MIAMI—As retailers face pressure from Wall Street to increase revenue, the only way to grow is by increasing their store counts. During the recession, Rafael Wright, an investment sales associate at Franklin Street, reminds that retailers looked at business models and ways to decrease costs.
“Retailers most were relatively successful through the reduction in operating expenses and renegotiation of existing leases,” Wright says. “With a stronger economy, coupled with surging population growth in Florida, retailers are actively looking to add stores or reposition existing stores into better locations.”
Jason Fox, head of global investments at W. P. Carey, a global net lease REIT, says build-to-suit is a growing trend in Europe. WPC recently closed a $115-million build-to-suit transaction for the Rabobank headquarters in Eindhoven, the Netherlands with Dutch developer OVG Group. The construction is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2017.
“We have also seen build-to-suit as a component of existing asset acquisitions,” he says. “For example in 2014 we acquired and then funded the expansion of a distribution center for Belk in Jonesville, SC.”
On the other side of the transaction table, Calkain represents developers around the country that specialize in build-to-suit net lease assets. David Sobelman, executive vice president and managing partner at Calkain Cos., a Reston, VA-headquartered brokerage firm specializing in triple net lease investments, tells GlobeSt.com build-to-suit development has made a strong return because tenants are much more comfortable building a new location for themselves today then they were five years ago.
“However, the tenants that are having the most success with build-to-suit properties are those that started their due diligence two or more years ago,” he explains. “New tenants coming to the market today are having a tough time finding new locations that fit their business models and, subsequently, the developers that partner with the tenants are experiencing the same challenges.”