Demand for New Jersey retail space has increased in the post-pandemic world. North Plainfield-based Levin Management Corporation (LMC) recently revealed that they organized 1.2 million square feet in new leases, renewals and extensions, and license agreements in 2021.
According to LMC, industrywide trends suggest this leasing momentum will continue during 2022, with expansions among traditional brick-and-mortar tenants accompanied by an uptake in leasing among digitally native brands. LMC also noted an increase in retail construction during 2021.
LMC reported 59 new store openings within its retail-focused leasing and management portfolio in 2021, which was more than double of 2020, and a 33% increase of 2019 transactions. Construction-wise, LMC completed 200,000 square feet of buildouts, with 380,000 square feet currently underway or in the near-term pipeline
Some retail leasing highlights in the New Jersey area for 2021 included a 20,400-square-foot transaction with The Goodwill Store at Hamilton Plaza (Hamilton Twp., N.J.), a 10,000-square-foot lease with Ulta Beauty at St. Georges Crossing (Woodbridge, N.J.), and a 9,600-square-foot lease with LL Flooring at Fairground Plaza (Mt. Holly, N.J.). A non-retail leasing highlight was the 118,000-square-foot, full-building lease by USA Container Co. Inc. at Rutgers Industrial Center (Piscataway, N.J.).
“Levin’s sustained transactional activity reflects the continued viability and resilience of brick-and-mortar retail,” said LMC’s Matthew K. Harding, chief executive officer. “Confidence among retail tenants drove strong leasing velocity through 2021 and shows no sign of abating in the new year. National brands and franchisees will continue to capitalize on opportunities to secure exceptionally good real estate at good pricing. We also are seeing movement among independently owned retailers. This activity is happening at a steady pace, fueled by current market conditions.”
As demonstrated by LMC’s transactional activity, the value of physical stores in a post-pandemic world is driven by the demand from New Jersey retail tenants and the enthusiasm of consumers for the brick-and-mortar experience.