John Crossman spends some time with me at the ICSC Recon convention in Las Vegas, Nevada this year.
John, like most other people in the industry, is seeing retail real estate come back from the depths that we had been seeing in 2008 – 2012. What he is seeing though is a change in the tenant mix in shopping centers, or what he calls, “mixed use”.
This is not his father’s mixed use as in mixing retail with office and/or residential. He is talking about being more creative with the mix of tenants. That’s where the “Just Call Saul” from Breaking Bad fame comes in. We still have lots of shopping centers to fill, so are we going to see more of the attorneys in shopping centers, who are also providing massages and selling bow ties, next to a veterinarian and medical clinic?
I don’t see this as anything new. Shopping center owners will need to continue to develop new and promote old creative ideas for shopping centers in an effort to fill up their centers and fight off the online retailers. I have no problem with this concept, so long as some creative thought goes into both the short and long term planning for the center where attention is paid to the creation of traffic to the center. If the mixing of uses is just about filling up centers, it will diminish the long term returns for the center.