Developer Lowe has launched a new retailplatform, Retail reVision. The platform is a strategic initiativeto assess and reposition retail properties. Lowe has namedJoel K. Mayer as EVP to lead the newinitiative.

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"Retail reVision looks at the available retail space and devisessolutions that add value to properties and communities that solvethe retail problem with non-retail options. We are in the middle ofa large shakeout in retail that will leave many well-located retailproperties, such as malls, community, lifestyle and power centers,in urban and suburban infill markets poised to benefit fromrepositioning and redevelopment with a variety of new uses thatenhance neighborhoods while creating a new customer base for theexisting retail," Mayer tells GlobeSt.com.

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There has been a shift in retail over the last several years,now accelerated by the pandemic, but Mayer asserts that the changesto retail go beyond the increase in ecommerce shopping. "While weare all keenly aware of the changes in retail over the past severalyears that have occurred as a result of online shopping, there havealso been many other changes that have propelled a reduced demandfor retail space, particularly for apparel businesses, whencompared with what had been the status quo," he says. "Beyondecommerce, we have had an evolution in workplace apparel that haseliminated the need for two or more wardrobes. In the past we hadwork clothes and casual clothes, today people have a moreall-purpose wardrobe."

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While Lowe had been working toward launching a retail platform,the pandemic accelerated the trends that they were already seeingin the market. In many ways, the market disruption made this anideal time to launch the platform. "The pandemic simply acceleratedthe trends we had already seen," he says. "Changes were inmotion already so, if anything, it provides a bit more clarity asto what will be happening. Lowe has decades of experiencein real estate, including multifamily, office and hotel properties,and we view this as an opportune time to deploy ourmulti-disciplined skills to re-envisioning and redeveloping welllocated, but underutilized and underperforming retail realestate."

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Although Lowe hasn't changed its retail strategy, it isproceeding with caution as a result of the pandemic. "In thecurrent environment we are even more careful in our evaluation ofretailers and their balance sheets. Part of our process isan assessment of an existing retail property's current tenant base,what is working, what we might attract and what is likely to fail,"says Mayer. "Understanding the retail is key to ensuring that it isattractive to the existing community and also to the potential newcustomers that we might bring with new development such asresidential or office. Retail isn't going away, there will alwaysbe stores and restaurants and spaces for socialization, but wethink a different, more edited approach will serve the consumerdemand much better."

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Lowe is targeting a diverse geographic region, with targetmarkets including California, the Pacific Northwest andMid-Atlantic regions, the greater Denver and Phoenix metropolitanareas and the Carolinas. It is launching the platform withoutinvestment goals. "We do not have specific goals, but will investin and develop the projects that can provide the best results foreach community and that meet our investment hurdles," saysMayer. "We are targeting projects that range from $50 to$250 million."

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on GlobeSt.com and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.