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VOL. 132 | NO. 212 | Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Effects Of E-commerce, Amazon Among Seminar Topics

By Patrick Lantrip

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The growth of e-commerce has been one of the most transformative trends in real estate over the past few years and Memphis’ unique geography has it poised to reap the benefits.

While the more traditional industrial projects like Amazon’s proposed 615,440-square-foot receiving center at 3292 Holmes Road or DHL’s planned 580,000-square-foot distribution facility less than a mile to the south come to mind, the ripple effects of this can be felt in other areas as well, such as in typical brick-and-mortar retail operations.

“Brick and mortar is not dead, it’s very much alive, it’s just evolving and transforming,” The Shopping Center Group partner Shawn Massey said. “And it has forever.”

Shawn Massey

Phil Trenary

Tom Hutton

Tony Argiro

Shane Soefker

While this latest evolutionary leap has forced some slower moving retailers like RadioShack and Sports Authority into extinction, much like in nature, it also opens the door for new players.

“Some retailers going bankrupt isn’t necessarily a bad thing because they are replaced by retailers that are transformative and have evolved,” Massey said.

The results can of this can be seen as suburban power centers are slowly being replaced with more neighborhood-centric, mixed-use developments, like the Crosstown Concourse, which opened earlier this year.

“Crosstown really opened my eyes to a lot of things – we need to build neighborhoods, and not just buildings,” Massey said.

But this trend isn’t just unique to urban areas.

The Lake District for example, is a 165-acre, walkable community that will include two hotels, 550 residential units, a 500-seat performing arts space, two parking garages, more than 100,000 square feet of office space, luxury retail and restaurants, and an outdoor farmers market all located around a manmade lake in one of the county’s smallest cities, Lakeland.

“We didn’t want to build just another power center, we wanted to build an entertainment and family-focused center,” Massey said of this project. “Something that will last.”

All of these centers, though, would pale in comparison to the impact that an Amazon headquarters would have in a market like the Bluff City.

When the online retail giant first announced it was looking for a second U.S. city to call home, it sent local government officials all over the county into a frenzy.

Of course, with 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in capital expenditures at stake, it made sense for cities hoping to land Amazon’s second North American headquarters to do whatever it takes to close the “once-in-a-lifetime” deal.

“We’re a global logistics powerhouse,” Greater Memphis Chamber president and CEO Phil Trenary said. “When you can combine that with the amenities, the affordability of real estate and roll that up, there is no reason that Amazon or anyone else would not want to be here.”

Trenary and Massey are among the guests who will speak and sit on a panel discussion at The Daily News Seminar Series on Commercial Real Estate on Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Brooks Museum of Art. A wine and cheese reception will follow the presentations. Space is limited. For tickets, go to seminars.memphisdailynews.com.

Trenary said that rather than point to one city or site within Shelby County in courting Amazon’s second HQ, multiple options were offered in the bid from Greater Memphis.

“We looked at locations that fit Amazon’s criteria and we have those from Downtown, to Collierville, Millington, Bartlett, Arlington and Germantown,” he said. “All of those cities have locations that have applications.”

While the results of the process won’t be revealed by Amazon until early 2018, Trenary said the city will begin to address some of the areas in the company’s request for proposals (RFP) where they felt they may have come up immediately short in the meantime.

“Going through this, and putting together a such a comprehensive response in a short period of time has produced some very good work that we’ll be able to use for multiple organizations for a couple of three years to come, at least,” Trenary said.

Both Trenary and Massey will be on hand Thursday, Nov. 2, at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art for The Daily News’ Commercial Real Estate Review & Forecast Seminar, where a panel of local real estate experts will discuss how these trends and others will affect the Memphis area.

In addition to Trenary and Massey, the seminar’s panelists on Nov. 2 include Tom Hutton, vice president of Boyle Investment Co.; Tony Argiro, vice president of CBRE; and Shane Soefker, principal with Avison Young.

PROPERTY SALES 57 280 1,209
MORTGAGES 55 244 916
BUILDING PERMITS 158 699 2,751