Reposition Your Shopping Center by Improving Public Spaces: Waterside, Marina del Rey

Reposition Your Shopping Center by Improving Public Spaces: Waterside, Marina del Rey

This tip comes from the Retail Repositioning Guide produced by RetailRemix and Perkowitz+Ruth Architects.  It has been expanded with numerous photos as well as some additional information regarding the Waterside, Marina del Rey project (in Marina del Rey, CA) that makes use of this strategy.  If you haven’t seen the Retail Repositioning Guide PDF ebook, please click here for your free download.

Repositioning Tip – Improve Public Spaces:

The function of a shopping center is to serve the needs and preferences of its customers.

People are drawn to activated spaces, no matter the size of the project. Creating a sense of place can simply mean enhancing the pedestrian experience by adding furniture, umbrellas, canopies, piped music, paving, fountains and planters.  The addition of benches for adequate resting spots invites customers to linger and enjoy themselves.

“At Waterside, Marina del Rey (Marina del Rey, CA), a Caruso Affiliated development that was the winner of the shopping center industry’s prestigious SADI Award, the repositioning effort included adding shaded gathering spaces, terracotta walkways and a fountain centerpiece that activated the environment and created a true destination,”, said P+R Architects’ Principal Marios Savopoulous.

Waterside, Marina Del Rey – Marina Del Rey, CA

Waterside at Marina del Rey is a redevelopment of a 130,000-square-foot, 1960s strip center, that had not been renovated in over 15 years, fulfilling the special societal and market needs of the city, its tenants and the community. The development team at Caruso Affiliated team, including design architect Perkowitz+Ruth Architects, transformed Waterside by adding approximately 10,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space, in addition to an outdoor dining and patio area; dramatically improving both the pedestrian and perimeter experience.  The center’s design includes varied heights and textures as well as individualized storefronts, awnings and signage, giving each shop and restaurant its own identity.

Improving the Public Spaces

Utilizing an architectural style reminiscent of the European Riviera, Waterside’s innovative design and planning can be seen in every open-to-the-sky walkway, illuminated fountain, Italian-style kiosk and attractively framed storefront façade. One of the greatest challenges was designing and building upon the segmented massing of the existing strip mall. Long dark walkways were opened and shadowed corners that obscured storefronts and hurt the center’s performance were removed.

Shaded social gathering spaces were added to activate terracotta walkways, leading patrons to and from shops and restaurants. In the heart of the center, a 3,500-square-foot cobblestone and tile courtyard was added, serving as both a visual and physical focal point. The fountain, which features an imported 20th century bronze sculpture surrounded by a maritime inspired compass rose, became the centerpiece for family enjoyment and spontaneous encounters.

Inviting Landscaping

The sophisticated Mediterranean-style architecture is adorned with lush whimsical landscape that harmoniously complements the architectural fabric of the surrounding community. In addition to the interior landscaping, significant perimeter landscaping improvements were also made, including the addition of trees and green space to enhance the streetscape and welcome visitors.

Optimized Parking

Other challenges that the project faced were the center’s limited parking and the need for existing tenants to remain open during construction.  A more efficient parking layout added an additional 130 parking spaces. The orientation of the site did not change through this process, while safety and overall revenue potential were increased.

High Quality Design, High-End Repositioning

Developer, Caruso Affiliated, used their definitive entrepreneurial style to ensure that the vision was fully achieved.  This once underperforming neighborhood center was turned into a center of activity that to date is successfully 100 percent leased. Waterside has not only provided a quality high-end retail center to the area, but also an intimate outdoor living room where citizens linger to socialize, dine and shop.

Click on any image to enlarge it.  Click on the site plan above to view a large PDF site plan.


Waterside, Marina del Rey: (

Caruso Affiliated: ( is a well-respected real estate firm known for its continuing success in developing neighborhood and regional retail centers of extraordinary quality.  Their simple formula of high-quality design, local market knowledge, mature in-fill locations, creditworthy tenants, and conservative financing has firmly placed Caruso Affiliated among the most successful, admired, and financially sound retail developers in America.

Perkowitz+Ruth Architects ( is dedicated to providing national and international clients with high-quality design and construction administration services. Headquartered in Long Beach, CA and employing 200 professionals, the firm features offices located in Long Beach, CA; Washington, DC; Portland, OR; and Northwest Arkansas. The firm specializes in neighborhood centers, single-tenant retailers, mixed-use environments, multifamily housing, entertainment and hospitality destinations, urban design and planning; civic projects, repositioning efforts and sustainable design. With more than 20 years of experience, the firm is committed to responding to the needs of the client and desires of the community. Through an integrated design approach, Perkowitz+Ruth Architects produces top-quality projects that encourage sustainability and operational efficiency.

One Response to “Reposition Your Shopping Center by Improving Public Spaces: Waterside, Marina del Rey”

  1. Deborah Alexander says:

    As a Marina Del Rey resident, we go to the Waterside Marina Del Rey on a daily basis to shop and get coffee.

    While the fountain and piped in music is a highlight, the parking set up and lack of sidewalks and cross walks, make getting to the shops dangerous. It’s only a matter of time before someone gets injured. You have to dodge cars to get from the bank to the grocery store. It isn’t set up to hold the traffic that comes through. There is no sidewalk around the side of the bank (building C), and no crosswalks on the main entrance to Admiralty.