Press

October 24 , 2012

BISNOW Retail Real Estate Summit

BISNOW Retail Real Estate Summit

Bisnow Retail Summit Don't count on restaurants (or entertainment) to save shopping centers; there are already too many in DFW, according to Charter Holdings CEO Ray Washburne speaking to 425 at Bisnow's third annual Retail Real Estate Summit at the Hilton Anatole on Wednesday. (On the positive side, your table is ready.) Ray says he can’t make the numbers work on the restaurant and entertainment side of retail (despite founding local favorite chain, Mi Cocina). When interest rates tick back up, it won’t work, he says. While he also owns Highland Park Village and backfilled an 85k SF Carnival at Illinois and Hampton with an Aldi, he’s more bullish on multifamily (he’s an equity partner in a 15-story project on Katy Trail, a 315-unit project, and the Domain in Austin), and hospitality with the development of six limited-service hotels statewide. With those, he can see a quick path to exit in 18 months; anything past that and “I think you’re stuck,” he says.MGHerring Group prez and COO Gar Herring, right with N3 Real Estate’s Pat Reilly, says there’s been a fundamental shift in retail and gone are the days of 50-acre developments. Gar says theincrease of Internet sales will mean the need for less brick and mortar retailers. The immediate result is a shrinking footprint. In some cases, the stores are completely shuttering their storefronts. One of his pet causes: working with ICSC on sales tax fairness for retailers versus online sellers (which don’t always charge sales tax).The Retail Connection co-founder and prez Alan Shor says TRC closed on three acquisitions in the last 15 months with the Village on the Parkway as well as projects in Mesquite and Little Rock. Contrary to other opinions, he’s seeing a big uptick in new development with TRC playing a role in seven or eight new projects totaling 3M SF in Texas and Arkansas. One big reason: the space vacated during the recession was filled with non-retail uses like MOBs and government uses. (Border's used to sell copies of thePentagon Papers, whereas now that space is just used to store outdated Pentagon papers.) As the economy improves, retailers are growing again. TRC also has three assets on the market with one under contract. He expects all three to close by year’s end.Holmes Firm PC principal Ron Holmes (far left) moderated. Alan says TRC doesn’t view e-commerce as a threat, but more as a part of the retailers’ business. “I don’t think bricks and mortar will go away; they have to figure out how to best integrate it into their business,” he says pointing to Apple and Walmart as two prime examples of businesses that embrace both and have grown their base. Stores are now being used as mini-distribution centerswhere customers can pick or return something ordered online. (Anybody who orders online knows that it's easier to be "forgiving" about your own size in the comfort of your own home.) He’s also seeing pure-play online businesses looking to open stores.PegasusAblon principal Mike Ablon says MOBs are a retail trend that will continue to grow largely because Baby Boomers are great consumers. “It’s in their DNA. They drank the punch and they’ll continue to be great consumers… they’re looking to medical and wellness,” he says. The company bought the old Equinox building (now Hillcrest Crossing) at Hillcrest and Northwest Highway and filled it with dentists, a chiropractor, as well as space for UT Southwestern.