Even though we're in the middle of a pandemic, BTI Partners, a developer based in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is still delivering new projects retail tenants need. For example, the retail portion of the Westshore Marina Landing At Westshore Marina District project in Tampa is expected to be completed early next year.
With so many retailers going out of business, finding new tenants is not easy. But Britney Mroczkowski, Vice President Retail Development at BTI Partners, is not put off.
"I still do all of my normal marketing tasks, but I just make a targeted list and really see who does well," says Mroczkowski. "I think it depends on who marketed themselves very well during the quarantine and how they continued to develop their business."
But how do you know who does well and who doesn't? For Mroczkowski, on-site research is still essential.
"I walk around town and if I see someone who is fine, I will reach them," says Mroczkowski. "It's just a matter of focusing on the laser and keeping an eye on what's going on in your market."
While things have not returned to normal, Mroczkowski says there has been a lot more activity in Tampa lately.
"I have the feeling that we are almost normal," says Mroczkowski. "I get a lot of calls. I get a lot of requests for tours. But you have to be sensitive. I'm not trying to reach 10 retailers that I know are closing their stores."
In order to reach potential tenants, Mroczkowski focuses on local retailers rather than large national companies. "The big companies are trying to keep their existing businesses open," she says.
Brokers are also an integral part of the equation. "My main focus was reaching out to all of the agents," she says. “There is a local group of brokers who make monthly calls. That was priceless. "
During the calls, the brokers and leasing and marketing professionals share information about what they see. "The tenant agent brokers may say," I have a tenant who is thriving and they are looking for new business, "says Mroczkowski." It's just great information and feedback. So I'd say maintaining broker relationships has been the number one source of attracting new tenants right now. "
Mroczkowski says she spends about half of her time in the office and half of her time on the construction site. In addition to branding the BTI projects, Mroczkowski also tries to put the entire company in the spotlight. "We are actively buying land right now and are looking for other remediation options," she says. "I want people to know this and know that we are here and are still looking. And I want people to understand that COVID hasn't changed anything for us."