|We told you we’d need more space than yesterday’s Part I to cover what we learned at our Bisnow Retail Summit Tuesday. We'll start with a nugget from Weingarten Realty central region VP/director Gerald Crump: Density cures many problems for retailers and their landlords. Sounds like a fortune cookie, but it makes sense: High-barrier-to-entry markets keep vacancies down.
|Gerald (second from left with Regency Centers managing director John Delatour, The Retail Connection Connected Development Services prez David Wilson, and Haynes and Boone partner Ann Saegert). Weingarten—with 376 properties in 22 states—manages and leases 70M SF. Gerald says bankruptcies are down with no real liquidations after Circuit City and Linens 'n Things. He says they’ve filled most of their boxes within nine to 12 months. “Small shops are more of a pain, at about 88% leased,” he adds. While occupancy is high— 96% of Weingarten’s boxes are leased—rates are about 15 to 30% less than what prior tenants were paying.
|Quandrant Finance's Jason Piering (with The Weitzman Group’s Bob Young) says activity on the lending side has picked up. The lending parameters are loosening little by little, too. As a general rule, the lending market tends to lag behind sales, Jason says. While new retail construction has been extremely limited for three years, Quadrant has an assignment right now for a community center in Hattiesburg, Miss. (Yes, Brett Favre’s hometown. In honor, we'll snap a pic of it with a camera phone.) There’s growth in that city, it's on a major corridor, and it's the last available plot of land on which to build. It’s the third phase of a 600k SF project (the balance of which is 97% occupied). It’s taken all year, but is slowly getting done with a lender in place. Now, they’re looking for an equity partner.