Levin Inks Three Dozen Leases June-September 2014

Momentum Confirms Retail Real Estate Trend in Northeast

We’ve been seeing the health of retail real estate in the Northeast improve steadily over the past year – and reporting on it regularly here on our blog. Leasing activity at Levin-managed properties now confirms that a positive retail real estate trend is, in fact, in progress. Levin has inked more than three dozen new leases, renewals and expansions totaling 277,000 square feet during the period of June through September. Our year-to-date activity total now exceeds 600,000 square feet, marking continued momentum for the Northeast retail real estate market, where the majority of our 13 million-square-foot, 95-property leasing and management portfolio is located.

Establishing or Expanding a Footprint Drives Retail Leasing in Northeast Region

Our largest new lease in the period from June through September involved a 30,808-square-foot commitment by discount apparel and home fashion retailer Stein Mart, which will open its first Long Island location at Mayfair Shopping Center in Commack, N.Y. In New Jersey, T.J.Maxx leased 23,000 square feet at St. Georges Crossing in Woodbridge, while Staples signed on for 14,249 square feet at North Village Shopping Center in North Brunswick. At Mid-Town Plaza in Middletown, Pa., a 7,400-square-foot lease to AutoZone represented our largest recent Keystone State transaction.

Levin president Matthew K. Harding notes that retail leasing has picked up markedly among tenants looking to establish or expand their footprints in the Northeast. Grocers, affordable fitness chains, off-price retailers and fast-casual restaurants are among the most active categories, with strong demand from national, local and franchise companies.

As Vacancies Drop, Rents Rise. New Construction Projects Deliver Results

Vacancies are on the decline and rents are trending up at quality properties, sparking stepped-up new development and expansion/renovation work at well-located shopping centers. In fact, both the T.J.Maxx and AutoZone leases will be accommodated by property expansions at St. Georges Crossing and Mid-Town Plaza, respectively.

“The success of recently completed construction management projects are bright spots in the Northeast retail real estate market,” Harding said in a recent press release. “And while we will continue to see quality inventory added to meet growing demand, the maturity of the market, combined with lengthy approval and building processes, will keep the supply/demand ratio in check. Looking ahead, we expect the market’s stability to increase – gradually, not rapidly – over the next couple of years.” That’s a welcome retail real estate trend and one worth watching. ###