retail real estate

Revitalizing Commercial Spaces Part 1 – Retail

Monday, September 25, 2017

New developments are all around us – city sections that were once industrial havens are now being converted into mixed-use corridors, while timeworn homes are being replaced by immaculate highrises. While that’s just a sign of the changing times, it’s also a strong reminder of the importance of property revitalization.

Over time, retail properties that were once booming with opportunity can easily become dated and undesirable. Tenants leave for more modern and better locations, with customers following suit as they search for malls with better tenant mix. As such, these properties becomes as empty and lifeless as a ghost town.

Managing your own property or hiring a management company is a debate that many property owners face, but hiring real estate experts can make a world of a difference for those not familiar with the complexities of commercial property. Good retail property managers know the market inside and out and are able to maximize asset value and generate revenue success as a result. One way this is achieved is through regular maintenance and upgrades, which is easier said than done.

Preparing a dated property for reposition can take several years of planning and coordination. The first step often involves hand selecting the best teams of architects, consultants, and engineers. Fortunately, most property management companies already have a strong network of contractors who have been vetted for good pricing and quality work, so they’ll be able to select the ones that will best fulfill the owners’ vision. They’ll focus specifically on developing plans to upgrade the physical elements, while the property management team works behind the scenes to reposition the building and improve the tenant mix, thus taking the burden off of the property owner.

This was the case for Capilano Village, a mid-sized retail property centrally located at the busy corner of Marine Drive in North Vancouver. Martello Property Services Inc. took over management in 2008 and the first orders of business was to work with the owner to redesign the property, which hadn’t been updated for more than 25 years. The owner’s vision for this project involved creating a community shopping experience for local residents.

Aside from the physical upgrades, the scope of this repositioning project included:

  • Developing strong relationships with tenants.
  • Renegotiating existing leases.
  • Attracting new tenants & relocating existing tenants.
  • Attracting a new, well-known grocery anchor.
  • Renovating the façade and structural components of the mall entirely.

At the end of the day, Martello was able to successfully envision, design, and implement the entire project from the ground up, all within the owner’s timeline and budget. The property’s value has increased. Leasing enquiries have boomed, public perceptions have changed for the positive, and most importantly the space has re-engaged the community.

“Since this property was a Festival Market at one time, the owner held those community-centric values close to his heart, so we knew that we had to carefully plan this project in order to best fulfill his vision,” says Wayne Smithies, president of Martello Property Services Inc.

While keeping up appearances with new developments is at the core of most repositioning projects, it’s always important to keep the clients vision and values as the focus of any repositioning project.

Next month we’ll continue the conversation on revitalizing commercial spaces with the spotlight on office spaces.

Martello Property Services is a Vancouver-based real estate management company that specializes in commercial and residential property management, commercial insurance, strata management, and building operations. or 604-662-4034


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