Re: Developing a strip shopping center - Posted by ray@lcorn
Posted by ray@lcorn on June 13, 2003 at 14:23:56:
Don’s ideas below on tenant mix are excellent. A C-Store on the corner is a great traffic draw. Drugstores also love hard corners, and use about 1.5 acres. They don’t like to be first though… they like to follow other development (grocery, discount, restaurant, etc.) that has already occurred in the area. On the other 3-3.5 acres you could probably get about 30,000-35,000 sf of space? Check the zoning ordinance for maximum density.
Critically important will be the population numbers within a three mile radius. Get some demographics for your specific site. You can buy a report for a couple of hundred bucks, and if the numbers are there it is the best selling tool you’ll have. There are a number of firms that sell the info… Claritas.com, Demographicsnow.com… loads of others, some free, but I usually opt for the paid report because it’s quicker, more accurate and site specific. General County or Town census numbers are good to also have, and most planning or economic development departments have those numbers free for the asking. But you’ll still need the site specific report as well.
And I also question whether the low traffic count would draw pre-committed tenants. Remember, we don’t make markets, we follow them. Sounds like you may be a bit early.
If not, and the pop numbers are good, then you’ll need to develop a concept drawing of how the site will develop. You can get an engineer to do a simple takeoff to show ingress, egress and maximum building footprints for $500 to $1000. Tell them you want to max out the site, that’s the way to make small sites work. That drawing will get conversation with potential tenants started, and then as interest builds you can go further in doing architectural plans. If you get a contract on the corner, then you can move forward with the other space. I’d do a design/build with a good general contractor. With tenants, a plan, and a contract bid price, you can then shop for funding. A construction loan will cover 100% of hard costs, and may even retire any residual debt as long as there is some (say 10%) equity left.