Hannah Tosch with Colliers International specializes in the retail sector of the Houston area with a primary focus on tenant representation and buyer acquisitions. She also does a lot of work in the Greater Heights and offered an assessment of the current landscape amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The retail sector has taken one of the hardest hits by the economy’s shutdown surpassed only by hospitality,” Tosch said. “Now we begin on the path back to normalcy. While Phase 1 and its 25 percent capacity sounded good on paper, ultimately it proved to be financially unfeasible for many restaurants to generate a profit. Many Houston restaurants have chosen to refrain from opening their dining room until Phase 2, which allows for 50 percent capacity. I think we will see more restaurants open for dine-in now that the capacity has been increased and revenue should boost.”
As far as leasing activity goes, Tosch said there is a slowdown as most retailers and restaurants need to spend their time and resources on keeping their existing locations up and running.
“Hot markets like the Heights and Garden Oaks are not immune to the impact – we are finding that tenants who signed before COVID are now pushing back their openings, some indefinitely,” she said. “Even hot submarkets will see substantial failures of smaller retailers who did not have capital reserves sufficient to survive a prolonged shutdown and then fund a restart. This will open up spaces for new concepts to enter hot, niche markets.”
Tosch said all the new leases for Colliers International will include some form of language in regard to COVID-19 or other future pandemic situations.
“More tenants have been out in the market touring in the last few weeks, however many remain hesitant to ink a deal without extreme protection,” she said. “I foresee many tenants slow-playing negotiations as best they can through the summer until there is more certainty if the virus is going to come back in the fall.”
Becca Cakes to open in June
In December, dessert artist Rebecca Pham announced plans for her first storefront at Stomping Grounds, 1225 W. 34th St., next to Threadfare Children’s Boutique. Now, she said she plans to open Becca Cakes, an 861-square foot space in Building D, by mid-June.
Pham said the retail bakery with cupcakes, cookies, macaroons and more will mainly be takeout, but customers will be able to enjoy their sweets on the Stomping Grounds lawn.
There will be consultation space for about six people inside the store as Pham has been making custom cakes for weddings and other special occasions for several years now. But when not in use, the area will provide some inside seating.
“We’ll see what the guidelines are when we open,” Pham said. “We want everyone to feel safe.”
Follow Becca Cakes on Instagram or visit https://www.beccacakeshtx.com/ for updates.
Revive Bingo still on
When Revive Development started its Bingo card promotion to help tenants increase business, director of leasing and marketing Monica Danna said the company was pleasantly surprised with the early interest and activity.
“The first day we launched it we had a winner,” she said.
The promotion, in which customers can win $250 or $1,000 prize packages by making purchases or booking future services from 24 of Revive’s tenants in the Heights, Garden Oaks and Oak Forest area, will continue until May 31. REVIVE BINGO! cards are available on the company’s Facebook and Instagram page. No one has yet achieved bingo blackout, which nets the winner a prize package valued at $1,000.
Danna said Revive might re-shuffle the card, on which each tenant business represents a square, and continue the promotion through the summer months.
Updates at 33 1/3, Shops at Oak Forest
Developer Chris Hotze said all the existing businesses have reopened at 33 1/3 as well as the Shops at Oak Forest. Suzy Thompson with SHOP Houston, which works with Hotze on leases, said Luce Ave Coffee Roasters will open in the early summer at 33 1/3.
Luce’s Helen Choi said in December that the first floor of Luce will be the training center, with the roastery on the second floor. An open floorplan will give each floor a good view of the other.
Thompson said tenant Tropical Smoothie would follow at 33 1/3 with a late summer opening.
The Lowell Street Annex now leasing
The Lowell Street Annex is a new 5,200-square foot space situated between North Shepherd and Durham drives adjacent to the shopping center where Snooze sits on the hard corner. The annex has five-plus parking spots per 1,000 square feet with frontage on West 18th Street.
The promotional flyer says the development has “synergy with adjacent retail, including Ford Fry’s two restaurants, Superica and La Lucha as well as Snooze Cafe, SMOOSH Cookies, and Sweat 1000.”
For more information, contact Hannah Tosch at email@example.com.