September 17, 2019
By Dennis Kaiser
A former Sears Auto Center, adjacent Valley Mall in Hagerstown, MD, has been given a new lease on life. Michael Tseng, AIA, associate principal at KTGY Architecture + Planning, shares how the team approached the architecture, planning and design assignment in our latest 3 CRE Q&A.
Q: What was the repositioning vision for this former Sears Auto Center?
A: At the site of the former Sears Auto Center adjacent Valley Mall in Hagerstown, MD, plans called for the division and expansion of the 7,800-square-foot Sears pad building into three tenant spaces to accommodate BJs Restaurant and Brew House (7,800 square feet), Sleep Number (3,000 square feet) and Verizon (3,750 square feet). Using the building’s existing bones, KTGY Architecture + Planning delivered a modern design that emphasizes patio space, ease of vehicular access and wide sidewalks with amenities to encourage foot traffic.
Q: What were some of the objectives you were seeking to achieve and how were they executed?
A: We wanted a clean, minimalist design with warm, natural earth tones. We used weathered, metal paneling, unpainted concrete masonry blocks along with wood accents to create a timeless architecture that was inviting to pedestrians. We are very thrilled with the results, and how these types of adaptive re-use projects can give new life to existing buildings and serve as a draw to bring more patrons to the shopping center.
Q: How does the re-designed site reflect today’s trend towards more experience-driven retail?
A: The repositioning of pad buildings like the Sears Auto Center in Hagerstown represents a shift toward creating more experience-driven retail, restaurant and entertainment options that are invigorating retail properties and communities. Architects and developers need to work closely with the respective cities, stakeholders, retail leasing agents and surrounding neighbors to determine the highest and best use for each site, and create a design and tenant plan that cohesively fits the context of the site and neighborhood. You don’t always have to level a building to make way for something new. Architecture, planning and design are the tools with which we provide solutions for the built environment that entice both tenants and consumers.
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