Water Features Play a Pivotal Role in the Retail Renaissance

Posted in Insights -

Photo Credit Ian Bailey

As brick-and-mortar retail stores experience a post-pandemic resurgence, retail center owners are seeking to fuel investor interest and implement amenities that appeal to shoppers.

In addition, due to our current challenging economy and an overall emphasis on ecologically sound principles, retail stakeholders are looking to reduce expenses and minimize their centers’ impact on the environment.

Enter: water features.

These amenities are in high demand at retail venues as they serve as gathering places and beautiful centerpieces that drive foot traffic and repeat visits. Further, shopping centers with show fountains can present dazzling programmed displays that are bound to draw in a steady flow of visitors all year round.

Here are a few benefits water features provide that can help boost sales at shopping centers and assist retail stakeholders in achieving some of their operational goals.


As consumers are returning to the retail centers they missed during the pandemic, they are craving different and exciting experiences to make up for many months of virtual interactions with the world. Amenities like water features, which deliver those experiences in interesting and meaningful ways, will be most in-demand from shoppers in the coming years.

For example, 2nd & PCH, a contemporary lifestyle destination in Long Beach, California developed by CenterCal Properties, features a spectacular architectural fountain our company designed and built. In the fountain’s center is a magnificent spherical sculpture created by artist Ivan McLean, and the project’s exterior is highlighted by a bespoke glass mosaic tile. The water feature is the engaging backdrop for shoppers to take social media selfies and videos and a huge draw for visitors from miles around.

As we navigate through an inflationary and recessionary economy, successful retail owners are attracting consumers by redefining what it means to visit a retail center, such as tasting the trendiest new cuisine, receiving top-tier customer service, and enjoying immersive entertainment in many forms.


Retail stakeholders are looking for sustainable ways to operate their centers, and water features can truly help them achieve this.

Today’s fountains can aid with water conservation by using recycled water, such as in rainwater harvesting, naturally distilled HVAC condensate, greywater (which is recycled from on-site systems including sinks or other non-sewage uses), and municipal recycled water. Also, almost all the water features we build are engineered to recirculate water, which is a sustainability goal with any type of water use in a fountain.

In addition, today’s water feature technology allows these amenities to be controlled remotely so they can be shut down when necessary. These controls, which can be tied into building-management systems, also can alert retail owners and property managers if a leak is detected or a situation arises that could result in wasted resources if left undiscovered.

Cost control and Higher ROI

One way to maintain control of costs and increase return on investment in a retail center is to implement property improvements that will last for years and can be updated as needed to continually attract shoppers.

Once again, fountains fit the bill. With proper regular maintenance, water features can have a long life at retail centers. Also, because these amenities contain elements that minimize water and energy use, they can help decrease utility expenses, impacting the bottom line in a positive way.

Water features are perennial favorite amenities that draw shoppers back to retail centers for repeat visits and can make these venues true entertainment destinations. Water has always been important to human culture, and general gathering places historically have included water features as a central component. At a time when retailers and center owners are working hard for every consumer dollar, water features can provide them with a distinct advantage in the marketplace.


Photo courtesy of Ian Bailey

Photo courtesy of Derek Cress Photography
Hillsdale Shopping
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