Levin's Alison Horbach: "Moving in a More Positive Direction"
WOODBRIDGE, N.J., March 4, 2013 - Citing the results of Levin Management's post-holiday survey, "we see things moving in a more positive direction," the firm's leasing representative, Alison Horbach, told attendees of CREW NJ's February meeting at the Woodbridge Hilton. The program's title was "Retail Landscape in New Jersey for 2013."
But challenges remain, noted Horbach, who oversees the leasing effort for one million square feet of space for the retail real estate services company. Among those properties are Blue Star Shopping Center in Watchung, Paramus Place in Paramus, The Hills Village Center in Bedminster, and Galloping Hill Center in Union.
One of those challenges is tied to retailers restructuring and consolidating and the impact on tenancy. "There remains uncertainty about the potential of creating vacancies as a result," Horbach said. "The process of hunting for new tenants is clouded by the uncertainty of whether you're actually going to get the space back."
Another challenge involves fast-growth retail groups, everything from gyms to yogurt concepts, which are often driven by franchising. While the format and brand might be tried and true, "the questions focus on the experience and financial backing of the franchisee," she said, noting that many franchisees often have other or previous careers before opting to get into the retail business. The success or failure of a franchise "has a direct impact on a center's space."
As to the dealmaking climate, rents are "diverse" statewide, ranging anywhere from the single digits to $30 or more per square foot triple net, depending upon the submarket and the property," Horbach said. "Other factors are location within the shopping center, tenant improvements and/or any concessions tenants are looking for, all of which have an impact on the economics of the deal as a whole."
All that said, "things seem to be moving in a positive direction," she concluded.
Horbach shared the panel with moderator Marta Person Villa, vice president of CBRE; Yolanda Holmes, area real estate manager for McDonald's; and Mary Elizabeth Warner, Esq., corporate counsel for Quick Chek Corp.
Levin Management is one of the nation's leading retail real estate services firms, with a strong focus in the northeastern United States and an owner's approach to the business. Today, the North Plainfield, N.J., company offers a full range of services for a diverse 90-property, 12.5 million-square-foot portfolio. These assets include neighborhood, community, lifestyle and power centers, as well as enclosed malls, downtown stores and mixed-use projects in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and North Carolina. Levin specializes in repositioning, retenanting and renovating retail properties - areas that have become particularly vital for today's institutional, fiduciary and individual property owners.