Lowe, a national real estate developer, investor and manager, has formed Retail reVision, a new platform that will pursue repositioning and redevelopment of underperforming retail properties and has tapped industry veteran Joel Mayer to lead the expansion.
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Mayer, who was named executive vice president, has previously served as managing director for retail at Rockwood, where he oversaw retail property investment, strategy, development, acquisitions, leasing, management and dispositions. He had also been a director at BlackRock and senior vice president at California Pizza Kitchen, where he led the company’s real estate expansion. Mayer will be based in Lowe’s Los Angles headquarters.
Michael Lowe, co-CEO of Lowe, said the creation of Retail reVision formalizes a program they have been developing over the past several years that utilizes the company’s experience as a developer, owner and operator of all types of commercial properties including mixed-use developments. Lowe noted Mayer has decades of experience in retail and has a background as a retail investor, developer and tenant, which he called “a rare combination” as they grow the platform.
The Retail reVision team will work with existing and new owners as a joint venture partner, incentive-fee manager or advisor. Lowe will seek properties that are regional draws, such as malls, community, lifestyle and power centers that are located in urban and suburban infill markets Lowe operates in, including California, the Pacific Northwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, greater Denver and Phoenix metro areas and the Carolinas.
Mayer noted the COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the ongoing retail contraction and will increase the need for owners to reposition retail assets such as former department stores, big box stores or under-occupied shopping centers and regional malls. He said Lowe will evaluate and devise a new plan for alternative uses to create value and bring properties back to life.
Asked whether the coronavirus may result in new interest in suburban assets rather than urban properties, Mayer told Commercial Property Executive there could be some short-term opportunities for suburban development.
“Lowe is focused on long-term trends in supply and demand. These are the factors that will drive our decision making with regard to retail property repositioning opportunities,” he told CPE.
Lowe is currently working with Centennial Real Estate, owners of the MainPlace Mall in Santa Ana, Calif., where plans are under way to add multifamily, office and/or hotel uses. Construction on the first phase of multifamily housing is expected to begin in early 2021.
Lowe also has experience in adaptive reuse, public-private partnerships and ground-up developments, including mixed-use properties. The company is currently completing construction of Ivy Station, a 500,000-square-foot mixed-use development adjacent to the Los Angeles Metro Expo Line station in Culver City, Calif. The project, being developed with AECOM-Canyon Partners and Rockwood, will include 50,000 square feet of retail, 200 apartments, a 240,000-square-foot office building that will be fully leased by HBO starting in early 2021 and The Shay, a 148-key boutique hotel.
The company is also known for its CityVista project, a mixed-use development in the Mount Vernon Triangle area of Washington, D.C., that has condominiums, apartments, affordable housing, a 55,000-square-foot grocery store and 60,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and services.