A new outlet shopping center is bound to attract attention. With access to high-end name brands, shoppers flock to these destinations looking for high-quality merchandise at a fraction of the cost. But, what happens when the outlet center’s design and aesthetic appeal are just as popular as the retail outlets themselves? The answer: You get record turnouts and rave reviews from residents, tourists and the media.
According to the Value Retail News, outlet center sales across the United States increased around 12 percent in 2012 to about $25 billion. This popularity has led to the development of a number of new outlets across the United States. New England Development, a leading retail developer based out of Newton, Mass., envisioned an outlet in Palm Beach that would benefit from being placed in the heart of one of the most affluent regions in the country. The result: Palm Beach Outlets.
When designing Palm Beach Outlets, the developer, New England Development, was seeking to create a shopping experience with a signature look that would attract not only residents, but also the millions of tourists who flock to South Florida every year.
New England Development worked with the design architect, Elkus Manfredi Architects and with Dorksy + Yue International, the architect of record, to incorporate shade structures into the overall design of the center that would give the impression of lit, occupied tents conjuring the image of an oasis, and that could be seen from a distance. New England Development’s construction managers, EMJ Construction, then reached out to Birdair to help make this vision a reality.
The leading specialty contractor for custom tensile membrane structures around the world, Birdair, contributed to the beauty of the Palm Beach Outlets by designing, fabricating and installing approximately 41,000 square feet of its PTFE fiberglass membrane walkway canopies. PTFE, or polytetrafluoroethylene, is a Teflon®-coated woven fiberglass membrane that is extremely durable and weather resistant. These cone-shaped structures not only offer a signature look to the outlet center, but also provide patrons and employees with much needed protection from the sunny, hot and humid Palm Beach climate.
“A primary concern for anyone constructing an outdoor venue in South Florida is the weather,” said David Capezzuto, Director of Business Development, North America. “New England Development wanted to create an open-air outlet mall that would attract the residents and tourists alike, but needed adequate cover that would protect shoppers from the heat of the sun and almost daily precipitation that hits the region.”
“The Birdair team added great value from start to finish,” said Jim Fischer, New England Development’s Vice President for Design and Construction. “First and foremost, the product’s performance and aesthetic benefits speak for themselves. Secondly, we appreciated Birdair’s ability to integrate into the entire design and build team.”
Providing Much Needed Cover
Birdair’s PTFE fiberglass membranes can be installed in climates ranging from the frigid arctic to the scorching desert heat, to the hot and humid South Florida climate, with a project life in some cases exceeding 30 years. The fiber coating is chemically inert, capable of withstanding extreme temperatures. It is also completely immune to dangerous UV radiation. This unique combination of inertness, thermal stability and surface properties make Birdair’s PTFE-coated fabric membrane ideal for projects requiring superior weather and fire resistance.
Providing a Signature Look
Few products in the commercial building products industry can compare to the attractiveness of a tensioned fabric structure. Birdair’s solutions literally transform a typical shopping outlet into a first-class shopping destination that provides a dramatic and eye-catching appeal to visitors.
In addition to the daylighting and shading options it provides, the PTFE membrane served as a canvass of light for evening shoppers. Utilizing 160 different LED lighting combinations, the developer created a vibrant atmosphere that mesmerizes patrons while creating an upbeat and positive atmosphere.
Birdair is excited to be a part of Florida's newest retail destination!
Click here to check out footage from the record setting numbers at the Palm Beach Outlets grand opening on February 14th, 2014! Over 200,000 shoppers came out during that weekend.