There is no denying that brick and mortar stores here in California and elsewhere are suffering due to the ease and convenience of online shopping. Retail locations across the country are closing, and property owners are trying to figure out what comes next. It may be possible to give new life to these empty retail developments by converting them to distribution centers and/or warehouse space.
In some markets, opening new stores in an old space may be feasible, but not everywhere. Moreover, after cycling through many lives as a retail space, some property owners want a change that could possibly last. Considering the fact that online stores need a place to store their wares and a place from which to distribute them, this makes sense.
Research done by CBRE in Jan. 2019 indicated that, since 2016, around 23 retail spaces were being converted to industrial/warehouse space. These projects are adding millions of square feet of needed space. This could increase as more property owners and developers look to convert old retail sites into a more useful property.
Of course, not every defunct retail property is suitable for this type of conversion. However, when a property is suitable, it could provide a way to “recycle” an old retail center. Now, the property owner and/or developer may encounter issues with zoning and land use, along with the other usual issues that accompany a new development. Working out these issues may take some time, but with the help of a California attorney experienced in commercial real estate matters, the process could go more smoothly.