mobile-close copy

Equinox and Beyond: Philadelphia’s Retail Revolution with Doug Green

Doug Green Headshot
Episode #: 242
Equinox and Beyond: Philadelphia's Retail Revolution with Doug Green

Guest: Doug Green
Topics: Equinox, Philadelphia


Ressa 00:00 This is Retail Retold, the story of how that store ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris Ressa, and I invite you to join my conversation with some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC Management.

Welcome to Retail Retold everyone. Today I’m joined by Doug Green. Doug is from MSC Retail in Philadelphia. Doug, a long time. Excited for him to be here. Welcome to the show, Doug.

Green 00:30 Thanks, Chris. Good to be with you.

Ressa 00:32 You too, man. So why don’t you tell everybody a little bit more about who Doug is and what you do?

Green 00:42 Yeah, sure. So, again, thanks for having me. I’m a big fan of what you’re doing and glad we reconnected. And I love, I love talking shop. I love explaining to everyone the world as I see it, a pretty unique and diverse lens here at MSC. I think it kind of colors the way we see the industry.

And I always respected you and the way you see the world and you know, love just talking shop. So MSC is a full service, retail-only brokerage firm. Leasing, investment sales, management consulting. Headquartered in Philadelphia, we have two satellite offices, one in Los Angeles and one in New York. We are 30 people in total, you know, roughly 24, 25 brokers and support staff.

Most people probably know us primarily as an urban firm, just given the really unique market share we have here in Center City, Philadelphia, but really proud of the incredibly diverse, as I mentioned, practice that we’ve created. So we’re, we’re 50-50 suburbs-city, 50-50 tenant-landlord. We represent about 100 retailers and restaurants exclusively as they expand to the Delaware Valley region.

Very wide array of of tenants ranging from high end lifestyle and high street all the way down through discount grocery, kind of lower end retail. And on the landlord side, we represent about 20 million square feet exclusively. And again, a really diverse array of lifestyle centers, power centers, grocery anchored, of course, urban mixed use. And then we do a lot of consulting master planning work for business improvement districts and college and university work.

So we represent a bunch of universities and colleges across the country helping them think about retail on their campus and master planning that campus for them. And then, of course, you know, to the extent there’s retail they own, we release it for them.

I’ve been with the company for coming up on 20 years. I’ve been a partner at the firm for the last 12. And I oversee the day to day operations of our company, from business development to strategic direction. I really touch every aspect of our company.

Ressa 03:12 So I got a million questions. So one, the thing that surprised me, I didn’t realize. And so I knew ten and more. I didn’t realize you were 50-50 urban suburban? Wow.

Green 03:25 Yeah. I think, you know, look, we have great market share in the city. We’ve been here the longest of any of our competitors. You know, when Philadelphia was not a super fun market to lease, when Center City wasn’t as vibrant as it was today, back in the late nineties, early 2000.

We were here for better or worse, so we’ve been doing it the longest with great market share and our listings tend to be higher profile, you know, big signs on Wal-Mart, high profile tenants, Apple, Lululemon, etc.

So like it tends to catch a lot of eyes. Having said that, the suburbs in the Philadelphia market, like most MSAs, are vast. We cover the entire eastern half of the state. So state college all the way east, central and southern New Jersey. So call it the Brunswick South and all of Delaware. So that’s a lot of geography. And, you know, while the deals are bigger in the city, there’s just more of them in the suburbs and it tends to all kind of equal out. So revenue wise were 5050.

Ressa 04:29 Wow. Yeah. So you mentioned yourself all the day to day operations. How much of your time is spent as a person who’s running a business versus a real estate person?

Green 04:42 Yeah, it’s a good it’s a good question. And I’m actually I think I’m pretty proud of the answer. I would say I’m probably depends on the week of the month or the you know, but I would say cross average across the year, I’m probably 60% of my time is spent as a as a broker and 40% as a executive leading the company. One of the best pieces of advice my partner and I got long time ago was, you know, you never take your best dealmakers off the street.

And I’m by no means our best dealmaker, but I really think it’s hard to manage. Brokers, oversee brokers, add value to their listing or their tenant account or whatever they’re working on if you’re not still relevant and in it. And it is a slippery slope, as those who run a brokerage firm know, you know, the player coach model is sometimes done well and oftentimes not done well.

