A year of re­tail­growth

Power cen­ters made up most of the Hous­ton area’s new space.

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - BUSINESS - By Kather­ine Feser kather­ine.feser@chron.com twit­ter.com/kfeser

Hous­ton ended 2017 with a strong but slightly lower re­tail oc­cu­pancy of 95 per­cent as de­vel­op­ers con­tin­ued to add shop­ping cen­ters in the path of res­i­den­tial growth at a mea­sured pace.

The bulk of the new re­tail space, which amounted to about 2.8 mil­lion square feet in 2017, came in the form of large-scale shop­ping cen­ters along the Grand Park­way, Texas-based Weitz­man said in a year-end re­port.

De­vel­op­ers put up about 20 per­cent less space than the high of 3.4 mil­lion square feet of new and ex­panded projects in 2016, Weitz­man said.

Among the big­gest projects, Val­ley Ranch Town Cen­ter, at the Grand Park­way and U.S. 59 in Porter, added a Kroger Mar­ket­place, Burling­ton Coat Fac­tory, T.J. Maxx, Rack Room Shoes and PetS­mart.

Sam’s Club, which opened there less than a year ago, was among the ca­su­al­ties of the chain’s de­ci­sion to close cer­tain stores na­tion­ally amid com­pe­ti­tion from on­line shop­ping. The cen­ter will con­tain more than 1 mil­lion square feet of re­tail space upon com­ple­tion.

In Rich­mond, The Mar­ket Cen­ter at Aliana ush­ered in the na­tion’s first next-gen­er­a­tion Tar­get store with sep­a­rate en­trances for con­ve­nience/ gro­cery shoppers and leisure shoppers.

The pace of con­struc­tion is again pro­jected to slow in 2018, Weitz­man said. Projects on tap in­clude: Katy Asian Town, a cen­ter at Grand Park­way and the Katy Free­way an­chored by Hous­ton’s third HMart; new Kroger stores in 336 Mar­ket­place on Loop 336 in Con­roe, and Sugar Land’s Vil­lage at River­stone; a Wal­mart Su­per­center in the Cross­ing at Katy Ful­s­hear cen­ter at FM 1093 and FM 1463; and H-E-B stores in the Buf­falo Heights mixed-use project, The Heights, Bel­laire and Mont Belvieu, east of Hous­ton.

Weitz­man tracked mul­ti­tenant re­tail cen­ters with at least 25,000 square feet in its re­port, which pegs the lo­cal re­gion’s to­tal in­ven­tory of space at 158.1 mil­lion square feet.

Rede­vel­op­ments in ur­ban ar­eas, where land is more scarce, con­trib­uted to new and up­com­ing restau­rants and shops from the Heights to EaDo to Bel­laire. No­table projects in­clude Heights Mer­can­tile, which added Hous­ton’s first Warby Parker eye­glasses store, and East Vil­lage, an in­dus­trial re­de­vel­op­ment with Chap­man & Kirby and other new restau­rants east of down­town.

New and ex­pand­ing re­tail­ers gave new life to shut­tered stores in the area. At Home, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods, To­tal Wine & More, Life Time Fit­ness, Pet Su­per­mar­ket and Dirt Cheap back-filled space across the lo­cal mar­ket.

Brett Coomer / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

In Rich­mond, The Mar­ket Cen­ter at Aliana ush­ered in a next-gen­er­a­tion Tar­get.

Karen War­ren / Hous­ton Chron­i­cle

East Vil­lage, east of down­town, fea­tures Chap­man & Kirby.

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