Seth Godin – Standing Out

Retail real estate is changing…slowly, yes, but perhaps finally and forever!

In the retail world of Commercial Real Estate, what was big and fat is now being honed down in size, shape, color and message.

For most of my career retail centers, gerenally speaking, all looked the same. All shopping malls have been essentially the same and all open air centers were all the same. Town centers…same! Strip centers…yep, same! With few exceptions, there existed little or differentiation in the marketing or the appeal. With the exception of Outlets and higher end centers, retail has been essentiall the same, tame and lame story.

Design is free when you get to scale. The riskiest thing you can do now is be safe…safe is risky. — Seth Godin

One of the most important ingredients in retail today is the ability of a location to “stand out” as a unique place that delivers a constant stream of products that are remarkable and irresistible to “unique” people and groups. Emphasis on “REMARKABLE” and emphasis on “UNIQUE.”

Listen to Seth Godin from TED on the topic of standing out.

The Nasty World of CRE Grunge

There is a lot to be said for quality. There is a lot to be gained by a commitment to quality property management.

In the world where being grunge is often applauded and rewarded, I remain convinced that being tacky is a cultural statement about one’s point of reference.

Is it just me or have you also noticed some of the creeping influences of grunge within the world of CRE?

Of late, I’m becoming more acutely aware of the relationship between cracked stucco, peeling paint, potholed parking lots, leaking roofs and the level of an owner’s commitment to creating and maintain property value through capital improvements and dedication to property management.

I See Ugly Properties

My recent observations of properties in the metro Phoenix, Arizona commercial real estate market have led me to the conclusion that something grungy is happening. Once pristine properties are now left to the elements. The same grunge is becoming more and more apparent in the Prescott, Flagstaff and Sedona, Arizona commercial real estate markets.

There appears to be a deliberate draw-down on capital commitments and property management. It’s obvious, it’s annoying and it most certainly can impact a commercial property’s actual and perceived value. Capital is tight and owners are hesitant to spend.
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The Coming Price-Down, Pent-Up Collision

The commercial real estate industry has been traveling a windy, dusty road since 2007.

There has been a lot of talk about pent-up demand, cash on the side lines and investors in the wings. So far we have not seen the long awaited collision of reduced prices and pent-up demand.

We travel down the road, wearied and parched, as months go by without our seeing a passing vehicle.

Small and intermediate investors, those most strapped for cash reserves, are running low on fuel waiting for the collision of buying power with what they fear is their last price adjustment they dare make before the notes are called and new refinancing is required. The NOI isn’t there, neither are the tenants or the buyers.

The good news is that we are seeing the dust of approaching vehicles just over the hill. There is the noise of oncoming traffic.

Those of us in the Northern Arizona commercial market are seeing a measurable increase in traffic. We are seeing more tenants, slight increases in rental rates and in general more activity on the retail and industrial fronts.

Although we are not yet ready to pop the corks on the Champaign bottles, we are least sipping some cheap wine in anticipation that perhaps 2011 will bring the collision between lower rates and pent up demand.

Barring any overreaching government intervention and further reluctance of lenders, I am now finally ready to at least acknowledge the prohibited collision is predictably logical.

Donald Teel is a Senior Associate and Principal with Arizona Commercial, an Arizona commercial real estate brokerage and property management firm, headquartered in Prescott, Arizona. Need more information? Please call 1-877-777-9100 or, if you prefer, you may email Donald Teel

It’s a Wonderful Life but Still about Banks

Here’s a photo blog for your thoughts. What impact, if any, will the future changes in lending have on CRE investors and property values? How much control do lenders have on market outcomes?