BRR Teammate Leads Austin Retail Conference Trends & Predictions Discussion
Recently, I moderated the Developers, Owners & Investors Panel at the InterFace Austin Retail Conference. The InterFace Conferences bring investors, developers, real estate leaders and business owners together to network and discuss trends and challenges in their respective industries.
Navigating the Austin Retail Landscape: Insights from Industry Leaders
The panel of developers, owners and investors discussed new economic development and retail trends in the region. Besides myself, panelists included:
- Roger Plourde, Managing Principal, Ivy Companies
- Bo Avery, CCIM, President, TriMarsh Properties
- Adam Zimel, Principal, Endeavor
- David Spagnolo, Regional SVP, Whitestone REIT
- Jeff Nebrat, Executive Vice President, Weitzman
We discussed several retail-related trends impacting not only Austin but surrounding Central Texas communities as well. We noted a few trends:
- Austin continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country. It’s no surprise that as the population increases, the demand for retail spaces continues to grow. Retailers utilize Austin as a test market for new concepts both within the urban core and in the surrounding communities. The high cost of construction compounded with competition for development property has driven costs up in the area. While these challenges exist, there are still lucrative opportunities in the Austin market.
- Consumers seek places to connect with others, driving a demand for experiential retail, entertainment and restaurant spaces. These ‘third places’ leverage amenities, non-retail space, to drive customer foot traffic. Amenities like art installations, parks and plazas create a space for people to interact. However, they require large plots of land to develop. Unlike the Austin urban core, periphery towns like Manor, Kyle and Georgetown have available land to create these community-based spaces, positioning them as attractive areas for new development.
- The Austin market faces the familiar challenges of high construction costs and high interest rates that many cities across the country experience. However, Austin has maintained a level of insulation from these broader economic issues that are significantly affecting other cities. One panelist went so far as to describe Austin as “Teflon-coated.” Most agree there will be some interest rate relief in late 2024, presenting an opportunity for developers to increase activity with acquisitions and retail construction. This anticipated activity will bring additional Austin (and surrounding area) retail properties to market within the next 24 months.
Have we piqued your interest? Listen to the full panel discussion for an in-depth look at the evolving Austin retail market.
We were pleased to hear that the trends we’ve witnessed across our client’s retail and industrial projects appear to be points in a broader discussion. Visit our portfolio to learn more about our experience.