STORE SPACES

RMS changes name to Ascential

BY CSA STAFF

Racine, Wis. — Retail Maintenance Service (RMS) has changed its name to Ascential to reflect its growth and enhanced capabilities.

The company provides complete facility solutions as a single-source provider, combining self-performing capabilities with enhanced contract services. It serves a variety of industries, including retail, restaurant, banking and hospitality. It offers on-demand building services for numerous trades including general repair, plumbing, electrical, HVAC, painting, flooring, roofing, landscaping, parking lots, snow removal, and capital improvements.

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News

RECon Revisited, a Series: Part 2

BY Katherine Boccaccio

As part of our ongoing coverage of RECon, the annual retail real estate convention conducted by the International Council of Shopping Centers and held May 22-25 in Las Vegas, Chain Store Age talked with Andy Graiser, co-president of DJM Realty, a Gordon Brothers Group company, based in Melville, N.Y., about his key takeaways from RECon 2011.

Now that RECon 2011 has drawn to a close and we are all settling back into our daily work routines, what are your key takeaways from this year’s show?
The most obvious takeaway for me is that we are clearly seeing a lot of retailers interested in growth. We are starting to see retailers thinking about new concepts, both large and small. And we are seeing a good bit of demand in the 10,000 to 15,000-sq.-ft. range.

The development opportunities, as you might expect, are still very small, and we will see effective growth into surplus real estate as some of the vacant spaces will be getting absorbed. But RECon 2011 also told us that there will be new development coming out of the ground three to five years from now, which is encouraging news. Land numbers are starting to get a little more aggressive. All in all, it was a positive show.

What do you anticipate we will see from the industry between now and the conclusion of the 2011 holiday shopping season?
I think we will continue to see good demand in the high-end markets. As well, the discounters have done an incredibly good job with merchandising and price points, and they will continue to do well. I think we will continue to see quick-serve restaurants and furniture retailers struggle in the middle of the country. And the small, independent grocers will start to shrink a little, as they feel more and more squeeze from major players such as Costco, Sam’s Club and BJ’s.

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REAL ESTATE

Readers Speak Out: What was your key takeaway from RECon 2011?

BY CSA STAFF

In the May 26 edition of SiteTalk, we asked the question, "Did you attend RECon 2011 in Las Vegas this week? If so, what was your key takeaway from the show?" This is what several readers had to say:

"It was a very positive environment. Many commented that instead of just talking about deals (like the last couple of RECons), deals were actually getting done, finished, signed. New projects are still on the horizon, but at least they look visible from here; and vacancy in most markets (although still a challenge depending on size and geography), is coming down, with rates seeing some stability.

The overall RECon schedule seemed to have wide support and the many new initiatives appeared to be well received."

— John B. Gabriel, SCLS & ICSC Western Division Retail Chair
Senior VP of Real Estate
LA | FITNESS International, LLC
Irvine, Calif.

"Yes, I attended, and the key thing I took away was the renewed optimism and energy in the industry. The attendees this year have survived the worst downturn in decades and are now prepared to thrive in the decade ahead. I talked serious deals with serious developers. And yes development is making a cautious comeback."

— Faith Hope Consolo
Chairman
Retail Leasing, Marketing and Sales Division
Prudential Douglas Elliman
New York, NY

"I regularly attend the Las Vegas RECON and NY Dealmakers events. I went to the Philadelphia idea exchange last year as well. I had a great time in Las Vegas this year. I attended a lot more ICSC based programming this year. Many of the Special Interest Group programming was outstanding. I had the chance to network with both more experienced brokers as well as newer brokers. It was great hearing about leasing difficulties everyone faces these days.

From the show, there seemed to be a lot more optimism on the floors this year vs. 2010 or 2009. However, it looked like attendance was down this year vs. the last few. Though, if you ask ICSC they will say attendance was either more or same.

Many people I spoke to prior to going said they were not going to be attending, and these were good party friends! Sigh, I had to find new drinking friends!

The Marcus & Millichap Retail event at the Renaissance was terrific ! Hassan Nadji is brilliant! The basic gist from this was that the next 2 years are going to be like the last 2 quarters – better than dead, but not robust. Key indicators that were discussed: employment numbers are better than expected, energy costs are worse than expected, construction is dead, availabilities in port and coastal towns is starting to becoming sparse, while middle America is suffering more.

The NAI Global Retail Network meeting was very informative and very on point. Listening to actual market conditions on a city by city basis was great.

On the floor, tenants were ready to wheel and deal. This was good. Though, it seemed like there any more retail booths this year vs. last or NY.

Even the parties were better, and there were certainly more of them to attend. I found myself at 3 on Monday and 2 on Tuesday. The NY Developers party was again – amazing. Things I found interesting: Who or what now owns Newmark Knight? No one knows. A few town planners I ran into asked how they could boost their towns.

On the whole, it was a positive show…."

— Lou Klein
Retail Broker
NAI Friedland
Yonkers, N.Y.

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