Inside Walmart’s plans to convert parking lots into ‘town center’

“What do we do with all of this excess parking at our Walmart stores? Let’s create town centers!” – Walmart Executive

Walmart has announced plans to capitalize on their existing real estate to reutilize excess parking fields for new town center retail developments. This is a new campaign spearheaded by Walmart called “Walmart Reimagined” which was unrevealed in October 2018 at the ICSC Southeast Conference in Atlanta. This is a great way for Walmart to drive additional traffic to their stores, create additional revenue from their underutilized real estate and engage with their local communities by creating a sense of place with this new concept. Walmart advised that each town center will be custom to its individual community and will offer combinations of shopping, restaurants, entertainment, food halls, fitness centers, parks and diversified services providers. What a great way to maximize an existing asset in order to boost customer experience!

This is a great move by Walmart in thinking outside of the box. I am excited to see how this is implemented and ultimately believe this will boost traffic and create a sense of place in the communities of which this is implemented. Many times, shopping centers developments are built with excess parking fields and are nearly always underutilized. This allows at times on a case by case scenario depending upon use and how the original shopping center was planned and entitled an opportunity for outparcel development with can include single tenant or multi-tenant retail buildings. This move by Walmart will allow the retailer to incorporate additional retail offerings which will drive additional traffic to their properties and ultimately their Walmart stores. In this incorporation of uses at these town centers, they will have the opportunity to include food based, service styled, and experience retail concepts to compete against ecommerce in this new world.

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