04 Jan 2019

NREI: 10 Predictions for Retail Real Estate in 2019

By Liz Wolf

As published on NREI on January 4, 2019

The past 12 months in the retail sector brought with it a barrage of national retailer bankruptcies and store closures, more malls boasting “experiences,” bricks-and-mortar chains beefing up their online presence and more clicks-to-brick moves among e-commerce players.

It’s time to look at expectations for 2019, and NREI asked leading experts for an outlook on what the year could bring. Among the predictions, insiders covered the continued importance of omni-channel strategies, the challenge of structural changes, online retailers beefing up physical presence and opportunities via big box vacancies as Coreland’s Ben Terry shared below.

8. Big-Box Vacancies Will Offer Opportunities

Class-A retail vacancies are very low, and with rising interest rates and the economy most likely slowing in 2019, you will hopefully see better real estate leasing opportunities for national tenants in the next couple of years,” says Ben Terry, vice president of retail brokerage at the Coreland Cos., based in Tustin, Calif.

It will also be interesting to see how developers reposition Sears boxes throughout the country, Terry adds.

“In major metropolitan and suburban markets where prime real estate is hard to come by, you might see theses boxes be torn down and see a combination of multifamily and lifestyle retail shops focused around food, service, fitness and entertainment uses,” Terry says.

Cordero agrees there will be more refurbishment and redevelopment of retail centers, especially with Sears’ stores closures and potential liquidation.

“It opens up a lot of landlords’ plans that they’ve been putting into place to redevelop properties and take their properties into 2019 and beyond,” she notes. However, it will come down to landlords’ ability and willingness to finance redevelopment projects.

The big REITs have the ability to invest, but if they don’t have the willingness, that’s a problem, she says.

“If you’ve got the smaller players, private owners that know they need to reinvest but can’t, that’s a problem,” Cordero adds.


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