Entertainment Evolution Experience

Happy New Year Friends!

I can’t believe so much time has passed since I last wrote.  We have been very busy and had a lovely holiday.  Hope all is well with you and your family.

We are reminding you to come and join us at an exceptional conference “Entertainment Evolution Experience” to be held February 18th and 19th at LA Live! in Los Angeles.  I will be speaking on a panel entitled, “Open Air Projects – Pushing the Envelope,” where we will discuss, among other things, the need for human contact and fresh air!

We would be thrilled to see you there!

Here are the details:

Shopping Center Business and InterFace Conference Group are pleased to highlight the following panel for the Entertainment Experience Evolution Conference, February 18-19, 2015 at LA Live in Los Angeles. The multi-day conference will focus on what developers, owners, restaurants, retailers, cinemas, designers and entertainment venues are doing to evolve the consumer experience and create vibrant places to spend time.

Featured Panel:

Open Air Projects –
Pushing the Envelope

Arguably the most active type of multi-tenant retail, open-air centers have grown beyond service retail to become true community environments. Find out how amenities, restaurants, landscaping, hardscaping, and placemaking are changing open-air retail. See case studies from developers and architects on the transformation of open-air centers, from regional lifestyle centers to power centers to small community centers.

EEE - Open Air Pushing the Envelope Speakers

For a complete agenda, click here.

To reserve your spot today, click here.


Grand New Project in Edmonton Alberta- Rogers Place

edmonton-arena-sw-aerial-x2 600In 2009,  we completed the market and financial feasibility analysis for the Edmonton Oilers new mixed-use arena-led project in Edmonton, Alberta.

We are proud to announce the construction of Phase One of Rogers Place, as it is called.

Construction began in the spring.  The arena is expected to be open for the 2016-2017 Season.  Phase One of the project includes the arena, hotels, a winter garden, retail, restaurants and more.  Cost for the arena is estimated at approximately $500 million.and about $460 million for other elements in phase one. The arena was designed by 360 Architecture.  Naming rights were sold to Rogers Communication.




JB Research & Victus Advisors Join Forces




At a certain point in life, you just know it is time to return the favor.  I have been very fortunate in my career working on projects that I love; always applying my experience to new projects and changing markets. As you might guess, this keeps everything new and fresh, and keeps me on my toes!  There aren’t a whole lot of careers you can describe with this range of subjects and experience.

We came in on the ground floor with American Girl Place, the new Academy of Motion Pictures Museum at LACMA, Sega’s new ORBI project, the Edmonton Oiler’s downtown Arena Mixed-Use project and many shopping centers that continue to weather business cycles and thrive such as Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas.

Fashion Mall VegasLV Mall

And what I have realized from all of these diverse feasibility studies/consulting assignments is:

  1. I know a lot, or another way to say it, I am old
  2. There are few people I haven’t met in the business
  3. I could never be a “know it all” type consultant;  and its corollary
  4. There is always more to learn!, which leads to
  5. Always do as much research as you can afford!

As a grateful recipient of these many projects, I decided this would be my time of giving back.  To that end, I volunteered to chair the Entertainment Development Council for the Urban Land Institute; I am training my Labradoodle, Ricky to be a therapy dog; Ricky xmas and I am volunteering to help a few nonprofits plan their futures.  Further, I volunteered to host a fundraising event for a friend who is working on a wonderful new nonprofit called Aid Still Required.  (I am also taking guitar lessons, singing and writing songs, but that’s a whole other story.)

Mike & Jill Guitar

What I am finding is that with organization, one can accomplish quite a bit since of course, I am still up to my elbows in consulting work!  A lot of credit goes to my project manager, Irene Robles, who provides invaluable research and keeps me coordinated and going to the right place at the right time.

Giving back gives me more fulfillment than the time and effort I put into it!

I just remembered, we have two speaking engagements this year that I want all of you to know about.  Please come if you can, we would love to see you!

  1. The Grandparent/Grandchild Market The Themed Entertainment Summit,  9 AM, April 3, Paradise Pier Anaheim CA
  1. What Women Want – 10 AM, ICSC, May 20, 2014, Las Vegas, NV

What Women Want

Happy Holidays!  How was your 2013?  Did you recover from the recession?  Are you finding a new world order?  What are the changes you have seen in this new economy?  Please let us know, start the conversation!

