Retail space may be plentiful in some parts of the country, but that hasn’t stopped developers from building more of it, even placing it alongside new homes.
According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, developers are going after younger consumers — and in some cases older ones — who desire low-cost housing in the suburbs but want all the amenities of living in urban areas, such as restaurants, offices and stores in walking distance. The projects are being formed as joint ventures between housing developers and retail developers.
The Wall Street Journal noted the partnerships are increasing in Florida, Massachusetts and Arizona, with a focus on creating areas that are favorable to pedestrians in which they don’t have to walk too far to get to stores, the gym and the grocery store. “The single biggest change is walkability,” said Steve Patterson, chief executive of developer Related Development. Walkability to schools, transportation and shops are also on the top of lists for suburban projects. The company opened a project earlier in 2017 that includes 250,000 square feet of retail spaces and 700 residences.
Meanwhile, some retail property owners are developing residential units and office spaces that are adjacent to shopping malls and open-air shopping centers. They are also developing housing on top of retail stores that face the street.
The move on the part of developers comes as more retailers are closing their physical stores as store traffic continues to slow as more people shop online. Earlier this month, a bad quarter has sent fashion retailer H&M scrambling to adjust its strategy. The Swedish group said that strategy now includes closing more stores and opening fewer new ones, as well as beginning to sell its brand’s offerings on Chinese eCommerce platform Tmall.