How Water Features Enhance Mixed-Use Properties

Posted in Insights -

As live/work/play environments have gained momentum, mixed-use properties have become increasingly popular. Developments incorporating multiple uses are popping up across the country, and property owners are discovering that water features are the perfect amenity to tie all these uses together and create a cohesive and appealing setting.  

The OTL team has a long history of installing water features at a wide range of asset types, including mixed-use properties. The beautiful fountains, artificial rockwork, and themed environments our team designs and builds can have a tremendous impact on these properties for several reasons. 

Establishing Placemaking 

Water features distinguish mixed-use properties like nothing else can. Their beauty and effects dazzle onlookers, attract tenants and residents, and draw in visitors from near and far. Many people consider the locations where water features are located to be true destinations, bringing them back to those places again and again. 

For example, at The Grand at Papago Park Center, a 58.53-acre mixed-use site in Tempe, Arizona, OTL collaborated with the construction team under an extremely tight timeframe to deliver a water feature that was aesthetically superior, representative of the Theodore Roosevelt Dam, and exceeded the expectations of the park developer Papago Park Center, Inc. The project serves as a unique piece of placemaking and a means of attracting center tenants, residents, and visitors from miles around to admire its magnificent effects, while adding significant value to the business park. 

In addition, at The Island in Pigeon Forge, a 300,000-square-foot mixed-use entertainment complex in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, OTL created a signature showpiece fountain that would help drive retail sales and create an identity for the development. With this highly attractive amenity, featuring dancing water, lights, color, and music, the major vacation destination offers a new level of retail entertainment that benefits tenants, guests, and the surrounding community. 

Providing Central Gathering Places 

Amenities like water features serve as landmarks at mixed-use properties that connect the various uses and provide easily identifiable places for people to gather. Fountains attract visitors and increase length of stay, which can benefit tenants at mixed-use destinations. 

At University Place, a sizeable live/work/play development in Orem, Utah, OTL designed and built a stunning show fountain – the first in the region south of Salt Lake City – and an interactive deck, which helped elevate this already-iconic property into a lifestyle and retail destination. The project comprises high-tech, clean, modern fountains that serve as central gathering places and focal points for tenants, residents, and guests, contributing to the mall earning a Utah Award for Excellence from the Congress for New Urbanism. 

Another key mixed-use project that serves as a meaningful central gathering place is Jordan Downs in Watts, a neighborhood in South Los Angeles, California. At Jordan Downs Freedom Plaza, a 115,000 square-foot retail center at the development, OTL created Instill, a water feature that satisfies a City of Los Angeles requirement that owners of private development to contribute public art. The water feature highlights a series of typography and drawings based on phrases and images significant to Watts residents, etched into the fountains’ natural stone columns. Serving as the “voice of the neighborhood” of Watts, Instill leverages this central gathering place and elevates even further a formerly blighted area. 

Delivering Immersive Experiences 

Consumers’ appetite for immersive experiences has certainly not abated in the last several years. Mixed-use properties that offer these experiences, especially via water features, are setting themselves apart as cutting-edge venues, desirable to retail and office tenants, hotel operators, and a host of other occupiers. 

Adjacent to Texas Live!, a $250 million world-class dining, entertainment, and hospitality district in Arlington, Texas, OTL delivered a show-stopping special-effects fountain that provides unique art and cultural experiences. The water feature presents an impressive show to Arlington residents and visitors with a series of thrilling special effects that integrate into Arlington’s sports-and-entertainment-driven atmosphere. 

Moreover, AI is playing an increasingly greater role in heightening the immersive nature of these water features. At EpicCentral, a 172-acre retail and attraction park in Grand Prairie, Texas, our team designed and constructed a spectacular show fountain named Illuvia. The water feature combines air-fired jets and robotic nozzles that shoot jets of water 60 feet high with colorful lighting, engaging music and large-scale projection moving images for an unforgettable experience. OTL recently integrated into the project our own proprietary AI software, Aquarius Interactive, which allows guests to control the fountain’s movements simply by moving their hand or body.  

As innovators continue to push the envelope on what water features can do, stakeholders in mixed-use projects are reaping the benefits. Few other amenities can convey a sense of place, offer a ready-made central gathering place, or provide immersive experiences at these developments quite like water features.