cityretail

2009: The Most Difficult Year in Retail Real Estate History?!

In General, Kendall Square, Restaurant News on January 6, 2010 at 11:02 pm

I visit Retail Traffic’s blog about once a week. It’s a pretty good source of info, though very much about big box retail and national trends that do not have much to do with our projects here in Cambridge. A recent post/article was titled “Retail Real Estate’s 2009 in Review.”  Here’s the first sentence:

The most difficult year in retail real estate’s history is at an end.

Wow, “most difficult” in all of history!? I find this statement hard to believe but I think most will agree its was a tough year.  Or do we?… (read more)

For Twining Properties retail it was a good year – better than 2006, 2007 and 2008.  We leased over 13,000 sf of retail in the Watermark that had been vacant since 2006.  Our efforts in 2009 should result in five CityRetail deals that I expect to close this month – 4 of the 5 in spaces that have never been leased.  Part of this story is the emergence of Kendall Square as a multidimensional urban place, part of it is hard work and the rest I really believe is creativity by the team I work with at Twining Properties and the partners and neighbors we have in Kendall.  Here’s some 2009 Kendall press that details the same:

Boston Globe Article & Chronicle’s 3 part TV program.

Still though, Kendall wasn’t the only bright spot in 2009.  Grub Street Boston recently reported that restaurant openings in Boston/Cambridge outpaced closings.  As an attorney, I did more lease negotiations in 2009 that my previous two years in practice.  Here’s an example:

One of my clients in 2009, Berryline, opened two new locations.  One in Fenway at the Trilogy building and the other on Mass Ave. in Cambridge.  It replaced a Robecks (national fruit juice franchise) in Fenway and a Kabloom (self-described as a “a rapidly expanding chain of bright, airy flower stores”) in Cambridge.  Berryline, the exciting, small, local, owner-operated biz stepped into spaces previously filled by national chains.  To me, this is the big story of 2009:  Starbucks, Finagle-A-Bagel and Qdoba closings;  Berryline, Evoo/Za and B.Good openings.  Notice a trend?  CityRetail does.  I think Retail Traffic may have missed it, though in reality it’s not looking through the same lens.

Small, local, owner-operated retailers are more relevant in 2010 than they were in years prior.  To me, this is a great thing.  For urban retail, this is a great thing.  This is a theme that will be at the heart of CityRetail’s growth this year.

  1. […] one of my first posts on this blog (link) I referenced a popular retail real estate magazine, Retail Traffic, and touched on my belief that […]

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