This is a lifestyle center--which can be distinguished from a shopping center by the fact that its primary parking lot is surrounded by stores instead of merely fronting them. The advantage to this layout is that the main artery is not as visible and the shopping experience is marginally more pleasant. I'm not being entirely fair here, because a holistic approach to lifestyle centers includes nearby housing. This gives the design some New Urbanist credentials, which are further enhanced by more eclectic storefront designs than would be found in your garden variety strip mall. I'm not entirely convinced by the whole ensemble, but I appreciate the extra effort that was put into this place. A friend who visited the place remarked that they would work better in a warmer climate. I'd venture to say that the high rents will tend to discourage diverse, and non-chain enterprises.
Michael Blanchard took this photograph.