After recent strolls through the festively-trimmed streets of Georgetown and the recently opened Mosiac District in Falls Church, it struck me that retail appears to be performing quite well in the region.
The Washington region has one of the highest retail occupancy rates among the six primary U.S. retail markets at 97 percent.
In addition, big-box power centers, shopping malls and trendy lifestyle centers in the D.C. region generally have benefited from the strongest store-opening activity of the primary market, when compared to existing inventory, in 2012 as tenants moved into about 1.2 million square feet.
Perhaps two of the best examples of retailers craving store space in the area are the previously mentioned Mosaic District and The Shoppes at Georgetown Park. Stores in the first phase of the 350,000-square-foot Mosaic District opened their doors this quarter, and the roster of new retailers is impressive. Target agreed to purchase its anchor place in the center for more than $43 million. Other spaces are filled with a variety of places to patronize, everything from higher-end national retailers, such as Anthropologie, and suburban satellites of regional eateries from the city, such as Sweetgreen.
The Shoppes at Georgetown Park, which had battled soaring vacancy rates for some time, also appeared to have turned a corner in the back half of this year when mall scored deals to increase the amount of occupied space by nearly 70,000 square feet.
Existing tenants H&M and J. Crew agreed to increase their footprint and discount giants T.J. Maxx and Homegoods inked deals to open stores in the mall. With the ever-abundant and expanding selection of merchandisers and eateries in the region, shoppers here will no doubt find themselves jolly this holiday season and in the new year with their veritable smorgasbord of choices.
Erica Champion is a senior real estate economist with CoStar Group in the District.