But I think I balance it pretty well. And I think it really makes me a better manager because there’s nothing I ask them to do that I either haven’t done or I’m not currently doing. And I, you know, allows me to stay really fresh on the market. We are in an information based business. Information is our commodity. That’s what we sell as brokers, right.

And when you get too far removed from the the trenches, the day to day access to the information, I think it makes it really hard to manage brokers who are out there doing that. Plenty of people do it. There’s plenty of managers that don’t do a brokerage into an incredible job. It’s just not me. It’s not how I run this company. And I think we’ve we’re a better company for it.

Ressa 06:25 Sure. I would say the challenge of it, it depends on size. I think you guys are sizable. Now. You get much bigger. Totally. You’re not going to be able to do that. Yeah.

Green 06:37 Absolutely. And we we we are growing and and part of that growth needs to be a little bit more management. But yeah, I mean, you go look at, you know, CBRE or any of the big guys they have a managing director running that city or that region. It’s impossible for them to be transactional.

There’s just too much to manage. But yeah, I’m definitely in a unique position where I’m able to do it. I can wrap my arms around, you know, 20 some odd brokers, as you said, much bigger than that. It gets a little unwieldy.

Ressa 07:05 Yeah. All right. So we’re going to jump into something real quick. So we’re going to jump in real quick. You have a story about a deal in Rittenhouse Square, which is in Philadelphia for us. So how about Equinox? That was like ten years in the making.

Green 07:25 So I think more. Yeah.

Ressa 07:28 Take us away.

Green 07:29 Yeah, it’s look, I think it’s a good lesson for any broker in playing long game, which is an important perspective to have as a broker. You know, I first started representing Equinox and really first toured with them, right, 2010, 2011. And it’s a really tough requirement for those who’ve been on either side of an equinox deal, very unique spatial requirements, substantial tie requirement. And really and I applaud them for this.

You know, they want the best real estate. I mean, it is a point. I want to be their type of real estate program, which is very different from a lot of our other higher volume rollouts, where they’re doing too many to be that picky. Right. And, you know, all brokers have that client that says, I don’t need to be in your city, I don’t need to do this deal. But if the, you know, optimal, perfect bull’s eye location came up, we’d look at it. Right.

And so the first phase of the relationship was, well, you don’t need to be on Rittenhouse Square. Trust me, I’m in the market. I know the market. I’m a consumer of the market. Also, you can be a block off. Trust me. I know the market better than you do. And then that phase went to.

Okay, they’re really not going to bite. I’m not going to change their mind. They and for those who know him, Jeff Winehouse, who runs chief development officer at Equinox, he literally was like, I want to be on Rittenhouse Square. I want to literally stare out of my club and see the square.

And that was that was the direction I got. And after trying to convince them they were wrong, I set out in those, you know, Rittenhouse Square. There’s not a lot of places you can put a 40,000 square foot fitness club with a pool. And I mean, it really was one or two, two locations.

And, you know, I think another good lesson learned and something I try to impart on the people that I train and I think it’s it’s a great trade for a broker to have is is a creative vision. Right. To see an opportunity where others don’t see it. Anybody can go put a square peg in a square hole. You know, T-Mobile is one of my clients. You know, they.

Ressa 09:59 Call it spatially space. So, yeah, space in space.

Green 10:02 2400 square foot on an end cap in the suburbs. It doesn’t take a whole lot of creativity. But there are many programs where you really need to be creative and have a vision and see something that another broker wouldn’t. Or maybe your real estate director wouldn’t.

And I mean, we literally looked at converting a parking garage, right? An existing operating, functioning parking garage actually below my office because it was on Rittenhouse Square and it had the ceiling heights and it had the gross GLA, and that obviously didn’t work out.

And fast forward a number of years, we ended up signing a lease with Southern Land Company that in Asheville and. Through everything that could go wrong in a high rise development, ground up new development, add COVID in there. The deal is under construction right now, and with any luck, it will open in the next 10 to 12 months. So, you know.

Ressa 11:03 Without the new development, would you have found a new space?

Green 11:08 No, no. I mean, again, you would have had to go to we’re going to clear out multiple floors of an office building, take out a floor because you needed the ceiling height. I mean, it would have taken a completely crazy redevelopment, again, redeveloping a parking garage. But if you if you have if you play the long game, if you believe in your ability to pull a rabbit out of a hat, have a creative vision.

