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Retail Views

Long Island optimistic despite loss of the Islanders

By Steven Gillman, VP, The Shopping Center Group

Despite the lack of professional hockey on Long Island for the first time in 50 years, the region continues to be upbeat, fueled mostly by what we’ve seen throughout 2015, a combination of non-traditional retail growth, burgers, more burgers; and, a shift in supermarket strategy.

Photo by m anima/ Flickr
Photo by m anima/ Flickr

Non-traditional retailers are popping up in shopping centers, strip centers, even pad sites all over the Island — leading this category is healthcare.

As the medical industry adjusts to both federal and state legislation, it creates opportunity for both landlords and developers.

Medical groups are consolidating individual practices. Independent surgical centers are offering convenient alternatives to out-patient hospital care, and independent labs and testing facilities are providing services to both doctors and consumers directly.

Another non-traditional category on fire is the specialty fitness sector.

Outfits like SoulCycle, Crossfit, and JoyRide are rapidly expanding across the Metro region.

And for those of you interested in post-oxygen exercise consumption, Orange Theory is the gym for you (now expanding across the Metro Region). And lets not forget the yogis out there, yoga studios continue to appear all over the Island. The better burger category continues to sizzle. Outlets like Shake Shack (new locations coming in Melville and Lake Grove), Burger Fi, Smashburger and Bareburger are cropping up in the major retail corridors throughout Long Island.

Despite Chipotle’s E.coli woes, they continue to do deals out here. Organic fast food like Sweetgreen, and exotic options like Just Falafel, are having great success in the city — perhaps we’ll see such chains head East.

There’s a lot of activity in the supermarket world.

The success of Trader Joes has forced traditional markets to rethink how they do business. Many are downsizing, stressing convenience and value over selection.

Others are creating stores within stores. Giants like Target and WalMart now offer organics, which is one reason why Whole Foods new concept 365 was created.

European giant Aldi, already opened in Nassau and Suffolk, and is now scouring more locations across the Island. Expect several more to open in the area over the next few years.

Despite lower gas prices and an improved economy, consumers are still cost-conscious.

Costco continues to fortify its Long Island position with the recent opening in Riverhead; their eighth in the region is now under construction in Oceanside.

Other noteworthy new store openings this year include Field and Stream’s first Long Island store in Melville. Del Friscos Grill opening at Walt Whitman Mall.

I do wonder how much longer Sears and Kmart can keep going. Both have several locations. Look for potential opportunity in West Babylon and Bohemia. These are great locations that could be put to better use by someone more adept at today’s retail world.

Islip Pines and Huntington Orchard are two big new development projects in the planning phase — we’re talking roughly 500,000 s/f of retail between the two of them.

The Coliseum project is finally being marketed. There appear to be several interesting restaurants and entertainment type tenants kicking the tires including Bass Pro, who just opened across the sound in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with great fanfare.

Speaking of Connecticut, Stew Leonard’s has two new Long Island locations under construction, East Meadow and Farmingdale. Word is, another might also be in the pipeline for the Island.

The revitalization of downtowns across the Island also continues.

Downtown redevelopment projects in Farmingdale and Ronkonkoma seem to be working well. Not to be outdone, Hempstead is now gearing up for a big redevelopment of their downtown.

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