Strip Malls Don’t Fly Under The Retail Radar Anymore

Don Fenley 

Strip malls used to fly under the retail radar. Most of the attention focused on open-air malls and the dismal performance of enclosed malls. But that was then and now days strip malls are one of the hottest tickets in the commercial real estate marketplace.

– Kingsport’s Economic Development Director John Rose, who has been named the executive director of the Northeast Tennessee Reginal Hub – recently reported that 95% of the city’s strip-mall parcels were occupied.

–       John Speropulos, president, and principal broker of Mitch Cox Realtor, Inc., says there is very little vacancy for retail in Johnson City and those looking for smaller square-foot sites are seeing a lot of competition. He also said he’s seeing more lease activity than interest in sales.

– Kelly Graham, Graham and Associates, says demand in Bristol has always been a little less than other cities, but strip mall occupancy has gone up.

According to the Wall Street Journal, consumer habits in the post-Covid economy drove the trend. The WSJ report quoted Josh Suffin, president of real estate services for RetailStat saying that beyond the work-from-home, the whole world is changing in how quickly things move.

It’s another example of how much effect Covid had on culture, the economy, and demographics.

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