Retail Experts Offer Industry Insights on Trends, the Future

Real estate developers and investors gathered to discuss game-changing trends influencing retail decisions

Amanda Buckley, director of marketing and business development at OMNIPLAN.

Expert real estate developers and investors gathered to discuss game-changing trends and what’s on the horizon for retail in a panel discussion presented by The Real Estate Council and Real Estate Deal Sheet. Jack Gosnell, a senior vice president with CBRE, moderated two panel discussions. The event was the fifth in TREC’s “Industry Insights” series for 2016.

Here are the key takeaways:

AMANDA BUCKLEY, OMNIPLAN: “What does the future really hold? It’s very integrative. We’re seeing every different product type you could possibly think of being squished into one mixed-used development. Office, multi-family, hotel — pretty much everything you could think of. That looks a lot like what we are seeing here locally at CityLine and even Legacy West, where you have multifamily, you have office — you’ve got the retail glue holding everything together at the ground level.”

COURTNEY LINDLEY, SLIM CHICKENS: “You’ll see a very competitive market in the fast casual world, so you’ve got to make sure you have great real estate, and you’vee got to be selective in how [you] grow. Over the next three years, we’ll see how the guys who created a great customer experience and have great product are the ones that will make it.”

ROBERT DORAZIL, UNITED COMMERCIAL DEVELOPMENT: “When we started coming out of 2008, we did the first Kroger Marketplace in DFW at Preston and Eldorado, which is a great intersection, But, we did that store and then we stopped. We didn’t build any retail. After about a year and a half, we built one building that could have leased whether there was a Kroger there or not. Things started happening again, so we built another building … and we built another building … and we just recently built two more buildings. We don’t build a building unless we think we are going to lease it 100 percent.”

WILL TOLLIVER, LEON CAPITAL GROUP: “Our philosophy on the real estate side for retail has really been finding great fundamental sites and understanding that if you got the right site and the right basis, then the tenants find you.”

STEPHEN PRESTON, NORTH AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT GROUP: “I think we all have to be very concerned with internet, which is causing downsizing with tenants, but use that as an advantage. There are several big box concepts that are looking at smaller locations now. … They’re trying to adjust to where the internet is and what the shopper wants. They’re realizing, these retailers, that they can get just the same out of a smaller concept, from the standpoint of sales, as they can out of a bigger concept. I think that’s something we all need to be aware of.”

COURTNEY NAUDO, DELOITTE: “For the next year, I think you’ll see a little bit of hesitation in the marketplace from the retailer perspective. They know they need to do something with their real estate, clearly, but I don’t see massive swings. To that point, retail is still very strong, it just may look and feel a little bit different. I think you’ll see, from a retailer perspective, that increased flexibility, wanting to be able to try out different formats, and being able to get in and out of that.”

RON MILLER, INVESCO REAL ESTATE: “You better buy good real estate and be able to hold it for the long term because based on what’s going on in this country right now, by default it’s going to appreciate over time.”

FRANK MIHALOPOLOUS, CORINTH PROPERTIES: “I like to do projects that matter, so fulfilling needs and making a difference. There’s nothing more [fulfilling] than when you take a dead mall or go to South Dallas and put something there where people appreciate it. It’s not all about the numbers and making money.”

BILL HUTCHINSON, DUNHILL PARTNERS: “My opinion is go where the people are, go where the money is. Don’t knock yourself up, don’t beat your head against a brick wall. This is really simple business what we are doing.”

JOHN CARL III, SAROFIM REALTY ADVISORS: “Soft goods is a four-letter word right now. I think people are struggling with apparel sales. That’s one of the areas where the internet has clipped some sales from poor locations. What we’re seeing is, if you have a great location, we have no shortage of tenants coming to us.”

A version of this article appeared in the winter 2016 edition of the Dallas-Fort Worth Real Estate Review. Panelist comments have been edited for brevity and clarity.

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