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5 Tips to Slash Shopping Center Costs

Now that the MayPac fight is over, we turn our eyes to other happenings in Vegas—namely ICSC RECon, which begins May 17. In anticipation of retail's biggest show, we asked JLL director of retail property management Janine Christian, who oversees a portfolio of more than 160 shopping centers, for her tips to reduce real estate costs.

1) Ditch the Paper


Rising paper costs and decreased customer usage makes going paperless a no-brainer for your shopping center, says Janine (snapped above with daughters Allie and Sammie on spring break in DC). Shoppers like receiving messages about retailer sales, upcoming events and safety info on their smartphones, tablets and digital devices. "Embrace the opportunity to dump the paper fliers, and enable your centers with WiFi," she says.

2) Green is the New Black

Save money and reduce energy consumption by understanding the details behind your utility and energy bills, she suggests. Consider upgrading HVAC controls to use economizers, night setbacks and staggered start times. Switch the center’s lighting to high-performance LED and fluorescent bulbs. JLL’s management team has made recommendations and implemented lighting retrofits to LED fixtures and/or bulbs at several retail centers, achieving a combined annual savings of $140k and obtaining $128k in utility rebates.

3) Trim the Fat


Pay close attention to the scheduling practices of your security and housekeeping vendors, and align outsourced services to peak times, she recommends. Additionally, redefine the scope of work in the bidding process to eliminate unnecessary expenses and contracted services. Consider an in-house solution for regular plumbing and parking lot sweeping whenever possible. By implementing these, JLL saw a reduction of over $3M across all portfolios. (We're sure you'll save even more by not hiring Paul Blart as your mall cop, above.)

4) Cut Cleaning Costs

"Regularly cleaning a center does more than keep it attractive," Janine says, "it’s essential for creating a safe environment for shoppers and tenants." Consider switching cleaning services to non-peak daytime hours to improve energy consumption and labor costs. Invest in floor-care machines that automatically dispense cleaning solutions to reduce waste.

5) Turn Trash Into Treasure


Waste disposal costs continue to climb, so you should proactively manage your center’s garbage removal. Emptying trash compactors when full achieves significant cost savings rather than scheduling waste removal on a regular basis. Conduct a waste audit to evaluate if a recycling program is viable and would reduce the center’s waste stream. Consider a recycling partnership with a neighboring property to reduce disposal costs. Property specific programs are evaluated periodically throughout the year to ensure the program is maximizing all benefits; for example, Central Mall in Lawton, OK (above) saw annual expense savings of $4,300 and a $2k increase in revenue.