Desperate Malls Turn to Concerts and Food Trucks

Malls struggling for shoppers with one thing their web competitors can’t offer: parking lots.

With customer traffic sagging, U.S. retail landowners are use their sprawling concrete heaps to host events such as carnivals, concerts and food-truck festivals. They’re aiming to entice visitors with suffers that can’t be replicated online — and then get them inside the properties to invest some money.

” Events draw people to come to the shopping center ,” replied Craig Herkimer, whose corporation, KevaWorks Inc ., is cooperating with large-scale landowners including GGP Inc . and Simon Property Group Inc . to render outdoor events.” They generate revenue for the owner and offer a chance for cross-promotion, so they can try and drive more customers into the stores .”

Dreamland Amusements at the White Marsh Mall, Baltimore, Maryland.

Source: KevaWorks

Mall proprietors across the country are grappling with account storage closings and slumping leases. Retail property appreciates are down 3 percent in past six months, as all another type of commercial-grade real estate showed gains, in agreement with the Moody’s/ Real Capital Analytics indexes. A Bloomberg gauge of publicly traded mall landowners has tumbled 15 percent in the past year through yesterday, the most difficult performance among U.S. real estate investment trusts. Inc . and other internet retailers continue to grow, while department stores including Sears Holdings Corp . and Macy’s Inc . ought to have closing hundreds of locations. Payless Inc ., the discount shoe dealer, is among the latest to announce a massive shuttering — of 400 stores — as part of a insolvency plan.

” We expect to see current trends of more closings ,” replied Carol Kemple, an analyst at Hilliard Lyons.” Most retailers, if they’re still standing in September, will probably to continue efforts to make it through the holiday season .”

Creating Experiences

Retail landowners have already made a pushing toward experience-driven offerings by adding restaurants, movie theater and activity centers for children. Many malls are also adding revolving stores around for only a short period of time — known as pop-up stores — that are meant to attract young customers who interpret shopping as an event.

Now, events are reaching beyond the malls themselves. Herkimer’s task is to delivering gang to parking lots with events that generate as much as $60,000 a week for mall proprietors from the most significant outdoor events.

Civic Center parking lot in Cathedral City, California.

Source: KevaWorks

The idea is gaining traction. Next month, Simon Property is having the first carnival in its Round Rock Premium Outlets parking lots, about 20 miles( 32 kilometers) north of Austin, Texas. Similar events are being held for the first time at sites such as Central Mall in Port Arthur, Texas, managed by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc ., and a Cheyenne, Wyoming, mall owned by CBL& Associates Property Inc . In July, Simon Property’s Orland Square Mall, southwest of Chicago, will be holding its first parking-lot food-truck festival, with plans for live music performances, Herkimer said.

Movie Nights

Lisa Harper, senior director of specialty leasing for Chattanooga, Tennessee-based CBL, said the company has expanded its carnival business at many of its 87 properties over the last couple times. She and Herkimer have discussed the possibility of pumpkin spots in the fall months and adding movie nighttimes to some properties. CBL’s Triangle Town Center, in Raleigh, North Carolina, is about to start its second mini concert and food-truck serial, called Creekside Wind Down, Harper said.

Retailers leased the outdoor space in a arrangement that resembles their indoor rentals, Harper replied. While each deal varies, such arrangements involve a base rent cost for the use of the space and a percentage pay after the event reaches a certain threshold. Department stores, which sometimes own or control their parking lots, are understanding more value in renting the space after many years of restricting their utilize, she said.

” Events brings that additional traffic and likewise will be encouraged to stick around longer ,” Harper said.

There’s no guarantee, of course, that people will go inside, replied Tracey Hatley, director of specialty leasing for JLL Retail. But the events offer opportunities for cross-promotion. Customers receive fliers advertising stores or restaurants inside the mall or coupon volumes to help depict them in.

‘Driving Traffic’

That works well for properties like the Santa Rosa Mall in Mary Esther, Florida, Hatley said.

” They are a belonging that’s struggling with occupancy, struggling with driving traffic to the center, so they desire doing parking-lot events ,” she replied.” You can see it from the road and it gets people on the belonging .”

Simon Property congressmen didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The U.S. is currently residence to about 1,100 shopping malls, according to Laurel Durkay, vice president and associate portfolio manager of real estate protections at Cohen& Steers Inc . That number could be cut in half over the next decade, though it may not take that long to determine who the winners and losers are, she said.

” You’re going to see a resetting of the bar for necessitate ,” Durkay replied.” Ultimately, high-quality players will emerge stronger than before, but it’ll be a rocky road .”

Year-to-date store closings are already outpacing those of 2008, during the last U.S. recession, according to Credit Suisse Group AG analyst Christian Buss. About 2,880 have been announced in so far this year, compared with 1,153 for the same months in 2016, he said in a report.

Groceries, Doctors

Some malls are doing fine even without renting out their outdoor space, especially higher quality properties with upscale stores. They have been describing visitors with grocery store, medical bureaux and high-end restaurants — all jobs that face less probability from e-commerce rivalry than traditional renters. Some retail REITs are adding role space or apartments to their portfolios to diversify.

Sandeep Mathrani, chief executive officer of GGP, replied at a meeting this month that the perfect mall now would include one department store, a supermarket, an Apple store, a Tesla store and jobs that started out online, like Warby Parker, the purveyor of prescription eyeglasses and sunglasses. Dres stores now represent about 50 percent of the average shopping center, down from about 70 percent, he said.

” Landlords are trying to give people reasons to come to the mall, whether it’s a Tesla accusing station or getting neighbourhood car golf-clubs to host events in their parking lots ,” replied Alexander Goldfarb, an analyst at Sandler O’Neill& Partners LP.” It’s not a fun time to be either a retailer or landlord, but it doesn’t mean every single mall or shopping center is going to close. Far from it .”

And for some retailer landowners with better-performing properties, the industry’s commotion could mean more opportunity.

‘Enormous Opportunity’

” This very painful process will surely take more than five years ,” Steven Roth, Vornado Realty Trust’s chief executive officer, said in a letter to shareholders this month.” It will likewise develop huge opportunity for those with the capital city and handling platforms to feed on the carnage .”

Urban Edge Properties, a Vornado spinoff, is one landlord adding to its holds. The corporation is under contract to buy seven retail properties, with 1.5 million square paws( 140,000 square meters) of gross leasable space, mostly in the New York City area.

Until malls can figure out how to bring in steady gang, expect to see corn puppies and carousels in their parking lots, Herkimer said.

” If retail turned around and vacancy rates plummeted again, and all the sudden these malls and shopping centers are full of tenants, I think there’d be a circle in the other direction ,” he replied.” They’d say,’ We necessity the parking space for customers .'”

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