DMM Retail Industry e-News Issue #167
Experiential Retail Takes Philly by Storm
All eyes are on Philadelphia’s retail real estate market, as one of the nation’s largest cities is experiencing growth of retail in mixed-use settings and balancing the demands of urban and suburban submarkets. Fashion District Philadelphia, the three-year project that re-vamped the former Gallery Mall, opened a few weeks ago to great fanfare. REBusinessOnline recently reported the Philadelphia metro area’s retail inventory has grown by about 1.3 million square feet per year over the last three years, and retail demand has pushed the market’s vacancy rate down to nearly four percent. “Philadelphia is a market with many millennials and college students, a dense residential downtown area and a thriving tourism industry,” said Doug Green, managing principal at brokerage firm MSC Retail. “If you’re Bonobos, Warby Parker or Untuckit, Philadelphia is going to be one of your stops, because we check all the boxes that new-age retailers keeping up with the times look for.”
Former Sears Stores Being Used in Unique Ways
So, the millennial crowd doesn’t seem to prefer the traditional, large anchor store that once carried malls. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t shopping or that the large stores aren’t useful. They are being repurposed in many ways around the country. In Colorado Springs, Colorado, for example, a former Sears location at the Broadmoor Towne Center is likely to house five different retailers or other uses, once a gutting and refurbishing of the building is complete. “The building’s commercial zoning has no restrictions and will allow a variety of uses that will attract tenants. It does not have any exclusives or covenants against the property. So, it really is an 11-acre open campus, allowing for flexibility of use,” said Paul Rubley, an Olive Real Estate Group broker. Another former Sears nearby has been used to host a ComicCon event recently (and is scheduled for the same show again next year), but more permanent plans are still being considered.
Case Study: Northern Nevada’s Retail “Explosion”
It’s a booming region, with retail options a-plenty, and even more to come. It’s northern Nevada, the Reno-Sparks area. Between massive construction projects and home-grown retail that keeps locals from taking day trips to Sacramento, CA, there’s been a surging economy making the area more attractive over the last few years. There’s been an influx of shops and eateries with exotic-sounding names: “Süp, Centro and Coffeebar; retailers Chez Vous and Rancharrah Clothing Company; and Dolce Vita Wellness Spa.” Proof that business is booming: in the past year, 300 new businesses joined the local Chamber of Commerce. “Whether it’s retail shopping, dining or entertainment, we are now on the map as a city that can handle a diverse range of interests. No one has to leave the area to find what they need,” said Ann Silver, chief executive officer of the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce.
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DMM e-News - Issue #167
The Shoppes at Farmington Valley Canton, CTClick to Download PDF