If it weren’t for the current economic uncertainty, we could say that it has never been a better time to be in retail real estate. Fundamentals are sound with vacancy rates at historic lows and for the first quarter of 2023, retail sales performed relatively well “showing the shallowest decline in deal volume across the major property types,” according to a report by MSCI.
It is easy to perform in this environment but the true test will come if the U.S. economy worsens and consumers pull back on spending, which many economists forecast will happen in the coming months. We believe that the men, women, teams and companies we have selected as our retail influencers for this year will be able to pass that test. After all, the sector has seen difficult times in the recent past and went on to not only survive but thrive. Watch it happen again and read the next several pages if you want to see who we bet will be leading the vanguard.
HANLEY INVESTMENT GROUP REAL ESTATE ADVISORS’ JEFF LEFKO & BILL ASHER
Since they partnered in 2018, Jeff Lefko and Bill Asher have achieved $2.5 billion in total sales volume and rank among the most active brokers nationwide in terms of number of retail properties. Both EVPs at Hanley Investment Group Real Estate Advisors, Lefko and Asher are adept at achieving improved property values, especially in the execution of break-up-sale strategies.
They work hand-in-hand with clients underwriting assets and projecting realistic exit assumptions for each shopping center component. Sometimes the projects can last up to 36 months before a sale. As a result, Lefko and Asher have achieved up to a 50-to-100-basis-point spread in cap rates when selling net-leased-occupied outparcels or pads separately. Lefko and Asher recently executed the break-up-sale strategy for 12 major shopping centers across the country. They have also structured pre-sales or development flips prior to the completion of construction and before the tenants are open for business and formally paying rent, creating a win-win for both the seller and buyer.
The duo were pioneers in the net-lease car wash space, and their expertise has been recognized nationally. In the past 24 months, the team has sold or has in escrow or listed for sale 47 car wash properties valued at $247 million. Another investment category where they have developed expertise is the sale of single-tenant net-lease childcare/learning centers across the country. In the past 24 months, Lefko and Asher have sold 18 childcare/learning centers valued at $100 million. In addition to working with buyers and sellers throughout California, Lefko and Asher have built a successful track record bringing California-based private capital to out-of-state markets.