04.30.16 Legacy Development Joins KMBZ to Reveal Secrets to Designing Great Lifestyle Shopping Centers
Andrew Ellenberg, KMBZ Move Series
Keaton Knott, VP of Development for Legacy Development is passionate about creating an experience that transcends the transactional nature of shopping. He shared with KMBZ the strategic thinking he brings to every project. Knott considers the demographics of the consumers his company is trying to attract, the tenants, as well as the layout of the land and surrounding area.
He looks at the “parcel size” to determine how big of a development can be built within city guidelines. Only then does he begin to create a vision for the aesthetics of the shopping center and collaborate with architects and the city to realize it.
Consumers now expect a shopping experience to be less about buying goods and more about enjoying free time with friends and family. The design has to reflect that experience. Every detail counts. Hardscapes and landscapes need to be inviting. “You have to create a space that if mom and the girls are shopping dad can hang out with the boys,” he said.
Beautiful fountains and other design features keep consumers on the property. “If they spend the day there, they’re going to spend more money.” And if they enjoy the experience, they keep coming back.
For Knott, when it comes to developing a destination shopping center, cutting corners to save money simply isn’t an option. High quality building materials make a huge difference. He sums it up in two words. “Shoppers notice.”
The Legends in Wyandotte County is the “premier example” but he brings that design aesthetic to every development. Another key criteria of a successful shopping center is to make it comfortable for consumers year round with ample parking and wide open spaces that are easy to walk through so people don’t feel crowded. To the extent possible, protection from the outdoor elements is always desirable to make the environment appealing in all 4 seasons.
Over the past 21 years, Legacy Development has played an instrumental role in over 50 projects totaling 31 million square feet of retail and mixed use space. In addition to the The Legends, it is involved in the reconstruction of Truman’s Marketplace in Grandview, Liberty Commons in Liberty and is now leasing and managing Ward Parkway Shopping Center, the 52 year old icon of central Kansas City which is entering the second phase of development.
Upon completion it will have 35,000 feet of new construction and 5 new restaurants surrounded by a large outdoor patio, sun shade, fountains and firepits complimented by comfortable outdoor seating and outdoor entertainment. It’s a venue that will fill a gap between Leawood and the Plaza for what VP of Marketing Dave Claflin calls “date night restaurants.”