The past year has presented numerous challenges to brick-and-mortar retail, but the recent growth Jacksonville has experienced is making its way into the commercial real estate retail sector as well…
To find out more about how the retail sector is reacting to these changes, the Business Journal sat down with Ricky Ostfrosky, senior associate at Franklin Street Real Estate Services, who specializes in retail landlord and tenant representation.
What are you seeing the market these days?
Generally speaking, it’s a very, very strong market right now. I’d say our firm has been the busiest that we’ve been in a very long time. Starting in Q4 of last year, activity picked up significantly in the retail world, and it has not stopped at all during the first quarter and now going into the second quarter of this year.
We’re seeing a lot of activity, a lot of national credit tenants that are extremely active in the market — and I attribute a lot of that to their ability to actual tour markets again, whereas earlier on in Covid they were restricted from doing so.
Another aspect is that sales are doing very well in the market. I’d say we’re seeing a ton of activity, and I’m not seeing any kind of decrease in the rents, which to some people may be surprising. But we’re actually seeing rent growth in several markets.
Why did you think growth started in the fourth quarter?
In Q4, we really started seeing an uptick just in terms of deal flow. I think a lot of folks in the industry experienced a bit of a stagnant level of activity around the summertime last year, because there was just so much uncertainty with the pandemic and how retail would perform.
Starting in October of last year, we saw a very sharp increase in activity and deal flow, and we had our strongest December in our leasing team’s history. That did carry through to the beginning of the year, and it was a very strong first quarter with the number of leases executed and number of land sales closed.
If you’re looking at historical numbers, they’re at all-time high land prices for those transactions.