This is a phenomenon that impacts thousands of communities around the country. If there is a vacant big box in your community, don’t panic because there are opportunities for redevelopment. In many cases, these big boxes are older developments that no longer fit with current the current retail environment. A big, gray 200,000 square foot box isn’t very attractive to most retailers. However, many of these vacant stores sit at major intersections, highly visible and easily accessible to large trade areas. I hear comments fro staff and elected officials like, “I just don’t understand why no other retailers have gone there…it’s the best site in town.” Even the best sites however, require powerful analytics in order to be effectively marketed.
Analytical tools help you understand what type of retail development that site could be in the future which allows the city (and property owners, leasing teams) several avenues for marketing the site. By understanding specific retail and restaurants whose profile fit the trade area, the site can be better marketed to developers who are accustomed to redeveloping these types of sites. It’s much easier to get a developer excited about a project if you can show specific tenants who match the site as opposed to using anecdotal evidence of the site’s quality. Sometimes redevelopment involves starting over from the ground up or leasing the old space (after improvements) to new tenants. Either way, the property once again becomes an asset to the community rather than an eyesore.