What to watch: Shopping center management INSIDE Demand for physical retail space remains high, proven by high metro area occupancy Resilient retail Pandemic effects are still causing some challenges when building retail space Construction adapts PAGE 14 February 2024 PAGE 4 S everal retail shopping cen- ter landlord representatives recently got together at a net- working event and we inevi- tably got to talking about the latest trends, challenges and innova- tions in the industry. There is always a great wealth of information shared at these events, but three concepts kept emerging in the discussion that seemed to be a big focus for shop- ping center owners and property managers in 2024: enhancing secu- rity measures affordably, complying with existing and planning for future environmental legislation and inno- vating lease negotiation structures. n Implementing cost-effective security measures to address prop- erty crime. A significant concern for landlords and property managers continues to be the high incidence of property crimes at retail shopping cen- ters, an issue that not only affects the safety and well- being of tenants and shoppers but also impacts the financial health of retail spaces. While a representative of the Downtown Denver Partnership noted that the three-year average for property crime is down more than 40% from its post- COVID peak in the city, that trend seems to be lagging in many suburbs, and most landlords cited continued issues and costs related to vagrancy and crime as a major ongoing con- cern going into 2024. An individual with knowledge of Belmar shopping center in Lakewood, for instance, noted the center is now spending roughly $900,000 per year on private security at the site, in addition to signing a free tempo- rary lease agreement with the police department to increase the police presence and deter crime at the cen- ter. Most of the landlord representa- tives noted that they have experi- enced a significant rise in break-ins, theft of copper pipes and wiring, and tenant closures directly or indirectly related to these issues in the post- COVID era. On-site security staff play an important role, but the group underscored the importance of find- ing more cost-effective solutions given that the burden of increased security is most often borne by shopping center tenants. We have been testing a variety of AI-powered interactive camera solutions from several vendors as a way to supple- ment existing security measures. An on-the-ground security presence is critical in some cases, but we have found that these monitored camera systems are often able to provide bet- ter petty crime deterrence at a small fraction of the cost of on-site security. The key for landlords will be find- ing a balanced approach, leveraging guards and technology to create safer retail environments while managing costs efficiently. Please see Carpenter, Page 15 Ross Carpenter Director of leasing, NewMark Merrill Companies Inc. Recognize what’s important to the retailers and blend it into our communities Low vacancy PAGE 6