May 18 2016

Doing More To Incubate Tenants Of Tomorrow

MIAMI—In preparation for the upcoming ICSC RECon event, GlobeSt.com chatted with attendee Sandie Witmer, director of leasing for Metropica Holdings LLC, about urbanization and forecasts for the retail market. Metropica is a mixed-use project going up in Broward County, FL, that will encompass 65-acres and more than 4 million square feet of residential, retail, commercial, hotel, conference and public spaces.
 
What is the biggest trend you are seeing in the retail sector today?
 
Sandie Witmer: It’s all about urbanization—every retailer is looking for density. South Florida is both an example and exception to the rule: Miami has become a world-class retail city despite high costs because we have strong sales. Here we’re seeing urbanization take hold in suburban areas. It’s why Metropica, our new neighborhood in Sunrise, is being built—because retailers and their guests want the city action.
 
Are you seeing restaurants play a bigger role than in past years?
 
Witmer: Restaurants are becoming more dominant in tenant mixes—you can’t have a dinner out on the Internet. So look for more fine dining, chef-driven restaurants and food halls to create the experiences our customers want.
 
Any forecasts for what is ahead in the retail market?
 
Witmer: Shoppers are rejecting the tried and true, and looking for the unique and experiential. Shopping centers and districts must supply that to draw shoppers away from their homes and computers. Based on what we’re doing at Metropica, I expect more developers to spend time sourcing and developing local and regional entrepreneurs in all sectors, from dining to fitness to apparel and more, to make our projects unique. After all, every major chain started with just one store. We have to do more to incubate these tenants of tomorrow.

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