In Atlanta, we are gearing up for the International Council of Shopping Center’s Southeast Conference, which hits town early next week. The event is the largest retail conference in the Southeast, reaching hundreds of brokers, developers, architects, lenders, retailers and lawyers.

For this week’s Four on Friday, we are taking a look back at four retail quotes from our past Q&As. Below are excerpts from and links to four interviews with retail experts that we’ve conducted this year.

Jay Douglas of S.J. Collins Enterprises

 Key excerpt:

How would you describe the pace of leasing at your properties – are you noticing an uptick as the economy and CRE markets continue to recover?

Douglas: Leasing at our properties has always been extremely strong. With high-end organic grocers as the anchor tenants, retailers know that we are bringing in a customer base that has disposable income and is willing to spend it on their health. Nail and hair salons, pet stores, athletic studios and quick-service restaurants that focus on high-quality/organic food are in every single one of our centers.

 

Sina von Reitzenstein of PIER 39

Key excerpt:

What are some of the factors that make PIER 39 a big draw for both tenants and consumers?

Von Reitzenstein: For the visitor: the incredible views, the sea lions, our free entertainment, the attractions, the restaurants and, of course, the shopping. We have gorgeous landscaping and some of the most spectacular views of both the bay and the San Francisco city skyline.

For the tenants: the millions of visitors naturally translate into high sales! PIER 39 is an internationally recognized brand with proven sales and visitation. That is how we are able to maintain a 3 to 4 percent vacancy rate year-round (and we are moving towards 2 percent with some space reconfiguration).

 

Mark O. Hackner of FOG Capital

Key excerpt:

What's your take on the pace of retail investment sales and development so far in 2014, and how do you see those trends playing out over the rest of the year?

Hackner: It is remarkable how fast and how dramatically development has turned in the past two or three years, although not so much in the retail build-to-suit sector. Of course, a lot of this has been spurned by the compression of cap rates and the jump in rental rates, both in retail and multifamily. This has been a boon for developers and property owners who incubated projects a few years ago.

However, we now see land trading at prices predicated upon such rental and cap rates, and the key is going to be in not over-committing when the environment looks so compelling and lead times are long. I believe the rest of the year should continue to be strong, but watch for signs of a slowdown turn towards the end of the second quarter of 2015.

 

Tom McCormick of Rockefeller Group

Key excerpt:

What is Rockefeller’s history with Tejon Ranch?

McCormick: I got to know some of the folks at Tejon Ranch during my brokerage and development days. I had known about Tejon originally because like most people, when driving North to South and South to North in California, you will have to pass through Tejon Ranch.  Originally, the location had a few fast food restaurants and a substantial IKEA Distribution Center. When I joined The Rockefeller Group, I wanted to see if we could do work with Tejon Ranch. We did an analysis on the site and found that it was a great place for development. In partnering with Tejon, we agreed it was a good location within the state and kept talking about a partnership, which started with 500 acres. This led to a 600,000-square-foot warehouse building leased by Dollar General.