Here are four takeaways from the fun and informative talk.
SPACE IS MONEY
Spatial distancing is going to be a part of our day-to-day for some time to come and many of our retailers just don’t have the indoor space to handle the customers they need to serve in order to survive. This, coupled with emerging research showing that you are less likely to catch the virus outdoors, is changing how we think about and experience shopping, dining, drinking & gathering. Many retailers, districts and even entire cities
are beginning to allow their public spaces (parking lots, alleys, streets, etc.) to be made available to the retailers and their customers.
With the changes in the design of indoor/outdoor spaces and many other logistical changes necessitated by the pandemic, the landlord/tenant relationship will likely change as well. This is sure to include modifications to the recently popular shared revenue leasing model, with a possible increase in base rents so that landlords can ensure their bills are paid even when sales are down. Alongside these changes the standard square footage model will need to adjust in the short and medium term as that square footage begins to include more and more public and quasi-public spaces.
RIP OFF THE RED TAPE
As retailers are forced to think creatively about how to stay open and keep their customers safe it is going to be critical for cities and other public agencies to remove as much red tape as possible when it comes to activation, street closures, sidewalk closures, signage, food/beverage sales, etc. Those agencies that do this as quickly as possible will see their districts reinvent themselves quicker and have less retail vacancy over the long term.
We’ve known for quite some time that individual retailers don’t succeed in a vacuum, but instead thrive within a district of other businesses that compliment and contribute foot traffic towards their bottom line. This type of ecosystem typically doesn’t happen accidentally. A district management agency of some kind is usually behind the scenes curating retail spaces and public spaces while developing activation strategies and a common brand experience. In the wake of COVID-19 the places that continue to have people waking up each day thinking about the future will be the most likely to succeed. Districts without this type of entity can and should use this moment to coalesce around this common crisis and begin developing collaborative strategies.
Register for the next &Co. discussion here.
In partnership with Soapbox Cincinnati and NKY thrives, Yard & Company, is sharing their video podcast series focused on sharing solutions, ideas and interventions related to the COVID-19’s impact on cities. Please share.