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Acuity Distribution Center

Retail Oakland Mall

Major mall renovation includes
retrofit with prismatic lighting

When ShopRite of Oakland purchased the Long Hill Mall in Oakland, New Jersey, the company had a primary objective: to give the 1970s-looking facility 1990s appeal.

Built in 1972, the mall had retained the same anchor, a 38,000-square-foot ShopRite supermarket, since it opened its doors. However, through the years, the shopping center had been plagued by a frequent change of ownership and constant turnover of tenants. Many shoppers tended to patronize the ShopRite store only, directed away from the other tenants by the facility's horseshoe-shaped layout.

After ShopRite purchased the mall in 1995, the facility underwent a $9 million renovation, and a major change in character. First, the interior was gutted and the original yellow and brown floor tile and preponderance of wood in the 8,000-square-foot lobby replaced with high quality marbleized vinyl flooring, aluminum and glass windows and decorator wall tile.

Second, the mall's second entrance (which was seldom used) was sealed up and a new canopy installed above the main entrance to beckon customers inside. A freight elevator near the main entrance, used to shuttle shoppers between the main level and the parking garage below, was replaced with a larger, state-of-the-art model. In addition, the ShopRite store was expanded to 68,000 square feet.

The renovation also included a dramatic change in the lighting system. Previously, the lobby area was lighted with a 2' x 4' fluorescent system. According to Robert Clare, vice president, three goals were established prior to selecting the new system: First, the lighting system had to increase vertical footcandle levels. In the past, the illumination was predominantly horizontal, which made it difficult for shoppers to read lists, price tags and register receipts. A balance of horizontal and vertical illumination allows customers to read items at any angle.

Second, the lighting system had to be visually appealing. This was especially important since the average age of the mall's targeted customer is 38.

"Long Hill Center is a mercantile area, not an upscale mall. Because of budget constraints, we could use very few products that had a decorative purpose only," Clare explained. "While we wanted the lighting to be snappy and even modernistic, it had to provide the light levels and distribution required."

Third, the lighting system had to illuminate the lobby from one end to the other and from the floor to the ceiling without creating shadows or glare.

The lighting system installed in the lobby area is Enhanced PrismGlo® Aurora® fixtures from Holophane Corporation. The prismatic glass units use 150 -watt metal halide lamps and feature a cranberry-colored band that complements the decorative wall tile.

According to Clare, Holophane's Computer Aided Lighting Analysis (CALA) software was used to determine fixture placement and projected light levels. Fixtures are pendant and wall mounted 11 1/2 feet off the floor, with spacing 14 feet on center. The PrismGlo units provide 40 percent uplight to illuminate the 2' x 4' grid ceiling. Illumination levels are 40 footcandles.

"When shoppers walk into the lobby, we want them to be able to see to the far end of the corridor. The PrismGlo fixtures provide uniform illumination throughout the space. They are also comfortable; a shopper can look directly into the units without feeling blinded," Clare described.

In addition to the standard size PrismGlo units, Compact PrismGlo fixtures with 100 -watt lamps are installed at the end of the corridor where it makes an "L". Here, huge windows overlook the scenic Ramapo Valley. Compact PrismGlo units are also used beneath the canopy at the mall entrance.

Clare related that the PrismGlo units are efficient. In comparing the prismatic glass units with a fluorescent system, he found that twice as many fluorescent fixtures would have been required to achieve the same light levels.

"Although the PrismGlo fixtures cost more per unit to purchase, the system is less expensive than a fluorescent system because fewer fixtures were needed. The prismatic glass units are also less costly to operate," Clare said.

PrismGlo Aurora units with 400 -watt metal halide lamps and a white decorative band are installed in the lower parking garage. Long Hill Center is constructed on the side of a mountain and the parking garage is directly beneath.

Prior to the renovation, the 100,000-square-foot garage was illuminated with approximately five floodlights mounted from the drop ceiling and a number of wallpacks on the wall. Lighting quality was extremely poor with footcandle levels measuring an average of two, with poor uniformity.

"ShopRite conducts numerous customer surveys each year," said Clare. "In the past, when we asked customers about safety, parking and lighting, the responses were brutal. We learned that customers seldom enjoyed the convenience of the lower garage because they considered it dark and dingy. When we were selecting the lighting system, we wanted fixtures that would invite shoppers in and would make them feel safe and secure as though they were already indoors."

The PrismGlo units are pendant mounted with a 26-inch stem on the 2' x 4' grid ceiling; ballasts are recessed. Ceiling height is 19 feet to the bottom of the grid and 24 feet to the concrete deck. The fixtures had to be low enough to achieve a good wash of light, yet high enough (over 14 feet) to allow semi-trailers to drive beneath them enroute to the inside loading docks. The units are uniformly spaced at 14' x 28'.
Spacing was influenced by the location of the many concrete pillars in the garage, which are 28 feet on center. Illumination levels are 15-20 footcandles.

Clare indicated that one of the challenges in lighting the garage was to maximize energy efficiency and not have all 142 lamps burning simultaneously 24 hours a day. The PrismGlo fixtures are automatically controlled by Holophane's Integrated Communications System (ICS). The ICS system is laid out in rings so that certain fixtures can be turned off when they are not needed. For emergency purposes, some of the PrismGlo units include a restrike feature and will operate on a generator in the event of a power failure.

Clare indicated a preference to Holophane lighting fixtures not only because of the impressive aesthetics, but functionality, extended life of fixtures, and their maintenance-free feature. "At one time, we considered using plastic fixtures because they are less expensive. We found, however, the plastic would ionize and attract dust. Plastic also yellows with age," Clare described.

All PrismGlo fixtures were installed with Holoflex®, Holophane's flexible wiring system. The system's power "T" connection replaced conventional wiring with a U.L. listed cable and pre-wired connections, eliminating the need for conduit and elbows. This sped the installation.

In the 30,000-square-foot parking lot outside the lower garage, 20 Holophane PoleStar® fixtures with 400 -watt metal halide lamps are installed. The units are mounted on 30-foot dark bronze poles. In the upper parking lot near the main mall entrance, nine Holophane Granville® units are installed along a fence.

"Because of the trees in this area, we could not light the parking lot from above. The Granville units not only provide the light levels needed, they are attractive and encourage shoppers to park in this area," Clare said. Illumination levels are 2-3 footcandles.

Clare indicated the rest of the upper parking lot is illuminated with two 40-foot poles, each with four Crestwood units from when the mall was constructed in the '70s. Plans call for this area to eventually be retrofit with the PoleStar system.

As far as maintenance is concerned, interior and exterior lighting fixtures are being group relamped as needed. The units are cleaned at the same time. The prismatic glass reduces any maintenance required compared to fixtures made with other materials.

"We've been quite satisfied with the lighting," Clare concluded. "In the planning stages it was determined that we would do the retrofit right knowing that you get what you pay for. We believe the Holophane fixtures were the best choice. From a performance standpoint, the Holophane fixtures have been reliable, and customer response has been very positive. We've heard many say, 'Wow, what an improvement!'"


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