Colliers Trio Nearly Triples Retail Portfolio

By Sarah Baker

In the past 12 months, Colliers International Memphis’ retail team of Andrew Phillips, Ed Thomas and Laura Frazier has grown its retail portfolio from about 300,000 square feet to nearly 850,000 square feet.

Their recent lease-up of Germantown Collection at the corner of Poplar Avenue and Exeter Road is just one example of how the team is building a reputation for taking on distressed assets and turning them around.

When the team took over leasing of the 60,724-square-foot shopping center in June of 2011, the center was 54 percent occupied.

Since then, the team has renewed leases for Baskin Robbins, Leslie’s Pool Supplies, Chili’s, Little Caesars, and Fantastic Sams, totaling more than 14,300 square feet.

Within that same period of time, the team has leased more than 17,000 square feet to new tenants Smokers Corner, Massage Envy, Gould’s, Batteries Plus, Solana and Sweet Wise on behalf of owner GA Poplar Avenue Germantown LLC, a local affiliate of Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Real Estate Investors.

The center is currently 85 percent occupied, with only four bays of 1,000 to 3,100 square feet available.

“We’ve established a great niche with special servicers to take distressed retail centers and quickly get them back on their feet,” said Phillips, who leads the retail team. “As a result, we’ve been able to forge relationships with the new owners and are almost always retaining the leasing, and often management, of these centers once they are under new management.”

While Colliers International in Memphis has long been known in the market for industrial real estate expertise, its strategy to elevate both retail and office services has been more recent. The retail team began coming together four years ago when Thomas, who came to Colliers with a restaurant industry background, joined the company.

The team formally started coming together when Thomas joined forces with Phillips, whose relationships with special servicers became particularly valuable as the economy faltered.

The team expanded in February to include Frazier, an experienced agent from the Nashville market who has helped to further strengthen the team’s relationships on both tenant and landlord representation. She grew up in Memphis, and being back and newer to the market, Frazier found it beneficial to have partners that already had prospects and relationships.

“They just had such a good reputation for taking a shop that was historically industrial and office and creating a whole new retail sector,” Frazier said. “Because they’ve grown it so aggressively, they needed someone else to help with all of the products, so all our landlords and owners were getting the service that we want to provide.”

Phillips expects continued growth for the retail services group.

“We want to grow at a managed pace that allows us to continue to provide the level of service it takes to take a center like Germantown Collection from 54 percent to 85 percent occupancy in a 12-month period,” Phillips said. “Ultimately, we’d like our team to be recognized among the leaders in the market for retail real estate services.”