Retail rentals and occupancy are finally on the rise after a long stretch in the doldrums, according to Jones Lang LaSalle Retail Group (www.BDCnetwork.com/JLLRetail). Progress is slow, and glamorous projects are still few and far between, at least in North America. But some prestige work has recently been done, such as the 100,000-sf CUBES development—created by Shawmut and Equity Office Properties to bring needed retail space to an underserved section of Manhattan.
Katie Sprague, Senior Vice President in the Los Angeles office of RTKL, pinpoints vertical shopping developments, open-air retail zones, “slow-food” dining, interactive retail, and development in emerging markets as worldwide trends (http://bit.ly/13j8L9B). In particular, merchants are adding convenience features, including scan-it-yourself technologies, touch-screen kiosks, and hand-held checkout devices for store staff.
MJ Munsell, IIDA, Principal and Retail Market Design Leader at MulvannyG2, says consumers’ use of apps such as Pinterest is shaping ideas about personal branding; perhaps dressing room lighting, color schemes, and sound will become customizable at the touch of a screen.
TOP RETAIL ARCHITECTURE FIRMSCompany 2012 Retail Revenue ($)1 Callison $99,528,7412 Stantec $89,657,8783 Gensler $88,360,0004 MulvannyG2 Architecture $70,792,7505 RTKL Associates $61,225,0006 RSP Architects $39,327,0007 WD Partners $37,000,0008 MBH Architects $34,095,0009 Perkowitz+Ruth Architects $23,729,54710 Little $20,411,914
TOP RETAIL ENGINEERING FIRMSCompany 2012 Retail Revenue ($)1 Jacobs Engineering Group $146,400,0002 AECOM Technology Corp. $118,220,0003 Henderson Engineers $44,677,2994 URS Corp. $41,152,2405 Parsons Brinckerhoff $19,100,0006 Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates $17,310,0007 Bergmann Associates $13,000,0008 Wallace Engineering $9,250,0009 Buro Happold Consulting Engineers $7,176,00010 Arup $6,574,122
TOP RETAIL CONSTRUCTION FIRMSCompany 2012 Retail Revenue ($)1 Shawmut Design and Construction $314,900,0002 Whiting-Turner Contracting Co., The $307,373,1823 PCL Construction Enterprises $216,819,4944 Lend Lease $214,921,0005 Turner Corporation, The $201,890,0006 EMJ $200,300,0007 Power Construction $116,000,0008 Weitz Co., The $115,314,2169 Structure Tone $105,052,00010 Ryan Companies US $103,001,644
Figuring out how to deal with competition from online stores is a pressing concern for traditional retailers and the AEC firms that serve them. “We’re going to see a big rethinking of how retailers do their distribution,” predicts Omid Nabipoor, President of Interface Engineering. “Amazon has announced that they’re going to do more food and grocery distribution, and has a lot of grocers considering how they’re going to compete with that. How will they deal with distribution? How will they deliver in a day, as Amazon is promising?” Retail facility upgrades may be one response; development of new models for distribution centers may be another.
Some retailers are creating space for entertainment or classes to make the store a more compelling destination—always a popular tactic in home centers but now increasingly common in grocery, sporting goods, and tech stores. Chain restaurants represent another bright spot in the sector, with pent-up demand attributable to prior expansion delays, according to Thomas Goemaat, President/CEO of Shawmut. “Based on our backlog, we expect this trend to continue for the foreseeable future,” he says.