With consumer experience all the rage in retail, is it any wonder that Caruso — a hospitality-minded, Los Angeles-based real estate developer — would look for ways to pamper its premium audience? The consumer-first mission is at the heart of a new partnership with Uber, announced Wednesday. The deal brings ride-sharing features and upscale waiting lounges to marquee Caruso properties The Grove, The Americana at Brand and Palisades Village. These are no bus stops. A stark contrast from the shunted-off pick-up spots at places like the airport or hotels, the company’s carefully crafted Uber zones were created to appeal to the high expectations of the company’s patrons. The idea of dedicated ride-share waiting areas is not new for shopping plazas. It’s not even new for Los Angeles, as the Westfield Century City Mall built an Uber lounge right into its renovation in 2017. At the time, Amy Friedlander Hoffman, Uber’s head of business development, explained to WWD that “the way we design our buildings and cities needs to make sense for the new way that people are moving around.” The company announced that it would expand into 33 more lounges — and, Hoffman added, the company intended to go after even more retail partners. It
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