And I really had no other choice, right? It was like, if we don’t end up on Rittenhouse, we’re not coming to Philly. It’s that simple. And luckily, along the way, given the relationship, I was able to do a couple of SoulCycle deals that that helped. But it it is a really, really unique obviously, tenant and deal and transaction. And when it opens, it’s one of those that you know, I’ll be really, really proud of the year of of of the of the chase to get there.

Ressa 12:09 Well well congrats. Well one thing I would say is that, you know, because Equinox is such a dynamic, firm and urban user and real estate. The comment that you made about like an office building, knocking out a floor to get the ceiling has at least that, maybe not that practical.

Maybe even construction costs everything going on in the world, but at least there are user who can adapt and do that where there’s there’s a lot of retailers and they should be because it’s their model where they’re like, they have a prototype that is their box. They’ve got a store planning team that’s hundreds of people and this is their layout and they can’t move the bathrooms here and this is their box and they go do it everywhere in the country and it’s the same store.

And that’s really hard to replicate in urban environments, if not impossible. So you need someone who can go, okay, we’re not going to do this in the urban environment and here’s our end to it. So at least you had a user who was like that as well.

Green 13:11 I mean, look, that’s always the push and pull, right? It’s speed versus volume. Right. And and if you if you need to move quickly and you need to open stores, you need to be nimble, but not, as you said, most tenants aren’t. And that’s when you end up with a frustrated tenant that needs to open up stores and can find real estate and has a unique requirement. But they have their program, you know, So at some point something’s got to give.

Ressa 13:37 You do. I’m curious because. You know, I think this is an important part that you talked about, about a broker, which is you were trying to convince. The client. About that. They could be a block off right now Square, which I think is an interesting topic because that could go two ways.

That could be like one. Okay, You’re demonstrating that you really understand the market or two and like, you know, some clients will receive that really well or two. There’s other clients out there that would be like, this guy just wants to argue with me all day and he’s not giving me what I want. And so how and I imagine you do that often. How do you deal with that balance of that? Yeah.

Green 14:28 Look, ultimately, I hope I think clients are hiring us because we know the market better than they do, right? We can provide a certain level of expertise. We have our ear to the ground. We’re highly transactional. We live here. We work here. We live, eat and breathe it right there. Parachuting in. And and yet you hope any broker hopes that that a tenant is going to really rely on them and ultimately trust them and say, look, you know better than I do.

You’re here. I’m not. Right. But not lost on us that they know their brand and they know their company better than we do. And they have a much wider lens than we do. Right. They know what works and doesn’t work in New York and Miami and in Denver and in L.A. And they’ve tried the we’re going to go one block off and maybe it’s worked and maybe it hasn’t. So, look, I think it’s a it’s a delicate balancing act. I think it’s about establishing a level of trust and credibility with the tenant.

And I think also to your point, you know, maybe the tenant looks at that broker and they’re like, he’s just trying to take the easy way out. Right? Like I told him, I want to be on Rittenhouse. It’s obviously a much heavier lift to do that. Sure, if I go a block off, it’s easier for him. He just wants to get a deal done. Right. Every broker fears that reputation of the broker that’s just trying to slam a deal. Yeah, but.

But, you know, again, with Equinox, it’s different because they can look at me and say, I don’t need to be in Philadelphia. I’d like to be. It’d be great. But if I can’t find exactly what I want, I’ll just go do Atlanta. Just go to Houston, I’ll go to Dallas. I don’t have to be in Philly. Whereas I think other tenants don’t have that luxury. I guess they have higher volume expectations from investors or Wall Street.

And they do, you know, air quotes have to be in Philadelphia, so they can’t be as picky. So it’s so nuanced and really just depends on the client.

Ressa 16:30 Well, I’m excited for you there. What a cool story. Thanks for sharing. I’m excited. I can’t wait for that project to open. It’ll be you and me both. I’m sure you are. Let’s let’s change course for a second here. Let’s talk about, you know, just what you are seeing in the marketplace today. I’m curious. I’ll make it a high level, like when someone says, like, what’s the market like? And they give you that line. What what what’s your response from airlines?

Green 17:07 My responses is usually identical always, which is real estate is local, and it’s impossible to paint a broad brush stroke and answer that question. Yeah, I guess you could aggregate the answer from all and average out all my answers from all the different sub markets and put it all together. But it really depends.

