Levin Reports Strong First Quarter Retail Leasing Activity, Nearing 275,000 SF

Volume Exceeds Pre-Pandemic YTD Levels Amid Strong Tenant Optimism

Regional retail leasing activity remained strong through the first quarter of 2021, according to commercial real estate services firm Levin Management Corporation (LMC), which reports nearly 275,000 square feet of new leases, renewals and extensions through the first three months of the year. According to Matthew K. Harding, chief executive officer, the firm’s Q1 activity outperformed its leasing pace during the same period last year and reflects continued momentum throughout its leased and managed shopping center portfolio.

Transactional activity came from a variety of national, regional and local tenants in the value-oriented, dining and personal service categories – with healthy movement among traditional retailers as well. Highlights include a trio of new leases with dining tenants and a fourth with a popular specialty food retailer at Mayfair Shopping Center (Commack, N.Y); and four renewals with Dollar Tree at properties in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Additionally, a host of tenants recently celebrated grand openings, including an expansion by long-time tenant Norman’s Hallmark at Somerset Shopping Center (Bridgewater, N.J.), and new fast-casual restaurant locations for Popeyes Louisiana Chicken (Woodbridge, N.J.) and Five Guys (Delran, N.J.).

“The first few months of 2021 have seen a continuation of progress that began to manifest last fall,” said Harding. “Our team’s year-to-date leasing achievements demonstrate that well-located, quality properties are attracting desirable tenants and fostering continued relationships with those already in place. The activity also reflects the diversified nature of tenants currently out in the marketplace, and a building energy within the industry that will carry it forward in the coming months.”

Bolstering this positive outlook, Levin tenants also anticipate a good year. In the firm’s latest Retail Sentiment survey of store managers, conducted in February, two thirds (66.9%) of respondents said they are optimistic about store performance in 2021. LMC survey participants were asked what top three drivers they feel will have the biggest impact on their business. Of the presented options, the most popular included COVID-19 vaccine rollouts (selected by 68.8%), the further lifting of COVID-19 related restrictions (selected by 63.9%), the economy/consumer confidence (selected by 54.9%), and shifting consumer expectations and shopping patterns (selected by 36.1%).

“The optimism expressed for the near term is encouraging,” Harding noted. “It speaks to expectations that as more people are vaccinated, restrictions continue to lift and the economy regains solid footing, the retail industry will enjoy renewed velocity.”



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