Retail Construction Emerges as a Key Element for Dealmaking, Property Agility
Few industries have seen greater pandemic-fueled disruption than the retail, restaurant and entertainment sectors, which over the past year have seen the business of selling goods, services and experiences change swiftly and markedly. Yet amid the resulting challenges, there are signs of improvement and tangible progress. Leasing activity is picking up, and so – in turn – is construction. In fact, according to Levin Management Corporation’s (LMC’s) Matthew Harding, chief executive officer, and Maxim Gagneron, VP of construction and development, construction activity throughout the commercial real estate services firm’s shopping center portfolio is back to pre-pandemic levels. In the following interview, Harding and Gagneron weigh in on the North Plainfield-based company’s current activity, and the role construction plays in retail dealmaking and a property’s competitive positioning today and moving forward.
Q: How does leasing activity impact construction velocity?
Harding: Amid hurdles facing the industry in 2020, our leasing team remained focused on successfully bringing deals to fruition. Now, as 2021 gains momentum, so does our associated tenant fit-out work. As an example, our team has recently completed approximately 125,000 s/f of tenant buildouts, with about 250,000 s/f of work currently underway. Another 200,000 s/f in the near-term pipeline indicates that this trending is set to continue.