Urban, suburban, you know, tertiary markets versus a secondary primary market, exurban versus primary suburban. You know, if you’re talking about the CBD in Philadelphia, for those who know it market and JFK abysmal can’t give away space. Why no one’s in the office buildings. It has to be a more of a hyper specific question. So generally speaking.

Ressa 17:54 Are you running for office? For us. That’s a go to diplomatic. That’s a great power political answer to give me that real estate slogan. So I’ll be more specific for you. I’ll be more specific. Talk to me about what’s going on in Philly right now. I think you guys should have that retail market cornered. Give me what’s going on and don’t tell me. Well, it depends. Not from a greenhouse. Where? In North Philly? I’ll say generally.

Green 18:24 Philadelphia as a city from a retail perspective, is incredibly healthy, surprisingly healthy. We came out of COVID, I would say, better than most major metropolitan cities in the country. Philadelphia is, depending on how you look at it, a seven or eighth largest city in the country where 1,000,005 in the city and just over 6 million in the MSI.

Some of the high growth cities have kind of leapfrogged us, Houston and Phenix and D.C. MSA, but we’re still a top ten city in the country, and I really believe that we faired way better than many or most of our contemporaries. Why? We have incredibly dense downtown urban core. So when people weren’t coming in to go to the office, when people weren’t coming in from the suburbs to eat dinner and shop, when tourists weren’t coming in.

People live here. And that provides an incredibly stabilizing factor in a time of disruption like COVID. Moreover, you have institutions of higher education and advanced medicine, which is, you know, as everyone knows, incredibly stabilizing force for an economy. So those two things have really I mean, Philadelphia rebounded way better than I ever could have imagined. I mean, summer of 2020, we were looking around Philadelphia.

You know, shocked and horrified. The city was what was was empty. There was civic and social unrest from everything that was going on in the world. I mean, buildings burned down. It was it was not a great time to be in Philly. And, you know, I couldn’t blame anyone if they were like, this is a 5 to 10 year recovery. Instead, it was literally a 12 month recovery. So I’ve been doing this almost 20 years. I don’t say this lightly.

I’ve never seen the retail vibrancy in Philadelphia as healthy as it is today. Vacancy rate is as low as I’ve seen it in my entire career. The brands that are coming in, these aren’t just, you know, filling space for the sake of filling, filling space. Really relevant new to market brands that are choosing Philly either over the suburbs as an entry point or maybe over another city. So I feel really good about the city right now.

The neighborhoods, not surprisingly, are doing incredibly well. People aren’t in their offices five days a week. They’re home. So these neighborhoods, which were once pretty sleepy during the workweek, are now very vibrant. And you’re starting to see some vertical development in these neighborhoods. So a retailer, you know, ten years ago that was coming to Philly, it was Rittenhouse Square.

There wasn’t any other discussion. That was it. Fast forward ten years and people are talking about, you know, going to Fishtown, people are talking about going to South Philly, People are talking about going to Fairmount, People are talking about going to East Passyunk as an entry point, or at least as a number two unit after Rittenhouse. So that that’s really changed the game for us. And it’s just really cool.

Cool to see, especially given where we we came from. The suburbs are another conversation. Like in many metro areas, the suburbs are incredibly healthy and and in many cases healthier than the cities. Again, you know, people aren’t going to work five days a week. They’re home. And I would actually argue and again, it gets back to my comment about real estate is local and it depends which market you’re talking about.

But as a whole, we have many, many, many, many suburban markets where there’s just not any vacancy. We could do all the site tours we want. We can have all the retailers listed on our website we want, but ultimately, if there’s no space to put them in, it’s really hard for us to make any money. So that, you know, is going to be an interesting thing to track.

The recessionary headwinds I think have not quite hit and who knows whether or not that’s going to happen. And it’s hard to create more supply when, you know, construction financing is tricky and construction pricing is tricky and landowners will have a. Two year ago. Sense of value. It’s hard to create that extra value or that extra supply, I should say that we need, I think, desperately in a lot of these suburban markets for sure.

Ressa 22:55 I think that’s being nice, saying the financing and the and the pricing of construction has been tricky, as I can tell you on my end as a landlord, it’s it’s beyond tricky, so. Yep. So the I think that’s a. It’s a really good summation of Philly. I’m curious. So to the retailer out there listening who’s like.

