Ryan Sullivan | Images courtesy CBRE

Waxing and Waning Trends in the Retail-Occupier Space

Carrie Rossenfeld Retail

Jeff Nichols

CBRE recently added SVPs Ryan Sullivan and Jeff Nichols to its retail practice in Southern California. The team will be based in Newport Beach, Californa.

The retail leasing experts joined CBRE from Western Retail Advisors, a leading full-service retail brokerage firm the duo built together with an emphasis on tenant representation. Joining them are Eric Whitmer and Carla Alvear.

The team’s primary focus will be on the retail occupier business throughout Southern California and Hawaii, focusing on providing retail tenant representation and landlord leasing services throughout Southern California. Sullivan tells SoCal Real Estate “Jeff and I are looking forward to bringing our brand of boutique tenant and landlord representation to CBRE. We believe there is tremendous opportunity to expand our presence in the market in combining our business with the vast platform and unmatched resources that CBRE offers.”

Nichols tells us tenants are seeking to lower occupancy costs, which is lengthening their decision-making process, and that higher employment and construction costs are already impacting expansion plans in Southern California. “On the agency side, as traditional traffic generators have evolved toward experiential retail, landlords are striving to be more strategic about the way they merchandise their centers in order to drive traffic. Public meeting areas, creative-office space, food halls, and social-media relations are all now a critical part of a new shopping-center development or redevelopment.”

What trends are fading out? “The traditional anchor-driven malls are evolving,” Sullivan says. “We are now seeing landlords opt for unique food choices, entertainment, and creative public-spaces-type tenants paired with box retail tenants to drive traffic.”

Sullivan adds that in order for a large project to stay relevant in the changing retail landscape, the tenant mix must be well thought out, diverse, and offer an experiential environment rather than just building a lineup of large boxes. “Today, retailers can’t afford to remain one-channel (as opposed to omni-channel): no more ‘either or’ (either online or brick-and-mortar). Retailers need to provide their customers the ability to shop online and return at a store nearby. Single-minded retailing is fading out.”