Discount and daily needs are fast becoming the mantras of the retail market. Warner Pacific Properties recently redeveloped Monrovia Landing, a former Albertsons-anchored shopping center, and singed boutique grocer ALDI, an ULTA and a TJ Maxx/HomeGoods combo store to the center. The retailers are expected to drive traffic and value in the center. Signing a roster of credit tenants is no easy feat, so we sat down with Michael Odell and John Odell, principal and co-founders of Warner Pacific Properties, the owner of the properties, for an exclusive interview to find out how these tenants will drive value and the competition to sign them.
GlobeSt.com: Why was the T.J. Maxx/HomeGoods combo store a good fit for this center? Michael Odell: It was an excellent fit. The subject property was well located to cover an area that was underserved by both of these TJX stores and, at the same time, we could provide sufficient square footage, a total of 43,000 square feet, to accommodate the combined prototype. GlobeSt.com: Why did you choose to sign another grocer? What makes ALDI standout in the marketplace? John Odell: Grocery retail is important for us to incorporate into our projects and, in particular, we recognize the high-traffic volume generated by ALDI. We’ve worked with ALDI for nearly two decades in the Midwest and, despite having stores that are a fraction of the size of a traditional grocer, they typically generate more traffic for the center. The reason for this is that ALDI offers significant savings to their customers and they are exceptional operators. GlobeSt.com: Was it difficult to secure credit tenants for this site? What is the competition like for credit tenants? Michael Odell: It’s difficult to secure credit tenants and ALDI and The TJX Companies are especially discerning. Both retailers have long track records of successful operations throughout the United States and they know what works for their respective stores. GlobeSt.com: Do you think a mix of grocer and other major anchor tenants creates a stronger center, and do you think the market is headed in this direction? John Odell: Absolutely. Daily needs retail will continue to drive traffic to centers. Moreover, grocery stores with a smaller format like ALDI will be more widely recognized by landlords and co-tenants to be an ideal draw. ALDI and Trader Joe’s both have the big-draw capability of a larger traditional grocery store, while operating from a much smaller footprint and putting far less pressure on a property and co-tenants. GlobeSt.com: What does your tenant mix at this center say about retail tenant trends? John Odell: Our tenants are strong retailers with a discount orientation and they all have loyal followings. The new tenants that we’re bringing to Monrovia Landing are complementary and we fully expect to see more centers combining off-price apparel and home fashion retailers with grocery stores operating in smaller and more unique formats that deliver high-quality products at much lower prices.