takes two days to complete depending on the scale and scope of the project. If it is a complicated project or a lot of façade or if structural changes are needed, KTGY will meet with the local building department to find out any pitfalls or needs they want addressed in the design prior to submitting for permits. At this point, the KTGY mobile team can meet with the client at the site to review the design; go back to the office and send the drawings to the client for approval; or get with the chosen general contractor to review the design and make sure that everything fits with the budget. Another benefit of using REVIT is that the drawings are a living breathing model in that it is an active database that can calculate carpet sq. ft., ceiling grid sq. ft., hard lid sq. ft., door and hardware schedules, tile count, fixture count, etc. Whatever KTGY puts into the model, it can calculate. And, as the design changes, all of this data adjusts automatically. This speeds up the process for the general contractor to get quick and accurate bid numbers. For some retailers, KTGY can input shelving and racks into the database to help in ordering all of their display cases. The Mobile Design Studio not only provides the above mentioned REVIT software but is a complete work station providing CAD and other design software services on site. Also included is WiFi connectivity to allow the KTGY mobile team to connect back to the office network and access all projects and resources anywhere in the world.
About KTGY's Site Survey App
A proprietary Site Survey App was created specifically for the iPad and was created by the KTGY Retail Studio to assist with on-site surveys from a small tenant improvement to a full mall renovation. The app includes survey questions and documentation needed to record and report the existing conditions of the space. The written portion of the report is filled out on-site with observations as well as input from the facility management. The iPad has the convenience of the built in camera while the app has the ability to map the location and angle of the photo taken onto a floor plan with the tap of a finger. This photo index plan generated by the user as the photos are taken will then be included in the report along with a compilation of all photos numbered accordingly. The application gathers information for the report in addition to the drawings generated with other means. The app gives the mobility and flexibility to work on a survey virtually anywhere whether it is in the space to be surveyed, a landlord's office or on a plane on your way to another site location. The KTGY Site Survey App for iPads saves time, space and resources by allowing the surveyor to take photos, create photo index plans, input info/data and send it off to the office network to create a complete survey package.
About KTGY Group
Celebrating 21 years, KTGY Group, Inc., Architecture and Planning, is a national award-winning firm providing comprehensive planning and award-winning architectural design services for residential communities, retail, hospitality, mixed-use and related specialty developments. KTGY delivers innovative solutions that reflect clear understanding of development, market trends and financial performance. Serving clients worldwide, KTGY maintains offices in Irvine, Oakland and Santa Monica, Calif., Denver, Colo., and Tysons Corner, Va. See www.ktgy.com.
CONTACT: Anne Monaghan MONAGHAN COMMUNICATIONS 830.997.0963