Primm’s Fashion Outlets of Las Vegas is getting a face-lift, a new mission and a new name: Prizm Outlets.
It’s been more than a year since the mall’s mortgage lender foreclosed on the property, and while much of its interior is still lined with empty storefronts, a sign of a potential turnaround is in the works.
This month will see the opening of Step Right Up, a carnival-themed attraction by the founders of HeadzUP at Boulevard Mall — its first tenant since the mall began hitting financial woes. The shopping center quietly started its transformation over the summer, with plans for a full rebranding announcement later this year.
The mall’s owner did not return requests for comment and the management office declined to comment, but analysts say the makeover represents a growing trend among shopping malls to bring in social-media friendly “retailtainment.”
Dan Hubbard of Cushman & Wakefield said he’s seen an uptick in property owners requesting entertainment-type retail concepts.
Boulevard Mall was one of the early centers to capitalize on the trend when former Henderson-based owner Sansone Cos. purchased the site in 2013 — shortly after bringing concepts like John’s Incredible Pizza, SeaQuest aquarium and HeadzUP to the shopping center.
Meadows Mall opened the Japan-based amusement center Round One Entertainment last month, and Fashion Show mall opened the escape room concept Mind Twist Escapes two weeks ago. Then there’s next year’s opening of AREA15, the retail and entertainment complex near Interstate 15 and Desert Inn Road.
“If you have a big box that’s vacant and think who is going to backfill these spaces, there’s just not a lot of options,” Hubbard said. “I think you’ll start to see soft goods’ footprint shrink a little bit (and see) Dave & Buster’s, bowling alleys, more of that type of tenant as people want to be entertained.”
Under the Big Top
Step Right Up will feature interactive experiences such as 3D trick art, escape rooms, ax throwing, carnival games and snacks — similar to the offerings found at its sister store in Boulevard Mall.
The company inked a 10-year lease for a 24,610-square-foot space across from the Nike Factory store, according to brokerage firm Logic Commercial Real Estate.
Chad Dillow, co-owner of HeadzUP and Step Right Up, said the company chose the outlet mall after seeing some of its recent upgrades, which includes murals adorning the inside and outside walls of the center.
Prizm tapped roughly 30 muralists and street artists from more than 15 countries earlier this year with the intention of making it the largest street art and mural location in the country. The mall has spent more than $2 million in recent upgrades, according to its website.
But getting visitors, and even locals, inside Prizm could still be a challenge if the mall fails to ink more tenants, according to Cathy Enderwood of CBRE.
“An outlet mall is dependent on the brands,” Enderwood said. “You can buy anything you want online, but you can’t buy anything off-price online yet. People will fly to Florida because they have some of the best outlets just like Cabazon and then the two Simon outlets in Vegas. … I mean you’d have to have something so compelling to bring people there.”
She also pointed out Prizm’s location on the Nevada-California border as being a challenge, as locals have much closer shopping options, while tourists are either rushing to drive the last 40 miles to the Strip or are ready to head home.
“How can you compete against Vegas?” Enderwood said. “The hotels have incredible shopping. You have the Fashion Show mall. You have two great lifestyle centers — Town Square and Summerlin. How do you compete against all that? They’re in a very tough position.”
‘Sleeves rolled up’
Records show an entity linked to Miami-based Rialto Capital Management repossessed Prizm, which was struggling to keep tenants, in late September 2018.
It seems little has changed, as empty stores still fill much of the outlet mall’s hallways and a handful of customers could be seen walking around on a Friday afternoon last month, only some had shopping bags from retailers like H&M. Other tenants include William Sonoma, Gap, Tommy Bahama, Kate Spade, Coach and Levi.
Logic’s Design Architect Christopher Julian, who spearheaded Prizm’s rebranding, said the 378,519-square-foot property’s occupancy rate is around 66 percent.
He wouldn’t disclose if the mall, attached to Primm Valley Resort, is in talks with additional retailers but said the opening of Step Right Up should spur significant interest in the property among potential stores. There are also plans to consider hosting events and even music festivals.
“I think having (Step Right Up) is really going to be the beginning of a tenant mix and a curation that will complement all the art that’s happening,” he said. “What we’ve learned from places like Eataly and Instagram is that it has to look really cool … and we’re slowly putting our minds around what that would look like for us.”
Julian is no stranger to creating buzz. The Las Vegas native is co-founder of streetwear and vintage shop Fruition Las Vegas, as well as co-founder of UNKNWN — the Miami boutique whose cofounders include LeBron James. He’s also an executive with fashion label Fear of God.
He said the mall’s new moniker better reflects the direction retail is heading, which is grabbing the attention of younger, digitally savvy consumers.
“We wanted to turn it into an evolution of the word Primm … and introduce that concept to Generation Z, so we put the ‘z,’ which is Prizm,” he said.
But Julian said the center is being strategic in its growth and rebranding efforts without trying to make the center “feel a little too downtown” with its street art.
“We have to be very realistic,” he said. “I do think we have our work cut out for us. We’ve got our sleeves rolled up and are working every day towards making this a really fun destination for families and young people.”