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Fewer New Retail Centers?

Los Angeles Retail

Amazon just upped its same-day delivery to six more cities, another sign the retail scene is changing dramatically. So you won't want to miss Bisnow's SoCal Retail Real Estate Summit this Tuesday at the Casa del Mar in Santa Monica (sign up here). Here's a sneak preview from four of our panelists.

S.D. Deacon director of preconstruction Jan Cenedella (with a few of the supes) sees a trend toward refreshing older centers versus building new. The company recently remodeled Marina Marketplace in Marina del Rey, The Village at Nellie Gail Ranch in Laguna Hills, and 111 Town Center in Palm Desert. Jan recommends getting a general contractor involved early, so you can explore various design or tenanting options, such as selecting a different grocer or fitness chain, or a restaurant versus retail. She and her husband just returned from a mission trip to an impoverished area of Brazil with 16 high-schoolers.

One of four investment brokers within Cushman & Wakefield's 35-member Western US Retail Advisors, director Glenn Rudy tells us they've closed $200M in sales this year—20% ahead of last year—and have an additional $400M under contract or closing soon, with another $150M on the market. They range from regional power centers to single tenant net-leased properties, like their recent sale of 10 former Kmarts on behalf of JV partners Kimco and Schottenstein. Despite the numbers, Glenn says scarcity of quality product is frustrating the abundance of capital seeking West Coast opportunities. He and wife Lisa plan to do some glamping in early September. Don't know what that  is? Look it up—Glenn claims it could change how you and your family camp forever!

The Bloc is scheduled for completion in October 2015. The Ratkovich Co VP Brian Cornelius calls the former Macy’s Plaza a prime example of the "anti-urban movement" that started in the '60s and continued into the '90s: inward-focused, enclosed, with little going at the sidewalk level. In contrast, The Bloc will be outdoor, welcoming, and a place for public gatherings. The strategy is to search for new (or new to market) tenants, avoiding national brands. Brian has three dogs and three cats and asserts that, with the exception of wife Cathy, they're more supportive and loving than most people he knows.

McKenna Long & Aldridge partner Michael Udell, one of our two moderators, is representing multiple national retailers with the expansion of their concepts, including apparel companies, grocery stores, pharmacies and restaurants. On the landlord side, he's representing REITs, developers, and family offices in the development of several retail projects around the country. Michael was on the team that represented the Fresh & Easy rollout in California, Arizona, and Nevada. Fresh & Easy allowed us to "develop relationships with many of the key retail players around the country.” Michael spends his free time with wife Melissa and their two kids, Veronica and Donovan, and is also passionate about the Chicago Cubs.