New Light Shed on “Shadow Retail”

Most of us are frequent visitors to “Shadow Retail” locations, and though we may not realize the tactical strategy that brought us there, we appreciate the convenience and selection of retail stores.

An anchor store is the largest, or one of the largest stores in the center. These stores “anchor” the center and draw significant retail traffic. They are generally the major demand generator to the center, and the traffic generated results in visits to the smaller (or inline) stores in the center. In addition to the inline space located within the center, a nearby shopping center could be considered as “Shadow Anchored” by the adjacent anchor stores. These anchors are in proximity, but not formally part of the same center.  Shadow Retail often benefits from the same access points into the center, traffic counts, and demographic profile. Shadow Retail further benefits at no cost from advertising dollars spent by the anchor retailers’ sales and promotions which enhance the number of visitors.

Locally, Shadow Retail is rapidly escalating as national brand retailers continue expansion efforts with a key focus on “Class A” locations. Pre-leasing is occurring in all top locations in Lee County and interest from retailers is wide-reaching. Many tenants, including national, regional, and local businesses know how crucial the right location is, are willing to wait for it, and once they find it, are ready to pay for it. Shadow Retail centers are commanding rental rates between $30.00 and $40.00 per square foot (triple net).

Local examples include:

Colonial Blvd and I-75 (Fort Myers)

To be developed as a 6,000+/- square foot local retail center shadow-anchored by The Forum at Fort Myers—a multi-tenant shopping center with Target, and Home Depot within a large master-planned development. The new center has already caught the eye of a several fast-casual restaurants and multiple national mobile phone companies.

Daniels Pkwy and I-75 (Fort Myers)

Proposed developed of approx. 9,000+/- square feet in proximity to I-75, shadow-anchored by a concentration of fast casual restaurants. While still in the early stages, significant interest is abound from national-brand coffee retailers, fitness centers, and new-to-the-market pizza retailers.

Six-Mile Cypress Pkwy and Colonial Blvd (Fort Myers)

A recently completed 6,000+/- square foot center is the new home of Tijuana Flats (fast casual Mexican restaurant) and the expanding national brand Mattress One. This center is shadow-anchored by Lowes, Hobby Lobby, Kohl’s, and 24 Hr fitness.

US 41 Near Bonita Beach Rd (Bonita Springs)

Former restaurant space to be redeveloped into a multi-tenant shadow retail center with interest from national coffee, mobile phone and restaurant chains. This location is shadow-anchored by a national brand discount department store, and a national fitness chain and grocery store.

College Pkwy and Whiskey Creek Drive (Fort Myers)

Not all Shadow Retail is anchored by retailers. Shadow Retail can also be located in proximity to a destination which draws considerable traffic. The former Bank of America branch at the corner of College Parkway and Whiskey Creek Drive in Fort Myers is an example of destination-based Shadow Retail. The site is being redeveloped by Creighton Development and will become a multi-tenant retail center anchored by Wells Fargo Bank on the east, and the signalized intersection of the College Parkway entrance to Florida SouthWestern State College. Development plans call for a 7-11 gas station with an adjacent 2-unit retail center. According to a recent advertisement, Dunkin Donuts is slated for the westernmost unit the remaining unit is listed for $35.00/(triple net).

Santa Barbara and Veterans Memorial (Cape Coral)

This proposed redevelopment of a former car wash site will soon become a 6,000+/- square foot center shadow-anchored by Target and Publix. National interest is already brewing from multiple mobile phone companies and a host of fast casual restaurants including Moe’s Southwest Grill.

As our economy continues to improve and consumer confidence presses forward on an upward path, our local market is repeatedly on the drawing board for many new retailer’s expansion plans. The ability of these Shadow Retail centers to merge convenience with destination centers is a win-win for both retailers and consumers and a certain trend to watch in Southwest Florida.