Shopping Malls To Become Extinct?

CNBC Online has a recent article, 7 Bold Commercial Real Estate Predictions, that we find pretty interesting and a great read.  Over the next 25 years commercial real estate will be buffeted by changes in demographics, technology, globalization, economic and environmental realities and a host of other trends.  So what will the Commercial Real Estate landscape look at by 2039?  While we could debate each prediction endlessly, let’s take a look at just the first one and see what you think…

Most Shopping Malls will be extinct.

shopping mall exterior

“The world of the American shopping mall, said Kenneth Riggs, president and CEO of Real Estate Research Corp., “has been a Darwinian environment since the 1990s with the advent of big-box retail and the ‘Wal-Marting’ of the world—and it will stay that way.” In other words, expect malls to continue their decline due to the rise in e-commerce, with only those consistently producing very strong revenues still doing business in 25 years.

“As the J.C. Penney’s and Sears continue to lose market share to online retailing, you’re going to see more dead malls where the anchors go dark and ultimately are worth only the land they’re built on,” said Tom Bohjalian, executive vice president at Cohen & Steers, which was the first investment company to specialize in listed real estate.

Teardowns may not be the only way to capture value in defunct malls, though, said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and co-founder of the U.S. Green Building Council. He predicts that with repurposing, they’ll be a useful resource when our way of life swings back to revolving around more compact communities. “Established places like shopping malls will become like town centers, where people can come together, where their doctors and day care will be, where they can gather after major devastations.””

We agree that e-commerce is likely to grow over the next 25 years, and that some of that will be at the cost of traditional retail. Yet as we have seen over the last several holiday shopping seasons, brick and mortar vs. e-commerce is not a winner take all battle.  The American consumer will ultimately decide which form of shopping they prefer, and we’re betting on a basic American human instinct.

The American consumer likes to put their hands on products, to pile in the car and make a day of it – to have a physical experience when they shop that we feel isn’t likely to change radically in the next 25 years.  And while we may have practiced another basic American human instinct, overbuilding our retail space, that seems like more of a correction than a fundamental change in how we like to shop.

As retailers get more savvy in finding a way to combat the issue of window shopping at brick and mortar stores then getting a better price online, we’ll see better sales in the brick and mortar world.  Some things it’s okay to buy sight unseen, but for most items it is that physical need to spend time with hands on the product why we don’t feel most shopping malls will be extinct by 2039.


Investing In Commercial Real Estate

Industrial and commercial properties constantly come to market, but don’t get the highlighted attention or preferential treatment that residential homes do. You have to successfully find them by hunting, and working with JMA Commercial Services can assist you in doing so.

buildingLocation is the most important factor in choosing a commercial property to buy. Pay attention to the property’s surrounding area. The neighborhood’s demographics, including socioeconomic status and age of residents, influence the success of your investment. Look at the growth in similar areas. This research will help you figure out how the neighborhood you’re considering buying commercial property in is likely to grow and change over the next several years. If you aren’t comfortable with the potential growth rate or the atmosphere of the neighborhood, purchase property elsewhere.

Buying commercial property takes more time, and the process is far more labyrinthine, than buying a house. The added time and effort are crucial, however, to getting the return that you want on your investment.

You may find that you spend a large amount of time at first on your investment. It will take time to find an opportunity that is profitable, and afterwards, you may have to wait for repairs and remodeling before you can start monetizing your investment. Don’t abandon your investments because they are eating into your personal time. It will pay off in the long run.

Strive to keep your commercial properties occupied at all times if you choose to rent them to tenants. If no one is paying you rent, you’ll be the one footing the bills. If several of your properties are vacant, reexamine your management style and look for ways to fix issues that are keeping tenants away.

If you are negotiating a commercial lease, make sure nothing can be considered as events of default. Your tenant will be less likely to default on the lease if you do this. This is something that you don’t want to happen under any circumstance.

Take tours of any properties that you’re considering. As you tour each property, you should bring along an experienced contractor who can offer helpful input. Begin negotiating and the process of offers and counter offers. Before you choose, make sure you look over your offers a few times.

Before making a real estate purchase, sit down and talk with your tax adviser. A tax adviser can let you know how much money the buildings will cost you, and the amount of your income that will be taxable. Consult your adviser for areas where taxes are lower.

Properties, like people, have finite life spans. It’s important to be aware of this. Don’t make the mistake of overlooking the fact that you will need to put a substantial amount of money into the property to keep it well-maintained. It may need a more updated electrical system, or a new roof. Every piece of commercial property needs maintenance sometimes; however, some buildings require more extensive or frequent repairs than others. Be prepared for when these necessities come up.

Finding the appropriate commercial real estate property for your needs is one half of the battle. The other is actually obtaining it. Just a little information can go a long way.  Trust in the professionals at JMA Commercial Services to guide you through the entire process – Our Clients always come first!