The North Florida retail market continues to develop, as growth in the number of fast-casual restaurant concepts in the area and more shopping center developments have led to growth in occupancy and rental rates across Greater Jacksonville.
“Today’s retail market is poised for the redevelopment of shopping centers,” said Whitney Kantor, director of retail leasing at Franklin Street. “Shopping centers are no longer just a location of stores, they are a shopping experience. North Florida is a healthy market and is well-positioned for shopping center owners to take advantage of this trend and offer quality shopping experiences that retailers seek.”
Much of that growth can be attributed to the success of the St. Johns Town Center, Kantor said. It continues to help draw new retail to the area and allows for others such as Ulta to expand and open additional stores in areas like the Beaches.
When a restaurant or retailer enters a market, they look at the area based on a number of items, including demographics and co-tenancy, Kantor said. “Most come in with a multistore strategy seeking locations at St. Johns Town Center first and then expanding into surrounding markets.”
Other areas like Mandarin also are experiencing a great deal of activity, Kantor said, but because of low vacancy rates are having difficulty finding sites.
New restaurant concepts like the fast-casual model continue to be very active, said Katy Figg, a broker associate at Franklin Street.
“Restaurant expansion is a trend throughout the country. Consumers are spending a significant portion of their discretionary income on dining out,” Figg said. “The fast-casual market continues to grow with the area seeing an uptick in new concepts coming to the market.”