In recent years there has been a large focus on new development in the urban markets, leaving fewer retailers to look at opportunities in neighborhood and community suburban strip shopping centers.
The majority of the suburban shopping centers in MA were built in the 1980’s-90’s, or even earlier, and have enjoyed super success during a 30 year period of “consumerism” where retail vacancies were relatively low.
In 2015 however, suburban landlords are still trying to seek quality tenants to fill those small spaces, many in old, tired centers. Tenant retail brokers and retailers have a critical eye when determining a new site for their store. Expect that they will ask owners for new façades, signage, lighting, landscaping and parking improvements in the common areas.
The end result of renovating a center has multiple beneficiaries. Retailers’ benefit from increased foot traffic, the community benefits from increased economic activity, abutting neighborhoods have increased values, and ownership can see a bump in rental rates.
Given the hyper attention to urban areas, suburban retailers need a boost, and revitalizing a center for current and new retailers not only adds sales, it helps tenant retention thereby reducing leasing costs. Consumers are more likely to visit a “new” center than an older one, or one that has not been updated.
The community benefits from a revitalized center by having a “place” to congregate, often with pride.
Photo of dead shopping center in Richmond, VA by Storm Cunningham]