NWA Retail Space Looks Poised for Rebound

by Serenah McKay  on Monday, Jul. 4, 2011 12:00 am  

What's Ahead
Unlike the upscale restaurants and other high-end retailers that moved into northwest Arkansas in the last decade, the businesses that are thriving and looking to expand offer goods and services for more budget-conscious customers.

These businesses include Goodwill Industries, Dollar General, Kum & Go and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. with its new Wal-Mart Express format.

And while numerous restaurants have opened in the last few months, they are generally family-oriented, lower-priced establishments, Lefler said.

Aiding the rising demand for retail space is what David Erstine, also with Sage Partners, calls a "meeting of the minds" between landlords and clients, or a willingness to make concessions.

Landlords have helped tenants stay in business during the recession by being flexible on terms and payment. Tenants have stepped up to the plate too, Erstine said, accepting slightly higher lease rates or longer terms.

Filling some of the older retail structures will take some creative repurposing, he said. Property that can be converted from retail space may be rented to a church or call center, or some other type of office user needing lots of parking space.

Brian Shaw, managing partner with Sage Partners, said he thought the market would continue to improve, largely because there's very little new construction on the horizon. "The banks are still being very conservative, especially on any kind of speculative development," he said. "So as the economy recovers, retailers recover and start to expand, and the market will tighten."

 

 

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