Deciding between. You know, I’m going to do ten stores and they’re like, they got Atlanta on their list, they got Nashville, they got Dallas, they got Austin, they got Boston. Give me the Wide Philly. Why should that be one of the ten to do?

Green 23:43 Yeah, sure. Look, at the end of the day, there’s no replacement for density. Right. I think first and foremost, density cures pretty much any L and foot traffic bodies. Right at any income level. At certain point, density is just hard to replace with. So look, as I said, whether we’re the sixth, seventh or eighth largest city or MSA in the country, you know, we’re a it’s a big city. It’s a big region.

One, two, as I said earlier, that adds and meds stabilizing force. It means we don’t get super high in the highs, but we rarely get super low on the lows. And so it’s just like really slow and steady, constant, dependable, reliable trade area. And it’s mature, obviously, Right. The Northeast as a whole, you know, people drive through it and they look at the demographics for some of our suburbs, like these demos are great, incomes are incredible.

Retail looks like tired and old. It’s like, well, you’re in the Northeast, you know, there hasn’t been a ton of new development in the last 30 years. It’s not Phenix. It’s, you know, it’s not Houston.

Ressa 24:58 I don’t think so. The state is the it’s less I always think the real estate is ugly. It’s messy, but the sales are great.

Green 25:05 Exactly. And ultimately right. That’s all that matters. And then, you know, scalability is another thing. I mean, given the size of the market and, you know, our MSI is is made up of northern Delaware, southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey. So, you know, retailers generally, when they come into a market, want to scale pretty quickly.

No one wants to bring capital and resources to a market and only be able to do a handful of units. It’s not a good use of their time or money. So these are really great. Region to scale in. And then, you know, the obvious of an hour and a half from New York, two and a half hours from D.C.. You know, it’s a it’s incredibly well-positioned regionally, for sure.

And that’s great. I look at the the obvious one that. People. People. The obvious answer that people normally give is really low cost of living compared to our of some of our neighbors. And so if you’re looking to, you know, attract talent from our local colleges and universities, of which we have many, we’re from out of state compared to a lot of our contemporaries from Boston, which has gotten outrageously expensive to New York, obviously to D.C., I mean, no brainer.

I mean, Philadelphia and the region as a whole is by far the most affordable to live and raise a family.

Ressa 26:30 Yeah. I’d also I’d I’d add you know the I think trans it’s great right like I’m going to go to Philly I guess I’m going to take the Amtrak right in. Right. I think I think the culture super interesting in the history you got the Liberty Bell and and the whole culture around it. Like I’ve run up the rocky stairs before and I think there’s a lot of culture and that that really and that history that you can’t get in some of these new places.

And that creates tourism and a lot of other things that make Philly unique. So and you know. Yeah. Cheese steak, no doubt. So for sure. So. I appreciate you giving the Philly pitch. I think all your peers will be happy about that one. Anything else? What else you seen out there? What’s what’s like? What’s got you like, like, really intrigued these days? What are you seeing out there?

Green 27:35 Yeah, look. On a macro level, I think the interesting thing that I’m tracking is, you know, I see all these reports from our some of our bigger competitors, CBRE or Cushman or JLL, and they’re producing the regional report. And it’s, you know, average rents and average vacancy rates. And outsiders may look at that and they’re, you know, determining supply demand ratios. And I think those reports are inherently just missing the biggest.

Piece of of real estate in any market. It feels particularly acute here in the Philly region. And that is. Oftentimes there is a disconnect between the type of supply and the type of demand. And I think that’s true probably across our country right now. And it feels again, particularly true here in Philly, which is there’s a reasonable amount of supply out there. Right. If you look at any of those reports, you’ll see, you know, whatever, anywhere from a 10 to 20% vacancy rate, maybe more, depending on the market.

There is supply out there. The problem is there’s a lot of demand out there that doesn’t fit the supply. Right. So whether it’s a closed box and the market wants small shop space or it’s a, you know, anchor at a mall and that market wants junior anchors and small shopping pads or whatever it is, I find that’s the biggest obstacle right now is is that the supply just doesn’t match the demand.