Among other things this past year,  we have been updating our research regarding “What Women Want.”  We have found that in the twenty first century, this is a touchy subject!  Go figure! When we presented the idea of a panel on this subject to a major commercial real estate development trade organization, they told us they liked the topic, but could we make it less “woman” focused.  That’s like asking a comedian in the Catskills to be a little less “shticky.”

First, I had to re-read Lean In.  After finishing the brilliant treatise  presented in the most contemporary of books on working women by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, I was very happy knowing that someone actually “gets it” and is not afraid to talk about it.  Yes, there is still  discrimination against women in the workplace, but we also limit ourselves through the way we have been raised.   If you haven’t read the book, you can go the abridged version   

http://www.ted.com/talks/sheryl_sandberg_why_we_have_too_few_women_leaders.html  for a summary of the key points.

Sheryl summarizes her key points as follows:

  1.  Make your partner a real partner
  2. Sit at the table
  3. Don’t leave before you leave

Another startling revelation in statistics tell us that success and likeability are positively correlated in men, but negatively correlated with women!  So, the lesson here for women, be sweet and beautiful on your way to the corner office (but your male counterpart can be a jerk).

We have looked at some of the stats presented by the Census Bureau over the past 40 to 60 years, and picked out the following trends, which affect all of us.

Women are marrying older; the average age for a woman to marry was 26 in 2006, up from about 20 in 1950.  Men wait until they are almost 30!  The trend suggests that women are taking time to establish themselves in the workplace  before settling into their lives.

Median Age at First Marriage40% of the total female population was unmarried in 2009, compared to about 30% in 1970.  This means that women consumers  are increasingly making buying decisions on their own.Marital Status

The average number of children per mother has dropped for all age groups, with the most dramatic in the 40-44, from about 3.4 in 1976 to 2.3 in 2008.  No age group has over 2.4 average births per mother:

Average Number of Children per MotherSince 1990, among adults 25-34, women earn a larger percentage of Bachelor’s degrees than men, besting them by 7 percent in 2008.

Percent of Adults Age 25-34 with a Bachelor's Degree or HigherIn spite of this educational gap, women still earn only 80 cents on the dollar to what men earn, up from 67 cents on the dollar in 1984.  And in the highly coveted STEM category (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics),  women fill close to half of all jobs in the U.S. economy, but hold less than 25 percent of STEM jobs. This has been the case throughout the past decade, even as college-educated women have increased their share of the overall workforce.

Practical application of these facts?  About 15 years ago, Paul Allen’s development company, Purple Moon, conducted research into females’ brains as the basis for creation of computer games for girls.  It was never very successful, but now, Goldie Blox are flying off the shelves this Christmas.  What are they?  This product developed by Debbie Sterling, a Millenial Mechanical Engineer from Stanford, teaches  girls how to build and construct stuff.

According to a story on ABC, Ms. Sterling was fed up with the lack of women in her engineering field (the latest studies from the National Science Foundation show that 11 percent of engineers of women), Sterling, came up with an idea after coming across research that kids’ toys could have a huge impact on their career choices.

“My head literally started spinning and I was so disappointed that there weren’t things that would inspire girls to [use] their brains,” Sterling, 30, said. “The girl aisle was kind of about how to be pretty and I wanted to put something in there that girls can see that they too could find a passion in engineering and that they too could find these subjects fun.”

And so the idea for Goldie Blox, toys that encourage girls to not just play with dollhouses but build them, was born. The product is now carried in 500 retailers, including Toys Are Us.  At $9.99 to $29.99 this toy is priced at the sweet spot for toy giving this year.

Another toy for girls, Roominate, is a building tool for girls to actually design, build and wire their dollhouses.  Conceived and developed by two women from Cal Tech, MIT and Stanford, prices range from $9.99 up to $199.00. Both these products got their initial funding from Kickstarter, an internet based angel funder.

And let’s not forget our favorite, American Girl dolls.  They may be expensive, but worth the price.  They teach girls about their heritage with experiential, active play.

Holiday Greetings to all our friends and readers!  It has been another year of learning and laughing.  We think of you often and want to hear from you!  Let’s make 2014 the best ever in the world of entertainment and development!

Entertainment Development Outlook


This article appeared in URBANLAND  September/October 2013.  The author interviewed five of us to get the latest on what’s current in entertainment development.

Click here to read the full article:  URBANLAND