One of Kimco’s premier assets is Suburban Square. The center is located in the affluent suburban Philadelphia area known as the Main Line. Suburban Square is home to 59 tenants, as well as the popular Ardmore Farmers Market, which has 16 food and beverage retailers.

But what many Suburban Square shoppers love the most about Suburban Square is its courtyard, which has historically been the property’s centerpiece and gathering place. When we acquired Suburban Square in 2007, we identified that upgrading the courtyard would be a key way to maintain the asset’s vitality and relevance. So part of our ongoing operational strategy was to make the Suburban Square courtyard more lively and vibrant.

This determination was cemented in 2010, when we conducted a customer survey to find out what our shoppers wanted most from Suburban Square. We asked what they’d like to see added, changed, and improved. We learned that customers wanted more energy flowing through the center, as well as more dining options.

To bring these improvements to life, we’ve spent the past eight months updating the courtyard design, and refocusing our tenant mix surrounding the courtyard to include a major new restaurant and a blend of high-quality national, regional, and local retailers.

Much of the unveiling has taken place over the past couple weeks. Here are some photos showing how it all looks now.

Specifically, we updated brickwork throughout the courtyard, and created a beautiful arbor to create a new gateway into the courtyard. We also added more tables and seating, which surround the large water fountain that has always been the signature feature of the courtyard.

Chief among our new tenants is Saint James Place, the American bistro created by two well-known Philadelphia restaurateurs, Rob Wasserman and Michael Schulson. The restaurant opened its doors earlier this month, and has since been serving full houses of diners. It seats 120 guests inside, and its outdoor area in the courtyard fits another 65 patrons. The menu features a host of options from lobster risotto to burgers to roasted chicken wings.

Also new is Elizabeth Johns, a high-end bridal and evening wear shop. The retailer held its grand opening celebration recently. Party goers mingled inside the store and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and drinks, while “Say Yes to the Dress” star Randy Fenoli hosted a fashion show outside in the courtyard, where models donned Elizabeth Johns creations.

The celebrations will continue this month, when another new courtyard tenant, lululemon, throws its grand opening party. There will be free yoga sessions and many other athletic-inspired festivities.

As a result of these improvements, we believe the new courtyard will drive more foot traffic to our center and tenants. Saint James Place as well plays an integral role in this regard, because we see the restaurant as the new courtyard anchor that will create more buzz in the area, and draw customers to not only dine, but also shop at neighboring retailers.

In addition, the courtyard will also provide a more attractive area for us and our tenants to hold al fresco events. We now have more of these events in the pipeline than ever before. They will help provide entertainment to the community, draw traffic to our center, and generate greater exposure for Suburban Square and its tenants.

Here are some of the major events we’re planning for the remainder of the year to give you an idea of the activities we have percolating:

  • Harvest Hustle 5K Run/1 Mile Walk. We’re partnering with our local Junior League to organize this event, and will be hosting pre- and post-race party activities in the Suburban Square courtyard.
  • Christmas Tree Lighting. We’ll be lighting a 26-foot Christmas tree in the courtyard with live music and other Christmas festivities.
  • Santa’s Arrival. Santa will be on hand to greet kids and hand out goodies in the courtyard, as well as take photos inside Macy’s.
  • Santa Breakfast. Santa will be in the Farmers Market hosting a breakfast for the kids with muffins, juice, and a special gift for each child.
  • Menorah lighting. We’ll be creating a Hanukah Wonderland where we’ll light the menorah and host other holiday activities.

We think you can feel a new energy when you walk around Suburban Square, and we believe shoppers will agree. Our renovations have reinvigorated and freshened our asset, and will strengthen its position as a premier retail destination on the Main Line.