M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal — Retail Development Reimagined — May 21 - June 17, 2021 — 19A


R etail D evelopment R eimagined

By Danielle Brunelli, R.J. Brunelli & Co. Diverse mix of retailers, restaurants remain active in Northern New Jersey


Giuseppe’s to open new stores in the market. Among restaurants, mean- while, the increase in demand for drive-up and curbside pick- up enabled Popeyes, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jersey Mike’s, Wingstop and Smashburger to continue signing leases in past year, the broker writes. “Despite various public- health encumbrances, some tenants were able to move quickly to lease, buildout and debut their stores in 2020,” Brunelli adds. “For example, R.J. Brunelli & Co. negotiated a deal for Chipotle at a drive- thru location in North Bergen

in which the tenant signed the lease, obtained permits, con- structed the space and opened all within 2020.” Likewise, Gregory’s Coffee and the fast-casual chicken restaurant Raising Cane’s continued to seek drive-thru locations as part of their ex- pansion plans. On the landlord side, many owners and developers con- tinue to aggressively court new deals, Brunelli notes. “Rents have dropped slightly, and landlords have been more willing to provide free-rent pe- riods, though they still may not provide tenant allowances.”

The challenges of the past year also promoted a higher degree of coordination among real estate professionals. “Real estate professionals spent less time on the roads and had more time to pick up the phone and talk,” Brunelli writes. “Zoom calls occurred in which multiple brokers shared information on their clients who continued to make deals, and landlord reps shared in- formation on their available locations.” This spirit of collaboration led to new professional rela- tionships and rapid business adjustments, including the

launch of new retail proto- types. “In 2021, these new modes of operating will only help the future of brick-and- mortar retail, in both Northern New Jersey and the country,” Brunelli concludes. R.J. Brunelli & Co. serves as exclusive broker for 35 retail properties with a combined gross leasable area (GLA) exceeding 2.3 million s/f, and five properties for sale. The properties are located through- out New Jersey. The firm also serves as exclusive or preferred tenant representative for a20 retail, restaurant and service chains. MAREJ

etail leasing is bounc- ing back across North- ern New Jersey, said

D a n i e l l e B r u n e l l i , p r e s i d e n t / principal of R.J. Brunelli & Co., LLC. “Users in- cluding Plan- et Fi tness , Dollar Tree,

Danielle Brunelli

Harbor Freight, Raymour and Flanagan, salon suites con- cepts, Five Below and others are leasing up vacant spaces quickly,” the veteran retail real estate broker writes in a new column examining the region’s retail market in the March/ April issue of Northeast Real Estate Business . The column led off a special section focus- ing on four different segments of the commercial real estate market in Northern New Jer- sey. Her column provides an overview of the recent moves of these and other expanding operators in Northern New Jersey. Brunelli contrasts this positive economic activity with the challenging times that oc- curred last year. “In 2020, we saw leasing activity decline by almost 30% year-over-year,” writes Brunel- li, whose Old Bridge-based firm exclusively represents Dollar Tree and Family Dol- lar in New Jersey, along with chains such as Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers, European Wax Center, Crumbl Cookies and My CBD Organics. “This languishing activity resulted in a 3.1% drop in the market rent on a per square foot basis.” Northern New Jersey’s retail markets were also affected by the bankruptcies of Modell’s, Justice, Pier 1 Imports, Tues- day Morning and Stein Mart, while Covid-19 dining restric- tions exacted a heavy toll on many restaurants as well, she observes. Nonetheless, retailers, res- taurants, developers and ser- vice tenants have shown a high degree of resiliency. Other operators, such as those that sell essential goods, saw sales increases that propelled their growth. Discount retailer Dol- lar Tree, for one, signed leases for eight new Dollar Tree stores and one new Family Dollar store in New Jersey in 2020, Brunelli notes. She also cites moves by grocers Amazon Fresh, Lidl and Uncle

Relocation Opportunities Wanted

PENNSYLVANIA COUNTIES OF INTEREST INCLUDE: Bradford, Bucks, Carbon, Columbia, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne, Wyoming TYPES OF LOCATIONS WANTED: End Cap, In-Line, Drive-Thru, Free Standing

PLEASE CONTACT: Abbie Muto muto_a@sdepa.com | Cheryl Green green_c@sdepa.com (610) 366-8120 • www.sdepa.com

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