SAN FRANCISCO—Wouldn't it be convenient if someone hadclear, intelligent answers to most of your CRE-related questions?Problem solved. Nina J. Gruen, a.k.a. Ms. Real Estate, a.k.a. theprincipal sociologist overseeing market research and analysis atGruen Gruen + Associates, is here to answer readers'questions.

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Dear Ms. Real Estate:

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I own an 80,000-square-foot community shopping center located ina suburban community. My closest competitor is five miles away. Ourtown's current population is approximately 75,000, and is addingbetween 500 and 1,000 new residents annually. A four-year collegeis located not too distant from our center. Some of my tenants havelease renewals as of January 1, 2015, and quite a few more onJanuary 1, 2016. Several have already indicated they are unlikelyto renew their leases because both the recent Great Recession andInternet have hurt their bottom line. My largest tenant is CVS,which apparently is doing OK, and the center's overall occupancy isat 89%. What advice can you give me to help me survive the Internetage – particularly given the nearby younger population?

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Trading Out ofaTechno-Turmoil

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Dear Techno-Turmoil:

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You are facing a universal and ongoing problem. With eachpassing month (or should I say day), new apps are available to makeshopping easier anywhere, any place and at any time of day. And asyou are aware, many retailers already offer free shipping and freereturns, as well as overnight delivery. Even food services areincreasingly being purchased on the Net. There are some foodservices, however, we want when we want them – coffee, juice, icecream and yogurt, for example. Given the makeup of your marketarea, many still are likely to eat out on a regular basis. And alldemographic groups are increasing their purchases of take-outs.

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Experiential services are and will remain your best bet.Examples include health and beauty related services like spas, hairsalons, nail parlors, as well as yoga, pilates and cross fitnesstenants. As Ms. Real Estate has commented before, pet-relatedservices like pet grooming, including facilities where the petparent can bathe their dogs continue to serve as centerattractions. For your less desirable space, services such as drycleaners, alterations and shoe repair will provide steady draws.And of course, tenants that relate directly to the Internet, likeVerizon, and most desirable of all, an Apple store, are winners. Ifyou should be able to have an opportunity to attract the latter –even a no-rent deal is likely to help assure close to a 100%occupancy rate for the rest of your center at acceptable rents.

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Nina J. Gruen

Nina J.Gruen has been the Principal Sociologist in charge of market research and analysis at Gruen Gruen + Associates (GG+A) since co-founding the firm in 1970. Ms. Gruen applies the analytical techniques of the social sciences to estimating the demand for real estate and to understanding the culture of the groups who determine the success of development, planning, and public policy decisions. She is a pioneer in synthesizing the results of behavioral research with quantitative time-series data to forecast market reactions. Market and community attitude evaluations and programming studies led by Nina Gruen have resulted in the development and redevelopment of many retail, office, industrial, visitor, and residential projects, varying in scale from a single building to large single- and mixed-use projects.