Sometimes you need a lot of patience when you are developing a location-based entertainment (LBE) center. We first performed a feasibility study and developed preliminary plans back in early 2008 for a family entertainment center to be built in Gig Harbor, WA, just west across the Narrows from Tacoma. The center was to be part of a new shopping center. Well, the Great Recession stopped the shopping center dead in its tracks due to no tenants signing leases and the lack of financing. Over the past few years, there have been a few false starts as the shopping center developer worked on signing up a major anchor tenant. Finally it all came together in July of this year and our client gave us the go ahead.
Since 2008, a lot of things have changed in the LBE industry. Customers change and with that, what is offered and how it is offered needs to change. When we looked at the original 2008 concept, we realized it was no longer the best fit for today's market, so we rapidly had to go back to the drawing board to make adjustments in both the mix, floor and building plans.
The shopping center developer was on a fast track to get City approval for the shopping center so construction could start in time to get tenants open before next year's holiday season, so not only did we need to re-concept the center, we needed to come up with a new floor plan and exterior design in five weeks. To make matters worse (especially with such a short timeframe) the project is very complex. We will be seeking a LEED Certification for this project, hopefully Gold, and also have to navigate a very strict and complicated set of City exterior design standards. All of this is in addition to the already demanding task of designing a high quality LBE.
We were able to quickly schedule a 1.5-day concept development and design charrette with the 20 members of our design and development team, even with four of them needing to fly in from out of town.
It was a lot of fast paced work, but both the client and we are very pleased with the results. Here's what the center will look like: