Monthly Archives : May 2017

Top Of Mind Topics From ICSC’s RECon 2017 Conference

Top Of Mind Topics From ICSC’s RECon 2017 Conference

May 30th, 2017
By Natalie Dolce

LAS VEGAS—CREC VP Rafael Romero tells GlobeSt.com about how chef-driven restaurants are driving heavy traffic to shopping centers and why regional malls will not go quietly into the night in this EXCLUSIVE article on the hottest retail topics from this year’s big event.


CREC Vice President Rafael Romero

LAS VEGAS—GlobeSt.com recently caught up with Rafael Romero, vice president of CREC, a leading independently-owned commercial real estate firm in Florida, to hear his top five takeaways from the 2017 ICSC RECon conference in Las Vegas.

Below are Romero’s notes the “hottest” retail topics that were top of mind this year for industry pros:

Chef-driven restaurants drive heavy traffic to shopping centers

“We are seeing a new wave of innovative restaurants driving critical mass and showing landlords/brokers that the chef really matters. The concept and value of chef-driven restaurants, often by notorious and prized culinary masters, are serving as a successful formula to significantly draw demand to lifestyle centers in need of a new retail ‘palate’ and steady foot traffic,” he says. “However, although your area’s hottest chef may be a culinary genius, that doesn’t always ensure financial success. It’s important to note that when digging into a restaurant deal, there are several economic and business fundamentals to consider.”

Regional malls will not go quietly into the night

Not all malls are created equal, says Romero. “Analysts continue to blame the internet as the driving factor contributing to the decline of malls but we are still seeing ‘Class-A’ assets thrive as a result of a premier selection of retail and restaurant tenants successfully targeting the affluent communities they serve. Conversely, ‘Class-B’ and ‘C’ malls are struggling to find customers and keep tenants, as anchor department stores such as Sears and Macy’s continue to shutter,” he says. At this year’s conference, GGP, Simon, Westfield and other major mall developers and operators showcased their tenacity to keep regional malls thriving, he explains. “The sentiment is that mall owners remain heavily active to generate exciting deals, while fostering new levels of creativity to backfill impending vacancies.”

The sky is not falling

Although the recent wave of big-box store troubles continues to make headlines and there has been a slew of recent retail closures, the fact that national vacancy is at approximately 5%, according to Romero, is a strong indication that we are still experiencing a healthy retail market. “While sector readjustments will naturally be made to combat big-box retail challenges and the age of online shopping, the sky is definitely not falling,” he says. “The future looks bright for the retail community.”

Discounters are growing and absorbing square footage

Within this changing retail landscape, fueled by the closure of iconic big-box retailers, the squeeze from the internet is not the only pressure felt in the industry, says Romero. “The off-price retail sector is actively thriving. Consumers are increasingly gravitating to discounters, such as T.J. Maxx, Marshalls and Nordstrom Rack, that can offer many benefits not seen at department stores—discount prices, changing product mix and that thrill of hunting to find the perfect item. We cannot ‘discount’ these retailers from the conversation.”

Grocery stores will take a larger piece of the neighborhood center pie

“We are definitely seeing more demand from grocery store giants, with their desire to continue rapid expansion in centers across the country. With new big-name grocers coming to the market and other giants, such as Whole Foods and Fresh Market, further developing prepared foods and unique offerings, margins are anticipated to widen and heighten the threat to other neighboring, local supermarkets and restaurants. We will definitely see the supermarket and grocery store industry remain a hot topic, one that is closely watched in the coming quarter.”

CREC Tapped by Thor Equities to Reposition & Draw High-Street Retail to Prime Fort Lauderdale Beach Shopping Destination

CREC Tapped by Thor Equities to Reposition & Draw High-Street Retail
to Prime Fort Lauderdale Beach Shopping Destination

Florida’s leading commercial real estate firm to transform The Gallery at Beach Place
into a live-work-play lifestyle center following major renovations.

CREC – Florida’s leading, independent, full-service commercial real estate firm – announced today that it has been selected by Thor Equities as the exclusive leasing agent for The Gallery at Beach Place in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida. Bringing extensive expertise in high-street retail, CREC together with Thor Equities will reposition the property’s tenant mix, revitalizing this Fort Lauderdale Beach landmark.

A major $1.9 million renovation by Thor Equities, including a fresh façade and modernization of finishes throughout, is currently underway to appeal to shifting demographics and increased demand for tailored, experiential retail in the Fort Lauderdale market.

“We are excited to collaborate with Thor Equities to reposition this trophy asset and bring it to full occupancy,” said CREC Vice President Rafael Romero. “The 360-degree renovation of The Gallery at Beach Place encompasses not only the aesthetics of the property, but our team’s commitment to re-imagine this property as a 21st century lifestyle center anchored by an inspired collection of eateries, offices, health and fitness centers, and entertainment retailers.”

With this appointment, CREC continues its track record of reshaping the retail blueprint of lifestyle shopping destinations in Florida. Most recently, the firm created and executed a vision for a revitalized tenant mix at Downtown Dadeland. Prior to CREC’s involvement in 2014, Downtown Dadeland struggled to attract retail occupants that boosted foot traffic. CREC has since positioned Downtown Dadeland as Miami’s premier location for chef-driven restaurants, situated in a pedestrian-friendly, open-air environment. The restaurant lineup includes four James Beard Award winners and nominees including Pubbelly Sushi, Harry’s Pizzeria, The Brick and Zuuk.

The Gallery at Beach Place is situated at 17 South Fort Lauderdale Boulevard, just steps from the sand, and directly on the main thoroughfare of Fort Lauderdale Beach’s State Road AIA. The property’s prime location affords breathtaking ocean views and heavy pedestrian and vehicle traffic from neighboring hotel brands, including Marriott, The Ritz-Carlton, W Hotels and Westin. Tourist attractions such as The Fort Lauderdale Air Show and Tortuga Music Festival add seasonal boosts of foot traffic. The area attracts over 13 million annual visitors, spending more than $10.6 billion each year.

Comprised of 95,769 square feet of mixed-use space amid three floors, The Gallery at Beach Place is currently 70 percent occupied, with 32,618 square feet of rentable space available. Thor Equities’ significant investment in infrastructure will transform the property to provide a platform for CREC to attract high-quality tenants to Fort Lauderdale Beach’s newest live-work-play lifestyle center.

CREC Vice President Rafael Romero and Senior Leasing Associate Ariel Bernstein will oversee leasing and marketing The Gallery at Beach Place. Current anchor tenants include CVS, Escapology, Hooters, Lulu’s Bait Shack, and Maui Nix.

 

Miami Beach office market in ‘very best of health right now’

May 18th, 2017

By Catherine Lackner

S.Hurwitz_CREC_2016Miami Beach, a small, boutique office market, is “phenomenal as an asset class and arguable in the very best of health right now,” said Stephen Rutchik, Colliers International executive Vice President.

With no new office product introduced since 2002 and exploding values that make residential and mixed-used projects the highest and best use for raw land, tenants are shopping around in existing spaces and landlords are re-investing in older buildings, he said.

“There’s been a very significant appreciation in rents,” he said. “We’re still at a discount to the central business district, but not as much as before.” Class A rents in downtown Miami are about $45-$50 per square foot gross, while that space can be had on Miami Beach in the mid-$40s, he said.

“Many employers are looking for a submarket that has all the amenities their employees want as well as places to entertain clients. Miami Beach provides that and it’s not horribly congested like the CBD. It also has that cool factor, like Wynwood,” which doesn’t have much in the way of pure office space, observers say.

On Miami Beach, a higher proportion of people get around on bikes, skateboard and scooters than on the mainland, which is appealing to the millennial who work for or own tech companies, Mr. Rutchik said. “Tech firms are the drivers of net absorption. Being on Miami Beach checks their boxes.”

“We are seeing that the Miami Beach office market is currently performing quite well, with several similarities to other South Florida boutique office markets, such as Aventura and South Miami,” said Steven Hurwitz, a partner at CREC who leads the firm’s office leasing practice, via email.

“They provide a wide range of high-end, close-to-home opportunities for professionals wanting to avoid the ever-growing traffic congestion in South Florida. In Miami Beach, calls A vacancy remains in the single digits, and rental rates continue to climb, with supply constraints and limited, to no new deliveries on the drawing board.

“Land values and the return on other asset classes – like residential, retail and hospitality – have made Miami Beach’s office supply flat for many years. It is highly unlikely you will see an institutional-quality office building being delivered in South Beach anytime in the near future,” he said.

Miami Beach tenants are typically middle- to high-net-worth decision-makers, the fund and investment managers, principals in music and talent agencies and others who don’t typically need to be downtown, he said.

“Compass (a new tenant to Miami Beach) took the top two floors at the old Sony Building at 605 Lincoln Road in the past year and Warner extended its lease last year and is staying on Miami Beach, so that’s also good news for the market,” Mr. Hurwitz said. “Miami Beach tenants are those that want great quality in a location outside the more congested downtown and Brickell markets. Many of them live on Miami Beach, as do their employees.”

“Miami-Dade County’s pace of total office leasing activity bounced back from a tepid showing in 2016 with little adjustment to near-record high asking rate,” said JLL’s first quarter 2017 office report.

“Countywide total leasing activity registered 40% year-on-year growth (representing the largest single-quarter square-footage leased since the fourth quarter of 2015), led by the long-awaited return of suburban submarkets to long-term historical average activity.”

Miami Beach is a relatively small market with 1.9 million square feet of office space, the report continued. Throughout the Beach, rents average $41 per square foot, and the vacancy rate is 9%. Miami Beach class A space fetches $45 per square foot (with an 8% vacancy), while rates for class B are $39 per square foot with a 9% vacancy.

CREC Tapped To Exclusively Lease 43,000 SF Of Retail Space For Luxury Mixed-Use Development In Downtown Miami

May 16th, 2017

CREC has been appointed the exclusive leasing agent for 43,301 square feet of prime retail space of the luxury mixed-used development Vizcayne, located at 200 Biscayne Boulevard, in the heart of downtown Miami.

Vizcayne is situated within walking to distance to the American Airlines Arena, in a dense urban area with a strong population of businesses and growing residential base. Comprised of 849 condominium units in two residential towers, the development’s retail space provides everyday conveniences and services that appeal to the surrounding demographic.

Current ground-floor tenants include Orangetheory Fitness, CVS, Smoothie King, Zona Fresca, and The Learning Experience, with available retail space between 2,875 and 13,047 square feet. Additionally, Vizcayne offers a 126-space parking deck and abundant street parking along Biscayne Boulevard and adjacent side streets.

CREC Vice President Rafael Romero, CCIM and Senior Leasing Associate Ariel Bernstein will oversee leasing and marketing of the project.

“Vizcayne’s retail component provides a unique opportunity to attract lifestyle tenants that complement the neighborhood’s thriving residential base, as well as the bustling business community,” said Romero. “We are carefully selecting a retail mix that heightens the amenities of the luxury mixed-use development, while remaining conscious of drawing retailers that deliver a sense of ease to those who regularly frequent the area.”

Strategically located on Biscayne Boulevard, Vizcayne is across from Bayside Marketplace and Bayfront Park. Developed by Cabi Developers, the projected was designed by Fullerton-Diaz Architects, Inc. and completed in 2008.

“We are excited to add another luxury mixed-use project to our portfolio, and look forward to curating a lifestyle retail mix that brings great value to Vizcayne and Downtown Miami’s thriving pedestrian market,” added CREC President and Co-Founder Carol Greenberg Brooks.