Capital & Regional to transform idle shopping centre space into community hubs
Capital & Regional has agreed a new deal with US company REEF Technology to transform under-used parts of its Luton and Wood Green shopping centres into mixed-use neighbourhood hubs.
Designed to make a positive contribution to their local communities and economies, the new hubs will provide shoppers with greater access to locally sourced goods, services and experiences, as well as boosting employment, Capital & Regional chief executive Lawrence Hutchings said.
New shopping centre services could include neighbourhood kitchens, urban farms and last mile logistics, including storage and fulfilment as well as digital lockers.
Underused parts of the centre's carparks could also be enhanced with smart transit and eco-friendly commuting solutions such as e-bikes, e-scooter rental stations, electric vehicle charging, and digitalised car park management.
Discussions are also underway with regards to bringing REEF’s suite of alternate uses and car park management systems to Capital & Regional’s Walthamstow and Ilford centres.
Commenting on the agreement, Hutchings added: “Our convenience driven, community centre strategy is focussed on providing our local catchments with access to tailored goods and services in whatever form their needs require.
“While we fully understand the important role our centres continue to play as physical destinations, we are also acutely aware of the need to innovate and embrace the benefits of technology to ensure they fulfil their potential to play a vital role in the growing digitalisation of local economies – which has accelerated in the last year.
“Our centres are perfectly placed, given their town-centre location, to provide a range of supply chain, processing, final mile and micro logistics and storage services that bring new jobs, services and experiences to their local area to enhance the lives of all those who live and work there.
“REEF is at the very forefront of delivering these services and through this innovative new partnership can leverage its technology, experience and environmentally friendly working practices from the US and apply these to under-utilised space in our car parks and centres, transforming them into neighbourhood hubs that makes a positive contribution to the local community and economy.
“We believe this innovative new agreement provides a blueprint for how community shopping centres can fully embrace and benefit from the digital economy in the future, while continuing to fulfil the vital role as physical destinations.”
REEF managing director, Europe, Barak Zimerman said: “The need to adapt and transform retail has never been greater. Our leading proximity platform will enable Capital & Regional to plug into our ecosystem of alternative use case partnerships and drive its assets recovery as businesses evolve post-pandemic.”