Do First Floor Retail Spaces Pencil Out for Multifamily Developers?

March 16, 2016

Mar 15, 2016 |  | National Real Estate Investor

Today everyone wants to create new apartments in lively neighborhoods, where residents will live a short walk from shops, restaurants and other services.

“In urban and semi-urban locations all the cities want to have retail on the street front,” says Ron Witten, founder of Witten Advisors, an apartment market strategy firm. Local zoning officials—who often decide whether or not apartment developers can build their projects—encourage developers to include retail space in their new buildings.

But retail space needs a large pool of potential shoppers to survive. For first floor shops, that often requires a busy neighborhood with other shops nearby. The challenge for apartment project developers is that they are often directed by local officials to build retail spaces long before lively retail neighborhoods exist around their properties. Flexible retail spaces can evolve over time as the neighborhood changes.

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