Welcome to the official blog of Block Real Estate Services, LLC (BRES). BRES seeks to offer insight and news concerning commercial real estate, financial investments, construction and development of the 212 communities we serve locally and nationally.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Alternative Uses for Retail Property

Like the ghost towns of California that were left to wither away after the gold rush, many retail centers are becoming America's new small scale versions of the ghost town. These buildings are often useless, ugly splotches on communities, unable to maintain retail renters in an already saturated market.

 An Emerging Trends 2013 forecast and survey by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and PwC reveals: "As younger workers increasingly favor moving back to the urban core to work and live, a growing number of regional malls and obsolete suburban office buildings face either repurposing or death by demolition."

For some properties, one may have to think outside the box to determine the best way to maximize a properties potential at the lowest cost. Here are two different approaches for when retail won't work.

Get Down To Business
A defunct mall called "The Galleria" resided drearily near downtown Scottsdale. It was a tough decision of whether to sell, re-purpose, or raze the failing property. However, this once mall found its success by tailoring to the office space needs of larger tech companies that wanted to be near downtown Scottsdale. Now the Galleria Corporate Center houses successful companies that profited off the tehnology boom, like the social review site: Yelp. This property turned around by focusing on the need of tenants at the time. Read more in this CoStar article.

Get Schooled
Another non-retail consideration is public schools and higher education. Retired retail spaces can appeal to many online and secondary education schools. Public institutions can also benefit as well. In Prescott, Arizona, a Phoenetic School has bought a strip center across the street that it plans to develop into classrooms. See the full story.

Thinking out of the retail box is key. What does the market really need? More retail...or something else? Identifying the needs of the market and then tailoring the outdated space to fit those needs will deliver the most success.


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  2. I agree that retail property can have alternative properties. I have seen a retail property in peterborough that has been changed into a residential property and it looks great.

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