Pat Darcy, of Tucson Realty & Trust Co., commented on big-box retailers’ urban infill projects for a recent article by Gabriela Rico published in the Arizona Daily Star.
Retail brokers say demolitions will be key to luring big retailers into Tucson’s core in 2016.
Deals were inked for nearly 1 million square feet of big-box space in the Tucson market last year. More than half was new construction.
The largest building under construction is the 100,000-square-foot Fry’s Food & Drug store on West Valencia Road near Midvale Park Road, data from the 2015 year-end Big Box Retail Report shows. Big box is defined as a retail space larger than 10,000 square feet.
At the end of 2015, there were 49 big boxes available compared to 54 at the end of 2014. Last year saw more deals for new construction of big shops, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nordstrom Rack, both in the Wilmot Plaza at Wilmot Road and East Broadway.
Two Walmart Neighborhood Markets will be constructed, at North First Avenue and East Fort Lowell (where the mostly vacant Amphi Plaza will be razed to make way for it) and at West Ajo Way and South Mission Road.
New to the market in 2016 is Beall’s Outlet, which will open two locations this year. In the Tucson Place, at East Wetmore Road and North First Avenue, it will occupy the space formerly used by Summit Hut; and in the Marana Marketplace at West Orange Grove and North Thornydale roads, it will go into the former Staples space, said Andy Seleznov, director of leasing for Larsen-Baker, developer of both shopping centers.
“It is great to have a new retailer identify Tucson for their expansion,” he said. “If these stores are successful, I would anticipate that they would want to open at least one more store on the east side of town.”
“Other big boxes are in negotiations to expand into the southwest trade area along Interstate 19,” he said.
Nancy McClure, first vice president of CBRE Brokerage Services in Tucson, who compiled the big box report, said the momentum that has started will continue if old buildings give way.
“We are trending toward an uptick, especially with build-to-suit because Tucson doesn’t have the quality space that retailers want,” she said.
During a recent tour of Tucson with national retailers and brokers, one person commented, “Tucson is under-demolished,” McClure said.
“In the core of town, to bring new buildings out of the ground will mean old-format, tired properties will be demolished to make way for updated prototypes,” she said. “It will require local government and adjacent neighborhoods to embrace change and allow for progress.”
Pat Darcy, head of the retail division for Tucson Realty & Trust, concurred.
New construction, such as the building of a movie theater and Dave & Buster’s restaurant in Tucson Marketplace at The Bridges, near South Park Avenue and Interstate 10, will be complemented with demolitions and repurposing of vacant buildings.
The former McMahon’s Steakhouse at 2959 N. Swan Road, for example, will become office space and the former Golden Corral restaurant, on Wetmore Road at First Avenue, will be retrofitted to accommodate two retailers, Darcy said.
“Urban infill is the answer,” he said. “These aren’t historic buildings; they’re old, nonfunctioning buildings that aren’t energy-efficient. They are obsolete.”
Read More – read Pat Darcy’s Retail Market Overview for 2015
Stay Tuned – Check back with tucsonrealty.com for Darcy’s Retail Market Overview for 2016