Photo Credit: Unsplash Retail property investors aren't just benefiting from the reinvention of a new generation of shopping plazas, they are helping to pioneer better futures for local communities and economies too. Retail properties are changing. Their role in sales and commerce is changing. Their role in the community is evolving. Their importance for a new generation of Canadians is growing. Behind this revolution are capital investors, many of whom are private individuals and small groups, who are putting in the financial and knowledge resources to make it happen. That can come with some attractive returns too, but the role they are playing and the fruits of that they get to see in action are very rewarding as well. Shopping plazas are changing in a number of ways. Retailers are now integrating more of a multi-channel approach to sales, and are seamlessly weaving clicks to bricks, and are making retail outlets into new pickup locations and distribution centers delivering speedier service for online shoppers. All while providing the touch and feel, and personal assistance still needed. Investors and their savvy asset managers are also weaving more experiential concepts into these properties. We may love our phones, and smart home systems, but if anything, this is making us crave and appreciate real world experiences and real interactions with other humans even more. Now these community hubs are integrating more restaurants, fitness facilities with group classes, and indoor play areas for kids, as well as events. It's where you go to have a good time, and do some shopping while you are there. Retail investors are also providing the capital to renovate and convert properties to not only accommodate more of these activities and bond retailers together, but to even integrate residential units and offices, including medical offices, for complete live-work-play destinations. One of the commonly overlooked or missed elements of this is that this is also empowering and fueling the local economy and entrepreneurship. It is making more new startups possible, and is fueling their success. Plus it all keeps more money in the local economy, versus all the money floating overseas to websites never to be seen again. Summary Trends are changing in retail and real estate. Many are for the better. Property investors are benefiting from this. Partly from the financial gains. Yet, also from the impact they are having on communities, new generations, and lives. Pay attention to what's going on at your local shopping plazas and you might start seeing more of this in action as experienced maestros of asset management weave their art and science into creating great new spaces.