Independence Center fills ‘missing element’ with new entertainment concepts

Independence Center’s new owner, IGP Business Group, is filling in the “missing element” at the indoor mall with new interactive experiences that are slated to debut in the winter.

A big focus has been creating an environment that “you can’t get sitting in front of a TV or on your phone,” Cheryl Meyer, Independence Center’s director of marketing and specialty leasing, said in a Tuesday news release.

One of the new concepts IGP is introducing is an area with climbing walls, three levels of ropes courses and a Rollglider, an aerial ride that combines the sensation of free falling with hang gliding.

Also in store for the center is The District, an arcade game and ride area, located near the food court. To make room for the new attractions, the Independence mall’s carousel will be removed in September.

IGP CEO Matt Ilbak detailed Independence Center’s need for a family-friendly entertainment concept during a previous interview, saying it was the mall’s missing element. It’s also an avenue to compete with growing e-commerce competition.

“In today’s retail world, the shopping centers are in a battle with with Amazon and all the other online options. … It can be a big threat to big anchor tenants,” Ilbak said during the previous interview. “However, as I mentioned before, there’s still something special about family experiences, and with our approach to include more entertainment options, we feel good about the future.”

Founded in 2013, Los Angeles-based IGP owns, manages and redevelops retail properties nationwide. In addition to the Oviedo Mall in Florida and the Moreno Valley Mall in California, IGP also owns Central Mall in Salina. Earlier this year, it purchased Independence Center for $57 million. Independence Center’s previous owner Simon Property Group defaulted on its $200 million loan, which went into special servicing in May 2017.

By Leslie Collins – Staff Writer, Kansas City Business Journal

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