In plazas throughout the western communities, a shift is occurring from big box retailers to entertainment and other options.
The change was highlighted as news broke last week that the former hhgregg in the Shoppes at Wellington Green plaza will become an indoor entertainment venue called Urban Air Adventure Park. The 29,000-square-foot space is set to open later this year, the company said.
Other shopping plazas are looking to a new format in the health and beauty business to fill tens of thousands of square feet in the western communities. In Royal Palm Beach, the former Dress Barn in Southern Palm Crossing now is Image Studios 360, offering 24 salon suites for independent beauty professionals.
It’s a phenomenon not isolated to traditional strip malls. The Mall at Wellington Green has diversified its offerings as traditional retailers shift to meet the demands of an increasingly internet-driven market.
That transition began in earnest in 2016 with the addition of the CMX movie theater. Since then, the mall has expanded the offerings through its Live360 lifestyle program. Wellington Green also recently saw the opening of The Holodeck Center, a mixed-reality gaming space on the first floor near the Grand Court. The Holodeck occupies just under 3,300 square feet that was a Brookstone store.
Longtime Wellington resident Mike Nelson, president of Effective Solutions Inc., sees other opportunities for vacant retail space.
He sent a letter last month to the village council suggesting Wellington lease the 33,000-square-foot former Circuit City in the Shoppes at Wellington Green, next to the planned Urban Air. The spot could be a blank slate for municipal use including more room for seniors to gather, or an alternative voting site to take election day traffic away from local schools, he said.
“Just think of everything you could possibly do with 33,000 square feet of space,” he said. “… I really would like to see the village of Wellington get that space and figure out what to do with it.”
Here’s a look at other new ideas for old retail space in Wellington and Royal Palm Beach:
Luv2Play: This new indoor gym plans to open before the end of the month in the former Planet Fitness in the Village Shoppes plaza at Southern Boulevard and State Road 7 in Royal Palm Beach. Planet Fitness now occupies a larger space in the same plaza but closer to Southern Boulevard.
Luv2Play director of operations Francine Dinnall said the gym’s entertainment is age-based, with offerings for infants, toddlers and older children up to age 12. It also will have a cafe, virtual gaming space and bumper cars. Luv2Play and similar businesses offer families “a different opportunity to have fun and get out of the sun,” Dinnall said.
She said more family-friendly entertainment options are needed in Wellington. “Wellington and Royal Palm are growing like crazy,” she said.
Sprouts Farmers Market: This new-to-Palm Beach County healthy grocer plans to open in the former Sports Authority at 820 State Road 7, Wellington, in the Shoppes at Isla Verde. It joins traditional big box stores in the plaza, including Old Navy and Best Buy. Next door is another large space left vacant by a recent departure: Toys R Us.
Luna Salon Suites: Similar to Image Studios 360, Luna Salon Suites offers individual space for beauty professionals who can customize their space without paying a commission, as they would if they rented space in a traditional salon setting. Luna has locations in suburban Lake Worth and Kendall. It will be in the former Joey’s Outback Adventures at 10670 Forest Hill Blvd. in the Wellington Green Square plaza.
Adrenaline Trampoline Park: This indoor adventure park, which is similar to Urban Air, is set to open this summer in the Nassau Square plaza on Lake Worth Road just east of Florida’s Turnpike. The 45,000-square-foot space has been home to at least nearly a half-dozen retailers since big box department store Uptons closed in 1999. In addition to trampolines, Adrenaline has rock climbing, dodgeball and basketball.