TEDA Promendades Retail and Entertainment Destination
by GlobalDesign Workshop + Cuningham Group
How To Get Your Destination Design Project Started
Creating a successful resort, town center, entertainment or retail destination is your goal. But how do you get the process started? We have been through this process hundreds of times over the past twenty-five years. To ensure the success of every project we design, we have leveraged this rich experience and developed a successful methodology, a user manual of sorts describing how to successfully start and navigate the process. There are three steps to get your project underway — Research, Planning and Action.
We have assembled a number of extremely useful resources to help you with each of these three steps.
Conduct Online Research
Learn more about your project type, what has worked elsewhere and what has not. It is key to understand how successful projects work. It is equally important to understand why. Understand how those projects are similar to yours, and how yours is different. Browse through relevant websites, and read blogs – a great way to get a better understanding of both the theory behind the creation of successful destinations as well as practical how-to blogs, such as this one, with step by step guidelines and practical case studies.
- Online resources – This GDW blog contains many useful articles that will help you get started
- Ask questions regarding strategy, programming, positioning and how to get started.
- Ask about the theory and practice of creating successful retail, resort, entertainment or town center destinations
- Ask to how to choose a design firm, whether to use a large, big name firm or a smaller dedicated design studio
- Meet with an expert, on your project site, if possible. Ask them to:
- Review your site (if you have one), suggest appropriate site attributes (if you don’t) its strengths and weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT analysis)
- Ask detailed questions regarding strategy, programming and positioning of your project
- Discuss possible “Blue Sky” (big picture, big idea) concepts for your project
- Ask what makes a great destination
- More specifically, ask what makes a great retail destination, town center destination, entertainment destination or resort destination
- Ask about the general challenges and opportunities shared by all destination projects
- Ask about the challenges and opportunities unique to your project type
Establish your project schedule. Set an aggressive yet achievable schedule, taking into account not only design time but also the time necessary to receive government approval and financing of your project.
Establish your project budget. Set budgets for both soft costs (Soft costs include design fees, engineering, governmental fees, financing, and legal fees, marketing costs and other pre- and post-construction expenses) and hard costs (Hard costs include land acquisition and construction expenses). At this early phase, be sure to include a significant contingency.
- Build your project team
- Internal to your organization:
- Project manager with a knowledge of:
- Design management
- Land acquisition (as appropriate for your project)
- Governmental relations
- Financial management
- Investor relations (as appropriate)
- Leasing (as appropriate)
- External consulting team:
- Architect/Master Planner
- Additionally, your architect should provide consultants from the following disciplines (as apply to your project):
- Landscape architect
- Cost estimator
- Specialty Consultants
- Lighting design
- Graphic Design
- Water Features/Special Effects
- Show concept
- Sustainability/Green Design
Project Analysis + Positioning
This is the first step toward creating a successful destination. It requires a minimal commitment on your part, yet gives you the tools and direction to get your project underway.
Your design professional should start with a site visit and analysis; then prepare positioning recommendations and a concept program; a concept land use diagram to conceptually establish the best uses, and placement of those uses, on your site; a written narrative describing your vision for the place you wish to create, including the experience one might expect when spending time there, as well as appropriate design metaphors or back-story; and concept image photos that both visually communicate your vision and give future direction to the design team.
You should further request and expect a presentation of findings and concept direction by your design professional, as well as professionally presented collateral materials to document the process and get your project off to a successful start.
If your first major project milestone is the approval of stakeholders such as senior managers, investors, partners or bankers, or getting approval by governmental authorities, you will need an Investor’s Package: Investors’ Package
Your design professional should still start with project analysis and positioning (as described above), but also should provide a recommended facility program outlining the major facilities and necessary area requirements; an illustrative site plan describing the arrangement, relationships and character of the place; concept diagrams indicating how guests and services access and move around your project; an aerial perspective providing an overall “bird’s eye” view of your project; and three or four ground level sketches illustrating the look and feel of your project as one would expect to experience it when construction is complete.
As described above, this package should also include image boards and a design narrative, appropriate printed and digital materials for you to use, and a professional presentation of all findings and materials by your design professional.
More information regarding an investor’s package or Full Design Services: GDW Services
If you have completed the above steps, or if you have your infrastructure in place and are on a fast track to completing a successful destination, you may desire to contract immediately for full service master planning, urban design or architectural design.
Full design services include blue sky/feasibility (what is the “Big Idea,” and is it financially feasible?); concept design (what does the “Big Idea” look like and how much will it cost?), schematic design (how will it look and feel, what are the key details and materials?), design development (how will it be built?), construction documents (make sure the contractor builds my design) and construction administration (make sure the builders understand the design and build it correctly).
Additionally, your design professional should provide consultants including Feasibility Analysis, Retail Strategy, Landscape Design, Civil, Structural and MEP Engineering, Green and Sustainable Design, Lighting Design, Graphic Design, Audio/Visual/Systems Design, Special Effects Design, Water Feature Design and Acoustic Design.
More information regarding full service design: Contact Us
Creating a successful resort, town center, entertainment or retail destination is your goal. The challenge is getting the process started. The steps above are an abbreviated version of the methodology we have developed over the years. Contact us for more details, to discuss the specifics of your project, or to request a proposal.