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Caruso taps Middlebrook to lead new innovation division


Photo: Matt Middlebrook

Heralding it as first for real estate development companies, Caruso Affiliated CEO Rick Caruso announced the formation of a Strategic Development and Innovations division focused on helping retailers harness new technologies serve a complex and fluid customer base.

“In a world that is changing so rapidly, we need an executive focused on long-term thinking, one that is not consumed by the crisis of the week, someone who observes trends in a wider visionary perspective,” Caruso said.

That someone is Caruso veteran Matt Middlebrook, executive VP of development the last five years and one-time deputy mayor of communications and policy under Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn.

Middlebrook told Chain Store Age that no technology will go un-investigated during his tenure. He says Caruso has already been considering advanced parking technologies, geo-fenced loyalty rewards, enhanced security and safety initiatives, and advanced mobile technologies covering shopping assistance, delivery, payments, and smart home features. In his new undertaking, he will be collaborating with academics and online retailers, as well as tech companies.

“Our first priority is to assess opportunities and determine the best places to begin implementing the newest innovations and technologies to benefit our guests and tenants. Every day, there are new innovations that promise to change the way we do all sorts of things, but we want to look at what truly matters,” Middlebrook said.

Caruso operates The Grove in Los Angeles, recently named by Green Street Advisors as the second most productive shopping center in America with average sales of $2,200 per square foot.
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