Retail specialist SRS Real Estate Partners, HQ'd in Dallas and with more than 20 offices worldwide, recently opened an office in Boston, tapping Jonathan Lapat as managing principal and market leader. We chatted with Jonathan, formerly a principal at Strategic Retail Advisors, about his outlook for Boston retail.
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Bisnow: What's your outlook for retail growth in greater Boston next year? Jonathan (seen here with The Boss): It should remain upwardly steady through 2017. There are a few major developments underway, which should keep leasing activity at a brisk pace. The Seaport area, for one, has absolutely exploded with development over the past few years with several office and residential towers. The retail is now playing catch-up.
Millennium Towers is also well under development. Aside from being the largest residential tower in Boston, it also has multilevel retail. Primark launched their first US store in the project. Roche Bros Supermarket opened in the former Filene’s Basement under the project. Old Navy announced earlier in 2016 a two-level flagship will be opening in Millennium Towers next year as well.
Boston Properties is developing adjacent to the TD Garden (home of the Bruins and Celtics) with The Hub on Causeway (below), which will be a 1.5M SF mixed-use project with 200k SF of retail, including the Northeast’s first ArcLight Cinema.
Bisnow: What about Boston will attract new brands?
Jonathan: Boston has become such a vibrant cosmopolitan city over the past 20 years or so. It also has rich history, terrific demographics and a tradition of being under-retailed due to a lack of developable opportunities and high barriers to entry. However, landlords and developers have found new and creative ways to open up new opportunities to meet demand. For the first time in several decades, supply is catching up to the demand.
Bisnow: Are international retailers interested in Boston, either to expand or come for the first time? Why?
Jonathan: They are indeed interested in Boston. As previously mentioned, the biggest international retailer to expand into Boston in the past 14 months was Primark. It made a huge splash in the Downtown Crossing market. International retailers’ interest in Boston corresponds with Boston’s growing reputation as a more global community. One need only look at the influx of foreign investment outside of the retail sector to see this. There are also an increasing number of foreign residents. It’s a renaissance for Boston.
Bisnow: What are your plans for the new SRS office?
Jonathan: First and foremost, grow the SRS Boston team. A retail-centric company like SRS provides a tremendous platform. There's no reason to think we can’t become one of the top Boston retail brokerage firms in the very near future.