How I Lured Your Shopper
What do you think of our How I Met Your Mother spinoff? In a city where retail space is abundant, it's the in-store experience that's going to separate a storefront.
That's what Regency Centers' Andre Koleszar told the crowd of over 200 at Bisnow's Atlanta Retail Real Estate Summit last week. (Above, we asked our audience to re-enact the infamous picture of the Overlook Hotel from The Shining.)
Andre, part of our leasing panel, says the experience of shopping is critical for the new generation of shoppers, who are choosy about where they go. We all need to recognize what Millennials' patterns are: They shop for reasons, not things, he says. Atlanta certainly offers many options: He says there's 65 SF of retail space per person in metro Atlanta versus 40 SF nationally.
Halpern Enterprises' Bill Brown (above, with Inland American Retail Management's Teri Young) says in many areas of the country, there's a return of the traditional grocery-anchored strip center. (Finally, stores can get rid of the Pop Tart inventory they had leftover when they went away.) And while no one is reinventing the format, there's real focus on convenience. Hence, Bill says, retailers are much more selective on sites. And Teri says when it comes to tertiary markets, retail centers must focus on tenant mix, especially outside-the-box tenants like medical uses. “It's really about mix and service and being different,” she says.
DLC Management Co's Michael Puline, whose impeccable fashion sense begins with his socks, says the fact that REITs have been buying up Atlanta retail recently is a bullish sign, but “there's still a lot of vacancy on the market,” and that's putting downward pressure on rents. Rent growth is there, but it's happening closer into the city core than the 'burbs.
Hartman Simons' Benno Rothschild (right), who moderated, tells us he's helping BFC Partners lease up an outlet center it's developing on Staten Island next to the future New York Wheel, a 630'-high Ferris wheel overlooking the Big Apple and slated to be the tallest observation wheel in the world. (One must always build bigger Ferris wheels, lest they simply be reinventing them.) Stay tuned for more retail event coverage tomorrow.