The Third Age of American Retail
Reports about retail in North America show nothing but doom and gloom, with predictions of store closings, mall shut-downs and more. But no-on seems to have told retail real estate owners and developers. Retail complexes are adding other uses, especially food and beverage (F&B) to their complexes, while high streets are adding retail, especially dining, to office buildings.
All are doing so to attract a shopper who increasingly wants a big-city, pedestrian-friendly feeling and is looking for experiences above and beyond merchandise. It isn’t surprising, then, that projects in urban markets are adding other uses—office buildings such as the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) in Chicago are expanding their retail offerings, while retail projects are including more F&B.
And don’t count out New York City, says Lee Block, executive vice president of Winick Realty Group. “The high street in retail is still thriving, especially in New York in areas where tourism is strong,” he says. “International retailers want a global audience.
The high-income earners in the best-known retail streets are supplemented by a strong tourist base. Block says he is bullish about Lower Manhattan, especially the street retail, as well as the Westfield World Trade Center and Brookfield Place. The region is under-retailed and under-served, he believes. “The area from Broadway to the East River is as dense as anywhere else in the city, and retail has just started to perk up,” he adds. “We’re also seeing really cool restaurants”—a sector that he says is particularly needed.
But other areas are coming on the radar screen, including Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights, just across the East River. “Brooklyn has a cachet to it and there are certain tenants that belong there first,” Block says. “There are different opportunities depending on where the customer base is.”
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Winick Realty Group is one of New York’s prominent real estate firms specializing in retail leasing and advisory services. Over the years, Winick Realty has served a broad range of domestic and global clients, with a strong emphasis on long-term representation and expansion and growth strategies. Winick Realty Group is highly recognized as a forerunner in the retail real estate market.