And in many cases, as you can appreciate, we just talked about construction, pricing and financing. It’s so capital intensive to make the the demand sorry to make the supply match that demand. Right. And sometimes it’s impossible to pencil. And so you look at a market like, well there’s a ton of vacancy there, right? I mean there should be plenty of stuff out there and there’s a ton of demand just sitting on the side waiting for the right type of supply to match up.

So I think that is is just an interesting thing to watch. And you know, we need a. A time in the cycle because it didn’t happen the last time in the cycle where interest rates are super low. Construction pricing is reasonable and those who don’t obviously always follow to correct some of that. And now it’s not a good point in the cycle to correct that. So I think that’s super interesting.

And then and then that that kind of turns into a bigger trend, which we’re all seeing. And I think I’m seeing my clients grapple with it every day, which is, you know, the urbanization of the suburbs, The suburban markets are adding density. They’re responding to residential needs and desires to be more urban, right?

People want to live urban, but they want to be in the suburbs with more space and better schools, etc. easier way of life than to drive around their block looking for parking, right, etc.. And what’s happening is, to my point that I just made about the supply demand not matching up. You’re seeing supply added in these markets, but it’s ground floor of a mixed use project with multifamily above.

And you have a typical suburban mindset retailer that says, Oh man, I want it to be in that market for five years. You’re finally building something. But it’s got debt parking and it’s not traditional surface parking lot. And my customer can’t just drive up and walk in and.

And so I think retailers are going to have to figure out how to, especially in the northeast, maybe less true of like the Sunbelt or, you know, other parts of the country, but particularly in the Northeast where the new supply is going to come, not in a traditional manner. Those retailers are going to have to adapt and they kind of haven’t yet. Right.

They are like, wait a minute, my customer is going to have to take an elevator down. And this isn’t the city. This is the middle of the suburbs. Why would they do that? Will they do that? How are we going to handle trash? Are going to handle loading these retailers with such a suburban mindset?

Just haven’t had to do that. But that’s coming. And I think that it’ll be interesting to see which retailers adapt well to that and which don’t and the ones that don’t. You know, as every cycle goes in our business, I don’t think we’ll be around.

Ressa 31:52 Wow, Super interesting. I’m backing up on a couple of things. So, one, you mentioned, you know, the missing data in some of those reports, which I think is is. A really interesting insight to talk about because, you know, a lot of institutional capital is using at least some of those reports as data inputs in their models.

And so, you know, that that’s super interesting and. I think one of the things that I am. That’s made it that that line about the supply and demand. I think one of the things that we don’t talk about is enough is there has been a lot of construction, but there has been.

When you aggregate over a decade, a significant amount of repurposing of of spaces which has taken supply from retail off the market. You mentioned the old bacon box, but I could certainly point to the old bacon box that is now a self-storage unit or a multifamily and therefore. There’s just less retail space from that alone. From that, the decommissioning, the rezoning of what once was retail. And so I often say if we were once we’re short in America, we are not anymore.

Green 33:08 And that’s going to continue. That’s going to continue. I mean, whether it’s multifamily or it’s medical or self-storage or it’s cold storage or whatever it is that we were the most over retail market in the nation in the world, and we still are. I’m sure I’ve looked at the numbers, but that will continue. So it’s going to get trickier and more complex.

Ressa 33:30 But the comment about like the new type of product going out there, like the and retailers. Having to adapt to what’s available. That’s that’s super interesting. Can you think of a retailer that. Because even for me, it’s a little out of my day to day. I’m I that I own shopping center space. Right. So that’s a little bit out of my day to day still. So can you think of a retailer who’s that you’ve done work with that’s taken a plunge in like gone outside the box a bit yet. Has anyone made the plunge. They the.

Green 34:12 Yeah. I mean, look, I think I think the grocers and the fast casual tenants just given their growth aspirations, have had no choice. And. Right. So they’re naturally the ones that are finding themselves doing it first and maybe being pioneers, you know, whether it’s Sprouts is probably a good one or even giant locally in their heirloom concept.

You know, they’ve they’ve started to realize that if we can give our customers easy and easy out easy, clean, well-lit place to park, we can get loading somewhere on the ground floor of the basement, you know, where we’re willing to try to start to change some suburban habits. Right. Shake Shack is a client of mine, and I think they’re doing a great job of this, realizing that not every suburban market can be a freestanding pad, not every suburban market you’re going to get drive thru.

