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The Next Frontier for SoCal Retail Is...

The retail sector has finally made its recovery, and now it's looking for room to grow. Space is a little tight in LA and OC counties, but IE has the right ingredients for quick expansion, Progressive Real Estate Partners president Brad Umansky tells us.


For one thing, the population's in growth mode—4.4 million and counting. "And there's more disposable income due to better-quality job opportunities, lower interest rates and cheaper gas prices," Brad says. IE is on track to add 50,000 jobs this year, making it the third year in a row for that many new jobs in the market, which has never happened before. Unemployment is down to 6.5% as of March, from a recession high of over 15%. Timing's also a factor. When the economy slowed in 2008, the IE was in the midst of a major growth spurt. Development still hasn't caught up, so there’s lots of pent-up demand for new retail and restaurant space, Brad notes.


Progressive's been quite active in the IE retail market lately. In 2014, the company completed over 300k SF of leases in the market, and 20 investment sales, including the 97k SF Montclair Town Center, the 68k SF Barstow Plaza and the 16.6k SF San Bernardino Plaza. The momentum's continued into this year, Brad says.