5 Things We Learned At Our Retail Real Estate Summit
Retail real estate used to be an afterthought for developers. Not anymore. These days, most of the major developments in the pipeline have a retail component, and landlords are actively programming their retail assets based on people's needs.
Over 300 of you attended Bisnow's 6th Annual Retail Real Estate series at The Century yesterday. Built in 1925, the former vaudeville theater is now a robust vertical shopping center in the heart of Lakeview, notably housing a popular art house cinema.
We caught up with NGKF senior managing director Jim Schutter before the development and leasing panel. Jim and Terry Alexa were recently named the leasing team for Taylor & Jefferson, an eight-story, 119k SF retail development in the South Loop’s Taylor-Roosevelt corridor that will deliver in spring 2017. Jim feels this will be another welcome addition to the booming South Loop; he loves its location near the expressway and believes it will attract shoppers from nearby neighborhoods like University Village, Chinatown, the West Loop and Bridgeport.
Here's the team responsible for The Century: NAI Hiffman senior leasing retail rep Jana Foreman and property manager Jeremy Weisbach (also one of our panelists). Jana says NAI Hiffman is being very aggressive in reprogramming The Century's food court level and is considering a range of options, including brewery concepts, wine storage and making it an event space.
Sam Zell predicts a recession is looming, but Walton Street Capital principal Josh Zemon doesn't see any fundamental issues with lending or operations, despite growing instability in financial markets. Josh says Walton Street's retail portfolio is very robust with healthy rent growth and spreads on lease renewals. Josh particularly likes what's happening with Walton Street's suburban retail assets, where there's steady growth instead of spikes. Josh says Walton Street has 25 active leases; 20 of them are quick-service restaurants.
Terraco Real Estate Development CEO Scott Gendell (shown with son Michael, a retail associate at CBRE) says it's important that developers listen to what residents have to say about a proposed development in their neighborhood. Scott says the debate over Terraco's Logan Square Mega Mall would have been more contentious if he didn't take the concerns of area residents seriously, and adds that their suggestions helped make the project better. Scott also lauded Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city for approving the TOD ordinance, which gives developers more leeway in how to adjust their projects near train stations and bus stops.
Abbell Associates and Abbell Credit Corp CEO Liz Holland (snapped with investment panel moderator Pircher, Nichols & Meeks partner Dave Pezza) has reason to smile these days. Liz was recently nominated as ICSC chairperson. Liz will be assuming her new duties during a crucial period, as she'll be tasked with advancing the group's legislative agenda after the inauguration of a new president. When asked about how to bring more women into real estate, Liz says the future is bright, judging from all the women she spied in the crowd.