CHICAGO–Shopping center REIT InvenTrust Properties Corp. is doubling down on its redevelopment program, with plans to increase its pipeline through 2019 and beyond. It is a strategy that “started simply” just a year and a half ago, says EVP and COO Ivy Greaner. Today, it promises to grow from simple outparcel development to potentially embrace ancillary multifamily and office builds, creating a synergy between those product types and the REIT’s core retail. Those additional builds would come either through joint partnerships or “selling off parcels to outside developers.”
The result of course would produce a built-in clientele for the centers. “The market has become more collaborative and integrated,” she says, and the mix of these various uses “now creates a vibe within the shopping center community.”
That vibe to a great extent, is forward-looking. As the REIT ramps up its redevelopment program, such accommodations as for automated vehicles and rideshare concepts are being folded in. “The use of our parking lots and garages in more traditional product types will have to change to create different amenities for the stakeholders who visit,” Greaner says.
Grocery-anchored centers are the REIT’s bread and butter, and the EVP notes that grocers are on board. “Grocery stores, especially the leading ones, are looking forward to that change,” she says. “Along with new formats and delivery methods, grocers are exploring all different ways to tackle the future.”
That future for these retailers, of course, involves technology, which has a direct bearing on re-tenanting as part of the development plan. At the very least, the tenant has to have a website and a location on Google Maps, so customers can do a little at-home research before hitting the center. Retailers that have to fuel growth at the fiercest levels “need omni-channel capabilities to stay relevant and competitive.”
The specific tenant mix is determined by marketplace need and the demographics therein. “The market determines what stores and concepts should or shouldn’t survive,” she says. But it’s also determined by the tenant’s ability to embrace the above-mentioned changes. “We continue to look for grocers that have deep pockets and a strong desire to embrace new realities, because we know those grocers are investing to make the necessary changes. That mix, and the ancillary uses and services that go along with it are critical to the success of the shopping center and the retailer.”