Retail Armageddon? Not even close -- but big boxes are getting smaller

For Palm Beach County’s retail real estate, the strange disconnect continues. Sports Authority is long gone. Office Depot is downsizing. Sam’s Club is closing its warehouse store at Interstate 95 and Hypoluxo Road. Even former stars like The Gap are closing mall locations in Wellington and Palm Beach Gardens.

And yet: Palm Beach County’s retail vacancy rate hit a rock-bottom 4.3 percent at the end of 2017, down from 5.8 percent two years earlier, commercial real estate brokerage Colliers International reports.

Related: Next store up: Despite retail closings, landlords fill space

“South Florida’s retail real estate sector continues to strengthen as the nation grapples with a shifting retail landscape,” Colliers International says in a report about the region’s shopping centers.

Of course, the news isn’t all good. Sears, Macy’s, Kmart and J.C. Penney are among the merchants closing stores. And some, such as Office Depot, are reducing new stores to half the size of yesteryear’s big boxes.

Related: Office Depot’s “store of the future” is brighter, smaller 

Landlords are responding by turning big boxes into small ones.

“Strategically rightsizing retail space has been crucial for landlords, as there are a lot more tenants looking for 10,000 square feet or less than there are looking for 30,000 square feet or more,” Colliers International says. “One option for landlords with a large vacant space is to subdivide the big box buildings into smaller spaces to accommodate two or three new tenants. Landlords are eager to find new tenants at today’s market rate to replace the retailer-friendly leases signed by the failed big-box users many years ago.”

Related: Marijuana dispensaries scout for spots in Palm Beach County

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in

NEW: Giant food hall coming to Delray Beach on former condo site
NEW: Giant food hall coming to Delray Beach on former condo site

Giants in restaurants and real estate are teaming up to create an enclosed food hall the size of a football field in downtown Delray Beach. Restaurateur Dennis Max and real estate developer Craig Menin are planning the Delray City Market, a 30,000-square foot food hall at 33 SE Third Ave., half a block south of sizzling Atlantic...
Treat your pearly whites to a sonic clean
Treat your pearly whites to a sonic clean

I’ve been brushing my teeth this week with the Swedish made Foreo ISSA 2, which the company touts as the world’s first silicone sonic toothbrush. It takes only an hour to charge, which is said to last for up to 365 uses before another USB charge is needed. Obviously, I haven’t used it that long, but after a few weeks, it’s running...
Stanford, Berkeley boost female computing grads
Stanford, Berkeley boost female computing grads

More and more women are getting computer science and electrical engineering degrees from the Bay Area’s two elite universities, a goal U.S. colleges have been pursuing for decades. But in the midst of the #MeToo era’s focus on sexual misconduct, harassment and gender discrimination in tech, some of these young women say they’re worried...
What’s the best way to speed up your computer?
What’s the best way to speed up your computer?

At the gym recently, a friend asked me for some advice about choosing a new computer. He asked what was the “one thing” he should look for when picking his next computer. Of course, there are dozens of decisions about various features you should pay attention to when computer shopping, but I knew he wasn’t in a position to write down...
Finding the cause of vanishing disk space

Q: My Windows 7 laptop has been steadily losing hard disk space as new data is stored on it from a source that I can’t determine. The amount of stored data has been climbing at a rate of about 270 megabytes per day for nearly five months. I haven’t added anything to the PC but recommended updates and a few spreadsheets and text files. I...
More Stories