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Kim Gatley
enior Vice President & Director of Research at REOC San Antonio

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New opportunities hatched from former Albertsons shells

When Boise, Idaho-based grocery store chain Alberstons Inc. pulled out of the San Antonio market, it left in its wake more than 1.3 million square feet of vacant space that formerly housed its store operations.  Given the roughly 32.7 million square feet of space that comprised the city’s entire retail sector at the time (2002), Albertsons’ departure equated to some 4 percent of the local retail market going dark.  The kicker is that the lights were shut off all at once.  All told, Albertsons vacated 23 stores — of which 14 served as the anchor space for area shopping centers.

However, 11 years later, out of the 23 retail boxes Albertsons vacated, only two are presently unoccupied.  H-E-B quickly purchased five of those boxes after Albertsons’ departure. It then redeveloped and rebranded them as H-E-B grocery stores.  But the bulk of the transformations of the former Albertsons spaces involved users that were far afield from the grocery industry. Those empty boxes were born again as community centers, fitness facilities, family-friendly pizza venues, back-office centers — to name a few of the reuses.

These new venues did bring new life to many of the anchor spaces at area shopping centers, Hoover says. But the traffic had shifted. The existing tenants still had to find new ways to drive shoppers into the shopping centers absent a major grocery-store anchor.

Click to read entire article: New opportunities hatched from former Albertson’s shells (San Antonio Business Journal, 5-3-13)


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