To further Leverage.com’s mission of democratizing knowledge about commercial real estate, we started an interview series with all kinds of CREF pros: everyone from multifamily and medical to cannabis and construction. This time we connected with Jared Mann, Director of Strategic Finance at Waterstone Properties Group, a national leader in pioneering large-scale, immersive, entertainment and experiential-based destination retail locations that attract guests from across the country.
Here’s how the conversation went:
For our readers who are new to CRE, what are some examples of “large-scale, immersive, entertainment and experiential-based destination retail locations”?
Waterstone owns a number of these “experiential” retail locations that create an immersive and shareable experience that prioritizes guests and their needs. Portsmouth Green is a great example of this. Located minutes from historic downtown Portsmouth, NH, the center is home to a number of NH’s best restaurants, specialty grocers, high-end retailers, and boutique fitness centers.
Our goal with Portsmouth Green is to provide customers with everything they need from dining, entertainment, shopping, and relaxation all with a community, neighborhood look and feel that promotes browsing and friendly service. We want customers to be able to spend a full day at Portsmouth Green if they’re so inclined. Customers can get their groceries at McKinnon’s, shop at retailers like Athleta and Petco, have lunch at Dough Craft Pizza, workout at Pure Barre, and then go bowling at Pinz. We also believe in making locations like Portsmouth Green a true one-stop shop by adding a luxury apartment community next door with the Veridian Residences.
How has the pandemic affected these investments?
At Waterstone, we believe our tenants are our customers, and the tenant’s customers are our guests. We made a commitment at the beginning of the pandemic to work with all of our customers to maintain our relationships and ensure we would all come out of this on the other side.
This approach allowed us to collect nearly 80% of our projected rents during the pandemic, and our portfolio stands at over 95% occupancy today. Our relationships with our tenants and the strength of this type of asset was key to this success during and after the pandemic.
We noticed your site has a page for outparcels. Can you explain what they are and why they have been a successful asset class for Waterstone?
Outparcels are small lots typically at the outer edge of a shopping center. They are great locations for fast food outlets, chain restaurants, banks, etc, – these pieces of land are excellent for adding value to existing shopping centers. Waterstone has had immense success maximizing the value of our shopping centers by activating these outparcels. Many tenants covet the location of these outparcels due to traffic, access, and visibility; and we are able to leverage our tenant relationships and development expertise to sign credit tenants to long term leases at these pad sites.