is providing wall-to-wall coverage of ICSC’s RECon show in Las Vegas May 19-22. Subscribe to the Retail Ticket for pre-event articles, live video interviews on site and post-conference analysis.

“The common theme we’re seeing in regards to filling vacant anchor tenant retail space is that nothing is off the table.” So says Chuck Taylor, director of operations for Lemont, IL-based Englewood Construction.

In advance of the upcoming ICSC RECon event in Las Vegas, he tells that he is doing work with owners and developers who are considering all sorts of options to convert empty department stores at shopping centers, ranging from movie theaters and family entertainment concepts to entirely new uses including multifamily, senior housing, and even facilities for municipal bodies such as park districts.

“While our clients are ideally looking for something that supplements the experience at a retail center, at the end of the day they’re willing to weigh nearly any opportunity that will make good use of a large swath of vacated space,” he explains. “In this climate, their construction partner is becoming an extremely valuable resource to help them investigate feasibility and costing for converting spaces for an entirely new purpose.”

At neighborhood strip malls and power centers, big box brands that are shuttering and leaving behind empty storefronts are resulting in a reverse in how owners and developers approach filling space at those centers, he says. “In the past, the big box space would be filled first, with a well-known brand as anchor tenant attracting smaller brands and leading to build-out of additional outlot sites on the property.”

But now, he adds, “with many of those primary storefronts sitting vacant after brands fold, owners and developers are still tapping us to move ahead with construction of two- or four-unit retail strips and single-use pad sites in the outlots of these centers. They’re using this as a creative way to continue generating revenue and driving traffic as they find something new to fill the vacant anchor space.”

Keep checking back with in the next few weeks for more retail coverage as we continue to speak with attendees on their expectations of the upcoming event as well as trends they are seeing in today’s changing retail market.