Strategy formulation is SPCI’s strong point. Combining a quarter century of experience with intensive research and fieldwork, SPCI works to position single use commercial retail projects, and mixed-use projects with a significant retail component, with an identifiable and sustainable competitive advantage in the competitive and fast changing retail marketplace. As chief strategist, Andrew Strenk brings his experience in research and analysis as a PhD in history to the field of retail real estate. History is an attempt to study the past, with only bits and pieces of evidence remaining. Available materials are usually incompletely, often inaccurate and many times contradictory. In today's real estate world, there is plenty of data, but separating the relevant facts from the massive amount of background noise requires serious and sustained effort. SPCI does really well.
There are many different commercial retail formats. More are being introduced as the industry evolves. Mixed-use projects often rely on retail to be the glue that holds the other components together. Different retail formats perform differently, depending on the size of the property, its shape, its physical location in the marketplace, its visibility, its frontage, its access and the type of competition (among many other factors). There are different design criteria and different tenant mix criteria. SPCI works with clients to identify what format will work best for a given property in a given market.
Sizing is an important decision. This cannot be determined just by the financial income needs of the project alone because the market is not infinitely elastic and the developer seldom can control the density surrounding a project. More is not necessarily always better, and just because governmental regulations may allow for a highly dense project and investors may be pushing for one, these are not reasons to develop a large and dense project if the market is not there to sustain it. SPCI can help size the project based on market metrics.
SPCI is interested in maximizing the shelf life of a project. This requires attention to the positioning of a project before construction commences. SPCI works closely with other team members including the architectural designers, landscape designers, traffic engineers, parking consultants, commercial brokers and other specialists to help ensure that a project is efficiently and functionally designed in order to be “best in class” and that it has a suitable tenant mix that provides a competitive advantage and does not simply duplicate other projects in the market.
The tenant mix is increasingly important, it is no longer sufficient to just “fill space” if a project is to be competitive and remain competitive in the future. Cross shopping options, co-tenancy, visual merchandising strength, category strength, omnichannel strategies and innovation are all important considerations when selecting tenants. Leading projects now curate tenants, which takes a great deal more effort and time. The result is a better performing asset. Not every project, however, has a time horizon that allows for this approach.
These are short assessments, designed to provide a quick snapshot for planning purposes. SPCI’s trade areas are not rung metrics, as our experience is that there are very few trade areas that are actually circular in size. While serving as simplistic and easy “comps”, it is easy to make some grave errors in decision-making by over relying on ring demographics. Outside the USA, data sources are less transparent and often inaccurate. SPCI’s trade area boundaries are based on “on the ground” knowledge or transportation infrastructure, demographics, psychological barriers and other variables.
SPCI can be retained to provide design review services with the perspective of providing simple, easy, convenient and efficient layouts and designs for the end users of a commercial retail project…..the customers. An award-winning design, aesthetics, and a great tenant mix, will not help much if the layout and design frustrate and irritate and aggravate the user.
SPCI is not a commercial transactional brokerage, but will provide assistance in the formulation of strategies as to which retail tenants to approach, the order in which they should be approached, how to deal with rejections and a variety of other issues relating to tenant negotiations. SPCI works with a number of commercial brokerage firms in serving mutual clients.
SPCI can provide third party assessments of economic reports as assessments. There is plenty of data, but determining which indicators are most relevant depends on the kind of project, its time horizon, tolerance for risk and desired asset quality.
These are macro assessments, investigating the strength and weaknesses of a market, fundamental economic motors, demographic trends, competitive balance, and defining potential trade areas.