Mom-and-pop tenant leasing improving slowly

Shopping Centers Today

Leasing small-shop space is still a problem for many landlords, though mom-and-pop tenants are stronger than they were two years ago, REIT executives say. “Larger national retailers are expanding, but mom-and-pops are weak,” said Kimco Realty COO Mike Pappagallo at a conference this week. “Our occupancy for stores under 5,000 square feet is in the low 80s.” Part of the problem is a lack of credit from community banks, he said. “The top 10 banks have 50 percent of deposits and are aggressively lending again. But the remainder of deposits are held by smaller banks, and they’re still back on their heels a bit.”

Landlord Equity One has a similar problem, but things are improving, said its president, Thomas Caputo. Equity One’s small-shop space is 78 percent occupied, compared with 97 percent for its shops over 10,000 square feet in size, he said. But he is already noticing a turnaround among small-shop tenants. “The atmosphere today is completely different than it was a year or two years ago,” said Caputo. “Today phones are ringing, and you’re seeing people with actual balance sheets. We’ve gotten to the point in the cycle where you can actually say no. Even at our lower-tier assets you can say no to a ridiculous proposal from a tenant, and in our top two-thirds you can say no three times and still have the tenant come back and lease space.”

Virginia MacKoul

Virginia is a graduate from the University of Florida's College of Design Construction and Planning with a degree in Sustainability and the Built Environment, and a minor in Urban Regional Planning. Virginia joined the Front Street team in 2011, as an intern. Upon graduation, Virginia joined the Front Street team full-time as the Director of Client Services. Ms. MacKoul’s addition furthers Front Street’s continued growth and expansion within Gainesville and other North Central Florida markets. She was promoted to Director of Marketing in 2014 and now manages the firm’s team of interns and oversees all marketing and branding activity. Virginia was born in Boston and moved to Lee County, Florida in 1997. Virginia graduated her high school's International Baccalaureate program and started at the University of Florida with a focus on Architecture. Virginia shares Front Street's passion of giving back to the community and those in need. Virginia's hobbies include photography, cooking, football, movies, music, and spending time with her dog, Brinkley.

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