By Leigh Anne McGarry, Leasing Associate with Franklin Street’s Retail Landlord Leasing Team
As a young female in the brokerage world, it is hard not to recognize the amount of young, talented women who continue to come out of college and secure positions with some of the top national and regional brokerage firms in Atlanta.
Young women are taking the workforce by storm, and doing their due diligence throughout college to be competitive in the Atlanta real estate job market, which is the focus of my comments. I have recently discussed this phenomenon with other women in the industry and we continue to be amazed at the talent coming out of colleges year-after-year.
It is so exciting to be a part of this small shift in such a male-dominated industry. I have consistently been going to numerous networking events or conferences lately where I meet at least one young female who has just started in the industry. Being a part of the efforts of UCREW, I can see firsthand the work so many girls are doing to get prepared to earn a position at a top firm. My hopes are that UCREW not only assists in the process of connecting young talent to great firms, but also spreads the word to get more young women (and men) to learn about what real estate and brokerage has to offer.
However, I must also mention some market trends that I am seeing in the retail world. The genetic makeup of retail in Atlanta is changing quickly for both landlords and retailers. Landlords are learning that they must revamp their shopping centers to retain or attract new tenants. For example, many existing shopping centers are undergoing façade changes and common-area updates to compete aesthetically with new developments. Landlords are also working to bring in more service-oriented tenants, add green space, and bring community-oriented events to new mixed-use projects.
Pop-up shops are another example of how a landlord can use space to continually bring something new to their center. Due to the increased demand of e-commerce, tenants have found that a pop-up shop can be the most efficient way to get in the hands of consumers before they make the purchase online. The competition for tenants is so fierce right now, with so many neighborhoods and communities experiencing either redevelopment or new development.
This shift in retail that we are experiencing is changing how we, as leasing agents, lease a project, and the type of services we are now having to offer our developer and landlord clients. Our job now consists of a very hands-on advisory role with some of the new development projects, and we are having to think outside the box to fill vacant big boxes.
The new types of experiential retail and developments that are driving the market today forces our leasing efforts to be more creative and often advise on all aspects of the project to create a space desirable to the tenant mix that landlords are trying to capture. Consumer demand for experiential retail and ambiance has really shifted our overall approach to leasing and the importance we put on the need for unique restaurants and interactive retail. Mixed-use projects are growing to take over the suburbs as well as in the in-town market, so, as leasing agents, we are experiencing this change across the board in Metro Atlanta.
Leigh Anne McGarry is a Leasing Associate with the Retail Landlord Leasing team in Atlanta working with a variety of commercial real estate owners and developers. In her time at Franklin Street, Mrs. McGarry has worked with local, regional, and national clients such as Equity One, JBL Asset Management, Slate, and Sandor Development. Mrs. McGarry works with the leasing team stabilize operating income and maximize the value of retail properties throughout metro Atlanta and Georgia.
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