Lauren Leach: Commercial Development Looking Up – Corp! Magazine
Lauren Leach was featured in Corp! Magazine’s article titled “Commercial Development Looking Up.”
Lauren Leach, director of Real Estate Advisor Services for Conway McKenzie, a global management consulting and financial advisory firm with Michigan offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids, said commercial real estate is a successful venture at this point, but that a variety of factors will determine its success in the future.
Leach said commercial investors can plan on a few things:
- Ride-sharing will start to have an impact on retail real estate, specifically impacting malls and lifestyle centers. Consumers can expect to see fewer parking spaces per square foot of retail space in the future, she said. “This is due to the growth of ride-sharing services which has allowed more consumers to arrive at stores without cars. Many mall landlords now have designated ride-sharing drop-off/pick-up areas.” Furthermore, she said, municipalities are taking action and are encouraging “smart growth” by reducing the amount of parking spaces required for approval in new development projects. Wise landlords with liquidity will “focus heavily on redevelopment of shopping centers to stay relevant and focus on adding entertainment concepts.” Restaurants, movie theaters, and kid-friendly interactive concepts will be highly sought-after.
- Amazon is growing its business as a manufacturer, directly competing with marketplace sellers by identifying top-selling products they can make and sell on their own.
- Technology continues to play a great role in retail, Leach pointed out. For example, she said, retailers are using “augmented reality” to allow consumers to see a product in relation to his or her own specific space.
- Changes are coming to “big box” stores. Many big-box retailers have filed for bankruptcy or closed locations (Kmart, etc.). Owners, Leach pointed out, are “starting to see that big-box locations may not work in today’s environment, so they’re adapting and repurposing those spaces.”
- Office users are taking retail space. Nontraditional users—urgent care, schools, offices, spas—are attractive to shopping center owners who want diversity and to become “e-commerce proof.” “You can’t get your nails done or be tutored online,” Leach said.