THE COMMON AREA
is filling the gap through market studies and such tools as aerial photos, noted Gerardo Díaz Canales, Wal-Mart Latin America?s executive director of real estate. ?We round up the government information with other indicators that make it more trustworthy.? Next year developers and retailers will have fresh demographic information from the 2010 census covering Mexico?s 2,456 municipalities. This census promises to be more thorough than previous ones ? the government has hired 163,000 pollsters who will be on the road for four weeks, two more weeks than in 2000, said Miguel Cervera, a general director at the Instituto Nacional de Estadística y Geografía, Mexico?s statistics agency. Preliminary findings will be out in December, and the complete report is to be issued sometime in the first quarter of next year.
Landlords note renewed sense of urgency from retailers
After more than a year of dragging their feet, many retailers are feeling a renewed sense of urgency about opening stores, according to executives of Regency Centers. ?Our properties in most 8 SCT / aPril 2010 markets are experiencing a significant pickup in traffic and retailer interest,? said Brian Smith, Regency?s chief investment officer, on a fourth-quarter earnings call. ?You?re hearing about property tours being scheduled for the first time in well over a year.? In fact, Regency did 20 percent more leasing on a gross-leasable-area basis in the fourth quarter than in the preceding three quarters, he said. Franchisers are a particularly active segment, Smith said. ?The franchise owners themselves are stepping up to help franchisees. They?re in some cases offering brian sMith financing, soft financing ? they?re putting free package deals together for them. So that?s helping.? Corporate layoffs are spawning a new generation of entrepreneurs who want to open retail businesses, Smith said. ?You have people who have been with companies a long time, highly paid, getting some parachutes, and these guys are going in and opening up their own businesses, and they don?t require any financing.? Regency?s portfolio was 93.1 percent occupied at the end of 2009.
Pop-up shops get online exchange of their own
No longer just a holiday phenomenon, temporary ?pop-up shops? are a growing part of the retail landscape. Popupinsider.com, which bills itself as the first national exchange of its kind, is aimed at facilitating matches between landlords with vacant space, and retailers and other businesses seeking to open temporary stores. ?It is a tenant-oriented exchange where landlords pay a fee to advertise vacant space they have that will accommodate a temporary store, and tenants can peruse for free,? said Eric Anton, a co-founder of the site. Anton, an executive managing director and principal of Eastern Consolidated Properties, a New York City?based real estate firm, launched the site in February with Christina Norsig, owner and founder of ETabletop.com, an online porcelain, china and glassware store. Anton and Norsig have collaborated on several popup shops in New York City. Their success led others to tap them for recommendations on how to set up tem- porary stores of their own. Said Norsig: ?Vendors would come to me and say, ?If you are doing one of those pop-up stores, can we maybe have space within your space?? Or, ?Can Eric help me find a space?? Last year things had changed both real-estate-wise and with retail, and we had time to nurture this idea of creating a national exchange for pop-up stores.? Landlords pay a flat fee to advertise a property on the site for a year, but the platform will soon be changed to a database where retailers can find appropriate spaces by city, ZIP code and specifications. ?For landlords with multiple properties, we are going to create a brandlanding page that talks a little about the owner or the brand, showcasing their properties,? Norsig said. ?It will be almost like having a little store within the site that markets the owner and their assets.? The site also offers some