Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Leasing Retail Space - Know Your Neighbors

Are Nearby Stores Complementary?
Next review whether the retail space you are considering is complementary to nearby retail establishments. For example, it would not be appropriate to put a liquor store adjacent to a school for troubled children. However, a dry cleaners, nail salon, office supply store and dollar store might all fit well in their neighborhood shopping center anchored by a major grocery chain.

Complementary Stores

Grocery stores, drugstores and gas stations tend to be complementary. In some cases, they are all provided by one retailer. For example, many of the Sam's Club or super Wal-Mart's have groceries, a drugstore and sell gasoline. In addition, there has been a growing trend for grocery stores to sell gasoline as a loss leader. Their objective is not to make money selling gasoline. Their objective is to increase the number of trips customers make to the store to buy groceries.
Category Killers

In some cases, "category killers" cluster in a power center. (A category killer is a retailer who stocks every conceivable item relative to a category. Office Depot is a category killer for office supplies. Petco is a category killer for pet supplies.) Having four to six category killers in one cluster is referred to as a power center.
More on Category Killers

The stores are not linked in a physical sense, other than being part of the same planned development. In other words, they were likely developed at the same time on one large tract of land, but there is no enclosed pathway between the stores. Other examples of category killers are Home Depot, Circuit City, Best Buy, Linens N Things and Bed Bath and Beyond.
Example of Complementary Uses

Another example of complementary use retail uses would be to put a beauty products store, hair salon, tanning salon, nail salon and spa contiguous with each other in the same retail center. Customers interested in one of these businesses may well be interested in at least one of the others.
Avoid a Deal Killer

Complementary uses can be a meaningful enhancement of a location. However, uses which are clearly inconsistent with your proposed location may be a deal killer.
Construction

When retail space meets the minimally acceptable standard for the previously discussed criteria, it is time to review the costs to prepare the retail space for your business. In broad terms, the costs include signage and the cost of renovating or redoing the improvements within your space.
Tenant Improvements

At this point, you need to know the landlord's policy regarding tenant improvements. (Tenant improvements are worked performed to make space suitable for a business. It can include adding restrooms, demolishing and adding walls, floor coverings, window coverings, signage and virtually anything else related to physically preparing the retail space for your business.
Will the Landlord Pay?

The landlord is usually willing to fund tenant improvement expenditures provided he is confident the tenant has the financial capacity to pay rent for the term of the lease. If you're representing a national retailer with a strong balance sheet, landlords will practically spend as much money as you request on tenant improvements. Of course, the cost of the tenant improvements will be built into the rental rate.
It's Up to You

If you're a start-up business with no track record and little capital, landlords will be cautious about expenditures for tenant improvements. They will likely want you to fund tenant improvements for your space. The benefit is your rental rate will be lower. However, you'll have to include the cost of preparing your space for occupancy in your initial capitalization.
TI Details

Other issues related to tenant improvements include defining the work to be done, and who has financial responsibility for performing the work. If you're a national retailer, you might provide a landlord with a detailed set of plans for your space. It is then up to him to cost effectively provide the buildout you are requiring. If you're a smaller retailer, the landlord may provide a tenant improvement allowance, and require you to interface with contractors to have the work performed.
How Much TI?

The cost of tenant improvements occasionally exceeds 0 per square foot for second-generation retail. It is generally much lower. Even if the landlord is willing to provide substantial funds for tenant improvements, be cautious about the scope of work for tenant improvements. The landlord's expenditure for tenant improvements is essentially a loan which will be repaid with your rent during the term of the lease.
Who pays for ADA?

If the space requires tenant improvements which require obtaining a building permit from the city, review whether you'll have to replace the restroom because of ADA. (ADA is the Americans with Disabilities Act). In most cases, changes to provide ADA compliance are not necessary if you not require a building permit. However, a consequence of obtaining a building permit is typically that the space must be revised to completely comply with ADA. Replacing the bathroom so it is ADA compliant can be expensive.

The Market Research and Consulting division of O'Connor & Associates provides information necessary to make decision to commercial real estate professionals. Occupancy and Rental Data, ownership and management information are routinely gathered for four major land uses multifamily, office, retail and industrial. This information allows investors to compare competitive properties, facilitate business decisions and track market and submarket performance. In addition the data is useful to brokers who for example continually monitor Houston retail space leasing, Houston office space leasing, Houston industrial space leasing, Houston apartments, Dallas apartments, Ft. Worth apartments, Austin apartments, and San Antonio apartments.

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