Among the GRS Group attendees at ICSC’s RECon show in Las Vegas was Timothy Kidd, a Vice President, based in Los Angeles. What he experienced on the show floor was an industry going through change but far from in trouble, especially on the West Coast, where markets are still seeing a lot of encouraging activity. He recently spoke with us about what he learned at the convention.
What was the overall tone of the conference given all the talk of store closures?
It was positive. Despite the obvious challenges that retail real estate faces, a lot of transactions are still getting done.
What are some current trends in the retail zoning world?
There are several trends taking place in the sector right now. Owners are looking to re-create shopping center through a variety of methods. There is redevelopment and repositioning with the addition of tech upgrades and other features. Landlords are integrating of non-retail uses, such as housing, in certain markets. Tenant-mix changes to reflect lifestyles, like the addition of gyms, are prevalent. There are also increasing opportunities to mix retail with mass-transit developments.
What Western markets are seeing the most activity?
San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver and Houston are all popular markets right now. Population growth and need to reinvent existing underutilized retail is what’s driving most of the activity.
Did you get witness any concepts new to you, such as tenants, tech, types of developments?
Yes. Retail is not dying as speculated by outside industry observers. It’s just going through a repositioning phase, which involves finding new tenants and concepts, which has always been a cyclical trend in the industry. I am seeing an increase in shared work space in centers, such as WeWork, going into former big box spaces. Just needs repositioning. How retailers are using artificial intelligence to improve customer service.
What was the biggest surprise of the show for you?
The emergence of a new tenant: online companies seeking short, flexible leases to get their products physically in front of the consumer. It’s a great combination of online and brick and mortar.
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