February 29, 2016

Retail Real Estate

– The Commercial Appeal –

Fritz Mattern, director of retail leasing for Boyle Investment Company, expects retailers will spend 1999 repositioning some stores and filling in market gaps.

Occupancy levels in commercial retail developments in the Memphis area improved last year to the low 90 percent level from the mid-to-high 80 percent range, said Brad Smith, president of the retail division of Weston Companies.

"It (1998) was a good year for absorption," Smith said. "We see 1999 as a year for select opportunities for new development, but not like we saw in 1996 and 1997 when Wolfchase Galleria Mall generated so much development."

Big box retailers with only one or two stores in the Memphis are will likely expand to other locations to maximize their advertising and pull from areas they have been missing, he said.

Big box retailers like Home Depot, Office Depot and others are expected to expand, he said.

He expects some retailers with stores on Winchester will be repositioning themselves by moving farther east along Winchester Road.

Boyle has received a lot of interest in its planned 100-acre Gallina Centro retail center. The site stretches along the west side of Houston Levee Road from Poplar to Winchester.

Mattern expects about three big box retailers will commit to build about 275,000 square feet of space this year at the Gallina center.

He also expects a strip center for smaller users and a drug store and restaurants to be built on out parcels of the Gallina site.

At Schilling Farms in Collierville, Boyle has already sold two bank sites along Poplar and is negotiating with restaurant users for other parcels.

Mattern also expects construction will start in 2000 on two small strip centers in Schilling Farms on Winchester Road. Those small strip centers will have about 50,000 to 100,000 square feet. Timing will hinge on lease commitments to anchor tenants, he said.

The Wolfchase Galleria Mall area also is expected to draw additional development in 1999 and beyond.

Boyle is negotiating with an unnamed big box user for part of a 20-acre site at the southwest quadrant of Interstate 40 and Germantown Parkway. A gasoline station, a Microtel hotel and a Shoney’s Suites Hotel are planned on that site, Mattern said.