Retail Is Unstoppable: Hughes Landing 80% Leased
Houston retail leasing and sales are very strong today, say Howard Hughes EVP Paul Layne and Retail Solutions founder David Simmonds. That's why we're excited to hear from Paul, David and more experts at Bisnow’s State of the Market event on June 30 starting at 7am at the Petroleum Club, but you have to hurry if you want to see them—we’re nearly sold out. (Register here.)
Hughes Landing’s retail is 80% leased, Paul (fishing with sons Kevin and Kelly) tells us. He says the sector hasn’t skipped a beat, and Hughes Landing has been getting lots of interest. The challenge, he says, is selecting what complements existing retailers well and builds the environment/services Howard Hughes wants. California Pizza Kitchen opens July 1, and Macaron by Patisse and Cups Frozen Yogurt are also opening soon. Paul says he’s looking to find just the right wine bar or tapas restaurant to go on Restaurant Row’s corner on the water, and he’d like to see more soft goods. (A second women’s clothing store is coming soon—Willa Boutique will join KB Kasuals.)
We toured Hughes Landing and got some updated photos. Check out our Facebook page to see them!
Howard Hughes also started retail development in Bridgeland—it just broke ground on Lakeland Village Center, the first commercial development in the master planned community. Phase 1 (20 acres) delivers in spring 2016 and will have 84k SF of mixed-use space, including retail, restaurants and professional/medical offices. A 15k SF CVS is anchoring and will open at the end of this year. Paul says there isn’t a lot of depth to retail out there yet, but there will be.
David says Retail Solutions recently added 70 listings in 60 days, an indication of how dynamic the market is. SVP Lyle Cowand just sold a multimillion-dollar portfolio of Walgreens sites to one user. David tells us it took close to a year—at first, there were some hits, but suddenly in the second half of last year, the portfolio got lots of investor interest, especially as land play/redevelopment opportunities. The buyer does both investment/development and operates restaurants, so it’s determining how it will use each tract. (The sites are in Alvin, Katy, Spring and League City.)
David says fast casual restaurants are particularly booming, including Retail Solutions’ clients Freebirds, Pie Five Pizza and Frenchy’s. It seems like every fast casual food type is modeling itself after Chipotle, David tells us, and is going after the same type of product. That means lots of users chasing few spaces, which is pushing rents through the roof. David’s also thrilled to announce two huge new hires in Houston—Adam Manesh and Jim Thompson. (Jim’s a retail powerhouse; most recently, he was a managing director at NGKF Retail, and Adam is a land veteran who left his one-man shop to hook up with a larger platform.)