Brisk Activity Reflects Post-Recession Revival in Retail Leasing

Levin Sees Surge of Three Dozen New Leases and Renewals through May 2014

The first five months of 2014 were a busy period at Levin, with three dozen shopping center leases and renewals, totaling 337,000 square feet, finalized. We had been expecting the post-recession momentum that began late last fall to continue in our Northeast retail real estate market, where the majority of our 13 million-square-foot, 95-property leasing and management portfolio is located. We were pleased to see our projections materialize into what we believe is a positive and highly promising retail real estate trend for the balance of this current year.

National, Local and Franchises Drive Heightened Commercial Retail Leasing Activity

Brand-name retailers, both national and regional, and franchisees at all levels played a major role in Levin’s largest recent surge of new lease transactions. These included a 41,302-square-foot commitment by Dave & Buster’s at Post Road Plaza in Pelham Manor, N.Y., and a 19,430-square-foot commitment by Sears Authorized Hometown Stores at Blue Star Shopping Center in Watchung, N.J. Other noteworthy leases included a 6,400-square-foot commitment by Dollar Plus at Hamilton Street Shopping Center in Franklin Township, N.J.; a 6,000-square-foot lease by Giant Wine & Liquor, LLC, dba Buy Rite Liquor at Capitol Plaza in Ewing, N.J.; a 2,500-square-foot lease with Choice Pet Supply at Mayfair Shopping Center in Commack, N.Y.; and a 1,289-square-foot lease by Allevia Spa at The Shops at Blue Bell in Blue Bell, Pa. These national and local chains and franchise companies with strong brand recognition among consumers continue to be powerful performers in the Northeast region. They comprise a category base that reflects a broad variety of offerings. Restaurants, apparel, pet supplies, gyms and personal services are among the most active tenant types. A strategic mix of these diverse retailers draws and sustains shopper traffic.

Competitive Positioning: The Key to Delivering Shoppers, Tenants and Investors

From Levin’s viewpoint, this stepped-up retail leasing activity makes competitive positioning a vitally important component for attracting shoppers and tenants, as well as investors in a disposition scenario. This “triple play” is based on three basic ideas. One, shopping centers with a strong tenant mix and curb appeal draw customers. Two, properties with customers appeal to tenants. Three, stabilized, efficiently-operated assets attract investors. Owners looking to take advantage of the industry’s growing momentum will take the right steps to achieve this ideal and ultimately position their properties for success.

Look for news and observations from Levin Management executives in upcoming posts here at Retail Property InSites. Please join us and share your comments about our posts or about your own management experiences, observations and challenges in retail real estate.


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