Food for Thought: Dining Tenants Serve as a Retail Leasing Bright Spot

Levin Management Reports Strong Activity Among Established, New Concepts

Restaurants – particularly fast-casual concepts – remain among the most active sectors in retail leasing, according to Levin Management Corporation (LMC). In fact, the North Plainfield-based commercial real estate services firm has seen nearly two dozen commitments by dining concepts throughout its retail-focused portfolio over the last 18 months; many have already opened their doors, providing traffic-boosting benefits.

“Dining tenants are confident, and transactions are coming together quickly,” said Matthew K. Harding, LMC chief executive officer. “National brands and franchisees are making deals; they have come ‘off pause’ and are capitalizing on current opportunities to lease exceptionally good real estate at a good price. We also are seeing movement among independently owned restauranteurs.”

Much of LMC’s recent restaurant leasing activity involved established brands looking to expand their presence in the marketplace. Texas Chicken & Burgers will be opening a new location at 667-669 Stanley Ave. in Brooklyn, while Jersey Mike’s Subs and Wingstop continue their growth in New Jersey with commitments at St. Georges Crossing (Woodbridge) and Union City Plaza (Union City), respectively. Recent openings within LMC’s portfolio include Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen at St. Georges Crossing, Teriyaki Madness at High Point Commons (Harrisburg, Pa.), Five Guys at Hartford Corners (Delran, N.J.), and Quickway Japanese Hibachi at Crossroads Place (Falls Church, Va.).

LMC has also secured commitments with independent restaurant owners and up-and-coming regional brands including Bagel Toastery at Mayfair Shopping Center (Commack, N.Y.), Joe’s Bagel & Grill at Wall Towne Center (Manasquan, N.J.), Snap Back by Hook & Reel at both Twin City Shopping Center (Jersey City, N.J.) and Springfield Avenue Marketplace (Newark, N.J.), Wu’s Shanghai Dumpling House at North Village Shopping Center (North Brunswick, N.J.), and Charlie’s Pizza at Morrell Plaza (Philadelphia).

“Restaurants of all types are valuable additions that contribute to an open-air retail property’s appeal for consumers,” Harding said. “And open-air centers, in turn, remain a preferred destination for dining tenants. Neighborhood, community and power centers not only house traffic-driving categories like grocery and home improvement, but they also provide a higher level of operational flexibility and convenience than other product types.” For example, during COVID-fueled business interruptions the agility of open-air centers enabled restaurants to increase outdoor seating, where possible, and set up curbside pickup.

Dining activity has not been limited to shopping center settings, according to LMC. Recently, Taco Bell Cantina opened a new flagship location at The Paramount Building in Manhattan’s Times Square, where LMC and Manhattan-based Rosemark Management serve as owner representatives. Fast-casual concept Brooklyn Delicatessen also recently committed to the property.



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