So your choices. Skip over the market and wait, you know, forever or whatever that means, or say, I want to be in that market. I can adapt. It doesn’t have to be drive thru. I can go in the ground floor. Mixed use. Shake Shack has the benefit of having some urban DNA in them, right? So they were able to kind of wrap it around that maybe more than others. But but I’m I’m talking, you know, the ones that I’m I’m curious to see how it’ll all shake out. I’m talking about the typical power center, suburban, you know, junior boxes.

Ressa 35:44 Even what I’m interested in. I’m interested. I’m interested to see if it happens, because that that’ll be fascinating. And you mean at some point it kind of needs this.

Green 35:55 Need to keep growing, right? Whether whether it’s a Wall Street thing or, as I said earlier, an investor thing. They need to keep growing. And as we start taking, as you said, more supply off the market and these markets get tighter and tighter. Right. The Northeast, especially in other parts of the country, you’re not getting any less dense. Something’s going to have to give.

So I’m not suggesting the whole world is going to be mixed use and apartments above and retail on the ground floor. Clearly, that’s not the case. But, you know. It could be parking counts. All right. We all know retailers that think they need a certain amount of parking and we all roll our eyes and we’re like, the world’s changed, right? With rideshare and public transportation and whatever.

Like, you don’t need those parking ratios or townships. You don’t need those parking ratios. So I think everyone’s hand is going to be forced to to start to change. And I guess what I’m saying is, you know, the fast casuals of the world, the grocers of the world seem to be through through no choice of their own, you know, kind of leading the pack.

Ressa 36:53 They’re very cool. Well, listen, this has been great. I really appreciate the time, Doug. I want to I want to take us to the last part of the show. I call this retail wisdom. I got three final questions for you. Are you ready?

Green 37:10 Let’s do it.

Ressa 37:11 All right. Question one. What extinct retailer do you wish would come back from the dead?

Green 37:18 I have a curveball here. One of my old clients performance bicycle. Okay, I’m a big cyclist, so a little bit of a near and dear to my heart. But for those who remember performance bicycle was around and they went bankrupt literally 6 to 9 months before COVID hit. And if everyone remembers what happened when COVID hit.

Bike shops were like the it was a greatest business to be in. They couldn’t make the bikes fast enough. Every bike retailer went crazy, crazy sale. And if performance bike had litter, I mean, obviously no one knew the pandemic was coming, but had they just stuck around for six, nine more months, we wouldn’t be talking them about talking about them as an extinct retailer.

Ressa 38:04 Wow, what a great answer. No one has said that yet, so I appreciate it. All right.

Green 38:07 Do you usually get the the blockbuster video? Boring.

Ressa 38:13 Yes. Toys R US. That’s a big one. Question two: what’s the last item over $20 you bought in a store?

Green 38:25 Oh, it was definitely a pair of sneakers. I’m a big sneaker guy. I have a problem. I would say I have too many. And so, yeah, I think it was a pair of Jordan Lows that I definitely didn’t need, and an impulse buy for sure.

Ressa 38:53 Last question. If you and I were shopping at Target and I lost you, what aisle would I find you in?

Green 38:59 It’s easy. I have no doubt, just because my kids would probably be there. And as you and I talked about, I say a growing number of them are expanding families. So definitely the toy aisle. A, there’s always something that I’ll buy for them, but B, it’s just a good place to keep them occupied. You know, I’m trying to go shopping there with my wife and ride a bike and, you know, throw a ball or whatever.

Ressa 39:27 Awesome. Well, Doug, this has been great. Really appreciate it. Thanks so much.

Green 39:32 You got it man. Really, really appreciative of your time and love what you’re doing. Keep keep doing it. And I’ll be I’ll be here listening to all the future podcasts, for sure.

Ressa 39:45 Excellent. Thank you for listening to Retail Retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal that you were a part of on our show, please reach out to us at This show highlights the stories behind the deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, broker, entrepreneur, architect or an attorney. Also, don’t forget to subscribe to Retail Retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode.

Did you miss last week’s episode? Listen in now to EP 241: Inside the Stalls of Food Halls with Mike Morris

Read Transcript

Never Miss an Episode!

Join the newsletter and get access to bonus content and exclusive updates


Newest DLC white paper


access exclusive retail reports