Our Senior Associate of Retail Sales & Leasing, Andrea Fletcher, discussed how the pandemic has affected Vancouver’s retail market in the Fall issue of REIBC’s Input magazine.
In Vancouver, traditionally strong retail nodes like Robson Street, Commercial Drive, Fraser Street, and Main Street have been resilient through the pandemic. The higher the footfall along a retail street front, the more retailers (both food and non-food) are madly hunting there for a new golden-goose location. There is little vacancy along key, highest-traffic retail nodes within Vancouver. Retailers in these locations have managed to keep their doors open because the surrounding neighborhoods have been committed to shopping locally and supporting small business.
Active retail specialty brokers all agree that we have never seen a market velocity like this with rapid absorption of the best locations if they come available. In many cases, locations are leased by word-of-mouth off-market without even a “For Lease” sign going up. Now, a fruitful detective-style strategy when looking for a new retail location is to drive around and take note of which stores have been closed for a week or more and contact the landlord directly to investigate whether the tenant is in default of the lease or has even just walked away from their commitment altogether.
Andrea was President of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia from 2015 to 2016 and continues to be an active member of the organization.