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Main Street at Town Center Rebranding

SLEEK and MODERN is not how you would have described this 110,000 SF, 1980s era shopping center not very long ago.  That changed when CPEX completed a complete rebranding and exterior renovation of the entire shopping center while all the stores remained open for business.

A primary objective was to set merchant expectations up front. They were all advised that their signs would be removed and temporary banners installed while work was done around their location. Though we expected to be done sooner, they were all told to expect at least a two-week impact.

The work to be done was simple. It included:

  • Removing and reinstalling signs
  • Demolition of the old standing seam metal sign band
  • Stucco
  • Paint
  • New canopies

The tenants included several national brands such as:

  • Starbucks
  • FedEx
  • David’s Bridal
  • DXL Big + Tall

With A-list tenants such as these, the way we went about the work was crucial. We knew that we had to do everything possible to minimize the “project fatigue” felt by all the tenants. We also had to have a specific plan for Starbucks, as this location had outdoor seating that would have to be removed while we performed their exterior construction.

We started planning the project with a few things in mind:

  • Project fatigue would begin when a merchant’s sign was removed and would not end until all the work around the store was complete and the sign was reinstalled. So we would not start in an area until we were ready to finish it.
  • We would strive to only impact each merchant one time. We knew that the lead time for the canopy fabrication would mean that these installations would happen after the rest of the work was complete, but this would be the only exception to the single impact policy.
  • The subcontractors had to be scheduled to move around the building in unison. Signage would come down, the temporary signage installed, the stucco installed, brick painted, then signs reinstalled.

The first step was preparing a phasing plan. This property was unique in that there is public street frontage with tenants on all four sides. So the plan was to begin on a less occupied section that faced a secondary street. Here we would test our plan and make any necessary adjustments. Then we would work our way around to the marketing window along the thoroughfare.

After the plan was completed, each tenant was advised of the approximate date that their sign would be removed and the exterior construction would begin. Merchants were also advised to expect at least two weeks for the work in their area to be completed.

The sign company scheduled two to three days per week for over two months to be on site either removing merchant signs ahead of the work, or reinstalling signs as each phase was completed.

Work under the canopy was to be done mostly after business hours. When working during business hours, plastic walls were installed to provide safe passage from the parking lot to the merchants’ doors.

Starbucks was a special challenge due to its outdoor seating. When time came to paint this area, seating was moved to a tent that was set up in the parking lot. Then this area got full attention and was completed in just a few days.

Everything went mostly as planned. A few of the wins were:

  • Tenants all remained open throughout the work.
  • Customers and their vehicles were all well protected at all times.
  • The center looks great with lots of new leasing activity.