written by Chris D. Prins, Colliers International
The retail market within West Michigan has been incredibly strong as begin the 2019 holiday season. Both national and local retailers continue to look for opportunities within the market but due to all 50-year low unemployment rates at 3.1%, high construction costs and limited inventory their searches are becoming more difficult. Even with several Big Box store closing throughout the nation, the retail sectors continue to flourish based highly off Restaurant and Fitness retailed concepts. Brick-and-Mortar stores still account for a large portion of overall spending. A recent report stated that 83% of consumers plan on shopping within a store during this upcoming holiday season.
A large amount of transactions and high level of interest continues to be around the 28th Street & East Beltline location. Labeled as the, “Main & Main” within West Michigan this corridor has seen REI, Von Maur, Black Rock Grill, MOD Pizza, Panda Express and others open in 2019. The rental rates within this area are some of the highest within the market. Another area that has seen a strong amount of activity has been East Beltline & Knapp. With the recent addition of TJ Maxx, Old Navy, Five Below, Orange Theory, Amazing Lash Studio, Woodhouse Day Spa and Clean Juice this corridor has drawn the attention of a handful of retailers and restaurants. Alpine Ave continues to push farther north with a new strip center built which includes an endcap drive thru Jimmy Johns. Even with TJ Maxx relocating from Alpine to the East Beltline this area continues to draw high level of interest. Rivertown saw the addition of two fitness users this past year Twisted Hot Yoga and Title Boxing. Both concepts are new to the Grandville market and have opened very strong!
Downtown Grand Rapids has seen immense growth and continues to see shape our West Michigan landscape. The addition of Studio Park has brought even more patrons into downtown. 20 Monroe Live, Van Andel Arena and DeVos Place continue to draw more and more crowds and attractions to each of their venues. The West Side of Grand Rapids has begun to become the “hot spot” in town with Bridge Street Market, WMCat, Consumer Energy starting construction in Spring of 2020. The restaurants of Butchers Union, Jolly Pumpkin, Sovengard, and New Holland Brewery have been strong additions to this stretch. The Wealthy and Cherry Street corridors continue to draw strong levels of interest as some of the highest rental rates within the downtown district are located here.
2020 should continue to be a strong year for West Michigan retailers. Much of the action will continue to be around 28th Street, East Beltline, Rivertown and Alpine Ave. These retailers will be faced with some of the same issues which plagued 2019, lack of employees, high construction costs and lack of inventory but West Michigan continues to be a strong economy for many of them. As more regional and national companies look at the market it will continue to bring bodies into the market who need to eat, shop and help many of the retailers!