How to Find New Retail Tenants? One Developer Hits the PavementPosted by: jhon | Posted on: October 12, 2020
Even though we’re in the middle of a pandemic, BTI Partners, a developer based in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., is still delivering new projects in need of retail tenants. For instance, the retail portion of the company’s Westshore Marina Landing At Westshore Marina District project in Tampa is slated to be completed early next year.
With scores of retailers going out of business, it isn’t easy to find new tenants. But BTI Partners Vice President of Retail Development Britney Mroczkowski isn’t deterred.
“I’m still doing all of my normal marketing tasks, but I’m just making a targeted list and really looking at who’s doing well,” Mroczkowski says. “I think it comes down to who marketed themselves extremely well during quarantine and how they’ve evolved their business.”
But how do you know who is doing well and who isn’t? For Mroczkowski, on-the-ground research is still essential.
“I’m walking around town and, if I see someone that is doing great, I’ll reach out to them,” Mroczkowski says. “It’s just being laser-focused and, keeping your eyes on what’s happening in your market.”
While things aren’t back to normal, Mroczkowski says there has been a lot more activity in Tampa recently.
“I feel like we’re close to normal,” Mroczkowski says. “I’m getting a lot of calls. I’m getting a lot of requests for tours. But you do have to be sensitive. I’m not trying to reach out to 10 retailers, who I know are closing their stores.”.
With reaching out to possible tenants, Mroczkowski is focusing on the local retailers rather than large, national companies. “The large companies are trying to keep their existing stores open,” she says.
Brokers are also an essential part of the equation. “My main focus has been reaching out to all of the brokers,” she says. “There is one local group of brokers that does monthly calls. That has been invaluable.”
On the calls, the brokers and leasing and marketing specialists share information about what they’re seeing. “The tenant rep brokers may say, ‘I’ve got a tenant that’s thriving, and they’re looking for new stores,” Mroczkowski says. “It’s just excellent intel and feedback. So I’d say keeping broker relations has been the number one source of getting new tenants right now.”
Mroczkowski says she spends about half of her time in the office and half of her time out at the construction site. Along with branding BTI’s projects, Mroczkowski is also trying to spotlight the overall company. “We’re actively buying land right now and seeking other redevelopment opportunities,” she says. “I want people to know that and know that we’re here and still looking. And, I want people to understand that COVID hasn’t changed things for us.”